Staying Healthy. Staying Safe.

I hope you’re all healthy and able to stay in contact with family and friends.

This is most definitely a time of crisis, questions, and wondering what the future holds for us all. The uncertainty is weighing on everyone’s mind I’m sure.

As much as we don’t know what the future holds at this point, we do still have to keep our wits about us. I have read about so many theories, cures, end of the world stories, and panic posts it could make a person’s head spin. In fact, I did find myself being overwhelmed with it all so have decided to only tune in to what our Minister of Health has to say.

It’s disturbing to say the least. However, we need to keep a level head through it all. And that means staying informed, staying as far away from others as possible, and not taking advantage of others’ vulnerabilities. I have heard of the scams going on out there now, where people are using scare tactics to get the money of others. It’s truly the terrible side of the human being showing its face now.

There are always a few bad apples ready and willing to take advantage of a situation when others are already panicked. I truly hope none of my readers fall into that category. Human beings are supposed to be the superior species; the intelligent species; and the compassionate species. I have heard too many stories about others being taken advantage of to believe we are superior. I think I’d rather take my chances with a bear than go out into a public setting right now.

Okay, I think my rant is over so I will continue with the positive side of things.

Instead of fretting about not being able to go shopping, socializing, or to large gatherings, take the time to focus on yourself and the people you care about most. Some of you may be isolated, others may be spending the days with the family who resides with you. Either way, it’s important to stay healthy and safe.

We haven’t been affected by the virus as far as being sick goes but we are affected in terms of our jobs and regular routines. And amidst it all, we have a funeral for my uncle. His passing was NOT virus related, but we still need to take the precautions necessary because of the virus. What that means is the actual funeral service is limited to ten family members. Fortunately, the funeral home can broadcast the service via Facebook Live so extended family and friends can attend without leaving the comfort and safety of their own homes. I honestly didn’t ever think I’d see the day when funerals had to be held in this manner.

I could go on and on about the commotion this has caused on so many levels, but I prefer to keep it light. We all need some positivity in our days so turn off the news, turn on the tunes, and do something fun. You do not have control over the world, but you do have control over your actions. Make them count.

Staying Healthy

Staying healthy is more crucial now so fighting the virus is easier. Take advantage of not having to spend hours each week commuting to work. Enjoy more home-cooked meals. Bake more cookies. Read for the fun of it. Play hide-and-seek with your kids. Do feel-good things to boost your mood and outlook. This won’t last forever and creating some healthy habits will carry on once things are back to normal.

It’s important to eat properly at any time, and even more so now. Now that spring is here spend some time trying your hand at gardening (if you don’t already do so). Growing and eating your own produce is not only healthier for your body, but also your mind. Gardening is wonderful stress relief. All you need is a sunny spot, some seeds, potting soil, and containers. It’s amazing how much you can grow in a small space. (If you want to learn more about gardening, hop on over to my gardening website. It’s in its early stages but does contain a growing amount of information. Bwa ha ha!)

Get plenty of exercise. I know a large number of people are upset because fitness centres have had to close, but there are things you can do at home to stay active. Walking is still a thing, provided you are able to stay away from others. Anyone who lives in a rural area has an advantage, but that doesn’t mean urban residents can’t utilize walking paths with caution. If you have children at home, no one says you can’t use them as a set of weights. They’ll learn how to stay perfectly still for a few minutes, and you’ll be able to continue your workout routine. I do warn you though; set the child down as soon as the giggles start.

For those who now must work from home, consider it a bit of a blessing. No more traffic, stuffy office cubicles, or grumpy clients. Okay, maybe you still have the latter, but at least they’re not yelling in your face. Some good has to be found in all of this, because if all we concentrate on is the bad, we’ll drive ourselves crazy.

I am enjoying the view from my office window as I write this. The sun is shining, and the squirrel is running back and forth through the spruce trees. It’s one of the best views a person can have. I am fortunate because I have the option to work at home, even when times are normal.

Image Copyright Diane Ziomek 2020

Staying Safe

Now let’s move on to the staying safe.

By now I hope everyone is taking this pandemic seriously. It won’t cause severe complications for everyone who contracts it, but it can be lethal for those who have underlying health issues. The older a person is, the higher the risk of not only contracting it, but also of dying from it.

