Due to COVID-19 restrictions you may not be able to travel overseas unless you get vaccinated. But that doesn’t mean you can’t travel at all. Grab this chance now to try to travel in your own country – provided your regulations allow you to do that.
There are plenty of places to see and I bet your home country is culture-rich and filled with interesting stories in history. But before you set out on a trip, you may want to read this article. I’ll be giving you my top 8 tips on how to travel with your family safely. Let’s dive in.
Get Routine Vaccinations
Before you travel in your own country make sure you and your family are up-to-date with routine vaccinations. This is especially true if you’re traveling with children. I traveled frequently with my fiancée and my baby girl. We made sure that our baby had all her vaccinations before going on our family trips which includes the following:
Measles Mumps Rubella
Make sure your baby has all his or her vaccinations before you go on your trip. COVID-19 has taught us that you can contract harmful viruses in many different ways. So don’t put your baby at risk by not getting them their routine vaccinations.
Tips When Traveling with Children
COVID-19 doesn’t affect children as severely as it would with adults or seniors. So it will be safe to travel in your own country along with your children. However, there are a few aspects to consider to ensure your children are taken care of during your travels.
Make sure each of your children have a bottle of hand sanitizer with them and they all have at least 3 to 4 clean, washable masks or a box of disposable ones. If you’re traveling with infants, make sure you know how many swaddles you need to keep your baby warm and comfortable. For us this was critical since our daughter loved spitting out her water when going to bed so we need to frequently change those swaddles.
You may want to avoid restaurants and places with high foot traffic so make sure you pack your children enough food and beverages to keep them happy. Make sure you teach them to sanitize their hands before and after eating.
And lastly, make sure you bring essentials with you for your children such as bottles, sippy cups, diapers and bibs.
Research Travel Restrictions in Your Country
Depending on which country you stay in, you may have to adhere to certain restrictions during your travels. Some countries have strict curfews so you may not be able to travel at certain times of the day or night. Other areas may restrict gatherings on beaches or by rivers.
Visit your government’s website to see what your travel restrictions are in your country. If you have a strict curfew and you’re traveling by car, make sure you arrive at your destination before curfew starts. Avoid going to any places that are restricted in your country.
Additionally, make sure you’re allowed to travel in your own country during the pandemic. If your country is experiencing a high volume of COVID-19 cases, it would be wise not to travel until it’s safe to do so again.
Have a COVID-19 Travel Kit
You should always have an emergency kit with you. But since you’re traveling during a pandemic there are certain medications that you should include in your kit. Pack medication specifically for the following:
You also want to make sure you stock up on vitamin C and give each member of your family a dose every day. There are chewable vitamin C’s and gummies that you can give to toddlers.
How to Travel With Seniors or Grandparents
If you’re traveling with seniors or your grandparents make sure they have the right kit. Seniors are more susceptible at contracting the Coronavirus and getting extremely ill. That’s because most seniors have underlying health conditions that make them vulnerable to the virus.
Before you decide to travel with seniors consult a healthcare professional to see if it’s safe for them to travel with you. Make sure they have all their medication with them and enough of the medicine to last the entire trip.
Furthermore, have a list of medical facilities nearby and contact numbers for local hospitals in case of an emergency.
Avoid COVID-19 Hotspots
You should have all the information you need on the COVID-19 hotspots in your country. If you’re not aware of any COVID-19 hotspots in your country, try looking it up on the internet. You may get the information you need on your government website.
If you go to a COVID-19 hotspot you’ll put your family at risk especially if you’re traveling with seniors. So before planning your trip and booking accommodation make sure the place you’re going to doesn’t have high COVID-19 cases.
Go to Uncrowded Places
The best places to travel are to places where there aren’t plenty of people. Beaches and resorts may be packed with holiday goers. So consider going to places that are quiet such as the mountains. Ideally you want to be in an open space with lots of fresh air where you can practice social distancing.
My family and I love camping in the mountains because we can go for hikes with our toddler without coming into contact with other people. It’s a safer way for us to travel. By letting them immerse themselves into nature, your kids can even get to enhance their focusing skills by not having distractions.
