50 Things to do when Lockdown goes Long-term (Part 9) LIVE

I’m trying something new: this is a LIVE blog post – that means I’ll publish five parts per day for 10 days.  If you haven’t already, start by checking out my original COVID-19 post then follow along with me on Instagram for daily updates!  Comments are SO welcome, what are you all doing these days?  Let’s brain pool. 

STATUS: LIVE POST IN PROGRESS

 

6. Note your gratitude

Write down things you are grateful or thankful for, to end every day or all at once (as many as you can) every week.

7. Edit social media

More social, less media. Social comparison distorts self-perception. Unfollow influencers. Unfollow any account which has the explicit goal to sell you something or causes you to feel down. Reset your reference points and surround your online self with better content. Hide your social media apps in a folder where you’ll have to work to access them (keep them off your main home screen). Limit yourself online and avoid falling into a black hole of comparison (set a timer while you scroll).

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8. Practice wishful thinking

Apply the WOOP method: Wish — Outcome — Obstacle — Plan

  1. Find 5 minutes of quiet (uninterrupted) “me time”
  2. Search for your wish, ask yourself: “what do I really want?” You can think in terms of today/near future/long-term or you can use this as a problem-solving technique to determine whether or not something is right for you. 
  3. Think — “What would be the best outcome? How would I feel?” — imagine/experience this in your mind, really feel it out
  4. Switch gears: consider what it is in you which stands in the way (identify the obstacle/s) Again, imagine/experience the obstacle/s — maybe a deep emotion or a bad habit*
  5. Establish an “if/then” plan: an effective action/thought to overcome the imagined obstacle/s. Tell yourself, “if (obstacle) happens, then I will (action)

* note: step 4 often helps reveal new possibilities or narrow down wishes to hep them become more achievable. Could you be open to re-framing your wish in a way which makes obstacles surmountable?

9. Get Hygge

  • do a puzzle
  • listen to a podcast
  • sip hot chocolate
  • sip iced tea
  • spend a weekend in the woods
  • have an at home spa day
  • or a night of self care: face mask + body scrub + oil
  • watch a romantic comedy
  • do some cooking
  • or baking
  • light a candle
  • set up an essential oil diffuser
  • decorate with fresh flowers
  • take a personal day (a day to truly do nothing)
  • get a dog
  • do yoga
  • take a bath
  • plant a garden
  • take a walk outside
  • turn off your phone
  • turn off the TV
  • wine and dine (remotely) with friends or family
  • create clutter-free surroundings
  • select/make yummy-smelling cleaning products
  • put together photo albums
  • display a fireplace video on your TV
  • scatter soft blankets and pillows around seating
  • wear cozy sweaters, silky pjs and slippers
  • turn off overhead lamps and opt for eye-level lamps instead

10. Increase variety

force yourself to make minor changes (sit somewhere different, eat something different) and enjoy your favorites more when you come back to them

interrupt your consumption

  • set an alarm during mindless activities, decide whether to push snooze and continue or switch tasks once the timer goes off
  • take a break during commercial breaks
  • buy one at a time

50 Things to do when Lockdown goes Long-term (Part 8)

I’m trying something new: this is a LIVE blog post – that means I’ll publish five parts per day for 10 days.  If you haven’t already, start by checking out my original COVID-19 post then follow along with me on Instagram for daily updates!  Comments are SO welcome, what are you all doing these days?  Let’s brain pool. 

11. Treat Yourself

Make some fresh brownies or draw a warm bubble bath. Light a candle or gently stretch and massage your body. Whatever your treat of choice, savor it: step outside of the experience to review and appreciate it. Try to focus only on this moment, this experience. Notice any feelings of joy or love and bask in them for as long as you’d like. You deserve this goodness. What if you dedicated one moment to savoring something every day?

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12. Try single tasking

Call it slow living or what you’d like, I learned the art of single tasking when I first moved to Spain. As I adjusted to the lightest workload of my adult life, before I built up a community or friends and plethora of hobbies, there were a few months of what felt like nothing. All that extra time felt daunting. I realized that I needed to slow way down. I was in the habit of multitasking. So I mindfully broke up my days into single actions. Sipping coffee. Folding laundry. Listening to a song. Resting. Reading one chapter of a book. Cooking. People watching. Sipping a glass of wine. Moral of this story:

just eat

just stretch

just read

and you’ll notice those moments are so much fuller, richer, more wholesome than you used to give them credit for. Is it lazy? Maybe, in some circles. But a slower, deeper life is the key to meaning and I’d rather be rich in wellness than striving in the name of productivity.

13. Take pictures

Photograph things that make you happy or things you’d like to remember: notable happenings during COVID-19 — just for you

“for your records”

We’re living through history. Sometimes I get swept into a pattern of only documenting the “pretty” things (social media encourages this), but taking note of the tragedies– of the emptiness and the signage and anything out of the ordinary– is a more well-rounded way to look back on this time. I feel we mustn’t shy away from the suffering and loss which are this moment. It is a time to appreciate and respect others’ grief and a moment to be remembered in a whole way. 

14. Watch for Wildlife

Have a window? Look outside right now. Check the sky, any birds? Listen. Any foxes? Bees? Whether you live in the mountains or a mega city living things surround you. When I was a kid I could watch a grasshopper for an hour. They are still fascinating! I’ve taken to watching a pair of birds out my window. Bird watching may be a new hobby even after quarantine, what’s living with you? You’re far from alone, you see.

Mary Oliver ‘Wild Geese’

15. Invest in experiences

(rather than stuff)

  • travel
  • attending live events
  • sharing meals
  • self-care (and treating your friends to it)

These are both the things that make us happy and most of what top the off limits lists.

But there’s a special joy in anticipating good experiences too. And this is what you can do today.

  • Plan your dream vacation. Greece, Costa Rica, Tulum anyone?
  • Make a savings plan to purchase tickets to see your favorite artist or team next season.
  • Indulge in quality ingredients and make a gourmet meal for yourself and others (watch a youtube tutorial or enroll in a Masterclass).
  • Send your best friend a spa kit (remember this coconut coffee body scrub recipe?) or homemade banana cake.

Easy banana nut muffins/loaf cake

  • Preheat oven to 180C/350F
  • lightly grease a loaf cake pan or muffin tin (makes 12 muffins or one loaf)
  • mix 3 mashed bananas + 1/4 cup melted butter (or oil/mix of the two) + 1/4 cup milk (plant milk OK) + 1 egg (or 1 spoon chia seeds + 3 spoons water)
  • add 1/2 cup sugar + 1/2 cup honey (or 1/2 cup brown sugar) + 1 small spoon baking soda + dash of salt + 2 cups flour (option to sub 1/4 cup with oats and/or ground hemp/other protein powder) + 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • fill muffin tins/cake pan 3/4 full and bake 18-20 minutes, cool for 5 then enjoy!

Banana Muffin Recipe for 2 Bananas | Beat Bake Eat

50 Things to do when Lockdown goes Long-term (Part 7)

I’m trying something new: this is a LIVE blog post – that means I’ll publish five parts per day for 10 days.  If you haven’t already, start by checking out my original COVID-19 post then follow along with me on Instagram for daily updates!  Comments are SO welcome, what are you all doing these days?  Let’s brain pool. 

16. Start a blog

First, take notes (and more photos than you think you need). Whether you’re going for a travel blog or fitness, lifestyle, fashion – whatever – it’s likely something that’s on your mind throughout the day (or in the case of travel it’s a lived experience). I use the “notes” section in my phone to record details + random thoughts which I later look back on as the basis of my blog posts. Sometimes it’s as simple as adding a caption to make each bullet point on your notes list a full sentence or two.

