The Power of Connection

24132044_10159483970815212_9178207132476690614_oI have a confession to make. This is my second go at this nutrition article.

The first article was a witty, slightly satirical one. It mocked the recycled articles about “surviving” the holidays and “what to eat/how to exercise” as to not gain weight. I lamented how absurd it is to overeat like an animal, stray from your routine of activity (the one you supposedly really enjoy), and how I loathe the goofy, recycled “enjoy treats, just don’t go overboard,” advice.

Six days ago, everything changed.

My 12-year-old, love her more than most people, Chow Shepherd started limping. At first, I thought nothing of it. Eh, she’s old, we went too hard at the dog park. Then, she was panting a lot (which is odd for her).  Next, we saw a mass under her leg. Long story short, she had a massive infection which, quite literally, destroyed the skin and soft tissue on her right leg. Within a week’s time, my pup went from bounding around the dog park and giving me kisses, to discussions with the vet about chances for survival.

My heart broke.

All of the sudden, nothing but the health and quality of my dog’s life mattered. It was impossible to not reflect on the decade of joy, unconditional love, and companionship she had given to me. Every day, pre-run, post-run, work, play, she was there waiting to enthusiastically give and receive love.

“Wait, I thought this was a nutrition article!?” I write about the mind too. It’s all connected!

One of life’s great truths deals with importance and power of connection. “No man is an island,” the famous poet John Donne wrote in the early part of the 17th century. Humans need connection.

So instead of giving you a goofy article telling you to easy tiger on the egg nog or telling you to, for the love of God, go for a run (it helps you tolerate your in-laws) I’m going to ask you to engage in something that brings you closer and more connected with others.

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or center for domestic violence (Yes, actually go! They need you!)
  2. Do you know someone who is alone during the holidays? Invite them to your place for coffee.
  3. There are many elderly people who will be alone this holiday season. Contact a local hospital or nursing home. In my experience working in a hospital, seniors LOVE to talk to anyone who will listen.

I wish you and yours all the best this holiday season. Feel free to shoot me an email to let me know how you connect!

Michelle Hurn

Michelle Hurn is a registered dietitian, marathon runner, and USATF certified track and field coach. When Michelle isn’t writing podcasts on how to change beliefs and habits or designing meal plans, you’ll find her trail running, drinking espresso, and cheering on her favorite NFL team.