It may seem ironic that World Health Day is rolling around in the midst of a global health crisis, but on the other hand, this is the perfect opportunity to reevaluate ourselves and the world around us and see if we are indeed taking care of ourselves the best we can. While the world is recovering, it’s imperative that we find ways to come back stronger and more resilient. Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen tackle the meaning of World Health Day in the time of COVID-19. World Health Day is the perfect opportunity to come together globally and see to it that we fight this epidemic and all potential future epidemics. Most importantly, it’s a reminder that we have to take care of our health.
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World Health Day: Staying Healthy Through A Global Crisis
Our topic is about World Health Day. I thought this could be an interesting topic not because it’s timely for this episode, but also because it’s important to pay attention to the health of the whole world. What’s interesting is I didn’t know that much about World Health Day. It is designed to give people access to healthcare without the prospect of financial hardship, which feels incredibly timely as the economy is struggling around the world, so are people’s health. Healthcare is incredibly important at this time.
One of the beautiful opportunities with the Coronavirus and COVID-19 situation that we’re all facing is it appears to me because I’ve been going on Instagram Live every single day and interacting with people. Both Whitney and I have sent out emails to our mailing list wanting to hear from people here how they’re doing on an emotional and physical level. One of the things that I have heard consistently is that this is an opportunity for people to re-evaluate how they’re taking care of themselves. Certainly, in many cities including Los Angeles where Whitney and I are based, there’s a mandatory quarantine and a lockdown.
At least from what I’m hearing, people are getting an opportunity to look at how they’re doing their self-care and that it’s not just a meme or a trending hashtag on Instagram. It’s an actual thing of, “If I’m locked indoors for 2, 3, 4, 5 weeks,” we have no idea here in Los Angeles how long that’s going to be because it’s an indefinite quarantine. It’s interesting when you’re alone and you get to look at your lifestyle habits, how you’re living your life, how you’re treating yourself, how you’re eating and your financial habits. For me, especially in terms of looking at my health and hearing from people, it’s been an interesting journey to see how people are handling this and re-evaluating their lives truly.
It’s an important time to talk about this and who knows what will happen in between the days that we’re doing this and the day that this episode goes out. It’s interesting as podcasters wondering how to address something when, it takes 1 week, 1.5 weeks or sometimes 2 weeks for episodes to come out. At this point, we don’t know what will happen the next day. In Los Angeles where each of us lives, we have been expecting to be in quarantine, in physical distancing and a lot of self-isolation for the most part for another few weeks. It started that the city placed an order for people to stay home. I assume that when this episode comes out, we’ll still be in the same place and hopefully, things will be getting better and not worse.
I want to talk about World Health Day and what that means. It’s designed to stimulate a global health debate on the global burden of disease and the factors causing this. It’s interesting because I don’t think that’s going to be challenging to discuss because people are discussing that every day. It’s funny when you see things like this. I think World Health Day started in 1948. Maybe for the past few decades, we had to encourage each other to talk about disease and the factors causing it and considering how the entire world was impacted. That’s the conversation most people are having. This actual line of the global burden of disease is something that is relevant now.
Each year, this day we’ll focus on a different topic related to health. As usual, I’m pulling up a few different websites to learn about this daily theme. It started in 1948, 1950 and was held by the World Health Organization and it’s been celebrated every 7th of April. The aim was to focus on the issues of global healthcare by sharing a simple message of giving healthcare without financial hardship. That’s incredibly important because a lot of people are thinking about their finances and wondering should they spend money on things and what they should spend their money on. That’s been an interesting topic, especially for the two of us working in the health and well-being. We’re all hearing all the different perspectives about how to take care of yourself and all of the different debates that have come up as a result of that.
There’s been a theme every year for World Health Day. The theme for 2020 is interesting because this is the international year of the nurse and midwife. 2020 is focused on the key role played by nurses and midwives. That’s also incredibly important for us to honor and show gratitude towards all of the people working at the hospitals. It’s been interesting seeing that they have to continue to go to work when a lot of people around the world are staying at home and they’re putting themselves at risk every single day to go into the hospitals and be around people that have the Coronavirus. They’re also working incredibly long hours. I imagine their stress levels are through the roof. I’d also love to talk about how important it is for us to celebrate these people that are doing things that I can’t imagine during this time.
It’s a time for reverence because the word privilege comes up a lot lately in conversation and not in a damning way or in a judgmental way. The fact that we’re here in quarantine and we have food, water, shelter and we’re not on the front lines like first responders, doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals and the people delivering our food and our packages, the people that are literally putting themselves at risk every single day to keep society moving forward. It’s interesting because it’s almost this illusion that things are shut down but they’re not. Things like bars, restaurants and movie theaters are not providing food. We heard that the Olympics in Tokyo got postponed until 2021, but there is an innumerable number of people “behind the scenes” keeping things moving forward and keeping people healthy and making sure that people with medical needs are being seen and tended to.
