Create and Curate

Jumpstart Your Life After the Coronavirus With These Six Tips

May 10, 2020

In my wildest dreams, I never imagined living through a scenario with a virus turning the whole world upside down.

 

Everything was fine -- and then it wasn’t. No time to properly prepare for what was coming: stock the appropriate provisions; situate loved ones; or comprehend the consequences of life in quarantine.

 

A month in quarantine has been a crash course in life with less. We’ve learned we don’t really need all the bells, whistles and distractions that consume us every day. When all of that is removed, we find ourselves focused on the things that really matter -- family, health, community, and our basic needs.

 

Good-bye forever to the “old normal,” and welcome the “new normal.”  We can take the lessons learned from this crash course and use them to amplify the things that truly matter in our lives.

 

6 Tips to Start Now!

 

Prioritize time: If we have learned one thing during the Coronavirus it’s how to use FaceTime and Zoom. Suddenly, all those in-person meetings are being replaced by digital ones -- and it’s effective. Moving forward, be more selective and replace “time-sucking, unnecessary, in-person meetings” with digital ones. You can use the time you would have spent looking for parking on a project that really needs your attention.

 

Hydrate properly: Now that we are all working from home (WFH), we have an opportunity to create hydration habits that boost productivity and wellness. Most of us are walking around in a state of partial dehydration making us hangry and unfocused. Drinking more water is a free, easy and effective way to improve our productivity and mood. Start each day with 10 oz of room temperature or warm water. Drink 10 oz of water every hour for 10 hours each day. That’s it! Anyone can create this habit to help improve focus, curb cravings, and manage stress.

 

Essentials delivery plan: Being quarantined has changed the way we shop; no more mindlessly strolling the aisles figuring out what to have for dinner. We are planning meals, making lists, buying what we need or getting things delivered. This is the perfect time to create delivery plans to simplify your life and optimize your time. I have accounts for the things I use consistently; environmentally safe household cleaning products, non-toxic personal care items, healthy snacks and, most importantly, clean-crafted natural wine. I also pre-order from the organic farms that participate in our local farmers’ market. Office supplies, non-perishable groceries, specialty items – anything you use consistently -- should have an account and an establish a plan to get it delivered.

 

Detox your kitchen: At first, we all went crazy stockpiling, as if quarantine was going to be a full lock-down situation. Now we have an opportunity to use what we have and figure out just what we need moving forward. This is the perfect time to detox your kitchen and get rid of things that are expired and no longer serve you. Starting with the refrigerator, remove everything and clean the surfaces. Look at expiration dates; if it’s expired throw it out. Establish a plan for using the items going back into the fridge. Do the same thing in the pantry and spice cabinets. Dry and canned goods that are old, or should have never been purchased in the first place (sugary, processed or junk foods), can be donated to local food banks. Take it a step further and organize your cleaning products to make use of what’s already opened and dispose of things you will never use. Examine all your cookware. Old non-stick pans should be replaced with eco-friendly ones, plastic storage containers should be replaced with glass, and that collection of fast food containers you will never re-use should be placed in the recycle bin. Pretend you are moving when the quarantine is lifted -- dispose of things you don’t need, use, or for which there is no plan.

 

Control the input: Too much information is overwhelming! Too much news, too much social media, too many emails -- they all amplify stress. Create healthy boundaries with information to maintain balance. Schedule when and where you get your news. Pick your own trusted sources for news; be it NPR, the Associate Press, C-SPAN, Reuter’s, Fox, whichever news sources that stresses you the least. Be conscious of just how much time you spend listening to or watching the news and put a limit on it. Do the same with social media. Schedule times to check and respond to social media. Mindlessly scrolling the feed is a time suck -- and stress amplifier! DON’T DO IT!  Dedicate time on your email to removing your name from list serves. Now is a good time to edit email and get off lists that don’t bring value. We can never get back the time we spend deleting spam; better to spend valuable time getting off lists we never signed up for in the first place.

 

Fiercely guard the first and last hour of each day: Reserve this time for family, personal reflection, reading, prayer, conversation or the practice of being fully present. Prioritize this time as being essential for health and happiness. Keep it free from distractions such as cell phones, computers and other electronics. The first hour of each morning sets the tone for the day. Use the first hour for activities that align you with success. Create a positive mindset by making time for meditative thought, setting priorities, hydration, and movement. The last hour of each day sets up restorative rest and should be relaxing and stress free. Productive days depend on a good nights’ sleep. Use 2 hours out of 24 as time for intentional centering to help you accomplish your “big picture” goals and take care of your physical, mental and spiritual needs.

 

Quarantine isn’t optional, but you have endless options as to how you spend your time in quarantine. Maximize this unique time-out from the “rat race.” Pull back and take a big picture view of your life. Now is the time to break habits that do not serve you and create powerful habits that align with your goals. Value this time. Take control of the countless distractions that hijack your attention from things that really matter. Use this time to set yourself up with a life you love, that loves you back.


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Flattening the Curve on the Homefront

April 6, 2020

It would be so great if we could simply close our front doors and stay safe from the Coronavirus. Unfortunately, that isn't how things work, and we need to learn the most effective ways of keeping ourselves -- and our homes -- germ-free.

 

Social distancing, following stay-at-home orders and self-quarantine all have their own unique set of challenges; however, we also have real-life needs and concerns. There are good reasons for leaving the safety of our homes -- things like shopping for food and medication, getting outside for much-needed exercise and sun, taking care of pets, or helping loved ones. 

 

The problem with going outside is what we carry back into the house with us. Here are the necessary products and protocols we can use to navigate a germ-filled world.

