For many, working from home has come into full effect this past month. Here is the big question though. How do you make working from home, work?
First of all, we let’s all take a deep breath. Working from home is a whole new ball game from working in the office on a regular day. Working from home during a pandemic is also an added challenge to say the least. Take a moment and acknowledge that you don’t need to do all the things, all the time and with perfection. Give yourself a pat on the back for getting up, brushing your teeth and even taking the time to read this.
If you are a parent with kids at home, you have some new co-workers that also require you to adjust your expectations. Family first is my motto. Sometimes it isn’t easy when timelines are pressing, but when all is said and done and I look back on my kid’s upbringing, I won’t be thinking how glad I am that I got that assignment in early at the expense of not giving my kids what they needed.
That being said, work does still need to get done. The kids have school work and we have our job commitments. How can we manage all of it and come out on the other side happier & healthier?
Please join me as I share with you some of the things that I am finding helpful. I fully acknowledge that everyone’s circumstance is different. I feel very fortunate to be able to work from home and also have a husband who can do the same. The ability to trade-off responsibility is a huge benefit in the working from home game. There are plenty of you who don’t have that luxury and please know I am only trying to offer support while understanding that the view from my lens may not look like yours.
Get Up Early
I am finding that I get my best work accomplished in the morning. It is even better when it is before the kids get up. My kids have been sleeping in until around 8ish. I like to get up just after 6 and enjoy the peace and quiet of a still house. Disclaimer: I did not get up early today because quite frankly I needed more sleep. Most days I do, but today I needed that extra shut-eye, which leads me to my next point…
I am a woman of routine. I value knowing what is coming next and planning my day. I’ve found that my children also function best with routine in place…even though they would deny it if asked. We’ve structured our day to have two separate work periods of time. Knowing that we work hard and focused followed by a break is motivating. That being said, flexibility is paramount. Be willing to negotiate with yourself and your family in terms of daily routines is key to making this whole thing work.
I’ve been working from home part-time for thirteen years. During that time, I also completed my nutrition schooling through distance education. I quickly learned that I didn’t accomplish quite as much work-wise if I also tried to do a load of laundry, unload the dishwasher, check FaceBook or Instagram or organize the front hall closet. Once I began practicing nutrition, I needed to consider when I wanted to be available to answer emails and phone calls. I decided to keep this to set hours. Just because I have access to my email 24/7 doesn’t mean that I should be responding to it. Let work time be work time and home time be home time.
Make a List
I work best when I focus for a period of time and just get the work done. I have always been a great procrastinator. I seem to work well under pressure which is kind of a negative reward cycle. I don’t like procrastinating, I just seem to be really good at it. This has taken some effort on my part to actively workaround. My daily calendar is helpful for this. When I jot my to-do list down, I get so much more accomplished. Make sure you keep your daily expectations in check by looking at your list and asking yourself if you would ask your best friend to do it for you. If the answer is no, edit until you could ask someone else to do it for you without any guilt.
You’ve Got This!
Some days are going to be rough. If we can acknowledge this and be kind to ourselves when those days come along, we will also be in a better space to celebrate the good days. We are in this together. I heard someone else use this analogy and I thought it was beautiful. We are all in the same storm, but we are not all in the same boat. Some of us may feel like we are in a luxury yacht at times and then in a sinking boat bailing water, maybe even in the same day. My point here is to be compassionate with your self first and foremost and let that compassion spill out to your children, your partner, your neighbours, your co-workers and the people you meet in the grocery store.
Easter is just around the corner. But just how does one begin to celebrate a holiday in the middle of a pandemic? Even the idea of that sounds ludicrous at first. While I do want to be mindful of the obvious struggles we are facing – financial stress, health concerns for ourselves and loved ones as well as an overall sense of uncertainty, I would suggest that we should do it up right!
While it might not be possible to purchase all the Easter baskets fixings that we might under normal circumstances, I don’t think our kids really will mind. What I am proposing is that we celebrate hope and new life and we practice gratitude for the things we do have. For those who celebrate Easter from a spiritual lens, Easter has always represented new beginnings and hope for tomorrow. Now more than ever, we need to be reminded that this storm too shall pass.