It’s wonderful that you’re bringing this up because to have a moment of acknowledgment and reverence for these people. Also, realizing how fortunate we are to get to be at home doing this episode, re-evaluating our lives, engaging in self-care, as you described this, it’s something I’m not taking for granted. It also highlights the fragility of our societal structure. One thing that all of us are looking at, not only in terms of our healthcare system, our own personal health and habits and lifestyle but in general, how certain precarious frameworks of our society have been and perhaps that we need to re-evaluate those things. One thing I keep seeing in terms of healthcare, there was a funny meme regarding nationalized healthcare, socialism and Bernie Sanders.
I don’t want to turn this unnecessarily into a political episode but it was interesting how everyone was like, “We don’t want socialized healthcare. We don’t want free healthcare.” All of a sudden, in the middle of this pandemic, everybody wants free healthcare. That contrast in the middle of this worldwide crisis has been interesting now where certain people who have previously dismissed the idea of nationalized free healthcare, and many other things that the government in many other countries provides. Now, people are maybe reconsidering that, which is fascinating to think about.
I’m glad that this episode is coming out before World Health Day. If you’re reading this on April 6th, the day before April 7th, which is the actual day, there’s a lot that you can do. Here’s an article from the World Health Organization and what you can do during this day to celebrate and also to recognize the nurse and the midwife. Their goals are to trigger a wave of public appreciation for the work of nurses and midwives and the part that they play in delivering health care to raise the profile of nurses and midwives within the health workforce, and to catalyze support and investment in nurses and midwives. Some of their call to actions are to show that appreciation and thank them for what they do to keep you healthy. You could reach out to any nurses that you know. Isn’t our friend, Debi, a nurse?
That’s correct, in San Luis Obispo.The COVID-19 situation is an opportunity for people to reevaluate how they take care of themselves. Click To Tweet
Let’s give her a shout out.
If you want to check out a good friend of ours who is a wonderful content creator on Instagram and YouTube, she is a nurse. She’s in the healthcare industry. Her name is Debi Chew. Her handle is @ChewOnVegan, which is super creative. I love it. She’s one of the sweetest and most generous down to earth people. She’s an absolute gem. I want to give you a shout out, Debi. To our audience, if you want to check someone out who has a professional healthcare background and also promoting plant-based living, she’s a phenomenal person to follow.
She is for sure. Any other nurses come to mind that you know personally?
No, which is strange considering all of the people we know in the general wellness and healthcare field. I don’t think so. Debi is the only one that comes to mind.
I feel the same way and it feels strange. I know I must be missing someone. I feel bad if somebody I know personally is reading and they’re like, “What about me?” I’m sure someone will come to mind later and I’m bringing it up. I also don’t know if I know any midwives. How about you, Jason?
I know a lot of doulas. Shout out to my dear friend, Ella Louser, who’s a doula. There’s also a friend in Detroit, Alexandria Magic, who is a Detroit midwife and doula. I also want to give a shout out to my dear friend, Pamela Samuelson, who does an incredible amount of birthing work and female reproductive health work. I believe her handle on Instagram is @EmbodyWorkLA. She does a tremendous amount of sex and reproductive education as well. Also, the shout out to a lot of the doctors we know. There are probably too many dimensions to mention, but we have many colleagues and friends that are medical doctors.
They aren’t necessarily ER doctors per se, but the doctors who are putting out content on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and doing their part to share information about not only the current crisis but how to keep ourselves healthy year-round. Part of the larger conversation of keeping ourselves healthy is not necessarily the antiviral protocols or the immune-boosting protocols during this current time, but how do we keep ourselves healthy year-round? That macro conversation is one that I’ve been touching on and I’m glad to see that becoming part of the generalized conversation as well.
This episode isn’t meant to leave out anybody, it’s simply because the World Health Day theme is the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. We’re placing a little bit more emphasis on them. Anybody that works in the healthcare field should be acknowledged and there are many of them. Another thing that you can do is to call on your local leaders to do more support to nurses and midwives and make investments that enable them to work to their full potential. I hope that once this pandemic slows down and dissipates in whatever way and formed that it will look like, that people are going to start to re-evaluate healthcare and think about what made a difference and what’s broken in this system. It’s incredibly important to think about that and to share your opinion online in a constructive way.
Speaking of which, you can use the hashtag. A lot of times when we’re posting on social media, hashtags are a great way to get your posts seen and to be part of the conversation. Two hashtags that you can use on any platform, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, all these different places you might be posting. You can use #WorldHealthDay. You don’t have to post with the hashtags. You can go use the hashtags to search and find content. I pulled up some on Twitter to read out loud to see what people are sharing. The second hashtag to look into and to use in your own posts is #SupportNursesAndMidwives, and both of them pulled up some great things on Twitter. I wanted to read some of these.