Example: this Paris post

I think the early stages of building content are the most work. You probably don’t have views yet and you’re essentially writing into the void — but this is critical. People aren’t as likely to revisit a blog with less than a few dozen useful articles, but if you work slowly and steadily you’ll have a collection in no time. In my experience, posting takes a lot longer than predicted. Settling for a gradual buildup of imperfect posts helps avoid burnout and the writing practice will likely make your work more efficient over time. Later you can look back and rework any early pieces that need a facelift. 

I’m not going to lie, it’s scary putting your voice on the internet! It should be! There’s all kinds of mayhem online. But you have a unique perspective and chances are you can either help someone by offering them information or understanding or make a connection once you find like-minded bloggers – beyond the anxiety of self-publishing is a feeling of free self-expression, a confidence-building platform which is well worth the brainstorming and the editing.

Have a question? Comment below and let’s talk about your ideas/concerns.

17. Perform Random Acts of Kindness

Doing good feels good.

Start with a sweet: candy or a baked good. Add some yummy smelling lotions/potions, maybe tea and a little note about why this person plays a special role in your life.

Or keep it simple– help your colleague with something, give a few dollars or some time to a cause you believe in, say something kind to a stranger, write a thank you note, give a compliment, or similar. 

18. Get crafty: draw, paint, or color

This is a tip from many of my friends, I’m “not an artist” (more of an enthusiast), but playing with a paintbrush does sound more appealing lately than usual. Why not revisit and see if the skill sticks?

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19. Prep fruits and vegetables for sudden snack needs AND to flavor your water

I pre-cut cucumbers, lemons, and limes then store them in Tupperware in the refrigerator to use in water, teas, or to garnish dishes on the fly. It seems simple but really tends to add a special touch to everyday sips and bites!

Tip: cut the cucumber in rounds so you can use them on tired eyes (cooling, de-puffing magic? whether or not these actually work it’s a much needed “ahh” moment)

20. Introduce Meatless Mondays or Vegan Fridays

It’s good for the planet and for you!

Creamy tomato pasta with cannelloni beans and kale

  1. boil lightly salted water
  2. cut an “x” in the bottom of two tomatoes and blanch them: submerge them in the boiling water for 30 seconds then remove and set aside to cool
  3. add pasta to the boiling water — cook until it’s al dente (firm to the bite)
  4. sauté garlic in butter or olive oil on medium heat in two pans
  5. remove the peels of the tomatoes (this should be easy after blanching) then cut them into cubes
  6. in pan #1: add the tomatoes (and optional: a dash of crushed red chilis)
  7. in pan #2: add massaged kale (tear it off of the stem and squeeze it)
  8. in pan #1: add a half-cup pasta water + a cup of milk/cream (plant-based works too) and stir until it begins to thicken
  9. in pan #2: add a can of cooked cannelloni beans, reduce heat to low
  10. add salt and pepper then pasta (al dente, allow it to finish cooking in the sauce)

Vegan Ceviche

50 Things to do when Lockdown goes Long-term (Part 6)

I’m trying something new: this is a LIVE blog post – that means I’ll publish five parts per day for 10 days.  If you haven’t already, start by checking out my original COVID-19 post then follow along with me on Instagram for daily updates!  Comments are SO welcome, what are you all doing these days?  Let’s brain pool. 

21. Sit outside (in a private yard or balcony) if you can

If you can, GO OUTSIDE. Do you have a yard? A balcony? Can you put on gloves and a face mask and walk once around the block? Around the outside of your house? How about a rural getaway or a walk up and down the driveway?

Adding just a few minutes of fresh air or outdoor footsteps in the safest way possiblechanges everything. In some cases this won’t be possible but if you have the chanceand it’s been deemed safe to do so don’t miss this priceless opportunity.

Alternatively, fresh air and sunlight when and where you can get it. Move your workspace under the window or wake up a bit earlier to take in the days’ first rays. Nap like a cat on the sofa in the sun. Take it all in (and maybe take some vitamin D?)

22. Independent Study

Sign up for a free online course (I’m trying one with Coursera) or watch a TED talk instead of Netflix.

23. Listen to a podcast

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24. Make a Pinterest board for everything

Even better: vision boarding.

I loved doing this as a kids using piles of discarded magazines but if you aren’t a frequent subscriber Pinterest has your back.

25. Listen to music (just listen)

When was the last time you just listened to an album — first song to last without distractions? Maybe in the days of CDs? I love doing this

50 Things to do when Lockdown goes Long-term (Part 5)

I’m trying something new: this is a LIVE blog post – that means I’ll publish five parts per day for 10 days.  If you haven’t already, start by checking out my original COVID-19 post then follow along with me on Instagram for daily updates!  Comments are SO welcome, what are you all doing these days?  Let’s brain pool. 

26. Make your bed

Every morning. This habit starts your day off with a small, simple success. In turn it strengthens self-discipline and encourages further productivity throughout your day.

27. Tidy your house

The KonMari Method (from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo)

  1. Commit to completing the project, transforming your space.
  2. Imagine your dream lifestyle and visualize your ideal space (picture yourself living in it).
  3. Tidy by category, not location, and follow the right order: clothes, then books, the papers, then miscellaneous items (kitchen, electronics, crafts, sports equipment, “junk” drawer/s, etc.), and lastly, sentimental items.
  4. Make a pile of every item in the category in which  you are working.
  5. Now take items one by one. Closely examine each item, holding the item and taking a moment with it as you ask what its original purpose was/is and whether or not it has served it already or is serving it now. Ask yourself if it sparks joy. Keep only what serves, what sparks joy.
  6. Finish discarding items which are no longer serving you first (you can recycle/donate most things), thank every item before letting it go.
  7. Finally, make a place for ever object you choose to keep. Give it a special spot since it has an important role in your life.

28. Do some Spring Cleaning

  • Dust the tops of your cabinets, doorways, windowsills, ceiling fans, etc.
  • Wash the windows and the floors with vinegar + water
  • Put a bowl of lemon water in the microwave then turn on high for a few minutes, the water will steam and you can simply wipe the inside clean (plus it won’t smell bad).
  • Clean the oven

29. Take Care of your Clothes

  • Bleach/dye whites and blacks in need of a refresh
  • Sew those holes in your socks
  • Shine your shoes

30. Take a Day Off Tech

I dare you. I have a friend who takes weekends off. I’ll get a message letting me know her phone is off for the next couple of days and not to worry, in fact, I have tried this when traveling and it’s amazing!

Some of my favorite memories are the days when we just explored Costa Rica or Greece without knowing the time or stopping to take too many photos or feeling suddenly distracted by a buzz or a beep.

If going a whole day feels too daunting, try not using your phone for the first hour in the morning. Instead, take a walk or have a big cup of tea, do some yoga, read a poem, whatever you do, feel the peace that comes from disconnecting (especially in hectic times such as these).

50 Things to do when Lockdown goes Long-term (Part 4)

I’m trying something new: this is a LIVE blog post – that means I’ll publish five parts per day for 10 days.  If you haven’t already, start by checking out my original COVID-19 post then follow along with me on Instagram for daily updates!  Comments are SO welcome, what are you all doing these days?  Let’s brain pool. 

31. Meditate

I think if there’s one thing I’d like to stress here it is that you can make meditation work for you. It doesn’t have to be first thing when you wake up or a certain amount of time. There are all kinds of meditation because we have all kinds of needs!

