Teleworking and Staying Grounded

Hi everyone.

I hope you all are hanging in there and doing well. Like many people, the Corona Virus has changed the way of life where I live. I am fortunate and grateful to be one of the people who can work from home and continue to receive a paycheck. So, for the first time, I am a full-time teleworker. I’ve learned some things already.

Even if you’re teleworking, you still need to:

  1. Get dressed in the morning: I have been putting on my work clothes, earrings and jewelry every day and it makes me feel better. If I stay in my robe and pajamas all day, I feel out of sorts.
  2. Meal plan: If you are going to be spending 8 hours in front of a computer with a shorter lunch break and you must attend virtual meetings, you still need to meal plan. At least plan breakfast in advance.
  3. Schedule your time: The requirements for teleworking in my field are stringent, so I am required to submit a daily work plan. This is helpful because it keeps me on track. Try to set daily goals, including when you’ll break for lunch.
  4. Talk to family members: If you have children or other adults in your household, coordinate when and where you’ll work. If you must entertain children, make sure to set a schedule that allows for childcare. There is a great classical music channel that children can listen to while parents work. Check it out here: https://www.yourclassical.org/listen/kids-classical
  5. Have a designated workspace: If you can, try to carve out a corner of the room where you can work. Arrange the space so that you have the supplies that you need. I am working on a tray table in a quiet space in my home. I’m sitting on an antique couch, but I have everything that I need.

Staying Grounded:

  1. Pray or meditate: Every morning, I’ve been doing a devotional and praying. If you’re not a person who prays, try to meditate or take deep breaths. I like to listen to relaxing music and breathing deeply.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeV4u5Y-3ac
  2. Self-care: Make sure you’re taking care of yourself. Don’t flood yourself with the news. Check a reputable news site to get the information you need, but then try to give yourself breaks from the news too. I like to listen to NPR in the morning and listen to relaxing music in the afternoon.
  3. Be grateful: Try to highlight the positive things in your life. I am grateful that I have a job that allows me to work from home and that I have my family with me.
  4. Listen to the healthcare experts: You can’t control this pandemic, but we can all work together to practice good hygiene by hand washing, keeping a safe distance between you and others etc. Learn more: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
  5. Connect (digitally or in an appropriate way) with family members and friends. I have been texting and talking on the phone with friends and spending time with family members.
  6. Spend time in nature:  I am planning to go outside and watch the night sky. Last week, I watched the moon with a family member. There is something so peaceful about nature. Be careful to keep a safe distance from other individuals, per the CDC guidelines.
  7. Work on indoor projects. Check out your local library for free online classes. You can enroll in an online cooking class or try a YouTube craft tutorial. You can also read books, read a daily poem, blog, draw, listen to audiobooks etc. Do something productive and relaxing.
  8. Eat healthily: This is part of self-care, but make sure that you are eating healthy balanced meals.
  9. Give: Look for ways that you can help others. It could be a smile or kind word or donating (if you can) to a food bank or local community organization that is providing laptops and school supplies to children who cannot attend school right now.
  10. Stay positive: Even when I get irritated sitting all day to the point that my butt numbs, even if my job isn’t exactly what I want to be doing, even if I get irritated with things my family does, I am trying to keep perspective and stay positive. I am constantly telling myself how grateful I really am to have my family; how grateful I am to have a job that allows me to work from home. Reminding myself of this gratitude keeps me positive, prevents me from snapping and keeps things in perspective.
  11. Finally, thank your health care providers, teachers and all those who are stepping up to do their jobs and help others during this time. They deserve respect and appreciation during this time.
  12. Check out Abagond’s post: https://abagond.wordpress.com/2020/03/10/the-coronavirus/

Lessons learned so far: This is a very humbling experience for me, and this is a time when I’ve been reminded of both how fragile and magnificent life is. I’m going to make a conscious effort to be more grateful for my family and the small things in life.

What about you? What lessons have you learned and how are you doing?