A lot of people are posting things like infographics, which is interesting. You can learn a lot of things about what’s going on. There are a couple of posts busting myths, which is interesting as well. It’s certainly been fascinating for me to see how people have been responding to COVID-19 and posting like, “Did you know if you did this, you could protect yourself?” Maybe we can take a little tangent there because this is something we’ve been talking a lot about personally. It’s a delicate subject because this certainly isn’t meant to make fun of anybody or discredit them.
I don’t necessarily want to start a debate, but we can kindly talk about the different interesting opinions that have been coming up during this time. What made me think about that is on Twitter, I saw people talking about World Health Day and then also myths. One myth that was going around is that hand dryers were effective in killing the Coronavirus. People have found that the Coronavirus can be killed in high heat or can’t survive in high heat, so people thought, “If I use a hand dryer, that will keep me safe.” There was a little infographic going around from the World Health Organization about this.
This whole situation feels like an episode of MythBusters in general. One of the most challenging parts of this from a mental health perspective and a psychological perspective is not knowing what’s true and what’s false. To me, the absolute deluge and bombardment of information every single day. One part of it is knowing when to shut your phone off, stop watching TV and stop watching the news feed on your computer. There is a tipping point in terms of mental health where other people I’ve talked to and I have felt overwhelmed, they feel anxiety and stress creeping in because of over consuming information. There is a line between being “well-informed” but not so much information that we freak ourselves out. There’s so much conflicting information still on what kills the virus, what doesn’t kill the virus, which immunity antiviral protocols work, which ones don’t.
There seem to be many science and research studies in general. There’s so much conflicting information that’s pro this strategy and anti other strategies. The state of confusion is extremely high. That’s from the governmental perspective, the CDC, the NIH, the WHO. We have many governing bodies and many world governments telling us sometimes conflicting information as well. The most challenging part I am finding, and reaching out to people as you and I have both done on email and through social media, is the mental health and emotional side of this. That people feel an incredible amount of existential confusion and dread because we don’t know what’s true.
That’s hard to navigate not only how to take care of ourselves from a mental and physical perspective, but if we have loved ones that are elderly or immuno-compromised or people that are at higher risk, what is the best protocol in which to engage them? Certainly, physical distancing has been a consistent theme with us on quarantine. As we drill down into the nitty-gritty of where did the virus come from, what caused it, what is its origin, was it man-made? Did it come from rotting animals? Was it something that nature released? I didn’t want to get into the conspiracy stuff because that’s a rabbit hole. Is it Bill Gates? Is it George Soros? Is it a satanic Hollywood cult?
I love how you’re like, “I’m not going to get into it,” but you couldn’t resist.
I couldn’t resist because there’s so much. I don’t see a lot of humility in this. I see a lot of people like, “This is the way to kill the virus. This is where it came from. This is the conspiracy that’s true. This person’s a pedophile and this person’s implanting microchips.” I’m getting to the point where I feel like I want to shut the phone and the computer off and not look at it for a few days because it’s so much that this morning I had a moment where I’m like, “I don’t think I can handle all this anymore.”
Maybe that’s an important thing to examine. It’s great that you brought that up because you’re certainly not alone in feeling that. I don’t see nearly as much as you do, Jason. You’re listing out a bunch of things that I have no idea about. It’s showing me that either we’re getting our information from different sources and/or I’m not paying as much attention to it as you are. It’s tough because you think, “I want to stay informed because that might help with my own safety.” I also don’t want to get into information overload because I don’t want it to confuse me. This is an ongoing thing with health. Many people want to learn but yet feel incredibly confused because there’s information coming from all different sides, so much conflicting information and it can be debilitating.
A lot of people say, “I don’t know who to believe, so I’m not even going to try. Everybody is saying different things, so I might as well pick something because I could be right or I could be wrong.” It’s almost like defeatist mentality or so overwhelmed. People start to shut down or they don’t care anymore. A lot of that is happening and what’s interesting is there are signs of ignorance or people saying, “It doesn’t matter. I’m going to do whatever I want.” The big thing that’s happening for the past weeks, I don’t know how much longer this will go on for, but people are going out into public and not following the orders of physical distancing. People continue about their lives in all different ways when they might be putting other people at risk. Perhaps they don’t know any better or they heard conflicting advice so they decide to do whatever they want to do because they don’t know who to believe. That’s where things can get tricky.
I’m glad that you extrapolated this on a more macro perspective in terms of health and wellness and the absolute confusion that some people feel. On the one hand, we have this wonderful access to all of this information in 2020, in the digital age. Something happens across the world in Italy or China or Iran, especially in the middle of this Coronavirus pandemic. We get news minutes after it’s happening across the world, which is in some ways wonderful. The counter side to that is the information overload you’re talking about. In terms of health and wellness, you’ll see a study come out that says, “The saturated fat in coconut oil is good for you. The MCTs give you energy. It’s good saturated fat. It helps boost healthy hormone levels.”