Meditation can be done seated or lying down with nothing but your body and your breath. It can also be assisted by apps (I like Insight Timer) or done in a group setting (I love to attend these and my friend Arta has been leading FREE sessions each week or two on Zoom). But meditation can also be watching the birds or the clouds. It can be a focal practice like cooking or baking and it can be easily incorporated into your daily routine in whatever way is easiest for you.

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32. Call your family

Or take the time to sit down and write a letter or send a holiday card (or very on trend COVID card). There’s a certain joy in receiving something in the mail and a personal aspect in handwriting that just can’t be replicated over the airwaves.

33. Call a friend

Small talk asks about the weather. Deep talk transcends judgements and assumptions: it asks why we feel, act, think, fear, or dream like we do. 

Ask better questions.

  • Who’s someone you really admire?
  • What do you miss about being a kid?
  • What’s your favorite family tradition?
  • What’s your favorite quote?
  • What’s something you want to do in the next year that you’ve never done before?
  • What are the top three things on your bucket list?
  • What was the first thing you bought with your own money?
  • What’s your earliest memory?
  • What would you do on your “perfect” day?
  • When do you feel most creatively inspired?
  • Tell me about a day you had that you’ll never forget.
  • Where was your favorite place to go as a child and why did you love it there?
  • Where are the top three places you want to travel to some day and why?
  • Where are the top three places you’ve ever traveled to and why?
  • Why do you do the work that you do?
  • How do you want to be remembered? (What do you want your legacy to be?)
  • If someone gave you enough money to start a business – no strings attached – what kind of business would you want to start and why?
  • If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your 16-year-old self?
  • If you could take a year-long paid sabbatical what would you do?

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+ Questions by YOU (thanks to responses on Instagram – I am loving this collaboration)

  • What are you looking forward to the most right now?
  • What motivated you this morning?
  • What are you feeling super grateful for today?
  • Any great recipes to share?
  • What made you smile this week?
  • What has you worried?

34. Read one chapter of a book every day

Start small. Make it easy to succeed. Add more, little by little, over time. Make it manageable, then, make it a habit.

Another option: cheat!

So here’s my story: I went through a Global Humanities and Religions B.A. degree reading every single assigned book from start to finish. I was, no joke, assigned 50 books in one semester! This mean I read in the car when I found five extra minutes in a parking lot or stopped to read during a road trip. It meant I woke up to and fell asleep to extensive non-fiction and sat beside by grandmother in a hospital bed reading Dante’s Inferno. Finally, my last semester, it was revealed to me that most of my peers had been skimming the readings! This felt like an outrage and honestly I went cold turkey on reading after graduation. Problem is, I want to be a reader. But with more and more to read online + a surge of commitments in work/social life, I lost the habit of reading and have struggled in the last years to get it back. Part of owning my struggle and easing back into a reading routine is allowing myself to cheat. I must have 100 previews stored on my Kindle and imagining the hours those would require is daunting. I use Blinkist like a detailed preview and follow up by reading those selections which stand out most to me chapter-by-chapter. It’s like a podcast leading you to a new thought leader, but for books.

35. Read a poem every morningpage-01-120

Poetry is not a luxury. — Audre Lorde

 

50 Things to do when Lockdown goes Long-term (Part 3)

I’m trying something new: this is a LIVE blog post – that means I’ll publish five parts per day for 10 days.  If you haven’t already, start by checking out my original COVID-19 post then follow along with me on Instagram for daily updates!  Comments are SO welcome, what are you all doing these days?  Let’s brain pool. 

36. Coffee/coconut sugar scrub your body

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Add a touch of cinnamon and use neck-to-toe mid-shower. Leave it on for a couple of minutes before rinsing completely. Moisturize right after to hold onto that smooth moisturized skin.

37. Apply a homemade face mask

For skin that needs a detox: purify with whole milk yogurt + turmeric. Apply to clean, dry skin and leave for 10 minutes before rinsing completely (I use a gentle cleanser to make sure it’s all gone) – apply your moisturizer afterwards to replenish the skin and set up everything to be balanced.

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For brightening moisture I turn to honey. Simply apply a thin layer to clean, dry skin and leave on for 15-20 minutes. Wet a washcloth with warm-to-hot water, place it gently over your face (as you look up) and allow the steam from the cloth to absorb the honey (and melt your face) for a few seconds. Wipe away the rest and apply your favorite moisturizer.

38. Take a green tea bath

I treat my tub like a giant cup of tea (and drink an herbal cup while I’m in it) – ahhh

39. Sprinkle some tea tree oil on your shower floor for hot aromatic steam

I always do this when I am feeling congested or just in need of a refresh.

In fact, dive into aromas throughout your day! Adding a little lemon essential oil to the mop bucket or choosing a lavender scented dish soap can seriously brighten everyday task which may take the stage in the absence of outside distraction these days. Now is the time to use your yummiest body soufflés and burn the fancy candles. Making your home a space full of deliciousness will surely brighten your days. 

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40. Do 10 burpees

Don’t forget to MOVE – quick 1-5 min bursts a few times each day are great! You’ll be better focused with some tiny breaks increasing blood flow is critical for boosting productivity. I prefer slow motion burpees a la Barre 3: link

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50 Things to do when Lockdown goes Long-term (Part 2)

I’m trying something new: this is a LIVE blog post – that means I’ll publish five parts per day for 10 days.  If you haven’t already, start by checking out my original COVID-19 post then follow along with me on Instagram for daily updates!  Comments are SO welcome, what are you all doing these days?  Let’s brain pool. 

41. Closet clean out

First, watch this video this video — I love how the first acknowledges the emotional reality of clearing clutter and how the second gives a realistic yet inspiring guide to developing personal style. 

Then, get every piece of clothing you own on a big pile on your bed – Marie Kondo style

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Make three piles:

Lovethings which you wear often, which make you feel great and fit your personal style

Like – things which are good quality, practical, you think you should hold on to

Let go – things which are the wrong size or the wrong fit or just uncomfortable/unnatural/bring negative self-talk or memories. 

Start by putting everything you love back in your closet. Now try to imagine just living with that, is this enough?

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Add what you feel you need to compliment the loves with things from the “like” category then add the remaining “likes” to the “let gos.”

note: I make a mental note about any “likes” that could be replaced in the future by “loves” — perhaps a better quality sweater in a similar cut — even better, make a projects stash and get anything that just doesn’t fit quite right altered at your nearest tailor post-quarantine. 

Lastly, divide the “let go” pile – something I love to do with my highest quality pieces is a clothing exchange with friends. Maybe set aside some things for this excuse to host a social event as soon as it’s safe in the future. Next, what can be donated? Bag that up so it’s ready to go also. Finally, anything with holes or stains remains. What can be recycled? Throw away only what you can’t see any other avenue for then basque in the relief which is post-purge clarity.

42. Remote tea time – phone a friend and enjoy a cup together, talk it out.

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43. Remote dinner date

Being in a relationship and unable to see one another is something I know all too well. My boyfriend and I have been long-distance (Spain/London) for a year and a half. We have a few tricks to bring a feeling of togetherness and they come in really handy during quarantine. The first is watching a series together — counting down 3, 2, 1, and pushing play together makes it feel like we are side-by-side. It’s our regular habit a couple nights per week and adds a sense of normalcy to our relationship structure.

Another fun option is cooking and eating a meal together. This requires a little planning/preparation.

