Week Six

Week Six, Mindset…(Eleonora)

This is it, the final week of the course! Whether you have followed each step or have done a few, the beauty of this course is that it’s yours forever. You can continue integrating it into your life, adding small habits over time. I have come to think of these skills as my daily medicine. Drop by drop, the skills you are learning will transform your life.

And you have already done it all. In the past 5 weeks, you have learned:

  1. The secret to wellness: decrease reactivity and increase caring connections (Wk1)
  2. How to actually decrease your reactivity, by actively calming your nervous system (Wk1) and training it to be less susceptible to stressors (Wk2)
  3. How to recall the felt sense that you are loved and that you matter (Wk3)
  4. How to think of resilience not as an individual skill but rather a communal capacity, and you have experimented with ways to increase your physiological ability to care for, and feel cared by, others (Wk4)
  5. How to increase your sense of agency and purpose by grounding your actions in your values (Wk5)
  6. How to cultivate caring connections, which is the core theme of this final week as well (Wk6)

By now you know that community support is essential to wellness, resilience, and sustainability. You have already practiced reaching out and leaning on folx in your circle. This week, the invitation is to connect (even just using your imagination) with folx you don’t know well, or you don’t necessarily like, or you might not ever know. 

Why in the world would we want to do that, and how would we even begin doing so? Because disconnection and animosity are bad for us! I’m sure you have heard of this quote: “Resentment (aka anger, animosity, aversion) is like drinking a cup of poison and expecting the other person to die”. Now, being Italian and a psychologist, I couldn’t be a stronger proponent of open communication and unequivocal boundaries. So I’m not talking about acting “nice” no matter what. The aim is to have strong boundaries where needed, all the while cultivating an internal environment that supports our health and wellbeing.

To do that, we are going to circle back to the loving-kindness practice we did in Wk3, but this time we are directing good wishes to:

  1. a “neutral” person (i.e., someone we know only superficially and we might not feel much about one way or another, e.g., someone we might interact with at a store) 
  2. a “difficult” person (IMPORTANT: start with a mildly irritating person, not your arch-enemy!)
  3. and then everyone, everywhere (aka the whole world)

By doing so, over time, you are creating within yourself feelings of connectedness and belonging, balancing the relentless social training that makes us be and feel separate and alone. 

Instructions: Just like you did in Wk3, come up with wishes you want to send out. Recently, I developed a list of wishes I could genuinely send everyone, from folx I love dearly, to folx I really really don’t love at all. I decided that I can wish everyone, no matter what, the following: belonging, compassion, connectedness, contentment, grace, health, joy, justice, life, love, peace, and truth. I think if folx had/felt these, they wouldn’t be just healthy and happy, they would also not harm others. After you make your own list of wishes, select 2-4 to repeat silently to yourself (e.g., “may you feel peace”) a few times, thinking about a “neutral” person, someone you find irritating, and then all beings everywhere. The whole practice can take just 2-3min. If you prefer, here is a complete, guided version of this practice–which you might choose to do even just once, just to get a feel for it.

BONUS practice: choose any of the actions you journaled about in Wk4 or Wk5, and extend them to someone you don’t know well. In other words, begin expanding your circle of care beyond who is already in it.

Remember, there is no linear progress, no neat trajectory to health and wellness. There is no beginner or advanced status. It’s all a practice, always. 

It has been wonderful to practice with you :). I wish you all the best that life has to offer, above all health, joy, love, and community!


Week Six, Movement & Mess…(Pamela)

You are not on this journey alone. From the UA coaches, to your gym friends, to your support people at home, nurture your network and allow them to nurture and support you in return. We all need support, especially when we don’t feel as though we do. 



If you’ve ever participated in a race or event of any kind, even just the training for it, having someone do the training or the race/event with you probably felt comforting, supportive, or more manageable. I don’t write that to say that every training session needs a buddy because, after all, alone time is also essential. But, that support of knowing someone else was alongside you – cheering you on, you cheering them on, going after the finish line together just has a good feel to it. 

Your exercise should to some degree be similar. Having a community to lift you up, support you, and encourage you is often a factor that contributes to our success but is often neglected or the missing piece to most puzzles.

Here are two scenarios: 

The Less Than Desirable Scenario – 

You’ve worked a long day. You made an ok meal choice for lunch but it could have been better. You get home later than expected and forgot about two items that needed your attention before the end of the day and you just want to get in a quick workout because without it you’ll be grumpy and lethargic the next day from not having a decent night sleep. You only have you, to hold yourself accountable so those two items get addressed first and before you know it, it’s 9pm and you haven’t had dinner let alone done a workout. Flopping down on the couch, you pour a drink, eat a snack and don’t budge until it’s time to go to bed. Missed workout. Missed dinner. 

The Companion Scenario – 

You’ve worked a long day. You made an ok meal choice for lunch but it could have been better. You get home later than expected and forgot about two items that needed your attention before the end of the day and you just want to get in a quick workout because without it you’ll be grumpy and lethargic the next day from not having a decent night sleep. You message a buddy and suggest meeting at the gym (UA…:)) for a workout in 15 minutes or to even meet for a fast paced walk with some bodyweight exercises added in. They say yes and you’re off! You get in good movement for the day, face time with a friend, and even some chatting time to get your long day out of your head. You get home, make the best salad you’ve had in weeks, knock out those two items with the deadline, read on the porch and hit the pillow with a solid night sleep awaiting you. Workout ✔️ Nutrition ✔️ Companionship ✔️Items complete ✔️

Both scenarios start the same way, but there is one pivotal moment where you “phone-a-friend” and the rest of your day turns into the best part of your day.

Where can you focus your energy so that when you are faced with pivotal moments you can be supported by the best of people in your circle? 



As Spring and Summer start to collide, one of the best things we can do for our own food fuel is to eat more vegetables and fruit! Summer fresh veggies and fruits have a taste like no other. If you’ve never compared a store bought tomato in February to a home grown or locally grown one in July, your taste buds are missing out! 

The flavor profiles are different and the freshness simply cannot be beat. I have two suggestions for you this spring/summer. Try one or both.

One: Plant a fresh vegetable or herb. Herbs are pretty easy, pick the one you find yourself adding to home cooked meals the most or attracted to when looking at recipes / ordering out. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, give it a go!!

Two: If your green thumb is exceptionally stubborn, consider joining a CSA – Community Supported Agriculture. Local farms put boxes of organic vegetables and sometimes fruits together for pick up at various places in the city. UA is a pick up site for Crawford Organics from Lancaster. You eat better foods and support local farms, win/win. 

Additionally, being in this together can go many directions. Have you ever considered food sharing with a friend or neighbor? Of course, for this to work, you both have to agree to healthy meals! When you’re cooking food or a meal, double the quantity and food share. Pick a day to always foodshare and you’ll have a second dish in your kitchen every week, and likely one you wouldn’t have made yourself!


We do not need to face any journey alone, when we have the best of Companions in our corner.