So, who’s stressed out? This week at Barbee Library, Kate Kusterback, RN (in photo, above) and certified Health and Wellness Coach, got our attention really quickly, first by her delightful, dynamic personality, and next by asking how many of us in the group were stressed. Having just waited in line for 25 minutes to get across torn up Barbee Bridge, three people shot up their hands. Then she told us that “80%-90% of illnesses are made worse by stress.” By now we were totally focused.

Kate shared three approaches to dealing with stress:

  • First, she introduced the practice of meditation, beginning with a breathing exercise.
  • Next, she explained how and why aromatherapy works, and gave each of us a few drops of two different essential oils to try it out.
  • Finally, we learned about the practice and benefits of Zentangle. It turns out Zentangle is simply the formal name for doodling or creating patterns to relax us by reducing our mind to a state of mindlessness. You may remember back about five years ago, when Zen doodling was all the rage, the always entertaining Joyce Griffin taught that class at Barbee Library. This time she was in the audience.

Kate Kusterback, RN, HWNC-BC, is a nurse at Novant Hospital. She retired a few years ago, but came back at the beginning of the pandemic because she felt that everyone who could help out should. “It’s easier than living with the guilt of not going back,” she said, “but the day after Covid is over, I’m outta there!” No stress: You have our thanks and our gratitude, Kate.