Set a date, share a recipe and shop for the ingredients beforehand. On the evening of, get dressed up like you might for a real date and video call as you prepare the same meal together in each’s respective home. Light a candle, sync up your music and enjoy the meal together. Sure it’s a little silly, a little over the top, but the action and effort of coordinating everything perfectly, making this all work together is what it’s all about.

Atreya likes The Food Lab for recipes while I go to Pick up Limes for mine – but this is our top recommendation for a remote dinner date (maybe with a little movie night “together” too?)

44. Cook healthy meals

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During my first weeks in quarantine I went a bit overboard on meals — cooking elaborate feasts three times a day wasn’t sustainable and by now I’ve learned that it’s a lot easier to meal prep than to spend hours cooking (and dish washing) day after day. You do you, but a simple and fruit/vegetable-rich diet works best for me.

 

Some favorites lately:

Red Thai Curry with Rice

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You need: red curry paste, 1-2 cans coconut milk, assorted vegetables, optional protein: meat/fish of choice, boiled eggs, chickpeas or tofu, oil (I use coconut) and rice.

How to: Start by boiling some rice (in an excess of water, just until it’s soft, then drain any remaining water like you would when you cook a pasta). Chop all veg then add to a hot oiled pan and cook halfway. Fry/boil/bake the protein separately and cook meat all the way if you choose to use meat. Meanwhile, warm the coconut milk and add the curry paste little-by-little until you reach the desired taste/spice level for your sauce. Finally, mix the protein + veg + sauce all together, serve over rice. Easy, tasty and great left-over the next day.

Easy Sweet Potato & Chickpea Tikka Masala with Rice/Naan

You need: peeled & cubed sweet potatoes, cooked chickpeas, tikka masala sauce, rice/naan, oil (I use coconut/olive), optional: chili flakes, garlic, onion, ginger (peeled with a spoon) — all finely chopped

How to: Get the sweet potatoes coated in oil (optional: add chili flakes) and bake at medium heat for 15-20 mins. Prep the rice/warm the naan. Fry your chickpeas in garlic/onion/ginger-infused oil (option to add other veg here, sometimes I like thinly sliced red bell pepper) then add the tikka sauce and cooked sweet potatoes (option to add fresh spinach and cook down until it wilts), serve with rice and/or warmed naan.

Black bean and Bell Pepper Tacos with Avocado

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You need: tortillas, canned cooked black beans, coconut oil, cumin, onion, bell peppers, chili flakes, radishes, avocados, lime

+ chips and salsa

How to: Slice the onions and bell pepper into strips then add to hot oiled pan with cumin and chili flakes. Cube the radishes, add oil and broil in the oven for 5 mins. Warm the beans in coconut oil on low heat. Warm the tortillas in a frying pan on low heat. Slice the avocado and squeeze a lime on top. Throw it all inside the tortillas and top with salad and/or cilantro if you’d like. Serve with chips and salsa.

45. Yoga every damn day

I’m a yoga teacher (and a barre teacher), you can read about my YOGA TEACHER TRAINING IN RISHIKESH, INDIA HERE — but this “to do” is really a whole new blog post in itself. I’ll throw in a few go-to daily asanas and refer you to some fellow bloggers with a yoga-focus and content I use frequently.

Here are some postures I practice just about daily.

Morning practice: I use this breath-by-breath flow as a warm up often followed by a few postures in a “hold” (at least five breaths).

  1. Inhale, Exhale — Tadasana Namaskar (Standing with Hands in Prayer)
  2. Inhale — Tadasana Urdhva Hastasana (Standing with Arms Overhead)
  3. Exhale — Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
  4. Inhale — Ardha Uttanasana (Half Standing Forward Bend)
  5. Exhale — Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
  6. Inhale — Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana (One-Legged Downward-Facing Dog Pose) — Left Leg Lifted
  7. Exhale — Left Leg Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge) (I often pause to Inhale, Exhale here)
  8. Inhale — Plank
  9. Exhale — Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose/Tricep Push-up) — sometimes from my knees and skipping step 10, taking Balasana (Child’s Pose) there instead (again, I might pause to take a few breaths here, maybe moving my hands to one side then the other for a side body stretch)
  10. Inhale — Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog)
  11. Exhale — Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
  12. Inhale — Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana (One-Legged Downward-Facing Dog Pose) — Left Leg Lifted
  13. Exhale — Right Leg Low Lunge (I often pause to Inhale, Exhale here)
  14. Inhale — Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
  15. Exhale — Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
  16. Inhale (soften knees then roll-up), Exhale — Tadasana (Standing)

A few of my go-to holding postures are

  • Plank hold – to wake up the core and keep those muscles engaged and protecting my pelvis & spine through the next moves
  • Utkatasana (Chair Pose) — try lifting your heels first one at a time then balancing with both heels lifted high
  • Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Forward Bend) — I prefer this with a flat back or reaching arms forward (to challenge the abs)
  • Utthita Parsvakonasana(Extended Side Angle) — with my elbow on my knee for support and reaching my top arm alongside my ear to further extent through the side body + engage the abs
  • Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)
  • Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) — hurts so good!

I love some slow stretching before sleep. I hold each of these for 30 second – 3 minutes – not timing but feeling it out and changing to the next pose when my body tells me it’s necessary. 

  1. Savasana (Corpse Pose)
  2. Ardha Apanasana (Half Knees-to-Chest Pose) — right side then left side with light twist after each then hug both knees to chest
  3. Supta Padangusthasana A-B-C (Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose A-B-C) — right side A-B-C then left side A-B-C, with strap
  4. Sucirandhrasana (Reclined Pigeon/
  5. Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby)
  6. gentle lying twist with bent knees and feet wide
  7. Legs up the wall (stay here 5-10 minutes)

Don’t take my word for it. Here are some other awesome teachers to follow:

esthermarieyoga – on Instagram

Barre3 — offering 6 free workouts on youtube/subscription options — my favorite!

more links my COMING TO PEACE WITH COVID-19 POST

Would you be interested in more fitness content? Let me know in the comments below. 

50 Things to do when Lockdown goes Long-term (Part 1)

I’m trying something new: this is a LIVE blog post – that means I’ll publish five parts per day for 10 days.  If you haven’t already, start by checking out my original COVID-19 post then follow along with me on Instagram for daily updates!  Comments are SO welcome, what are you all doing these days?  Let’s brain pool. 

 

46. Write down your daily routine

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(or somebody)

What we do every day adds up. How do you want to live? What can you do daily to live that way? This could be your ultimate habit hack moment.

Some examples:

  • making time for adequate sleep/rest (maybe bedtime routines, meditation)
  • self-care: from personal hygiene to diet and exercise (upping fruit and veg snacks, skincare, dental hygiene, stretching or walking)
  • positive thinking (I like listing three gratitudes every day and/or sharing a daily high and low with a partner/family member/close friend/s)

There is SO much on the internet regarding routines, it can be overwhelming. I start where I struggle.

I’m used to school bells ringing to mark every hour, to catching a train at 8:10am sharp and to attending yoga on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30pm. I thrived on scheduling and followed along like clockwork…until all of this turned to dust mid-March.

I eased into this new abyss of open scheduling by setting alarms to mark the day (when to wake up, read, study, workout, make meals, call friends/family, have tea, go to bed, etc) — there’s a comforting sense of rhythm in a steady routine. I share mine in my COMING TO PEACE WITH BEING AT HOME post.

I’ll be playing around with routines throughout quarantine and promise to share details via gracenotestheworld on Instagram – a new page dedicated to words (graceintheworld offers more travel/personal content).

 

47. Make a daily goal

I love that some people have tons of work that they’re passionate about and able to do at home. Good for you. I don’t have such a high workload (is this good or bad? I don’t know) and temporary loss of my identity as a helper has me feeling a little bit “less than” lately.