A few months later, you get a completely antithetical study that says, “Coconut oil will kill you and it’s going to destroy the endothelial lining in your heart. You shouldn’t do coconut oil.” People are looking and going, “One study said coconut oil is good for me and this one’s completely contradicting it with perhaps as plausible research.” This is an ongoing thing where if someone takes a hard-line stance that this is the way, “Veganism, Paleo, keto, raw food or being a fruitarian is right for the entire world.” There are quadrillion things that we could highlight in terms of health and wellness.
There’s a deep desire in a lot of people to have the answer like, “I’ve found the answer. This is the way to live. This is the way to eat. This is the way to move my body.” We see a lot of conflict amidst these camps sometimes of feeling like, “We have the evidence and we have the research studies and we have the documentaries so this is the way.” To your point, the person who is trying to re-landscape their health and make a difference, I’m sure there are a lot of people or perhaps a lot of the audience that are like, “I feel super confused and at odds.” For me, the thing that I always go back to is gradual conscientious experimentation.
We have to acknowledge that and this is a scientific thing that we know. Every seven years cycle on a cellular level, our bodies are completely rejuvenating themselves. The collection of cells that makes up your body now, Whitney and the readers and mine, is different than the collection of cells biologically that we had in our body seven years ago. Knowing that, there are natural evolution and experimentation that has to take place with our health and wellness. We’re changing hormonally and chemically. We’re aging, we are changing, our nutritional needs are therefore changing. Gradual conscientious experimentation and relieving ourselves of any dogma, that’s a good baseline to jump off of.
Going back to this topic, I pulled up some posts on Twitter. I also found out that it’s not just World Health Day on April 7th, but it’s also in the middle of World Health Worker Week. I don’t know how official that is. Sometimes people claim days and weeks on their own. This might be new. I found the info. In 2013, World Health Worker Week started. It’s incredibly important to recognize any of the health workers for their tireless efforts to save lives and enable economic growth in their communities. Some of the posts that I pulled up I haven’t fact-checked, but this does look like it’s coming from the World Health Organization. I think it’s true. One post said that globally, 70% of the health and social workforce are women, and many of them are nurses and midwives. Similarly, from another post, this one doesn’t look quite as verified but let’s go with it. Unless somebody reading wants to be a fact-checker, nurses and midwives account for nearly 50% of the global health workforce.
In a sense, women or those identifying in an energetic gender role as a female tend to be more nurturing than men. That doesn’t surprise me.We must have hope and faith that there are still medical discoveries yet to come. Click To Tweet
In this episode, we will link to 6 Reasons Why 2020 is the Year of the Nurse. It’s a wonderful in-depth article from DailyNurse.com sharing a lot about its history. It’s a great way to be educated about this and to understand what nurses do and why it’s important to support them.
The other thing I wanted to bring up quickly too, this is tangential but also related is there’s an amazing article that I read from a writer. He’s a philosopher and an author from Israel named Yuval Noah Harari and he wrote the book, Sapiens and also Homo Deus. He talks a lot about the interweaving of healthcare, socioeconomics, leadership and human evolution. It’s this interesting way that he puts all these puzzle pieces together. He had an interesting article where he interweaves a lot about our modern healthcare system. He talks about where we are heading as a society. It’s a free article in The Financial Times called The World After Coronavirus. It is a phenomenal read!
What are some of the highlights of it?
It’s a long article. Whoever wants to undertake this, it is not a quick read. I won’t read the whole thing but he says, “This storm will pass but the choices we make now could change our collective lives for years to come.” He talks about emergency measures from a healthcare perspective. He talks about surveillance. He talks about the integration of technology and the opposition of human rights versus protective measures in emergency situations that sometimes we are willing to give up some of our human rights for protection. He talks about that in terms of not only surveillance but in terms of soap. He talks about how it’s only in a relatively recent discovery that in the 19th century that scientists discovered the importance of washing our hands with soap. That’s extremely recent. He goes on that previous to the 19th century, doctors and nurses would proceed from one surgical operation to the next without washing their hands. That’s mind-blowing. Think about that.
I am aware of that. I’ve read that multiple times and it never ceases to amaze me because it shows a lot of the things that we take for granted. It could be relatively recent. There’s so much that when we put things in perspective, we realize they have not been in our lives as human beings for that long. Yet we think it’s normal life like this is the way it’s always been.
This is good because now we do take this knowledge and this awareness for granted that hot water plus soap can kill a lot or most of the bacteria and viruses that previously would endanger people’s lives during common invasive medical procedures. The 19th century was not that long ago. We were talking about the late 1800s when they made these discoveries. Humanity has not had this awareness or that knowledge for that long in terms of our history of being on the planet. It also gives me hope and faith that the discoveries yet to come will maybe by the end of our lifetimes or the generations following us be that self-evident too.
It’s also shedding light on why it’s taken much education during this time. It seems obvious to wash your hands. Yet, that is the number one piece of information that’s been spread around as if it’s not a basic thing that you should be doing. I found it fascinating because it showed me how infrequently I was washing my hands. That was the other interesting element of this. It’s not about what happens in the hospitals, which was part of your point.
