Food used to be the ultimate reward, comfort, soother, relaxer, all-purpose panacea. As Homer Simpson once said about alcohol, it was the cause of, and solution to, all my problems. And… pretty much the only one that consistently worked. That is, it would work until I ate the last bite, and then the stress and feelings would return, with a side of guilt and shame.
But food is still an important comfort in my life, and will always be! Apples in the fall, pumpkin pie at Halloween, Matzoh ball soup when I have a cold, Ellios toaster pizza when straits are dire, a little chocolate at the right time… food has an emotional power that can’t be argued with. Comforting food is a powerful tool, and can totally be on the light side of the Force… when it’s not the only tool in your toolbelt, but just one of a whole bunch.
One of my Epic Battles on this journey has been to quest across the land (i.e. think real hard) about what non-food things I can add to my life to serve a similar purpose: to calm, relax, settle, ground, and soothe me when life is a whirlwind of pressure and responsibility.
I’ve come up with quite a few along the way (which may be the subject of future posts), mainly along the broad themes of foofy girly products, moving my body, media, and writing (hi there, everybody!).
One silly little comfort habit I’ve acquired in the past month is the Weekly Self-Manicure and Official Changing of the Polish (WSMOCP). I have a drawer cluttered with old polishes, and discovered that there’s something satisfyingly indulgent in cleaning and caring for my nails, and then choosing the color of the week, and carefully painting them. If I want to get truly absurd, sometimes I do a sugar scrub wash first, or even wear a mud facial mask while I do it.
This week, I was inspired by spring to pick a light greeney blue color I would ordinarily have deemed too wild for my relatively staid and conservative workplace. And every time I look down at my nails during the day, I catch myself grinning just a little.