To cope, I encourage myself to set one main task each day. Today that is cleaning the balcony. Tomorrow I’ll make granola (a two week supply so it’s a project). Setting myself up to accomplish something on a day-to-day basis is motivating (KEY these days) – usually I accomplish much more than the task alone but it’s a starting point (and a sufficient ending point on the days when the sorrows of the current state of the world get me down and I must allow grieving). Let your task be as big or as small as your best can be each day and please have compassion for and trust in yourself.

“Do your best. Your best is good enough.”

— my mom

 

48. Make a weekly goal

Those daily accomplishments add up. What can you focus on each week? Dividing a larger project into daily bits and getting things done one step at a time gives even more of a sense of completion and might restore some pride you had at work before everything moved online (and feedback is harder to give/receive digitally). I like to consider my weekly goals on Sundays. Then I break them down into parts which can be accomplished day-by-day and get things going. It feels good to meet my own expectations, to succeed in what I set up to accomplish in a week.

What can you focus on this week?

A few ideas to get you started:

  • organizing — your career/education plans, reading lists, daily routines, workout plans, meal plans, decluttering…sky’s the limit
  • movement — workout videos on youtube/by subscription, walks in your neighborhood if it’s safe & allowed, burpee breaks, push up challenges, training for a 10k — whatever motivates you most)
  • prayer — or contemplation — and any associated reading/writing/knowledge gathering
  • cooking — this was my focus last week and I seriously improved daily! Loved watching cooking shows and taking notes then trying new tastes/techniques.
  • communication — reach out first and ask better questions

 

49. Categorize your task list

There are two ways I like to do this. For busier times I lean on my Passion Planner which helps me to manage both personal and work tasks in a really balanced and mindful way – highest recommendation for these from me.

Lately, with more time on hand, I’ve gotten to try a new system which I also like.

divide tasks into four categories:

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50. Do your taxes

You were allowed to put it off past April 15, but now it’s almost the end of April. Wouldn’t it be nice to know what you have coming mid-Summer? (and do your part to build those roads and schools and support one another with stimulus checks – yay community!)

Capsule Packing

t r a v e l   g o n e   m i n i m a l

I have one packing list which I use for all of my trips all over the world. I developed this for my journey “around the world in 89 days” which involved 16 countries and a variety of climates ranging from Fall in central & southern Europe to early Winter in northern Norway to hot & humid Thai islands. I did that trip with only a carry on and quickly learned to carry only what was essential.

Carry less, go further. 

Seven years later I don’t even travel with a carry on, only a “personal item” (a bag which fits under the seat in front of me). This has saved me many headaches at airport security and during stopovers and now feels second nature. No matter the climate, I bring ONLY the things on this list. Minor adjustments only.

My Master Packing List

Everything goes into my Patagonia “black hole” 25L pack– I highly recommend this bag – I pack all of my clothing into packing cubes and a reusable toiletries bag + product tubes.

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For a simple weekend away reservations and tickets can be accessed via phone, but for more extensive adventures I make an “important stuff” folder: All tickets, reservations, etc. are printed and put in here along with a copy of my passport photo page & visa (if applicable) & any medication prescription forms.

Clothing

 

I plan to wash the following about once per week:

1 pair skinny jeans

1 pair black leggings

tights (1-2)

1 mini skirt

2-3 short sleeve tees

1 long sleeve bodysuit

1 silk tank top

2 sweaters (wear one)

Long sleeve silk button up shirt

Oversized coat (wear it)

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Compression socks are wonderful for long walks, long flights and keeping toes warm in the Winter. Here’s my link for 15% off (and these are made by a company from my hometown in Missoula, MT) + everyday socks (1-2, go for wool in Winter)

5 underwear (+ wear 1) & 1 extra bra (+ wear 1)

Shoes

I generally travel with two pairs of shoes (wear one, pack one) and try to have both a comfortable daily option and dress-it-up option. I love platforms for long wear and almost always have black booties on hand. Flats are an easy way to squeeze in extra style if you discover some open space this is a good way to fill it 😉

Seasonal Adjustments

Fall

+lined leather jacket

+ blazer

Winter

+ snow-and-ice-friendly flat over-the-knee bootsI like a soft bootleg and go a half size up so I can wear warm wool socks underneath or the durability and grip of a Dr. Marten if you’re sure you’re in for more treacherous conditions. 

 

+ warm hat and blanket scarf

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Spring

+ rain boots & umbrella?

+ 1-2 pair(s) loose pants   use this link for 10% off your & Other Stories purchase   + 1 pair linen shorts – my favorite are from Oysho, use this link  for 10% off

Summer

Oversized coat

– black skinny jeans

2 sweaters

+ 1 bikini top + 2 bikini bottoms

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+ 1-2 pair(s) loose pants      + 1 pair linen shorts

+ midi skirt (so easy to travel in, cute with a crop top!)

 

For trips in Nature:

+ cropped leggings

+ hiking shorts athletic tank

+ athletic shoes: sneakers/trainers/hiking boots

+ Compressible rain shell OR down puffer

+ DEET wipes (for zones with hazardous disease such as Malaria, Yellow Fever)

For special events

(optional) LBDif you have an event that calls for it

Accessories

small cross-body bag       (optional) foldable shoulder bag       (optional) wristlet clutch

What’s in my handbag:

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  • Sunglasses
  • Lavender-scented hand sanitizer 
  • Skinfood – for hands and lips or to use as a face mask on long flights, an overnight mask for parched skin in winter
  • Lipstick
  • Strong mints
  • Phone, wallet, keys
  • Passport

 

 

 

(optional) simple gold jewelry to mix and match

Toiletries

I have some favorites from the United States:

and from Europe:

I transfer my regular products into small reusable & travel-sized “goo” tubes:

  • Shampoo & conditioner
  • face/body wash & lotion
  • deodorant & sunscreen
  • toothbrush & paste

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Simple Makeup

BB/CC cream or mineral powder and brush + mascara, maybe concealer, bronzer/highlighterkeep it simple

Then pick a couple of “glam” goods, maybe a tube of red lipstick or a tiny hairdryer —

Don’t forget basic meds: pain/anti inflamitary, antihistamine, antidiarrheal, feminine products, daily multivitamins, dramamine (or gravel), nail clippers & file, tweezers

Tech

Phone (this is my camera) & charger(s)- sometimes nice to have a small power block to recharge phone during long flights, a power adapter if needed, and headphones

Optional Extras

For a journey sure to involve hostel bunks I throw in a silk sleep sheet.

When I know I’ll have yoga time I bring along my travel mat.

For long haul flights I add an eye mask & earplugs (or noise canceling headphones). I also like to bring some backup snacks such as an apple/orange, protein bars, and tea bags.

66C5AFC3-98AB-4C0A-AF2E-EB9CBD790F5DI always bring along my reusable water bottle which slides into the outside pocket of my pack.

Tips

  • baby or feminine wipes make great makeup removers/full body spot “showers” in flight
  • toss dryer sheets into your packing cubes and the dirty laundry pocket of your bag to keep everything smelling a bit fresher
  • tiger balm always comes in handy for aches and pains associated with carrying a backpack or walking 10x your usual amount & helps with itchy bug bites. I also like to put it on my toes before bed to keep them warm in the winter.
  • Coconut oil makes a wonderful cooking oil, makeup remover, insect repellent and light sunscreen/moisturizer. It’s a great purchase once you arrive at your destination due to its versatility but I avoid packing it since it could easily spill and stain my things.