Our province has taken measures to educate residents how important it is to follow protocol. Self-isolate if ill, just returned from a holiday, or if you’ve been in contact with someone who has it. This is serious stuff. We all need to do our part to keep ourselves and others safe.

Self-isolation doesn’t have to be dull and boring. We live in an age where we have the power of video chat, text messages and the telephone to keep in contact with others. Keeping busy is not only good for our bodies, but also for our minds. I know people who are taking advantage of the time by cleaning closets, basements, and even pursuing hobbies they haven’t had time for.

I’m still able to go to work at the library even though we are closed to the public. We’re also taking advantage of the time by cleaning shelves, weeding books, and doing the long-overdue inventory. The hours I choose to work are pretty much my own right now, especially this week (due to the family loss). Next week will be business as usual (except with locked doors) and we will be able to get a lot accomplished when patrons aren’t coming and going. We rely on our patrons and they rely on our services as well. We’ll all be glad when we can get back to normal.

There will be times when you must venture out to the grocery store, the gas station, or the pharmacy. During your outings try to avoid contact with others as much as possible. You have no idea where they’ve been or what they’ve done. Not everyone is being mindful of the effect their actions have on others. The reality is some people just don’t seem to think it’s a big deal.

When you do venture out be sure to wash your hands as often as possible, keep your distance from others, and get what you need from a store and get back home. Wash your hands and other surfaces you touched, which includes doorknobs, vehicle handles and keys. I know it may seem silly, but the little things can go a long way.

Conclusion

With all I have said in this article, let me end it with this thought: you are not able to control everything. Do your best to do what you can to do your part in preventing the spread. It doesn’t do your mental health any good to worry about what others are/aren’t doing. Do what you can to keep yourself and your family safe, and if that means staying home for a week or three, that’s okay.

Many jobs can be done from home, but for those who are on the front lines of this pandemic, we thank you. Without your commitment and dedication to keeping our health facilities available and food on the shelves of the grocery stores, we would be in much worse shape.

I know this has been a lengthy post, but I hope it has brought some focus on what’s important. What are you doing to stay healthy and safe?

Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas to all!

It has been a busy few days with putting the finishing touches on the decorating, final gift wrapping and family meals.

Last night my kids (both in their twenties) and my father-in-law joined us for supper, along with my daughter’s boyfriend. It was a fun evening and we all ate much too much (as always seems to happen when we cook so much).

Today we went to my younger sister’s house and enjoyed more family time, ate too much and took family pictures in front of the Christmas tree. I was blessed with gifts on my list, but the family time is much more important.

The day also marks the sixth Christmas without Dad and the second without Mom. I miss them being with us but as is said, “life does go on”.

I think the best thing this year is I was able to spend both Christmas Eve and part of Christmas Day with my kids. They usually split the time between their dad’s place and with us, but this year their dad went to spend Christmas with his in-laws a couple provinces away. For that I am grateful.

Tomorrow will be a day of relaxation and making room in my kitchen for the new dessert dishes, gravy boat and coffee press. I may or may not have to do some rearranging in my cupboards.

The older I get the more I prefer practical gifts. It’s better to have something a person can use and enjoy than something that gets tucked away in a drawer or closet.

In less than a week we’ll be ringing in the new year. I have set some goals for 2020 which involve increasing my client base, creating a new passive income stream and spending more time with family. I’m excited to make 2020 my best year yet and look forward to sharing my progress.

What are your plans for 2020?

5 Ways to Cut Down on Holiday Stress

I made this wreath for the door earlier this afternoon. It has also been posted on my Instagram accounts so if you follow me there, that’s why it probably looks very familiar. Merry Christmas!

Here we are, a week from Christmas Day. It’s hard to believe it has crept up so quickly.

I don’t know about you but I always feel more stressed this time of year than any other. Perhaps it’s because of all the expectations we have of others and ourselves, or perhaps because it’s just so busy.

As I get older I try not to get so stressed out over it because let’s face it; it will come and go whether we’re ready or not. This year I have found a few ways to deal with the stress a little easier. Granted this list may be a little late for some this year, but it’s ‘food for thought’ for other holidays too.