So here is what I propose for this Easter. While it certainly feels very different this year with physical distancing in place, that doesn’t mean we have to be socially isolated from one another. While I am 100% in agreement with giving each other physical space while we dampen COVID-19’s effect on our population, now more than ever we need to feel socially connected. But just how do we go about doing that?
We intend on getting social online through video chatting. While it can get a little chaotic while trying to talk to one another over a video feed, I think it actually mimics most of our large family gatherings quite well. In our case, we have decided to give our video chat a little bit of a game show feel. We will be giving everyone challenges to complete and perform as a family unit while the rest of us watch. There will bad singing, some goofy costumes and good belly laughs a plenty.
Here’s a list to get you started:
interpretive dance for 15 seconds
make up a song with the following words: chocolate, springtime & aardvark
sing or say the alphabet backwards
act out a job you don’t like doing in the spring
pretend to be a bee and go around pollinating flowers
tell a story about the time the Easter bunny got his tail stuck in his car door
create an air band with your family to perform, ‘Singing In the Rain,’ or ‘Stayin’ Alive’
re-create the image that is being sent by email – i.e. an old family photo, a scene from a movie, etc
I can’t give away all of our ideas because I don’t want to spoil the surprise for our family but the options are endless. Add your own suggestions to the list and get ready for some good memories. This Easter will be unlike any you’ve experienced so far, and I would suggest that it doesn’t have to be a bad thing!
If you don’t have the ability to use video chatting, the regular old phone works really well for feeling connected. Whatever you do, just reach out to someone and share some hope for tomorrow.
Wishing you and your loved ones peace and good health!
I think we can all agree that we find ourselves in unprecedented times. While fear and anxiety are heightened among many, my goal here is to give you strategies to help you eat well and reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 while gathering supplies. My intention is to leave you feeling empowered to support your health and that of your loved ones. One of the best things we can do right now, aside from physical distancing, is to take care of ourselves well. Eating nutrient-dense food, daily movement, good quality sleep, laughter and social interaction is paramount in helping to keep our immune systems in peak condition. Currently, being physically social with those outside of our homes is risky and not recommended, however, social interaction is still incredibly important. Make good use of technology – the old fashioned phone call & video chatting go a long way to helping us feel more connected. Having said all that, let’s talk shopping, shall we?
Menu Planning & Detailed Grocery List
try to create a menu & list that can last you for 2 weeks – menu plan with the idea of eating your most perishable items first
purchase longer lasting perishables such as onions, garlic, squash, sweet potatoes, apples, pears, oranges, lemons, lime
make use of frozen produce to get you through the second week
add a few extra staple items like canned beans, stewed tomatoes, whole grain pasta & pasta sauce, canned tuna & salmon, dried beans & lentils & canned coconut milk. Not sure what to do with lentils? Click here to try Dynamite Dahl or Lentil Tacos.
Tips for Extending Groceries
Add beans or lentils to anything made with ground meats to increase the number of servings. I use this strategy often in a home with 2 teenagers!
Down to your last chicken breast? Slice a chicken breast thinly and use in pad Thai, curries, stews, pasta & stir fry.
If your produce starts to go a little limp, you can often still save it. Simply cut the ends off of celery stalks and place in water. It will crisp up again in a few hours.
Place fresh herbs in a glass of water and cover with the plastic produce bag it came in. The herb is still living and will continue to drink water for a few days. This will help avoid the slimy produce bag you find in the back of your produce drawer. If you know you aren’t going to use all of the herb bunch simply wash, chop and place into ice cube trays with a little water or olive oil. The frozen cubes can be used in dishes like stews, curries & soup.
Extend berries by swirling in a vinegar & water solution – 1 c vinegar:3 cup water; the vinegar helps eliminate bacteria & mould. Click here to read more.
Have little bits and pieces of things leftover from other meals? Get creative and turn it into a soup, stew or curry. Waste not, want not.
Use online ordering if possible. Currently, Zehrs is offering this service, however, in rural areas the smaller grocery stores are providing this service with a good old fashioned phone call or email.
If you do head into the grocery store, choose less busy times to shop (often evening hours are less busy than day time hours). Try ‘googling,’ the store that you like to shop in and find out when is the least busy time to go.
Offer to pick up groceries for elderly or immune-compromised family & neighbours.
Be efficient – remember that detailed list?
Go alone – this is not a social outing.