Plan Your Outdoor Activities
When you go on holiday, always have an itinerary of what everyone would like to do every day. Your grandparents may want to see a monument or your children may want to go for boat rides on the river. Planning your outdoor activities beforehand will make everyone happy because everyone will have a chance to do what they love.
Are you planning to travel in your own country with your family? Make sure you follow the tips provided in this article so you can keep your family safe during your travels. As long as you abide by your country’s regulations during the pandemic you and your family will be safe.
Always have hand sanitizer with you and wear your mask in public during your travels. And lastly, make sure you are near hospitals and you have emergency contact numbers at all times.
Balint Horvath is the founder of Projectfather. He’s a first-time father and when his daughter doesn’t occupy him, he is a productivity coach. He started the site to share his lessons learned, research he has made along his journey. His Mission Is to help Dads in A-Z of Fatherhood.
Mother’s Day might be behind us, but that doesn’t mean mom’s pampering stops! Self-care is so important regardless, but for moms, it’s vital for staying sane and continuing to juggle many responsibilities in the age of COVID-19.
For any self-care newbies, the concept might seem like a buzzword, but studies show its remarkable benefits for overall well-being and health. Self-care isn’t about slacking off or going to the spa, but the practice of taking action towards preserving one’s health.
This past year, moms have been forced to do the impossible– balance working from home, helping their kids with virtual learning, and keeping their homes running smoothly. Half of all moms have seen their workloads increase and to balance it all, put their own needs on the backburner.
If you’re a mom who deserves some time off or you know a mom who has been deprioritizing her own needs, the following 16 self-care ideas are for you. Let’s get started by listing different ideas for different kinds of moms!
Self-Care Ideas for Stay-At-Home Moms
Stay-at-home moms have not received the breaks they need as kids no longer have sporting programs, extracurricular activities, or school a part of their schedule. Here are a few ideas for incorporating self-care as a stay-at-home mom.
Indulge in “me-time”
Stay-at-home moms might feel like prioritizing time for themselves in a house full of kids is “selfish” however, self-care is about replenishing your resources without depleting someone else’s. Creating a standard of wellness and personal development in your household will also encourage your kids to do the same!
Talk to someone who can relate
Discuss the highs and lows of motherhood with someone who can relate to you. Venting to another mom can grant you the perspective you need to feel like you have support when you need it.
Research shows that meditation can sharpen your mental awareness, prevent insomnia and even help you feel more present and attentive when caring for your kids.
Self-Care Ideas for Moms Who Work
While the “rest is for the wicked” mindset, might prove successful in the workplace, breaks and relaxation time is needed for moms to balance work and family. Try the following self-care ideas geared at working moms.
Listen to a thought-provoking podcast
For busy moms who only have free time in the car or on the run, try listening to an inspirational podcast. Follow podcasters like Brené Brown or Oprah who converse with leaders in society to feel courageous during a chaotic climate.
Unplugging from technological devices allows your body to naturally shut down and relax for restful sleep.
Put it in your schedule
TEDx speaker and holistic nutritionist Rebecca Cafiero recommends blocking off time on her calendar for self-care. She says “If it isn’t scheduled, it isn’t real.”
Self-Care Ideas for Essential Workers
Moms who are also essential workers have been called to perform at the same level while experiencing psychological pressures from the pandemic. Explore the following ideas for getting the rest you need.
Look to others for support
Many moms are not able to receive the support they need from friends and family due to social distancing guidelines. Instead, ask friends and families to help you in other ways like going grocery shopping for you, dropping off dinners or virtually teaching your kids.
Creating boundaries is not an overnight process—and some people or family members are unaware that they’re constantly crossing them. Use it as an opportunity to instruct your coworkers or family on how you best communicate, when it’s appropriate to disrupt you (if ever), and what they can realistically expect from you.
Medical director Dr. Ben Crocker recommends “Intentionally creating ‘shutdown’ time in your schedule.” He says “This can be a healthy time alone, for meditation and quietude.”
