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Hi! I’m Conner

Welcome to my blog about nurturing body and soul during troubled times. I have wanted to write about this topic for many years, but always felt like a fraud, never having experienced any real hardship. Until now, that is.

Having recently lost my job, with no savings to speak of, living in temporary housing and wrangling over money with my estranged husband, I now feel qualified to add my 2 cents’ on the subject of “hard times.”

For the foreseeable future, I plan to write here about how I take care of myself and my children as I navigate marital break-up, professional reinvention, a sharp drop in my standard of living, the loss of my middle class aspirations, and menopause.

Have I forgotten anything? Oh yes, right: All this against the backdrop of Trump’s America.

Let me start with what I don’t want this blog to be: A place where we wallow in self-pity. Or bitch about people who have wronged us. Or celebrate victim-hood. Or spin worst-case scenarios. (If ever you catch me indulging, Call Me Out!)

Instead, I want this to become a resource for folks who face seemingly insurmountable challenges and soldier on regardless. I want Recipes for Disaster to be about resilience, silver linings, learning, love, humor, hope, faith, community, honesty, compassion, growth and self-care. Especially self-care.

When we struggle with life’s slings and arrows, it’s easy to lose ourselves. We stop caring about much of anything, including ourselves. We lose sleep because we ruminate into the wee hours. We stop exercising because all we want to do is curl up and cry. We retreat from our social circles because it hurts to see others be happy, healthy or affluent. Or because we don’t want to burden people with our problems. We lose interest in looking good. We stop caring about what we eat and drink.

Indeed, when trouble strikes, we often reach for comfort foods that provide a short-term buzz, but later cause regret and self-loathing – sugar, cookies, alcohol and the like. Since I am a nutritionist (here’s my day job: and understand how strongly our emotions influence our food choices, one of the topics I focus on here – in a compassionate, non-preachy way – is what do to when we feel like drowning our sorrows in tubs of ice cream or bottles of wine.

For me, food has always been a great source of comfort during difficult times. I’m not talking about “comfort eating” (cookies, ice cream, mac n’ cheese) so much as about the act of preparing and savoring food. Shopping for beautiful, whole, delicious ingredients and converting them into tasty, nourishing meals has a grounding, calming effect on me like few other activities do. It’s almost like meditation.

But this is probably a personal quirk. Indeed, many people I know hate to cook and actually feel more stressed, rather than less, at the thought of having to prepare a meal. So, here are some of the other topics we’ll be looking at (because there’s life in-between mealtimes):

  • How to get regular doses of restorative sleep
  • How to incorporate enjoyable physical activity into our lives
  • How to get practical and emotional support when going through tough times
  • How to manage existential angst, regret, anger, vindictiveness and other demons
  • Simplicity and abundance (they’re not mutually exclusive!)

I can’t promise simple solutions to complex existential problems; there are usually no easy answers. But knowing that we’re not alone, and seeing how others handle adversity, may provide some relief and inspiration. It all starts with looking after ourselves and living as well as we can under the circumstances.

As poet George Herbert put it, “Living well is the best revenge.”

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