It’s not just in terms of our professional medical people that are literally saving lives day-to-day. I think about two situations in this particular context that I shudder a little bit and I hope that people will carry these, protective measures and self-care practices of hand-washing forward after we’re out of this crisis. Maybe that’s not TMI. I frequently travel every year. Whitney and I both do some conferences and food trade shows and wellness shows. We do a fair amount of traveling year to year. One thing I’ve noticed consistently is that when I go into the men’s bathroom, it’s almost impossible for me to count how many men will go to the urinal and go to the bathroom. They’ll urinate and then they walk right out the door.
That’s a cliché. As women, we hear about that.
It happens a lot. I’ve always shuddered at that because it’s like, “You’re touching your own penis and you know where your penis has been, but all of the germs, bacteria and stuff that’s back splashing from the urinal onto your hands.” It always blows my mind that guys don’t do that. It’s like, “What are you thinking?” We’ll then go back to the dinner table.
Shouldn’t you also be washing your hands before you touch your penis? Imagine what’s on your hands and then you’re putting it direct skin contact.
That’s a good point. The pre-penis touch wash and the post-penis touch wash.In order to make it through a global crisis, we have to come together globally. Click To Tweet
Especially now, I don’t know exactly how it works. I don’t know if you can contract the virus if you touched your penis with unwashed hands. Potentially, you could. It depends on what part of your penis you’re touching, I suppose. This is why our show is marked as explicit. We can talk about these things and say these words without offending anybody, hopefully. Although it’s funny if you’d be offended by the word, penis.
It’s a clinical word. We could use phallus. If you come into contact and the epidermal layer of your fingers or your phalanges touch your phallus, then perhaps would you let us choose the ultimate scientific language?
Whatever it may be. It’s interesting with the hand-washing because it’s something that we’ve taken for granted. A lot of people were not aware of how infrequently they wash their hands, myself included, and the impact of that. If that’s the big thing that’s going to help us stay healthy supposedly, it’s such an easy thing to do. I agree with your point about how hopefully this will be a ripple effect. Maybe our health will improve as a society because we’re aware of these basic things.
The other situation that I wanted to bring up too that I feel hesitant to engage with moving forward and I’ve sat with this because I was talking to my mom, Susan. I check in with her every day to see how she and my family back in Detroit, Michigan is doing because I’m far away from them in terms of extreme physical distance. I don’t know that this notion is necessarily me defaulting into a hypochondriac type of behavior. I think about salad bars and hot bars. I think about everyone’s hands going into the salad bars at Whole Foods, Lassens, Sprouts or whatever. They have the hot bars in the do-it-yourself salad bars. There’s a part of me that’s like, “All the hands and arms that are going into those tongs and those food bins all day every day.” There’s a part of me that gets heebie-jeebies when I think about it.
It also explains why restaurants like I would imagine Subway are probably closed. Chipotle may have closed down for this. Some restaurants have stayed open and done take-out only. Technically, a restaurant like Subway and Chipotle are take-out. I suppose you can eat inside there, but most people are taking it to go. I know at least one of those types of chains closed down for the time being. It’s interesting but it makes sense because all of that food is sitting out all day. You go and you can take whatever. You don’t go down the line and they ask you what foods. I’m thinking of Sweet Greens and all these chains. I love those types of restaurant. It’s not that you’re making it yourself but you get to customize it.
I believe that fast-casual is the category of these restaurants.
Does that specifically mean that your fast-casual must mean more than customizing your dishes and that stuff? I’m thinking like Chipotle, Subway and these salad places like Sweet Greens. Also, the one in particular that I know that shut down temporarily is B.B.Bop. This incredible Asian fast-casual restaurant where you can go and customize bowls and they’re passionate about wellness. I was surprised that they closed, but then I reflected on it. It’s probably because that food is exposed to open air all day. I’m speaking out of ignorance here. It’s also possible they didn’t want to put their workers at risk. Who knows all these factors and these considerations that have gone into pausing restaurant operations for the time being?
The whole point in bringing this up is thinking about all of these different ways that we’re impacted by one another. That’s the overarching theme of this. As a world, we interact in many different ways that could elevate our health and put our health at risk. There are all the different financial elements of it. It’s a great opportunity to step back and re-evaluate what we’re doing as individuals, and then all of the amazing people that are around us and supporting us and the things that they’re doing, whether it’s a nurse or a midwife or a doctor or even the people at the restaurants.
In a lot of ways, we’re putting our health in their hands because anybody that’s worked in a restaurant knows it’s not always the cleanest environment. One big plus side of all of this is that restaurants, cafes or any place where you would get food or drinks are being extra clean, extra attentive and putting in all these new practices or enforcing practices that may have been lenient before. That makes me feel more comfortable. I was grateful for this when it first started happening. I was looking forward to going out to eat because I thought they’re probably being careful that it’s not that big of a risk anymore.
