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Caring for Self and (Insect) Others
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— September 15, 2011

Caring for Self and (Insect) Others

By Lisa James
  • showing symptoms of what appeared to be a brain tumor
pocket
Caring for Self and (Insect) Others

In 2006, lawyer Julie Potiker began showing symptoms of what appeared to be a brain tumor. Her worst fears were put to rest after a thorough exam, but her neurologist recommended mindfulness training to help her reduce stress. Potiker took more than a dozen courses on the subject over several years, including a practice called Mindfulness Self-Compassion (MSC). Through her deep dive into mindfulness, Potiker herself became a mindfulness expert.

She shares her expertise and synthesizes the many streams of mindfulness and meditation she studied in her practical book Life Falls Apart, But You Don’t Have To: Mindful Methods for Staying Calm in the Midst of Chaos (Mindful Methods). An easy read, this valuable guide is chock-full of useful self-care and calming techniques: Focusing on a Here-And-Now Stone, for example, an object whose patterns and texture you study, takes you from the past or future into the present. There are many more of these, some simple, some more complex. Either way, you’re sure to find a way towards calm and happiness within this empowering book’s pages.

If you like to eat, here’s some sobering news: The bees are dying.

According to the USDA, about 35% of the world’s food crops are pollinated by animals, including bees. And a recent study found that the number of honeybee colonies around the world fell 16% in the winter of 2017–18.

That’s the backdrop for Protecting Pollinators: How to Save the Creatures That Feed Our World (Island). “A lot of us have forgotten the role that pollinators play in our ecosystem,” says veteran environmental writer Jodi Helmer. And declining numbers aren’t just affecting honeybees: There are “thousands of less-iconic pollinator species that need our help.”

As serious as the situation is, Protecting Pollinators isn’t merely an exercise in hand-wringing. Helmer provides ways for the reader to get involved, from sponsoring beehives to becoming a “citizen scientist” by, for example, noting the numbers of monarch butterlies in a specific milkweed patch. As Helmer puts it, “Awareness of the issue is now greater than ever before.”

NUMBERS

Troubled Waters

60%+

Americans who rely on freshwater sources of drinking water

1/3+

US lakes that are polluted

50%

US rivers that are polluted

Source: nrdc.org

Places to Stretch Out

Stretching does the body good: Not only does it improve energy levels and posture, promote blood circulation and sleep, and increase flexibility, but it also encourages the body to release feel-good substances called endorphins. Despite its benefits, though, for some people stretching is easier said than done. If you need support in creating a regular practice, a stretching studio might be the perfect solution.

If you already have a workout practice but tend to neglect your post-workout recovery, Alain Saint-Dic, founder of New York City-based Stretch Relief, says going to a stretch studio can also help. “Most people take that active part extremely seriously,” he notes. “However, they tend to neglect the recovery part, so stretch studios come into play. In all honesty, if we could tell people to stretch at home, they will still want it to be done for them and with them.”

At Stretch Relief, clients are assessed and then given a choice from two types of individual sessions—a 25-minute one-on-one or a 50-minute assisted stretch, with a portable massage device used before either session type. The studio also offers group classes that include yoga stretch, endurance stretch and a stretch-and-sweat class. In addition, Stretch Relief will send trainers into workplaces as part of corporate wellness plans.

Why are stretching studios becoming popular? Saint-Dic believes that social media and class-pass programs are leading people to take fitness more seriously. As a result, “people are generally more active. Your body starts to break down, so I think people are also becoming more aware that they need to be serious about their recovery practices.”

If that sounds like you, a stretch studio can help. Saint-Dic says, “Stretching is one of the best things that you can do for yourself.” —Samantha Hunter

QUOTE

Summer has always been my favorite season. I feel happier.
—Zooey Deschanel

ETIP

Make Muscle to Boost Metabolism

Want to burn more calories even at rest? Then build muscle, which is much more metabolically active than fat.

If you’re a woman, don’t worry about doing an Incredible Hulk imitation. For one thing, your body doesn’t contain enough testosterone. What’s more, a pound of muscle is sleekly compact compared with a larger, blobby pound of fat.

Glucosamine for the Heart?

A supplement long used for joint pain may help lower heart disease risk.

Tulane University researchers looked at a survey of more than 466,000 British adults done between 2006 and 2010; nearly 20% were taking glucosamine. None had heart disease at the time. The participants were then followed for about seven years.

According to results published in the BMJ, taking the supplement was associated with a 15% reduction in heart disease risk as well as lowered risk for cardiac-related death.

WORD

Cannabidiol

One of the main phytonutrients in hemp; better known as CBD. (Want to know how hemp helps the body See our chart.)

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