If you piled every single thing you own around you, could you see over your pile? With so much world to see, keep it simple. 

COVID-19 & coming to peace with being at home

I completed two weeks of self quarantine… just in time for at 15 more days of shelter in place. Here’s what I’m learning about #stayingin

Follow along during the next 14-days of my journey on Instagram 

Before you start, if you can:

Ask yourself:

  • Where do I want to be?
  • Who do I want to be with?

Get there, with them, if you can.

Now, set a schedule. And stick to it.

Mine looks like this:

wake up words

Words are important.

Begin each day by reading a poem, quote or phrase. Find a source which will help set the mood up to be tranquil or calming, deep or moving, a little optimism goes a long way. I’ll share some of my favorites on Instagram 

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first meal + focus

Don’t skip breakfast. Start with some fruit and coffee or tea, I love toast with PB or avocado and black pepper or honey and olive oil. While you sip your warm beverage of choice, consider a focus for the day – it can be as simple as being (cyber) social or as big as thanking/embracing your body – let the word(s) come to you which need(s) to and write it down somewhere to keep in the back of your mind throughout today.

morning meditation

Start with three breaths. Breathe in through your nose. Breathe out through your nose. Feel the cool air come in, the warmer air flow out. Feel the cool air come in, the warmer air flow out. Notice the pause between breaths. Let your face relax, let your shoulders relax. Feel the movement of your stomach and chest, out and in, with each breath. Notice, and your breath naturally slows down. Breathe, and everything changes.

For more techniques follow @graceintheworld on Instagram 

yoga every day

Start simple and please pay attention to your body – it often tells you when something is not quite right – I love how simple postures are broken down by Yoga to the People (huge fan of their studios/ethos) and the diversity of levels offered by Yoga with Adriene is excellent, well liked by many fellow yoga practitioners.

I will also provide a pose each day which will fit with each day’s focus, words, work. etc. You know where to get my 14-day guide, right? (email me!)

Most of the time I prefer to practice in the first half of the day but sometimes this feels like it needs to wait until later or be broken into two shorter periods – a few postures here and there – find what works for you and be flexible (no pun intended) with your needs as they will surely vary day-to-day.

A.M. creativity

Creativity demands an active brain and since brain activity peaks in the late morning, best to put all of that good energy into something you’re passionate about towards the front end of each day. I have all kinds of ideas for you: vision boards, creative cooking and more.. here’s a sneak preview of my vision board (for my next 14 days):

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big midday meal #eatingin

Maybe it isn’t so easy to find what you usually buy at the supermarket. Maybe you’re needing to rely on what’s brought to you by a friend or roommate during this time. I wholeheartedly encourage you to embrace this challenge.

If shopping trips are a possibility, think outside of your usual routes and routines – is there a little local market hidden behind the supermarkets most frequent? Does the butcher’s shop offer fresh eggs even when bigger shops are sold out? Innovate, people! Make an adventure of this thing. Some small business owners are innovating as well – a flower shop may offer fresh farm produce or a coffee shop might be your best bet bodega for fresh milk and bread. 

Treat yourself to delivery once in a while, focusing on smaller businesses during peak hours . Or offer a zero interest loan to your favorite local spots via gift card purchase. Beauty salons, boutiques and your brunch go-to’s need your love now. See if a local bookshop is offering a delivery option, support a friend who is struggling by sending them something. Do what you can, intentionally.

So they have one pomegranate and one avocado left in the produce aisle – ever considered topping guacamole with pom seeds? (I did this and it’s delicious!) I dare you to try new things. I encourage you to move slowly and mindfully through the supermarket, taking nutritious foods that many impulsive buyers may have overlooked. Most of you know how much of a foodie I’d like to be and I’d be lying if I didn’t say cooking was one of the most precious activities to mark my two weeks. If cooking is new for you or doesn’t feel so exciting, order delivery! It’s a great time to support local businesses in this way. Treat yourself to nourishing, satisfying meals. (bonus: take your multivitamin to cover any gaps in your nutrition, so important especially during times like these)

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siesta

As a Spanish resident, I must touch on this precious tradition.

I have this idea that people used to take a lot more naps. Before industrialization and modern day demands, before commutes and office spaces and unlimited information at our finger tips, before the coolness of busyness took over our brains and efficiency ruled everything, there was a lot more down time built into the days. I think we’re missing that space between happenings. Maybe you’ll find some of this reappearing during your extended time at home. I love a tiny nap (never more than 30-40 minutes) as a way to reset midday.

work/study/play

One of the first big at home projects I completed was a closet clean out. I do these regularly and clearing out for a fresher space felt like a first priority. I’ll outline how I go about this @graceintheworld on Instagram and/or in my complete 14-day guide email.

Have remote work to do? Want to learn something or study something? Feeling restless and needing to play? Around mid-to-late-afternoon I find myself somewhere between these things. On a good day I can channel the energy into studying Spanish or researching future adventures. For some intellectual stimulation TED talks or a podcast can fit nicely.

page-01-7Sometimes what I need is a blast of physical movement midday: 10 burpees or a good dance to a song played way too loud. I do not have a normal workload to do from home but if you do this is the time to do that. Have a project you’ve been meaning to start/work on (for me that’s this blog topic), give it a shot! However, artist Timothy Goodman says it nicely:

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evaluate/reset

I like to have an afternoon tea. Take a moment around 4P.M. to both reflect on what you’ve achieved and notice how you’re doing emotionally. Care to keep working? Or do you really need to be doing something else right now?

If you can, GO OUTSIDE. Do you have a yard? A balcony? Can you put on gloves and a face mask and walk once around the block? Around the outside of your house? How about a rural getaway or a walk up and down the driveway?

Adding just a few minutes of fresh air or outdoor footsteps in the safest way possible changes everything. In some cases this won’t be possible but if you have the chance and it’s been deemed safe to do so don’t miss this priceless opportunity. For me, grocery store runs become as exciting as they used to be in childhood.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes” –Proust

Alternatively, fresh air and sunlight when and where you can get it. Move your workspace under the window or wake up a bit earlier to take in the days’ first rays. Nap like a cat on the sofa in the sun. Take it all in (and maybe take some vitamin D?)

connect

“What did you struggle with today and what gave you hope?”

Ask your friends, ask your mom. Call your grandmother and all of those people you always mean to, but somehow never do. This is an amazing time to reconnect with anyone you’ve lost touch with. Set a time to make a phone call, maybe every afternoon before dinner? We are social creatures and isolation is deeply uncomfortable. The power of a responsive voice, of someone listening to your voice or a face on live video chat, you need that. Call somebody every day. Don’t wait for them to call you.

Houseparty app is a fun way to play games with friends and their friends. Why not make new friends from the comfort of your own sofa?

snack

You may be moving differently than you normally do. I usually walk five miles a day and attend yoga or Pilates weekday evenings. Now I’m lucky to get in a half mile and 20-30 minutes of yoga daily. It’s too easy to get concerned about how my body might be changing. Food + control can be a slippery slope. Actress/activist Jameela Jamil spoke eloquently to this, she said,

“I know now might be an unsettling moment as you may be eating different foods, maybe more food, and moving around less, and generally just feeling out of control in life. Know that it’s all going to be ok and that by doing what you are doing you are potentially SAVING lives. Try if you can to look at food as a miracle and a friend, and thank your body for keeping you safe and well in this testing moment. And also thank you for staying in and doing what is best fo the world around you. Nothing matters right now more than ending this pandemic. I see you I am with you. I love you. Unfollow anyone who is making you feel bad about the way you look and focus on the things and people you love in this moment.”