I want to comment on that. Not to freak anyone out, but having come out of culinary school many years ago and spent the first few years of my career working in professional kitchens, cafes, restaurants and whatnot. There were some practices that I observed that were not the most hygienic or the most mindful of the health of the customer. When you get a deluge of tickets or when you get a flood of tickets, in the restaurant industry in the back of the house that’s also known as the kitchen, we call that being in the weeds. “I’m in the weeds,” where you have a ton of tickets.
You have many dishes to plate and it’s the middle of Saturday night dinner service. If something gets dropped on the floor, oftentimes, it would be dusted off and put back on the plate to be blunt. There’s a lot worse than that. To your point, this is a wonderful opportunity for a professional food establishment to take food safety to a completely different level. I applaud that wholeheartedly because it is an area that did need to be improved. Having been in that industry and seeing what goes on, there was a lot of room for improvement.
That also leads me to another advantage we have or an opportunity, which is the slowdown. That was one feeling I’ve been experiencing a lot over the last few weeks. It’s the sigh of relief thinking the whole world feels like it’s operating slower, more consciously, more carefully, more considerately. We are in a time as human beings, many of us are in that hustle culture, which we talk a lot about on this show because Jason and I are both triggered by this idea of hustling and rushing around. This comes up for me hearing you talk about the restaurants as not consumers or customers. What’s the term for someone that goes into a restaurant? It’s not a guest.
I suppose. I feel like there’s another word I was looking for here. Anyway, you know what I’m saying.
We call them guests though in the restaurant industry. It’s like, “Seat your guests.” Technically, that’s it. I’m sure you were thinking of a completely different word.
It will come to me but anyway, when you’re going into an establishment, it’s funny how there are certain places that pride themselves in being fast. As you said, it’s a fast-casual. It’s how quickly we can get these people in and out of the restaurant. You go through a drive-thru and it’s remarkable how food comes through that rapidly at a drive-thru. I don’t go to that many drive-thrus anymore except to get the Beyond Burger at certain fast food places. Maybe when I’m on the road or in a complete rush, and that’s the best option for me. You go in and you get a burger within a couple of minutes.
If you step back, it’s a little odd. There’s this whole idea of a lot of restaurants as I’m going to sit down and I’m going to be fed in this amount of time or my lunch break is only this long or I’ve got to go to some other plans. We’re in this mode of rushing in much of our lives when it comes to food. There’s a ripple effect to that. Here you are saying that the practices behind the scenes at restaurants might make us cringe, but we’re also part of the problem if we’re expecting them to rush that quickly. If we feel entitled to a fast meal, what do we think is going to happen? Mistakes are going to be made when things are rushed around. Maybe we also have a great opportunity whether you work in a restaurant or you’re a guest at a restaurant to rethink your role. Is it necessary to be in that much of a rush? Wouldn’t you rather your health be taken into consideration carefully than have somebody feel they have to rush, otherwise they’re going to lose their job or they’re going to lose your patronage? This applies to many things but specifically, it felt like a good opportunity to talk about that.
I think of that not in terms of our food choices but certainly, as you talk about the hustle culture and the level of stress anxiety and burnout that has become completely and totally socially acceptable. I want to say for American culture because that’s where we live in the United States, but in a lot of developed countries, there’s this mentality that’s what you do. Your self-care, your personal needs and taking care of yourself are secondary to being a “productive” member of the workforce. As many of us are unemployed or laid-off or furloughed. There are many people that are facing an extremely uncertain career or financial future.
It is an opportunity to examine, have we been blindly sprinting towards some illusionary brass ring of, “Once I make 6 figures or 7 figures or once I get a certain size house in that zip code or buy this certain car or have all of these material or numerical signifiers of societal or cultural success, I will have made it.” How many of us as humans, in general, have been on this hamster wheel of perhaps ignoring our physical needs, emotional needs, mental needs, spiritual needs and indentured servitude to this idea that he or she who burns themselves out the quickest gets the gold medal? I don’t mean to be dismissive of people who are in an extremely terrifying financial or health situation. That’s not my intention here, but I would hope as I watched this video from Eckhart Tolle on Facebook. It’s a phenomenal twenty-minute video from Eckhart Tolle.
Could you summarize that? I saw you post it but I haven’t watched it yet. I would love to know your takeaways from that too. Did you finish your takeaways from that article or did we get off on a tangent?
I didn’t but I can go back to that. This is the nature of our show. If this is your first time to This Might Get Uncomfortable, welcome to This Also Might Get Tangential. This might get uncomfortable and tangential, but we always bring it back.
We try to but I don’t know if we always do, to be honest.
Maybe we leave hanging indents here and there. Perhaps we do.