 

Healthful Eating Journey|Weight Loss Tricks That Have Worked For Me

A photo of healthy smoothie with colorful fruits and vegetables

I’ve been seeing a nutritionist for 1.5 years and I’ve lost 46 pounds. I haven’t been counting calories or points. I’ve just made small changes that I have been able to sustain.  It’s been a slow and steady journey.

In a stressful world, a critical aspect of protecting and fortifying yourself is eating healthy. Part of living a lovely life is prioritizing and taking care of ourselves. I will be taking you with me on my healthful journey, as I strive to document my strategies and lessons learned for living a lovely life.

Eating healthy isn’t easy for everyone, especially if you live in a food desert. I don’t have to tell you the inequities that make healthful eating more difficult for some. Some people who don’t have access to healthy food are being disproportionately plagued by diseases like obesity, hypertension, and Type 2 diabetes. Some studies posit that there is a connection between the prevalence of these diseases, including obesity, and the stress of racism by the way. In the past, I’ve struggled with mild PCOS, but eating healthy has eliminated my symptoms almost entirely. I hope to share practical and affordable changes that I’ve made to be more healthy.

For me, developing healthy eating habits makes my life a bit lovelier, so here are the top things that I have learned so far.

My Lessons Learned So far…

  1. Having a good nutritionist is essential. Diets didn’t work for me, but small changes have helped me lose weight.
  2. I had to make sure to choose a nutritionist who is going to help me, not judge me.
    • For example, I love “soul food.” I made sure to select a nutritionist who was going to show me how to modify the foods I love so that they were healthier, not forbid them entirely. Simple swaps I’ve made in recipes include: using sugar-free substitutes when possible, using whole grain rice or quinoa and using low sodium chicken broth. There are some great healthy soul food cookbooks. 
  3. I had to develop a healthy routine for RELAXING. After a long day at work, my habit used to be to sit in front of a screen and eat as much as I could, then I’d snack the rest of the evening just to relax more. This is mindless eating. Now, I sit down at the table with some relaxing music and real dishes. After dinner, I de-stress by having a cup of caffeine-free herbal tea and I do a simple craft, read or listen to soothing music. I also use adult coloring books. I try to minimize social media.
  4. I do simple exercises. I am not a gym goer. I don’t like having to master complex moves to get a workout or spend unnecessary money, but I will…  powerwalk or stroll for 30 minutes to an hour.  I will take the stairs. I will do ten minutes of exercise in the morning. Adopting these simple activities into my life has been very beneficial to my health. Tip: Using a pedometer is very helpful. Smartphones have an app and you can get pedometers for fairly reasonable prices online. You don’t have to do a Fitbit.
  5. I fill half my plate with leafy vegetables. This satiates me and keeps me from overeating.
  6. I fill a quarter of my plate with lean proteins, like grilled chicken breasts or fish.
  7. I eat more sweet potatoes. A quarter of my plate is reserved for healthy starches and sweet potatoes are my go to. They are delicious and since I have a sweet tooth, they satisfy that craving. They are also healthy.
  8. I aim to drink half of my body weight in ounces of water daily. I carry a 32 oz. (BPA free) water bottle to work and drink water at every meal.
  9. I use portion control. I try to measure out portions using the hand method. For example, the front of your balled-up fist is a serving of pasta. The size of your palm is a serving of meat. There are also great tools that can help portion food on your plate. 
  10. Use your spirituality. If you are religious or spiritual, incorporate your spirituality into your journey. I try to pray about my health journey. If you don’t pray, perhaps meditate or just take time for yourself.

  My goal is to lose 15 to 20 pounds more and I’ll be within a healthy body weight range.

I have incorporated these changes gradually into my lifestyle. During the holidays, I did get a bit sidetracked, but I will do a post in the future about tackling holiday eating.  

So what is on the menu for me this week? 

Breakfast: 1 slice whole wheat bread with peanut butter and a boiled egg.

OR

A healthy chocolate smoothie (with spinach, black beans, and fruit). It tastes better than it sounds and I will be sharing my recipe soon.

Lunch: Salad with turkey or a smoothie and an apple.

Snack: Almonds and a piece of fruit

Dinner Menus:

For me, being healthy in a world where Black women are regularly pushed to the limit is a powerful tool for living a lovely life.