Light tapas-style dinners feel good to me but please do what’s right for you.

relax

Yes, you should stay somewhat informed and no,  it’s not easy to talk about anything besides COVID-19, but please consider allocating some time (especially at the end of the day) to get away from all of that worry and fear and allow your body and mind to relax. If meditation works well for you, great! Do more of that. If escaping into reading or watching a sitcom or realty show suits your style/mood today, now is your moment. Allow yourself to unwind, to check out, to journey into your own secret refuge, whatever that may be. But set a time limit. Too much of these things can turn on us – moderation is key.

Note: on the days when I felt the stress was altogether too much, I silenced all text/call notifications and temporarily removed social media apps and news updates from my phone. I’m now considering media-free Sundays going forward (beyond this virus as well). We all need a break from the frenzy!

Focusing on smells can be a great relaxation trick. Pull out your yummiest smelling lotions and potions and candles – now is the time to surround yourself with the best scents.

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take care

It’s too easy to spend the whole day in your PJs with an unwashed face and messy hair. That might slide on an actual sick day or two but this is longer term and I realized early on that simply putting on a fresh outfit and keeping up with basic grooming (I’m not telling you to wear makeup or shoes unless you want to) seriously improved my mood. Maybe it’s the rhythm of dressing up in something new for each day, but I think keeping a routine provides a reassuring sense of normalcy.

If you, like me, find a little more time that usual in your evenings, level up with a little home spa treatment every few days:

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and don’t tell me you don’t have time to floss your teeth before bed right now.

sleep well

Dedicating a room to sleep is ideal. Many of us may live in multi-purpose spaces where this is next to impossible. I ask you to consider your surroundings – are they hospitable to rest and relaxation? Keep things tidy and focus on a neutral or soothing color pallet (think greens and blues) – update your home decor to maximize comfort – and practice simple nighty routines. I end each day with a cup of herbal tea.

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Times of struggle unearth our deepest truths and the incredible power of our hope reveals itself in human innovation, resilience. To have a roof over our heads and food to eat is the simplest, most precious gift. To be with or communicate with those we love is equally so. Now more than ever I am reminded how important this base is. I knew it but had let myself forget it. I’m also remembering that, above all else, my body is my home. It is a time for boundless care. Maybe this call to turn inwards is the silver lining.

Go in and in by Danna Faulds

Valuable resources relating to this post:

Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health – LINK

Simple Activities for Children and Adolescents – LINK

Psychological Effects of Quarantine – LINK

Identifying and coping with unhealthy thoughts – LINK

Get support regarding your anxiety or stress by speaking to a trained counselor at SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or by texting TalkWithUS 66746

Behind the blog:

It took me a long time to gain the courage to post this statement. This is a glimpse into how I was feeling a month ago, it’s a testament to the burden of stigma which is affecting too many and my offering to those experiencing something similar or worse. I ask you to please read not only my words, but the article attached to them as well since it’s with great care and caution that I reveal this personal hardship to you. In fact, this is hardly personal, it’s the whole world’s, and I insist that we face the countless challenges that Covid-19 confronts us with patiently, with sympathy and with an abundance of faith in humanity.

“What we don’t need in the midst of struggle is shame for being human.” -Brene Brown

In February I visited Northern Italy for a wonderful ski trip. Eighteen days after flying back home from Milan I developed a cough. By this time Italy had declared a nationwide emergency and since I work at a school I knew it was incredibly important to stay home (which requires self reporting) immediately to avoid any possibility of spreading the virus should I be a carrier. That decision came with tough consequences. I’ve been in quarantine at home for nine days now. I am confined to one room and bathroom and must keep two meters from my roommates and use a variety of precautions in the kitchen including sanitary supplies which the Spanish government supplied when a nurse came to my house to test me by jamming swabs up my nose and down my throat a couple of days ago. I told some close friends and family as well as my roommates and colleagues about the situation initially since they may be directly affected and I desperately needed some support. Reactions vary. Most are immediately either dismissive or attempt to lighten the circumstance with comedy. Usually after some time the fear and avoidance begins. I understand. I, too, have the instinct to avoid the uncomfortable. I also have the instinct to want to join other humans and I’m fighting this every day in order to respect the quarantine and public safety. I may in fact be dangerous and this is heart wrenching. I am doing my very best to be cautious and be truthful but I am suffering. I haven’t felt physically sick anymore for seven of these nine days (it was a simple two day cough and sore throat, never a fever) but I can’t shake this sick person shame. I don’t get to see what’s going on out there. I hear a lot of fear and I feel so sorry if I’m accidentally/unknowingly part of the problem. As I await a test result everyone asks me for an update. I have nothing. I wait by my phone for hours and shake with anxiety every time it rings. In the meantime I must act as if I am infected as a precaution and it’s scary, alienating. I am grateful for my mother, brother, and boyfriend for continuing to check in via phone but to go so long without being allowed human contact or proximity is crushing. Sharing this is terrifying. I fear mayhem. I fear a blowback which could threaten my safety. I fear eternal isolation. But I want anyone else who might be weighing reporting or anyone else in this awful waiting game, anyone confirmed infected, to know that I know how they’re feeling. It’s not our fault, we’re not unclean, and if I can beg anyone reading this to be brave and do the right thing, to be humane and treat others with respect knowing you’re just as vulnerable, to reevaluate how being dismissive or overly paranoid is seriously impacting people and hurting people, these actions mean everything right now. Phone calls help, but normal conversations only please—I don’t feel sick, I don’t need to rest, I just need to be treated like an equal human being. The world is anything but normal, believe me when I say I know that, but wow do I need a small feeling of normalcy. I’ve used less than half of a roll of toilet paper and no bottled water. I’ve needed yoga. I’ve needed to get offline. I’ve needed a normal weekly amount of healthy groceries delivered by a friend and desperately prayed for patience and autonomy. Please stay calm as you participate in a tremendous act of human cooperation. This could be our amazing opportunity to simplify, to innovate and improvise.. if we choose to go about it that way.. if I’m lucky enough to test negative then my next wish is freedom to choose—where do I want to be and who do I want to be with? —if you’re lucky enough to have those choices right now please take them seriously.

These days I sit comfortably at home. I am healthy and calm and where I need to be with who I need to be with. I too fall into boredom then bounce back into worry or self-care or productivity. It’s rocky, then devastating, then peacefully grounding, uncomfortably comfortable. When I look back on my own words, written in such a state of intense fear and despair, it is gratitude that overwhelms me. We’re all facing the fortune which is good health and the fragility which is life. I hope that we can grow kinder to one another through this understanding. Humans are strange and amazing beings, groups of humans can collaborate to overcome tremendous odds only if they do not fall into the belly of their own fear. If you are suffering or have suffered from Covid-19 and need a safe person to talk to I am here with you, your secret is safe with me. If you’ve realized that you treated someone who was/is/could be sick in a way which was rooted in fear, thank you for realizing that, I hope you’ll take the moment to heart and try to recognize and overcome stigmas whenever, with whomever, they appear next (this goes way beyond Covid-19). Seek and share only sound information, education deconstructs stigma. A patient who is fully recovered from Covid-19 is no longer infectious and should not be treated differently. Be soft with those who are or were suffering. I was in a pretty dark place a month ago, but today I’m ok. I trust us. We will do our best, our best is enough. We will stay home, take care, and give thanks.

