Blog-Happy Highly Sensitive Life (2024)

Blog-Happy Highly Sensitive Life (1)

Every night when I’m making dinner, I put on my apron, stick in my airpods and call my mom to talk.

The conversation inevitably turns to what I’m making for dinner and what she’s making or what we ate that day.

We describe the new recipes we saw on a cooking program or that we tested out that week.

This week, I told her what I will make for Christmas if the pandemic keeps us separated as a family. The promise of having some comforting homemade butternut squash or mushroom ravioli makes the idea of not being together a little less dreary.

I was putting together my daily lunch one day last week and started thinking about how food comforts and connects us.

I thought of a story I heard about how starving women in the Ravensbrück concentration camps found comfort by talking about favorite family recipes. They called it “fantasy cooking”.

In rare free moments together, the women would “eat with their words”.

When they had no food, recounting details of beloved meals and dishes and collecting recipes for the future was a way of staying hopeful for making it out alive.

Edith Peer, one woman in the concentration camps, stole some paper and a pencil and started writing the recipes down. When she was released from imprisonment, she brought the recipe book home with her as a reminder of their resilience.

I can’t remember where I first heard this story but it’s stayed with me as a reminder of the strength of the human spirit.

Please know, I’m not trying to insinuate that a pandemic is anything like being in a concentration camp.

The point is that it’s possible to find comfort in hard times.

As Highly Sensitive People (HSPs), we are good at noticing small beautiful moments and we can use this to our advantage to create comfort rituals.

Blog-Happy Highly Sensitive Life (2)

Here are a few more of my favorite comfort rituals right now.

  1. Resting for 15 minutes. Closing the curtains, kicking off my shoes and laying down on the couch for 15 minutes. I soak up the feeling of the stillness of the room, the cozy comfort of the fuzzy soft blanket tucked around me and my head resting on the pillow. I set my phone timer for 15 minutes and rest with my eyes closed. When the time is up, I’m refreshed and ready to get back to work again.

  2. Eating a comfort sandwich. The grilled cheese is the original comfort sandwich. I’ve got a new take on a good old concept. Inspired by a recipe from Katie Lee on The Kitchen, I take a toasted gluten-free roll that’s flaky and airy, smear homemade sun-dried tomato kalamata olive spread on each half and add a few pieces of warmed halloumi cheese. I look forward to eating it sitting at the end of my dining room table in the quiet or listening to a favorite podcast.

  3. Dressing in very soft clothing. After a night of bad sleep, or if I wake up with a headache or cramps, I want to dress in my softest clothing, staying away from anything that’s scratchy or too binding. If I have to leave the house, I go for high waisted loose-fitting jeans, my lightest support jog bra, an easy cotton top and comfortable flat shoes.

  4. Soaking up pleasant sounds. Sitting on the deck or walking on a trail and immersing myself in the sounds of the chirps of the spring peepers, the summer cicadas or the fall crickets. It’s meditative and nostalgic and warming.

  5. Hugging the dog. We have a dachshund who insists on cuddling but instead of just sitting side by side, I close my eyes, wrap my arms around him and hold him and absorb the feeling of his warm weight on my lap. I memorize the feeling and then can recall it later and feel comforted a second time. If I’m stressed, thinking about dogs or looking at dog pictures puts me at ease, a trick I discovered when I was stressed during bad turbulence on a flight.

Look for comfort in the little things

Doing one thing at a time can become an act of comfort if you savor the moments you spend doing it.

Remembering that moment later can deliver nostalgic comfort a second time.

In times of loss, when your mind defaults to thinking about what’s gone or missing, it’s the little routine moments of comfort that can carry you through, time and again.

Well-being, Blog,

Marya Choby, MSW, CHC

Self-care, comfort, overwhelm, pandemic, upset, grief and loss, Emotional Wellbeing

Blog-Happy Highly Sensitive Life (2024)
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