  1. Take some ‘you’ time. I am someone who feels I need to be doing something every waking moment, whether it be reading, working, writing, crafting or household responsibilities. If I’m not doing something I feel guilty. Take a few minutes in the evening to relax and unwind with your beverage of choice, a good book or your favourite TV show. It’s amazing what some quiet time will do to regenerate a person.
  2. Delegate some of the work. If you’re the person hosting Christmas Dinner, it’s okay to ask for others to contribute to the meal. In my family my younger sister is hosting but we’re all taking a favourite dish to help out. I’m taking the popular Broccoli Salad and some baking. Not only will it be less meal preparation for her, but she’ll be able to enjoy the pre-meal visiting without being stuck in the kitchen the entire time.
  3. Enjoy the time together. We decided a few years ago to eat, visit, open gifts then do the cleanup. Of course some of the food needs to be refrigerated relatively quickly, but that’s all that gets done right after the meal. Take the time to visit with each other, play games and watch the kids enjoy their new toys. Dad always said Christmas is for kids and I see now he was right. The dishes won’t be going anywhere so if they don’t get washed right away it’s not the end of the world.
  4. Set a budget. I know most of you reading this will have all of your shopping done by now. I always stress out over how much I’m spending so this year I set a budget for each person and stuck to it. Our family gift exchange is a Secret Santa one with a thirty-five dollar limit which is doable for everyone. Of course I have a little higher limit for my kids as well as a limit for their significant others. I finished my shopping on Monday and as I bought for each person I crossed them off the list. That way I wasn’t spending more than I could afford.
  5. Pay cash or use your debit card. The holiday sales tempt us into buying more than we should. Anyone with a credit card knows just how dangerous that can be. I set money aside this year for Christmas shopping and paid with either cash or using my debit card. I’m not going to have the huge credit card bills that many others will have, so that alone will cut down on the after-holiday stress as well.

The true spirit of Christmas is for spending time with family and friends. You don’t need to break the bank to impress anyone. Do what you can and don’t fret about what you can’t do. The holidays are meant for laughter, sharing a meal (or three) and enjoying the time together. Don’t let the advertisements on TV tempt you into spending more than you can afford.

In closing I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May the season bring joy, good tidings and wonderful memories. And please remember, if you drink don’t drive.

Remembering Dad, and Living Life

Two weeks ago I started a post which was to be dedicated to the fifth anniversary since my dad suddenly passed away. Needless to say, that post didn’t get very far. It was an emotional day for me, but I made the best of it.

My sisters and I had talked about getting together but hadn’t really figured anything out. I decided to throw together a quick meal and took it to my younger sister’s house, where we all got together. It was a simple meal, a beer to toast him and we parted ways. Sometimes the quick meals and get-togethers are the most memorable.

The following couple of days were spent vehicle shopping, and I settled on a 2016 Jeep Patriot. Let’s just say I have Dad to thank. I just wish he was here to see it. I’m sure he would have liked my choice. (Photo below.)

Last week was a work week; and I never seem to get much else accomplished when it’s a work week. I did take Wednesday and went to visit my best friend; something I need to do more of. We used to call each other regularly, and visit frequently when our kids were little. As the kids grew, life got in the way and our time together was all but nonexistent.

Losing both of my parents in less than three and a half years of one another made me realize just how quickly life can change. My best friend lost her mom and step-dad in an accident in April of this year, and so many lives were affected. What I’m saying is we never know what tomorrow will bring, so we need to take advantage of today.

We all have such busy lives, although technology was supposed to make it easier. I think we need to all take a step back sometimes and put the phones and computers away, and just go visit family and friends. No one is going to regret not working, but they will (and so often do) regret not spending time with each other. I know I have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to spending time with friends.

Something else I did today was surprise my daughter at work. Seeing her eyes light up when I walked into the office was so worth it. And it probably didn’t hurt to have an Iced Cappuccino in hand for her either. 🙂

It’s those moments that really count, and make life worth living. I can burn the midnight oil and get my work done (current WIP is a reference guide for romance authors) after the house is quiet. Enjoying my time with my kids is worth losing sleep over.

Photo by Diane Ziomek. My new SUV.

Do you take time to visit family and friends?