You can always remind us in the comments. Say, “You didn’t finish talking about this. Could you address it in the next episode?” We will certainly try our best. That’s why we love communicating with you in the comments section and on social media.If we choose global solidarity, it will be a victory not only against the coronavirus but all possible future epidemics. Click To Tweet
Eckhart Tolle has been around for a long time with The Power of Now and A New Earth. He’s a phenomenal author. I believe his anchor teaching is the power of presence. Being truly anchored in, connected and nonresistant in the present moment. This video on Facebook, he talks about in summary that this is the perfect time for spiritual awakening. Not in a woo-woo pedantic sense, but anything that you’ve been ignoring, anything that you’ve been pushing to the side, anything that you have been stuffing down and not giving attention to in your life, this is the time where it’s going to come up be dealt with. For those of us in most of the world or at least in large metropolitan areas, we’re at home with ourselves.
Perhaps we’re with our spouses. Perhaps we’re with our families. Whatever it is, his point was that we haven’t been facing, we are now being asked and we have an opportunity to face ourselves. For a lot of people who’ve never done that before, that can be extremely confronting and extremely disturbing. His point is that this is necessary for our development and our global awakening or the flowering of consciousness. I believe that’s how he put it. I believe that too. I certainly am getting to look at my relationship with financial security. I’m getting to look at my relationship with my career and there are certain things that I haven’t been in alignment with. You know this, Whitney. We’ve talked about this in previous episodes regarding identity.
In summary, Eckhart is saying to take this time to go deep within yourself and address any things you’ve been ignoring, stuffing down, turning away from and look at those things. If you find yourself projecting fear into the future, remind yourself that at this moment, what is your state of being? Where are you? Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have water? Do you have food? Do you have contact with loved ones? Are you safe? Are you sick? A lot of people are like, “I might be broken destitute in the future. I might run out of money. I might catch the Coronavirus and die.” His whole point is where are you at this moment? How do you feel? Where are you? What’s going on in your present? His whole thing is like, “Use this as a presence practice and an opportunity to see clearly what is and to anchor yourself in present moment reality.” It’s powerful and he has such a great cadence and way of speaking that’s very comforting too.
You wanted me to go back to the Yuval Noah Harari article as well as we tie up that loose end. His whole point is also that in order to make it through this, we have to come together globally. There’s been this splintering of nations working independently. The other choice that we face as humans is between nationalist isolation and global solidarity and global unity. His whole point is that the epidemic, the Coronavirus we’re talking about, and the resulting economic and societal crises are global problems. They’re not national problems. It’s a global issue, a humanistic problem. They can only be solved effectively by global cooperation. In order to defeat the virus, we need to share information and resources globally. His whole position is the advantage we have over virus is that a Coronavirus strain in China and a Coronavirus strain in the US can’t swap tips or hacks about how to infect humans better.
We in the US, China, Italy and Tehran can teach each other valuable lessons about the Coronavirus and how we’re all dealing with it. Let’s say an Italian doctor in Milan discovers in the early morning tomorrow how to save lives more efficiently or a way to allay the virus. He can relay that to Tehran or Washington the next day and the UK government might hesitate between several public policies. It could get advice from Korea who has faced a similar dilemma. They’ve already overcome that. His point is we’re not acting globally. For us to come through this as a human race, we have to engender a spirit of global cooperation and trust, and sharing medical kits, sharing respiratory machines, getting a coordinated global effort and humanize this more. It’s interesting because it’s such a phenomenally well-written article.
His whole thing in a summary at the end is he says, “Humanity needs to make a choice. Will we be collectively going to travel down the road of disunity or adopt a new path of global solidarity? If we choose disunity, this will not only pull or prolong our current crisis, but it will probably result in even worse catastrophes for our future. If we choose global solidarity and unity, it will be a victory not only against the Coronavirus but against potentially all future epidemics and societal crises that may save humankind in the 21st century and beyond.” In summary, he’s calling for unity. It’s not about, “We’re doing better over here in the US than China or you guys.” It’s coming together and sharing all of these resources. I agree with his position. It’s a time for that more than ever.
Absolutely and very eloquent too. It is an amazing opportunity for us to feel more connected to one another because we can feel so separate. It can be this feeling of us versus them and disconnect from what other people are going throughout the world. The other thing that I’d love to touch upon briefly, especially because this hits close to home for you, Jason, is homelessness. This is something that people brought up to me when I was reaching out to my community to find out what people were going through and what they needed. A number of people said that they didn’t have a home. It shined the light on my ignorance.
I started doing some research to see what the cities in different parts of the world were doing to help the homeless because they’re incredibly vulnerable. It’s another opportunity. It’s not to think about people that live in different parts of the world. It’s an opportunity to think and learn about people that are living differently than you. Meaning people that are maybe more at risk with their health or people that don’t have homes, people that are in different economic brackets, people that don’t have access to education. It’s shine light on people that may rely on school systems to get a meal. People that are going hungry and don’t know what to do. All the different ways that people are affected helped me understand the state of the world in a whole new light.
