Embracing the positive

Patricia Raskin has been urging people to embrace a positive lifestyle for at least the past four decades. It’s something she’s tried to do for herself ever since she was a child. That’s right! At a very young age, she says she decided she wanted to live to be at least 100.

I was introduced to Patricia by Val Walker, who recently published the book 400 Friends and No One to Call. I’ve done two blog posts with Val: The Art of offering comfort to someone who is grieving and How are you holding up? Patricia also interviewed her — for her internet radio program and podcast The Patricia Raskin Show — and Val decided we ought to meet each other.

I’m so glad Val introduced us because as I discovered in our first phone conversation, not only do we have health and wellness topics and podcasting in common, Patricia exudes positive energy. Actually, she exudes energy, period.

She lives by a mantra that comes from the book Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach: “We teach best what we most need to learn.” When her children were young she was a school guidance counselor. She taught parenting skills, which she credits with helping her learn how to parent. When she wanted to be healthier, she interviewed health experts.

Patricia Raskin

When I want to get better at something, I find that role model and I listen to them, or 10 role models or 20 of them. I’m just very passionate about what I do.

Patricia Raskin

Patricia, who lives in Rhode Island, produces and hosts her radio show and podcast. Over the past 40 years, she has interviewed thousands of experts and celebrities, including Robert Bach, who wrote Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Dr. Andrew Weil, Maya Angelou, and actress Jane Seymour. You can listen to The Patricia Raskin Positive Living Show on VoiceAmerica.com and on Apple and other podcast channels.

When she’s not interviewing people, she also develops and presents corporate wellness and positive aging seminars for various businesses, she’s a podcast coach, a public speaker, and an author. With all of her endeavors, she says her goal is to share “practical, positive solutions for a happy, empowered and successful life.”

Patricia has a busy schedule but graciously agreed to write an essay for Catching Health about how she has been coping with the pandemic. She had already written something for her own followers in early April and added an update for us. As you’ll read, over the past few months, her perspective has changed a bit. This is Patricia Raskin’s story:

We live in a society that actually promotes loneliness and isolation. That seems like an oxymoron because we are all so busy going places and being involved in activities, but that does not mean we are connected on a deep level. Now with the coronavirus pandemic, all of this has been accentuated and accelerated. For those of us feeling lonely, we are now lonelier. For those of us feeling isolated, we are more isolated.

In other cultures, building community is part of daily living. Outward success and financial achievement are not as important in other cultures as they are here. This is a reason why there is so much fear and panic at this time. This is uncharted territory for most of us.

I am single and on my own, and I do have strong connections, but not as many as people in larger families that live close together. I want to look at the silver lining and positives in what we can do, and I will speak to the major issues or “elephant in the room” affecting all of us.

Financially, for those with steady paychecks, most will be paid. For those who are sole proprietors, business owners, independent contractors and whose businesses depend on steady customers in the doors, their financial security is at risk. This is a time for more communication with vendors, customers, creditors and ourselves about what we need versus what we want.

Healthwise, we all know the recommendations for cleanliness and safety during the coronavirus pandemic. We know to wash our hands, use hand sanitizer and social distancing. We need to add what we can do for our own self-care. This includes more sleep or better sleep, eating healthier foods (to help mood), getting exercise (even if it means dancing in your living room or sitting in a chair doing leg lifts). There are many online resources in this area.

Emotionally, this is a time to bridge the gap between isolation and loneliness by reaching out to our friends, family, customers, employees and colleagues. We can do this online, the phone and through other social media tools. This is a time to support each other, and reconnect with those that we have lost touch with because of our busy lives.

Spiritually, the new buzz word seems to be mindfulness, but it is especially what we need during this time. There are wonderful apps out there such as Headspace, Calm, Mindfulness Daily and Insight Timer. This is also a time to take an inventory and make a list of what we have internally and externally. What are our gifts? What are our blessings? This includes friends, family, home, and the resources readily available to us in our homes and environment. It is also a time to think of others who could use our help. A phone call or text can make someone’s entire day, especially in a time of isolation where we are not surrounded by other people.

Environmentally, this is a great time to look at our space, our homes, apartments, and cars to see what we do and do not need. We can organize drawers or books, clean out shelves, discard old papers, reorganize the basement, go through our closets. Organizing, discarding clutter, and cleaning out is very healing.

For me, the lesson is about staying open and creative and positive. We may need to find new ways to earn money, take care of ourselves, communicate with others and show up in the world.

We will get through this pandemic faster by getting through this together. I’m sending you all my love and support.

From April to June

Since I wrote this column in early April, and have now been through the pandemic for almost four months, I have a new perspective of going through this myself. For me, there have been several gifts in this pandemic.

One, it has increased my remote work: my seminars have turned into webinars and I enjoy working from home. I realize the savings of cost, energy and not having the long driving commutes makes my time much more efficient.

Secondly, I have expanded my business network through Zoom meetings, which has led to an expansion of my business and new creative ideas. Third, I have paid much more attention to things I’ve taken for granted: my health, food, and people that I care about. My heightened awareness has led me to really (smell the roses).  Many of the webinars I am doing now are on coping with COVID-19 while at home. It has been very rewarding and gratifying. I share concepts with others, listen to their ideas, and gain new perspectives.

On the downside, as a small business owner, it’s been challenging, but it has enhanced my creativity and brought new opportunities. It’s also been hard not to see family in person for several months, but we do stay in touch online all the time. Lastly, there is concern in going to public places and having to wear a mask and be diligent about gloves and hand sanitizer. For me, it’s been a small price for the gains. For me and for so many other people I’ve spoken to in webinars, this has been a time for heightened awareness as well as gratitude.

Patricia Raskin, Raskin Resources Productions, Inc.

Thank you Patricia, for sharing your story with us — and your positive attitude. We all need that right now.

Don’t miss a thing! Sign up to receive an email when I post something new on Catching Health.

Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. She now hosts and produces the Catching Health podcast and writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.