Use hand sanitizer before you go into the store as a courtesy to others.
Wipe grocery cart handle with a disinfecting wipe.
Touch what you take. Forget foraging for the perfect apple. If you discover it has a blemish on it, you’ll survive. Cut it out of the apple when you eat it & move on.
While I typically try to avoid extra plastic while shopping, during this pandemic I am choosing to purchase my greens in plastic packages or clamshells. I purchase my apples prepackaged as well. This just provides an extra layer of protection on the food while in the grocery store.
Keep your distance in the store and under no circumstances make any jokes about being sick. I think it is safe to say that we are all a little on edge these days & this kind of humour is not helpful or appreciated in public spaces.
Pay with a debit or credit card that has a tap function if possible.
Be kind, be patient and be gracious to one another.
Once you’ve left the store, use your hand sanitizer again.
Drive home & enjoy the scenery. Open your car windows and shout hello at everyone you know – maybe even people you don’t. Listen to the birds and notice the signs of Spring all around you.
Welcome home – carry in the groceries and wash your hands.
Taking Your Groceries Home
COVID-19 transmission through food
Please note this information is correct at the time of writing on March 30, 2020. Please refer to up to date references for more accurate information.
“Scientists and food safety authorities across the world are closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19. There is currently no evidence that food is a likely source or route of transmission of the virus.”
“As for packaged items from the grocery store, epidemiologist Dr. Rama Nair suggests rinsing them with soap and water if possible, or at least a disinfectant wipe approved for use against coronavirus. Nair adds that fresh fruits and vegetables should be rinsed as soon as they are brought into your home.
“We don’t have enough data to know how long it can stay on the food; it will depend on many factors. Therefore, as a precaution, it is better to wash … since we know washing with soap and water destroys the virus,” he said. If you choose to disinfect your deliveries, use soap and water, and wash your hands after unpacking your items.”
Unpack your things. Remove any extra packaging that isn’t necessary. (i.e. cereal or cracker boxes and just keep the inner layer.) For jars, cans and other packages consider wiping them down with a disinfecting wipe. Wash your fruits and veggies with water before putting them into your fridge if possible. See note above about purchasing greens. Pre-washing & storing certain produce like berries, herbs & greens may actually lead them to spoil quicker. Do what you can and where it makes sense to do so.
And wrap it all up with handwashing. Look how good you are getting at this! Although with all this handwashing, maybe you should add hand lotion to your next grocery list though!
Remember, we are all in this together and we want to help flatten the curve of infection. I realize that much of what I have suggested may seem a little over the top. I would like to gently remind you that living in a pandemic also seems a little over the top. Be kind to one another and take good care of yourself and your loved ones.
Do you have any grocery tips to share? Please leave your comment below…
When preparing blog posts, I like to be a little ahead of the game. This way if I have a busy week, I know that I am all prepped and ready to go. As I looked through what I had prepared for this spring, I noticed an underlying theme to my writing. Much of it has to do with building community. My posts were about getting to know your neighbour and building community. I couldn’t have imagined that in the matter of a week, give or take, we would be in a new space where social distancing was the new ‘norm,’ and building community would look so different.
So here we are in a time in history where being close to another person carries some risk. While this is a lot to take in and believe me I go from feeling over-cautious to underprepared in a matter of minutes, now even more than before we need community.
Building Community from a Distance:
As we have seen, the landscape changes rapidly in regards to this virus. The following suggestions are just that – suggestions, and they are based on best practice at the moment.
Set up video chat times with family and friends. Spread them out throughout the week, so that you can have the opportunity to look forward to connecting. A few days ago, I spent some time video chatting with my nephews on the phone. We ended up playing an impromptu game of hide and seek while they were looking for Grandma who lives with us.
While I typically try to avoid spending too much time on social media, I have appreciated it more than ever. In our local community, there have been days assigned to looking for different pictures/drawings/painted rocks and such while people are on walks in their neighbourhoods. At this point, walking in your neighbourhood is still permitted, but remember to keep your distance.
Try to keep tabs on your neighbours who are seniors, immune-compromised, parents at home with small children. Send them a text or message them to see if you can help them out by picking up a grocery store order or dropping off a meal for porch pick up. By the way, I am new to this online grocery shopping thing, but so far so good. Having the ability to pick up my order without entering a grocery store is a big plus in my books right now.
