Lockdown Guide from a Mom of Four
Whether we like it or not, our lives have changed drastically over the last year. The pandemic we are still facing can make us feel anxious and stressed. We, mothers, face even greater epidemic - the epidemic of 'burn out' as we have to home-school our kids, take care of our household, loved ones, cook meals and tele-work.
Words of encouragement: there is an end to all this. And although it might seem like you don't see the light at the end of the tunnel, there is one. Until then, find below some tips that can help you survive these strange times.
Schedules and Homeschooling
1. Some kids thrive better on a schedule (mine don't), so it's a good idea to set up a schedule for homeschooling, meal times, play, if your kids seem distracted easily.
2. Don't try to follow the curriculum at 100 percent, especially if you have more kids. Pick up the most important skills - reading, math, etc. Some subjects, such as history or geography, can be taught simultaneously having all kids around.
3. Keep the meals as simple as possible. This doesn't mean you have to rely on take away and frozen pizza. Stir fry, pressure cooker meals or soups work well. I have a couple of recipes which I'm repeating over and over. These include: sourdough pizza with different toppings, vegetable stir fry with sausages, vegetable, pumpkin or tomato soup, gluten free pasta with bolognaise sauce and tortilla. These are very easy recipes which can be also prepared in advance (bolognaise sauce can be prepared in big quantities and frozen). In case you need some help, download my batch cooking menu below.
4. Let kids help with chores and meal prep. This is a great time to teach your kids that moms don't just sit around sipping coffee all day but have an unpaid job at home.
5. To practice physical but not social distancing, use Skype or Zoom. Many teachers organize zoom or Skype classrooms. Kids are sometimes better at using technologies than their parents. However, they should not be online all the time. Especially in the evening hours staring at blue light emitted from devices can wreak havoc on their sleep. Devices should also be kept out of bedrooms not only for kids but for adults alike.
6. Spending time in nature is crucial. In fact, people started to enjoy their time in nature much more due to pandemic. If you are not able to go out for a walk, go out in the garden or on the balcony, especially in the morning. Exposing yourself to morning light can help you to sleep better.
7. Open windows often to let in fresh air. You can also diffuse essential oils, such as rosemary and lemon in the morning, and lavender or frankincense in the evening. Use only high quality essential oils.
8. Eat whole food. Now is the time to learn new skills such as cooking, gardening, sprouting.
Meals and Foods to Stock up on
As mentioned previously, now is the best time to learn new skills such as cooking, sprouting, gardening. Try new recipes. Keep the meals as simple as possible and eat the rainbow. As we know, between 60 to 80 percent of our immune system resides in our gut so keeping our gut healthy is the most important strategy to avoid infection. Eat the rainbow - this can be turned into a game - how many colors can you count on your plate? What follows are healthy options to stock up on. If you have the opportunity to visit farmer's shops or farmer's markets, or even order a box with fresh, local and seasonal veggies, go for it. If you grow your own, plan for the coming season. Order seeds and plan your garden. Or start sprouting seeds. Seeds can be purchased online and in three days, you have a superfood ready to be used in recipes.
Foods to stock up on:
Canned fruits, vegetables, and beans : organic, no added sugar, low-sodium.
Wild-caught fish - canned or frozen: excellent option for quick simple meals packed with omega-3s
Making soups and broths ahead of time and freezing them. Use herbs like parsley, cilantro, oregano, and thyme.
Nuts, seeds, and nut butters (peanut, almond, sunflower) loaded with nutritious ingredients to support your body and an option for easy snacking
Frozen greens and veggies - easy to put in your morning green smoothie or a quick option for a meal
Collagen - to put in smoothies, coffee latte etc.
Rest, Self Care and Exercise
Sleep is one of the most underestimated solutions to keep our immune system healthy. Create a routine and go to sleep at the same hour every day. Avoid electronic devices at least 1 hour before going to bed. Between 6 to 8 hours of deep, uninterrupted sleep is optimal.
Exercise: With all gyms closed, it can be hard to stay motivated to exercise. Fortunately, there are so many home workouts you can try, check this out.
Self care rituals: The whole family is happy only if the mother is happy. I'm an advocate of self care rituals all year long, but they are even more important now than ever. Sign up for my course Radical Wellness Bootcamp to learn about many ways how to cope with stress.
1. Read a book or listen to an audio book. A list of inspiring books to read in 2021 can be found here: Books to read in 2021.
2. Have an Epsom salt bath with Lavender essential oil. Be sure to limit your soak to 20 minutes, rinse off after, and hydrate well.
3. Meditate, pray, recite mantras. All these techniques help center your mind and soothe your stress.
4. Diffuse essential oils, such as Wild Orange, Lavender, or Frankincense to stop stress in its tracks! To shop for essential oils, check out the tabs Products I Love.
Stay safe, stay home, stay well.