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What Better Way to Social Distance? A Commentary on Seizing the Opportunity for Self-Care

Social distancing is the buzzword that we all hate to love with its obvious benefits, but serious challenges for those of us who are anything short of introverted. After a year and a half of maintaining a 6-foot distance from other humans outside of our households, among other restrictions to local businesses and traveling, we’ve all gotten creative with how to spend all that extra time. While many have found comfort in activities such as home renovations, road trips, and building forts out of hoarded toilet paper, here at Honeymoon Chocolates our favorite way to spend this unexpected downtime is self-care by mindfully enjoying a good bar of chocolate.

 

What is Self-Care?

In recent years, there have been several studies and anecdotal stories of the benefits of Self-Care. The goal of self-care is to maintain good health through self-regimented preventative action whether that be physical, emotional, psychological, and/or spiritual and can take many forms. Changing your daily habits to improve these areas of your health such as taking daily multivitamins, improving diet, connecting (even if it is virtually) to friends and family, meditation and prayer, physical exercise, contributing time or money to charity, or even simply taking a long shower with relaxing music and aroma-therapy shower bombs can have far reaching effects on your overall well-being. 

Much of the rejuvenating effect of these self-care activities are due to increased hormone balance. By partaking in activities that calm you, make you feel those warm fuzzies in your heart, and maybe especially by exercising, you are decreasing your cortisol levels while simultaneously increasing your natural dopamine, serotonin, and endorphin levels. The end result of this hormonal re-balancing is of course stress reduction and a general sense of well-being and peacefulness. In fact, there are several studies which indicate a correlation between regular exercise, which causes increased production of endorphins, and the subsiding of clinical depression*. Mindfulness-based stress reduction, or MBSR, is a medically recognized, evidence based method of stress relief and plays an important part of a great self-care routine as it too can diminish the symptoms of depression, and improve mood and life outlook in general. 

       What the Hormone?
Cortisol – Stress Hormone
Dopamine – Feel Good Hormone
Serotonin – Mood-Stabilizing Hormone
Endorphins – Pain Reduction and
Pleasure Enhancing Hormone

 

 

What is Mindfulness?

Imagine yourself on a lazy summer Sunday afternoon. You are in the kitchen tackling chores and getting your household ready for another work/school week. The windows are thrown wide open. The sun is on your face and a gentle breeze flutters through your hair as you fill your sink with warm water and soap. The pleasant scent of the soap fills your nostrils as the suds begin to rise. You take a deep breath and let the worries for the upcoming week wash away as you listen to the scratching of your sponge against a dirty plate, washing away the residue of last night’s dinner. You notice the contrast in temperature between the cool breeze from the window and the warmth of the water as you rest your clean plate in the drying rack. Before you know it, your task is complete and what was just another chore to check off your never-ending to-do list has morphed into a mental vacation. 

Welcome to the bliss that is Mindfulness. It is the practice of consciously absorbing an ordinary moment or task through all of your senses; focusing on each sensation and letting your mind let go, if only for a brief time, of all the worries and stressors that fill it your surroundings. We often find ourselves either stuck inside our own thoughts or glued to our phone screens to the point where we miss everything going on around us. We miss out on fully engaging in conversations, or noticing the red bird that has perched right outside the window. We miss out on the things that bring us true joy. But the good news is that practice makes perfect and the more we practice Mindfulness, the more present we are in each moment. And the more we do that, the more joy we find.

 

How Honeymoon Chocolates Can Help

At Honeymoon Chocolates, we focus on solving as many of the little stressors that we can so that when you bite into our delicious chocolate, all you have to do is mindfully savor the flavor. We take great pride in our ecological efforts so that you can rest easy knowing that our packaging is either re-usable, recyclable, compostable or biodegradable; that a portion of your purchase goes back to helping the little workers that helped make your treat so sweet by donating to Pollinator Partnership.

       

And, while we aren’t certified Fair Trade, we do compensate our cacao farmers nearly two and a half times the fair-trade value from sourcers such as Uncommon Cacao and Meridian Cacao. We do this in mindful recognition and appreciation for the farmers in our origin countries who spend more than 3 years cultivating, harvesting and fermenting each and every cacao pod! 

So, the next time Social Distancing gets you down, take a moment to yourself in a quiet place and let your anticipation build as you tear into the resealable, recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable package of your favorite Honeymoon Chocolates bar. Let the aroma of our fairly traded cacao beans and locally sourced honey fill your nostrils. Take in a deep, relaxing breath before you let your teeth sink into the velvety smooth texture, and exhale as the multitude of flavor undertones dance across your taste buds, and savor being present in the moment. 

 

*Please consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise or self-care routine.

 

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Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200916/self-care-urged-for-women-caregivers-amid-pandemic

 

https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/exercise-depression

 

https://www.mindfulnessstudies.com/personal/depression-anxiety/mbct/

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7287297/