I am not going to lie, some days are going to be tough…and likely already have been. The thing is though that we are all in this together. Let’s lookout for one another and take care of one another as best we can. What are some other ways to build community from a distance? Please share below!
I have the distinct pleasure of introducing you to my friend Dr. Sarah Green. Sarah and her husband are both local chiropractors with a passion for helping our community live healthier lives. This past winter, Sarah and I along with another dear friend hosted a really special morning for ladies called, ‘Replenish.’ I was so taken with what Sarah shared that I couldn’t possibly keep it to the ladies in the room on that day. I asked Sarah if she would share it here so more women…men too for that matter could benefit from this not very well known perspective on living your best life. Without further ado, here is the information that can help you go from feeling frazzled, guilty and frustrated to embracing your ways.
As a mom, trying to function in society, run a business, and still feed my kids, I am no stranger to the ongoing battle of trying to fit my life into 24 hours each day. Sometimes I feel on top of the world as I check off boxes of all the things I have accomplished, while other days, especially when I am with the kids all day, I question if I have done anything at all. But this past year I have been shown a whole new way to look at time management as experienced in the female body. It has altered the way I feel about myself as a mom, business owner and a human. I am much happier and connected to myself as well. So, let’s get started, there’s no time to waste! (This information was brought to me by Kate Northrup and she has written a book called Do Less which has a ton more information. My advice, if you want to learn more, check out her book)
Obviously, there are 24 hours in a day…
However, how we choose to live in those hours are mostly up to us. The 24-hour cycle is very much a male construct. The male body functions and cycles on a 24-hour clock, as men go through all hormonal phases in one day. We live in a patriarchal society, so it makes sense that most of us feel we must conform to this cycle.
Do you notice for yourself (or the females in your life), that some days you just don’t have the same energy? Maybe you don’t feel the same inside, maybe you feel like being around people and socializing (when normally you don’t), and maybe your motivation can skyrocket then at other times wax and wane?
The reason for this is that women function more on a 28 day cycle with 4 distinct phases and we are different during each of these phases. Each phase has its own unique opportunity. Let me explain by relating this to your menstrual cycle.
Follicular phase: This is the phase when the egg-producing follicles in your ovaries begin to mature and the ovary gets ready to release the egg. This is the part of your cycle when you are most primed to plan, plant seeds of creation and start new projects. Ovulation phase: This is then your physical body is the most fertile and you are also energetically and creatively most fertile. You will be the most articulate and magnetic during this time. Your ovary releases an egg and its ready to be fertilized. Luteal phase: This phase is after ovulation and before menstruation. This is the time of your cycle when your energy turns inwards. Physically, the corpus luteum, which is what is left of the ovarian follicle that housed the egg that was released, produces progesterone. This is the the longest phase of the cycle and it is a great time for completing projects and wrapping things up. Menstrual: This is when your endometrial lining is released and you bleed and is the start of a new cycle. Energetically this is the time when you should be resting and reflecting. Your brain is most wired for connectivity between the right and left hemispheres and your physical energy will be the lowest. You may not be very interested in socializing so it is a great time to take some time off.
What happens if you are not cycling?
The amazing thing about the cyclical nature of women is that it mirrors the cycles of the moon and it also mirrors the four seasons. So, if you don’t have a cycle, you can look to the moon to be there as a guide. Follicular phase = Waxing crescent moon = Spring Ovulation phase = Full moon = Summer Luteal phase = Waning crescent = Fall Menstrual phase = New moon = Winter
Common Concerns or Questions
1) My cycle doesn’t line up with the moon – Your cycle is your cycle. The purpose of understanding this is to better understand your ebbs and flows. If you menstruate with the full moon, you may just experience it to be more heightened or intense. That is okay.
2) I can’t only work with the moon or my cycle based on work/mom life, etc. None of us can. If you focus on 20-25% of your activities for being ideal for the phase you are in, it can make a huge difference.
3) I don’t have a cycle. Easy – track the moon. There are tons of apps that can tell you exactly where the moon is at.
How do I start doing this?
