Self-care Spotlight 002

By Ashley Barnes, Ketamine Therapy Coordinator at Mental Health Center

As if to compensate for the endless parking lot traffic, Los Angeles has some of the best food one can find anywhere. It accommodates different palettes and food sensitivities. You can find whole streets lined with amazing Asian food (shoutout to Sawtelle), you can find vegan food, vegetarian food, spicy food, fried food, restaurants dedicated to greens and salads, Mexican food, Italian food, food trucks, rooftop bars with happy hour menus, and the list goes on.

Sometimes, self-care is treating ourselves to a good meal. This weekend I felt a gravitational pull towards Korean BBQ which brought me to the heart of Korea town where the neon signs glowed with the promise of gustatory heaven. On my drive there, I noticed the tension in my shoulders, likely caused by stress throughout the week. Stress: perhaps the mere word is aversive to some readers. It manifests itself in strange ways, such as muscle tension, headaches, stomach aches, and a head swimming with anxious thoughts. For me, it was muscle tension and concern about next week’s responsibilities. Noticing that my thoughts on the drive there were future-focused (which is associated with anxiety), I decided to incorporate a grounding exercise into my Korean BBQ experience that I had learned in graduate school. The 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 exercise is a grounding exercise in which one utilizes the senses to bring the self back to present focus. You identify 5 things you can see, then focus on 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and lastly, 1 thing you can taste. Stay tuned for my KBBQ 5-4-3-2-1 in my next Self-care Spotlight!

Leave a Comment