 

Keep Hands Clean and Away from the Face

Hands spread germs. By keeping our hands clean and away from our faces, we dramatically reduce the risk of getting the Coronavirus.

 

Washing Hands with Soapy Water Is the Gold Standard for Removing Germs

The CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water whenever possible because hand washing reduces the amount of all types of germs and chemicals.

  • Wash hands after coming in contact with others or handling things from outside the home.
  • Wash hands after a cough, sneeze, touching the face, using the restroom, or leaving one place for another.
  • Wash hands immediately upon returning home.

Sanitize When You Can’t Wash with Soap and Water

Soap and water are actually more effective than alcohol-based hand sanitizers. If soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers quickly reduce the number of microbes on hands, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs. Use hand sanitizers when you can't wash with soap and water.


Important Reminder -- Dry, cracked skin becomes vulnerable to all kinds of infections; so after you wash, apply some moisturizer to your hands to keep them from drying out. 

(Photo by: Kristen Coffield)

 

Cleaning and Disinfecting in Our Homes are Two Very Different Things

Cleaning is about removing contaminants from a surface. Disinfecting is about killing pathogens.

The CDC recommends we all do a bit of both, even if nobody in our home is sick.

 

We should clean and disinfect high touch surfaces daily, especially if anything or anyone has entered or exited our home. The CDC recommends daily disinfection for all frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches, countertops, cell phones, keyboards, faucets, and toilet handles. Remember the surfaces in your car if you go out!

  • Clean surfaces removing any contaminants, dust, or debris. You can do this by wiping surfaces with soapy water or a cleaning spray before disinfecting.
  • Disinfect surfaces using chemicals to kill germs. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces (or remove bacteria) but kills germs, thereby, lowering the risk of spreading infection. The quickest and easiest way to do this is with disinfecting wipes or a disinfectant spray. Be sure to let disinfectant sit on surfaces for 20 seconds before wiping to make sure it has the proper amount of time to kill germs.

Try to wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and dispose of after use. Should you use a pair of reusable gloves, dedicated them to only cleaning and disinfecting surfaces for COVID-19 and NOT for other purposes. Clean your hands immediately after removing gloves.

 

 Important Reminder -- Many cleaning and disinfecting products can release chemicals that contribute to respiratory problems. Indoor air pollution is a contributing factor to respiratory diseases and allergies, including COPD, pneumonia, and asthma. We need to be smart with our chemical disinfectants to stay safe and limit environmental pollutants. The protocol of cleaning first, followed by disinfecting, can help manage the use of chemicals in our homes to keep us safe and well.

 

If we all follow these simple steps, we may just help shorten this pandemic.  So, remember:

 

Keep your hands away from your face;

 

Wash hands with soap and water when able, otherwise, use 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer; and 

 

Clean high-touch home surfaces before disinfecting.

 

Stay at home unless engaging in essential activity; 

And be sure to visit me at The Culinary Cure  for Quarantine Cooking Recipes, inspiration, and motivation to help you stay well during this challenging time.


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Tips To Create A Powerful Morning Routine

March 5, 2020

Hint: Don't get sucked into checking email or social media until AFTER you set your intentions for the day!

 

One of the best-kept secrets for success is learning how to make the first hour of each day a launching point for productivity. The first hour should be fiercely guarded, used intentionally, and considered sacred. NEVER let your day get hijacked by somebody else's to-do list. Because that's what happens when you check your computer or phone, BEFORE setting your own priorities. 


Stop being busy and start being more productive by creating a powerful morning routine.


1. Get our of bed when your alarm goes off. Letting yourself fall back asleep undermines your body's readiness to start the day. Don't let your mind talk you out of getting up, just DO IT!


2. Stay off your phone and computer until after you complete your morning routine. This is really hard for most of us. Technology companies have designed their products to be addictive and suck us in. Trust me, and don't take the bait!


3. Take a moment for gratitude and set your intentions for the day. Each day is a gift, so take a minute to recognize the miracle of it. This is also when you should do a mental run-through of the day and set your intentions.


4. Rehydrate. During sleep our bodies are fasting. The first thing we should consume is water to end the fast and help our bodies rehydrate. 8-10 oz of room temperature or warm water will help rehydrate, flush toxins, and jump-start digestion. Get in the habit of drinking water BEFORE you drink caffeinated beverages.


5. Move. Ideally, you would get your fanny to the gym and knock out your exercise for the day. But at a minimum, do some stretching, get your blood circulating and warm your body up. Take at least 15 minutes of intentional movement and get the mind/body connection revved up for the day..


6. Take a cold shower. Ok, maybe not the whole shower, but a cold rinse. The vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve in the body and controls the parasympathetic nervous system. It is connected to all the important stuff from our gut and heart to our sex organs. A cold rinse stimulates the vagus nerve and does beautiful things for our bodies and brains. At a minimum, 30 seconds of face splashing with cold water is beneficial.


7. Schedule time in each day for checking email and responding to text messages. I take 20 minutes 3 times a day to respond to emails, texts, and send my own. I build it into my schedule, and it saves me hours of wasted time. That's an hour each day, and even that seems like a lot. But most of us actually spend almost 3 hours a day on our cell phones or gadgets. Do the math, because you can never get back the time you spend checking email. We can use technology as a tool for communication and efficiency if we control it instead of letting it control us.

 

Maximizing the first hour of each day is its own form of magic. It helps us take back control in a world that can feel out of control, calm our busy brains, and focus on the things that really matter. 

 

Stop being busy and start being productive by cultivating a morning routine that aligns your habits with your big picture goals.

 

Download The Culinary Cure Rx: Healthy Habits 101, a free in-depth guide for creating healthy habits.


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