Currently, I am using Kate Northrups planner called the Do Less planner. BUT you can answer a bunch of these questions on your own. Ask yourself each day: 1) What day of my cycle am I in? 2) What phase of my cycle am I in? 3) What is the lunar phase? 4) How am I feeling today? How is my energy? 5) How can I fit more of me into this week? 6) What do I want to do?
This is just the tip of the iceberg but it can be world-altering if you dive into this information more.
Overall, my dream for you is to: 1) Give yourself some grace. We are all doing our best and showing up the best way we can. 2) Trust your body is incredible and we are all intuitive beings. We just have to listen to the wisdom coming from within.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com
There are so many reasons to
invite children into the kitchen. In the nutrition world, there are countless
articles and studies that suggest we are raising a generation of children who
have no idea how to make real food. Sure, they are able to open the freezer and
pop the frozen pizza snack in the microwave, but we all know that just isn’t
going to cut it for long term health and wellness. It is my goal to send my
boys out of the nest knowing a thing or two about cooking and how to take care
of themselves. I want them to thrive, not just survive!
My top 7 reasons to Invite Kids into the Kitchen
1. Monkey See, Monkey Do!
Children learn by example. Our actions speak louder than words. Want your children to appreciate real food? Let them see you in the kitchen cutting up veggies for a snack. Ask them to find the carrots in the fridge or locate the cutting board in the cupboard. If your child sees you making healthy food choices, they will too!
2. Makes the Kitchen a Safe Place!
The kitchen can be a scary place
for some children as well as adults. This one room in the house has sharp
knives, a hot stove, many breakable items and the potential to start a fire.
The kitchen does pose some reason for concern but the rewards far outweigh any
risks. It is up to us to discuss with our children how to hold a knife safely,
to remind them to stay focused while cooking and what to do in the case of an
emergency. It is our job to teach them these skills and send them out into the
world well equipped to care for themselves and their families one day.
3. Contributes to Family in a Meaningful Way!
Asking your child to help in the kitchen gives them a sense of empowerment, purpose and builds their confidence. It feels good to help someone else out. Children are eager to be of good service to you. All children regardless of age can help in the kitchen whether it is placing napkins on the table, finding a measuring spoon or making the whole meal independently. The earlier you begin allowing your child to help in the kitchen, the more natural it will feel for everyone.
4. Super Skill Booster!
Cooking requires following
directions, paying attention to details, reading, measuring, problem solving
and turn taking. What family couldn’t use a little more practise in this area?
5. Creates an Adventurous Eater!
If a child helps prepare food, they are more likely to be an adventurous eater. It may not seem like it right away, but with more exposure comes more interest in diverse flavours. The big thing here is consistency. At our house, we’ve enacted the, ‘One bite to be polite,’ policy with much success. It is understood that there will be some flavours that aren’t enjoyed by everyone. Try one bite without complaint and move on to another food on your plate. This strategy applies to adults as well.
6. It is Fun!
Sure it can get a little messy
but the memories that are created in the kitchen can last a lifetime. Sometimes
life is messy and if we panic over a little spilled milk or egg shells in our
pancakes, what is that teaching our children about handling real life problems.
There is much wisdom in remembering not to cry over spilled milk! Let your hair
down (just not in the food) and have a good time in the kitchen. Put on some
music and dance while the pasta boils.
7. Extra Time to Connect
In a world that seems over
scheduled and harried, we need to make the most of the time we have together.
When we are in the kitchen making food or cleaning up, there is an enormous
opportunity to connect with your child. Interesting things are sometimes said
while chopping cucumbers. Your child isn’t feeling the pressure of the after
school questions that usually have the answers, “Nothing, good or I don’t
know.” They have the opportunity to just let their thoughts flow in a way
that is natural while they are spending time with you.
8. Adults Can Learn Something Too!
I like to think of myself as a lifelong learner. I also like to think of myself as open minded enough to let my child teach me a thing or two. A interesting thing happened a while back with the mustard bottle. One of my boys was looking at the mustard bottle and discovered that if you pushed the cap back far enough, it actually clicked out of place and no longer got in the way of the mustard as it was being squeezed out. Volia! With that one discovery, I no longer have to remove the mustard lid on a regular basis and clean it. Children have a unique way of seeing the world and I love it when that quality shines through.
How do you encourage your kids to get involved in the kitchen? Sharing is caring. Share your wisdom and tricks with us.