You eloquently stated that for us to have compassion and perspective, our reality is not the reality that is shared by everyone. There are extremely vulnerable people and not in terms of the elderly or immuno-compromised, but people who are not housed or people that are on food stamps or people that are economically oppressed in many ways. To your point, having had a father who was homeless for many years who has now passed, I do think about that because who’s distributing soap and hand sanitizers to the homeless. Here in downtown Los Angeles, we have Skid Row and we have hundreds and hundreds of people housed in tents in close quarters. They’re not taking the recommended six-foot physical distancing because it’s tent after tent. It makes me think about care.
This is such a complex issue and I hope that it helps us re-evaluate our system of caring for these individuals of our society even more so. Here in LA, San Francisco, New York and many parts of the US in large cities, I feel like the homelessness issue was swept under the rug for the most part like, “We’re going to let the tent city keep growing and not address it.” Now we have no choice but to address it because that’s a significant part of our population that is not going addressed with proper health care or cleaning opportunities. What do we do with them? Do we ignore them? It’s such a complex issue and it’s as you said, Whitney.
Part of the point here is not to ignore people anymore. We can’t turn our backs on people at this point. We technically can do that, but it’s more in our face than ever. It’s not about us as individuals. It’s also about the government and the government needs to address these things. It’s also an amazing opportunity for us to look at how the government is treating us at this time and treating other people. It brings a lot of things into our awareness, into our consciousness, into our hearts. That’s another big benefit and an opportunity for each of us to think about what we can do.
A lot of us feel helpless. We feel helpless for our own health. We may feel more helpless than ever being in our homes and isolated from one another. What we can do is get online and educate ourselves and find ways to take action. What we can do is turn our attention away from the daily superficial things that we may be used to doing and reflect on what’s most important to us and how we can contribute to society. For me, that is what World Health Day is an opportunity for. It’s all about raising awareness, showing gratitude and figuring out ways to support one another.
That’s beautiful. I also want to say about the distraction. It’s interesting that many of our largest industries are built on entertainment, but there’s a fine line between entertainment and distraction depending on how we use these mediums. Sports, the Olympics, going out to movies, live concerts, large gatherings of people, festivals have all been canceled or postponed. It’s not to say intrinsically that people use these things as distractions but they do. As these entertainment industries and ways of societally accepted distractions are removed, it’s forcing us to look at all of these extremely uncomfortable things like how we’re treating one another, the divisiveness and separation in our world, perhaps the instability of our financial system, the corruption or misuse of political power in our world. There are many things that it’s like a deep breath. It feels overwhelming but perhaps because we’re looking at it in a more intimate, deep and visceral way than we ever have because those distractions aren’t available to us now.
Jason, is there anything else that you want to touch upon on this subject matter? I’ve summarized it in the importance of being more mindful. It is what this all means for me. It’s getting involved, thanking people, sharing things on social media. It’s calling people that work in healthcare and being incredibly grateful for them, seeing what’s going on and what they’re struggling with. Can you support them in some way? What do they need? Also, thinking about what the rest of the world needs at this time. Raising your awareness and thinking about what you can do and also what you can do in the future as this goes on. How can you integrate world health into your daily mindset?
That’s a wonderful summary. I want to make a final point to that in terms of paying it forward and our generosity and sharing with each other. I know there’s a lot of fear now and I definitely want to bring that forward in a new episode talking about how to navigate fear specifically and then the spiritual, psychological dynamics of fear. We’ll save that for another exploration here on the show. If you have plenty of water, paper products, food and you have more, one thing that I’ve been thinking about is taking food, water and paper product donations to some local food banks that may serve the homeless or first responders and paying that forward. If you are in a position where you feel abundant, taken care of, anchored in trust and your needs are met, I encourage you to look in your local area to see what organizations could benefit the homeless, the vulnerable or the first responders in your area. Pay that abundance forward. It’s important that we move beyond our needs. Once we put the oxygen mask on ourself first, how do we support and give forward to others that are also in need?
I’m glad that we touched upon this and we’d love to hear from you, the readers, what you’re doing, what your thoughts are, how you’re getting involved, how you’re feeling. The best way to get in touch with us on this subject is through social media. Our handle is @Wellevatr. We’re on all the major social media platforms and we’d love to connect with you. If you have any posts based on the hashtags we mentioned earlier for World Health Day for supporting nurses and midwives, we’d love to see your content.
We may even share it on our social media. Please tag us. You can direct message us if you want to talk to us privately. You can email us. Our email is [email protected]. In terms of increasing your awareness and educating yourself, you can go into every single episode. You can watch the videos. All of that is there for you. If you go to the podcast section of our website, Wellevatr.com. Thank you so much and we wish you the best of health now and always. Until next time, take good care of yourself.
- @ChewOnVegan – Debi Chew’s Instagram
- @EmbodyWorkLA – Pamela Samuelson’s Instagram
- 6 Reasons Why 2020 is the Year of the Nurse
- Yuval Noah Harari
- Homo Deus
- The World After Coronavirus
- Eckhart Tolle Facebook Page
- The Power of Now
- A New Earth
- @Wellevatr – Instagram
- [email protected]
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