Planning my Camino

Walk Through Spain

The Camino de Santiago {with shameless cheats} in 28 days

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Pamplona >> Santiago

 

I share most of my experiences after the fact. This post is different. Despite having planned two trips for my brother then my mother, I have yet to walk this route through Northwest Spain. It’s a trip that has been on my mind for a while and I thought I’d just put the information out there for others who have similar goals. Have you walked the camino? Your comments will be of great help to this post and I invite them below! My goal is to complete this adventure one day and when that day comes you know a follow-up post will be done. Now, a glimpse in the intricate mind of Grace in the World in planning mode…  

Budget 880€ (accommodations/transport 580€+10/day for food 300€)

The Itinerary

Day 1:

(best to start on a Monday) 

Register in Pamplona (optional)

Day 2:

Start walking! Pamplona >> Cizur Menor (amenities, 12th century Church of San Miguel with a fortified tower) >> Alto del Perdon or “Hill of Forgiveness” >> Zariquiegui >> sculpture of pilgrims >> Uterga >> Muruzabal >> Puente La Reina {5 hrs/24km}

Day 3: 

Puente La Reina >> cross the Pilgrims’ Bridge >> Maneru >> Cirauqui (Church of San Roman built in the 13th century) >> Lorca (Hospital de Peregrinos de Arandigoyen) >> Villatuerta >> Estella {4.5 hrs/21km}

Day 4:

Estella (Bodegas Irache wine museum) >> Azqueta and Villamayor de Monjardin >> Los Arcos {4 hrs/19km} 

Day 5:

Los Arcos >> Torres del Rio >> Virgen del Poyo >> Viana (palaces in Plaza de los Fueros + Plaza del Coso + gothic church of Santa Maria de la Asuncion) >> Logroño {5.5 hrs/27km}

 

Day 6:

EXTRA DAY in LOGROÑO

Day 7:

EXTRA DAY in LOGROÑO

Day 8:

Logroño (Puerta del Camino) >>Navarrete (Bodegas: La Rioja wine + Iglesia de la Asuncion) >> Nájera {6 hrs/28km}

Hostal Hispano

Day 9:

Nájera >> Azofra >> Cirueña >> Santo Domingo de la Calzada {4hrs/20km}

Day 10:

Santo Domingo de la Calzada >> cross River Oja/Puente del Santo (Saint’s Bridge) >> Granon >> Redecilla del Camino >> Castildelgado >> Viloria de la Rioja >> Villamayor del Rio >> Belorado {4.5 hrs/22km}

Day 11:

Belorado >> Tosantos >> Villambistia >> Espinosa del Camino >> Villafranca Montes de Oca >> Agés >> Atapuerca (three kilometers away, 800,000 year old human remains were discovered. These are the oldest human remains discovered in Europe! ) {6 hrs/29km}

La plazuela verde

Day 12:

Atapuerca >> Villalval >> Cardenuela de Riopico >> Orbaneja >> Villafria >> Burgos (see the walls of an old castle or the Museum of Human Evolution + the gothic cathedral) {3.5 hrs/17km}

Day 13:

EXTRA DAY IN BURGOS

Day 14:

DAY IN BURGOS + bus to Fromista

Day 15:

Fromista >> Poblacion de Campos >> Revenga de Campos >> Villarmentero de Campos >> Villalcazar de Sirga (Church of Santa Maria la Blanca) >> Carrión de los Condes {4 hrs/19km}

Day 16:

Carrión de los Condes >> Calzadilla de la Cueza >> Ledigos >> Terradillos de Templarios  >> Moratinos {6 hrs/29km}

Hostal Moratinos

Day 17:

Moratinos >> Sahagún >> Calzada del Coto >> Bercianos del Real Camino {4 hrs/19km}

Day 18:

Bercianos del Real Camino >> El Burgo Ranero >> Villarente {7 hrs/32 km}

Albergue San Pelayo

Day 19:

Villarente >> Mansilla >> Villamoros de Mansilla >> Puente Valdelafuente >> Puente Castro >> Leon (Cathedral/Pulchra Leonina) {2.5 hrs/12km}

Day 20:

EXTRA DAY in LEON

Day 21:

EXTRA DAY in LEON + Bus to Astorga {10 euros} (Museum of Pilgrimage/Palacio Episcopal by Antoni Gaudi)

Day 22:

Astorga >> Valdeviejas >> Murias de Rechivaldo >> Santa Catalina de Somoza >> El Gamso >> Rabanal del Camino {4.5 hrs/20km}

Day 23:

Rabanal del Camino >> Foncebadon (place a rock taken from home at Cruz de Ferro to symbolize a burden left behind) >> Manjarin >> El Acebo >> Riego de Ambros >> Molinaseca >> Ponferrada {4.5 hrs/20km}

Day 24:

Ponferrada >> Compostilla >> Columbrianos >> Fuentes Nuevas >> Camponaraya >> Cacabelos (Archaeological Museum + Iglesia de Santa Maria de la Plaza) >> Pieros >> Valtuille de Arriba >> Villafranca del Bierzo {4.5 hrs/20km}

Day 25:

Villafranca del Bierzo >> Pereje >> Trabadelo >> La Portela de Valcarce >> Ambasmestas >> Vega de Valcarce >> Ruitelan >> Las Herreias de Valcarce (The road will start its ascent) >> La Faba >> La Laguna de Castilla {6 hrs/25km}

Day 26:

La Laguna de Castilla >> O Cebreiro >> Linares >> Hospital de la Condesa >> Padornelo >> Alto do Poio >> Fonfria >> Biduedo >> Filloval >> As Pasantes >> Ramil >> Triacastela >> Aguiada >> Sarria

+ Train to END in Santiago

Day 27:

EXTRA DAY in SANTIAGO

Day 28:

EXTRA DAY in SANTIAGO 

 

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Pack LIGHT: 

  • 25L Backpack
  • packing cube/dry bag for clothing (all quick dry)
  • 3 tops (1 long sleeve 1 tank 1 tee)
  • 3 bottoms (yoga leggings, trail pants, hiking shorts)
  • 2 bras, 2-3 pairs underwear
  • 2 pairs socks
  • LBD
  • Hiking Boots
  • Sandals
  • Hat
  • Light scarf/wrap
  • Fleece?
  • Small umbrella?
  • Sunglasses
  • Water bottle
  • iPad + charger, Passport, credit cards, phone, headphones
  • Shampoo/conditioner, comb, deodorant, toothbrush/paste, razor, face/body wash/lotion, nail clippers, tweezers, band-aids + antiseptic, anti-chafe balm, arnica oil, tiger balm, anti-inflammatory, chapstick, Sunscreen, laundry soap
  • Sleep sheet & travel towel
  • A small rock or other token from home to leave at the Cruz de Ferro

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Some general notes about Spain

  • most Spaniards have a light breakfast (usually bread+cookies/cake) first thing in the morning then a second breakfast around 11.00 (a second coffee + tostada/croissant/fruit/yogurt)
  • Coffee choices: “cafe con leche” = 1/4 espresso + 3/4 warm milk (flat white), “cortado” = half espresso half milk, iced coffee is not a thing, neither is filter coffee.
  • lunchtime is 14.00-16.00 (sometimes 17.00) – it’s the biggest meal of the day
  • a “menu del día” is a three-course lunch special Monday-Friday
  • siesta (after lunch) means most villages will be closed 16.00-18.00/19.00
  • dinnertime starts at 20.00 (finishes around 23.00) – tapas style light bites

Accommodations: http://www.alberguescaminosantiago.com/albergues/

Route info: https://www.pilgrim.es/en/french-way/