Regular readers, and especially followers on instagram and snapchat, will occasionally hear me talk about “Sanity Sushi’. Every so often I will take myself off for a quiet hour of bento box and glossy magazine consumption, in order to regroup and destress. It works a treat! I’ve only recently realised that subconsciously, I’ve turned the whole experience into a mindfulness ritual. So I guess it’s more of a conscious exercise, being MINDFUL and all. Whatevs. The big realization for me was that is was the mindfulness, not the sushi part, that was the most important. So what this means for you is that if you don’t like sushi, choose something else! KFC nine pack, dumpling taster box, salad plate – choose whatever you like!
I go for Sanity Sushi when I am feeling like a tired, dried up husk with nothing left to give, not even to myself. I feel like the claws of time are clutching wrinkles into my face, my very soul feels grey. I am stressed and exhausted and too tired to fight. In the parlance of our times; I’ve lost my mojo. I need refreshing, rejuvenation, relaxation, recharging; I need nourishment that will fill my soul and my tummy and make me feel optimistic. I generally feel like this at the end of school holidays.
First, I buy a glossy magazine. The appeal of glossy magazine’s is that they are inspirational. It’s a marketing ploy but it works and right now it works for me – so rather than fight consumerism this time I’ll take it on my terms. OK, theirs too, shut up and focus. What magazine you buy is your choice, I like either a fashion magazine to make me want to dress better, care for my skin, aspire to expensive shoes, be inspired in general to up my personal care game. My other choice is a shelter magazine to aim inspiration towards my home and decor. Again, choose what works for you, as long as it’s inspirational.
I like to go to a sushi place that isn’t a sushi train. Normally I lurve the train but with Sanity Sushi I don’t want the distraction and frustration of constantly seeking out what I want as it goes by or not. I just want the deluxe bento box and a bottle of sparkling mineral water and no one to bother me. This works in a quiet restaurant, or a crowded food court where the noise and hustle can blanket around you like white noise. Again, choose what you like. Sushi works for me because it feels clean and nourishing, and it comes in separate components that I can assign different meanings to as I eat them mindfully.
So here comes the woo woo; as I eat each component, I assign a separate meaning to it and repeat a mantra that I generally make up on the spot, based on what I feel I need the most. I try and go in an order of strength to inspiration – so the sushi maki rolls with the most rice are the most grounding and therefore provide a good foundation for all of the other components, moving through the seaweed salad which is green and therefore signifies something I want to grow, the eel salad which takes a bit of work to make so my mantra here relates to doing the work. The three groups of sashimi are each assigned mind, spirit, or body, to ensure my ritual is covering all bases. The salmon nigiri literally ‘brings it together in action’, which I feel relates to getting all of your wheels on the ground before you can move forward. The egg nigiri’s mantra is ‘new life, new beginning’, and the comfort of the bean curd inari feels very nurturing to me, and is a good reminder to not forget to nourish all aspects of myself in future. As I eat each component, I repeat the mantra (silently, in my head. I’m in a public place after all!) and think about ways in which the mantra can be applied to my life. The food becomes the intention I assign to it, and as I eat it I bring that intention into myself. As I drink the water and feel cleansed, I read the magazine and feel inspired, while enjoying the serenity of having no one talk to me for an hour or so.
So, what do you think, too new age hippy dippy? Not for me! We do so much to keep our bodies healthy, it stands to reason that our mental health could do with a little pick me up from time to time. Sanity Sushi is cheaper than a day spa, and works to get my head in the right space when I need it. I generally need to do this after and sometimes even during school holidays, but there is nothing wrong with a little self care at any time – especially mental health.
NB: It goes without saying that eating sushi for lunch and being mindful about it would never replace the advice of your doctor. If you are suffering from depression or anxiety please have a chat with your doctor, call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or visit https://www.beyondblue.org.au/ online. You are not alone, and life doesn’t have to be this way.