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?

It’s a ME Day

I hope you have all had a great weekend. Mine was good, and the weather even cooperated so I could bring in part of my garden. Yesterday wasn’t as nice, so I worked on cleaning out the bathroom cabinet and figuring out a plan for my bedroom closet.

Today I decided to make it a ME day, and drove to a small city less than an hour from home. I bought some organizers for my closet and pantry, ordered some new glasses and spent time in the bookstore. I have been spending so much time either working, doing yard work and my course, I decided today was a good day to just do something for me.

Plus, I bought a spinning wheel. It’s different than the one I have, and needs a little TLC to get it working properly. I have my sister to thank for noticing it listed on a local Facebook Group. I can’t wait to get it set up and working right. I’ll bring it inside tomorrow; tonight it’s going to stay in my Jeep. I’m not quite sure where to put it yet, so need to figure that out before I bring it inside.

As part of my ME day, I decided to do some crocheting this evening. As I walked down the yarn aisle in Walmart I spotted some nice blanket yarn. I think it will be perfect for a throw for the new sectional. I don’t think it’s going to be very big, because I only bought two balls of it. But, it’ll be perfect to keep my cold feet warm as I write.

And yes, I tend to be most productive writing when I’m sitting in a comfy spot. When I’m comfortable I get a lot more accomplished, and the words flow freely. My desk and computer chair don’t usually produce the number of words I can come up with when I’m relaxed in my “spot”. Granted, I’m going to have a new spot when the new furniture gets here Wednesday. If I’m right, the chaise part of the new furniture will be perfect.

It’s going to be warm!

I don’t usually take a ME day, but with the next course starting on Wednesday I decided to regenerate a little. It’s important to take the time for ourselves, and I know I need to practice what I preach a little more often. So, tonight the computer will stay off and as soon as I finish this post, my iPad will be set aside as well.

Do you find yourself taking on too much sometimes? What helps you get everything done while keeping your sanity?

Have a wonderful week!

Diane

Photo credit Diane Ziomek. It’s the first half-dozen rows of my blanket yarn throw.

The Bounty of Nature

I’m not sure about you, but I love picking wild berries. Saskatoons are my favourite, and right now is prime picking time.

We have several bushes of wild berries on our property, which aren’t the easiest to get to. I’m seriously considering relocating some of them into what I hope will become a small orchard. A couple days ago, I went down the road to a good spot that is easily accessible from the road. I was not disappointed, because I had picked almost a bucketful in less than an hour.

My Blue Heeler was quite excited to go with me, and he explored while I picked. I took him along for protection as well as company. I know he would do his best to ward off a black bear if it decided to go berry picking at the same time.

I’m very fortunate to live in an area where wild berries are bountiful. Once the saskatoons are done, the chokecherries will be ready for picking too. I’m going to try to get enough this year for chokecherry jelly. If I’m able to get more saskatoons this week, I will make a small batch of jam.

Our forecast doesn’t look promising for berry picking on the days I don’t work, which is a little disappointing. Today was a beautiful day, but by the time I was finished with yard work, I was too hot to go pick berries. Our weather has been a little unusual this summer; July is over half over and we have had rain almost every day.

I love living where we do, because nature provides us with berries, nuts and even mushrooms. I’m very careful with the latter, because aside from morels I honestly don’t know which are safe and which aren’t.

I found a small stand of hazelnut trees, but I think the squirrels will probably beat me to them like last year. I guess they have more rights to them than I do, because they have less resources than people.

I think for me, the best part of picking wild berries is going out and getting fresh air, plus knowing the berries I pick haven’t been sprayed with anything. Sure, I can go to the grocery store and buy frozen ones, but fresh are so much better.

Not only are they healthy, but I get a little exercise while I’m picking them too. And that is worth something to me.

Do you enjoy picking berries? If so, what’s your favourite?

Photo taken by me after cream and sugar were added to the bowl full of fresh berries. Yes, I know; probably not the healthiest, but oh so good!

Walking to Stay Healthy

I have to admit, when it comes to exercise I’m the last one to go full guns on a program.

That’s not to say I’m a couch potato, because I’m not. I like to keep busy with my writing, crafts, reading and puttering out in the yard. Since most of the things I do don’t involve strenuous exercise, I make a point to try to walk for at least half an hour each day.

I’m fortunate, because living in the country gives me plenty of opportunities to walk without having to worry about much traffic. The only time we have a lot of activity past our place is during spring and fall; seeding and harvest time.

I like walking on the gravel road, because it gives me the opportunity to see tracks. Usually it’s deer or moose tracks I see, but last Thursday I saw bear tracks. The deer and moose must consider our road their personal highway, and I suppose the bear did too.

Photo taken July 11/19 while out for my walk.

I like to take our dog along, but if I’m planning on walking more than half a mile one way I leave him home. He’s ten now, and I’m sure when he goes too far he aches like I do.

Instead of giving up my walking outside, I will be investing in bear bells. That should keep the wildlife at a safe distance. I prefer to walk outside, because the air is fresh, I can listen to the birds and I have plenty of choices regarding distance and direction. It’s much nicer than being on a treadmill and staring at the wall.

Walking to stay healthy doesn’t require much more than a good pair of shoes (which I need to replace as soon as possible), comfortable clothing and an optional walking partner. And, there’s less risk of injury than when running.

I will power walk sometimes, just to raise my heart rate. I like to keep a steady pace with the occasional burst thrown in. My bursts don’t usually involve jogging or running, because my knees and hips rebel. I will occasionally do squats at the turnaround point, but have to pay attention to what my knees tell me.

Walking is good for you and your health. Being able to enjoy an active life is also good for the mind. Something as simple and low impact as walking may not seem like much, but any activity is better than none. And, for those of us who are on the second half of a century, staying physically active is crucial for weight management. Plus, bone, muscle and mental health all benefit from regular exercise.

Walking for health is my choice, plus I have added in some resistance bands to my daily routine. The most important thing to remember is to start slow, and increase time, distance and intensity gradually. If you go full guns right off the top, you will not only risk injury but you may also become discouraged.

Do you have a regular exercise plan? If so, is it new or have you been doing it for some time?