Check-in with colleagues
Finding meaning in helping others can build a support system and create normalcy in a chaotic time. Check-in with colleagues to let them know you’ve got their back.
Self-Care Ideas for Moms-To-Be
As an expecting mom, it’s easy to become fixated on preparing for your baby’s arrival, but cultivating your well-being is crucial for a healthy pregnancy. Try some of the following ideas for moms-to-be!
Practice saying “no”
From friends offering unsolicited parenting advice to strangers asking to touch your belly, learning how to set boundaries can help you regain control of your pregnancy.
Get some exercise
As your pregnancy extends, there are many benefits to exercising for both mom and baby. Ask your doctor what a safe exercise session looks like for you based on your health.
Eat healthy foods
Food is medicine, and when expecting it’s important to make sure you are eating healthy and nutrient-rich food. Indulge in foods with protein, vitamins, and fiber such as salmon, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, and whole grains.
Explore clean beauty
Many personal care products contain harsh chemicals that can be harmful to you and your baby’s health. Read up on clean beauty picks for pregnant women and indulge in pampering yourself with fun and safe products.
Mother’s Day may happen once a year, but self-care for moms should be practiced every day. Find little ways to incorporate these ideas into your routine to stay happy and healthy all year long.
Stacy Walden is a writer from sunny San Diego. She enjoys covering topics around productivity and wellness in the workplace. When she’s not writing she likes spending time with her family and friends and traveling to new places abroad.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have created systemwide problems in the healthcare industry as well as major disruptions in Americans’ individual health care. For cancer patients and their families, the pandemic has amplified old health concerns (like the risk of serious illness from infection) and even produced new ones (like delays in treatment and checkups).
Cancer and its treatment can reduce the immune system’s ability to fight infection. Chemotherapy, for example, is a form of treatment known to significantly reduce patients’ ability to recover from common illnesses like the seasonal flu. Particularly aggressive and contagious viruses like COVID-19 complicate patients’ and their families’ lives even more. Family members and caregivers have done everything from sanitizing groceries to canceling chemo sessions to avoid potential coronavirus exposure.
While new research emerges almost daily with more information about fighting the effects of COVID-19, families can still follow a few simple tips to help keep loved ones with cancer healthier and happier.
Covid-19 and Cancer Statistics
A 2020 JCO Global Oncology Journal study of COVID-19 patients in Asia, Europe, and the U.S. revealed that cancer patients were admitted to hospital ICUs at much higher rates than people who never had cancer.
The result of delaying treatment even 4 weeks increases the risk of death for cancers like breast, colon, and lung cancer, according to a British Medical Journal study.
Research on the effects of coronavirus on cancer patients in the early part of the pandemic showed most cancer patients had a 1.8 times increased risk of dying from the virus compared to people without cancer. Patients with a blood cancer had 4 times the mortality risk if they became infected.
Early screenings for breast, cervix, and colon cancer fell more than 90% in 2020. Cancer screenings are the most effective method for making early-stage diagnoses with a better prognosis – especially important for cancers like mesothelioma with typically shorter life expectancy rates.
Tips for Families of Cancer Patients
Whether you live with a cancer patient, or try to visit one when you can, use the below tips to safely help loved ones navigate new rules for treatment and stay connected with family and friends.
Check on your isolated loved ones.
More than most people, those who have been diagnosed with cancer have had to spend long periods of time in quarantine to avoid exposure. Moreover, many hospitals have restricted visitors or banned them completely. Even delivering gifts like flowers and balloons might not be allowed.
Let patients know they’re not alone by sending messages or emails, making phone or video calls, and visiting when able. If you notice a severe change in his or her mood, notify a member of their cancer care team.
Regularly clean surfaces you touch a lot.
Washing your hands regularly seems like a no-brainer at this point, but cleaning all of the surfaces you touch is just as important. When virus-containing droplets from an infected person’s mouth lands on something you handle, you could transfer it to another surface or infect yourself by touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. These droplets pose an even greater risk to immunocompromised individuals.
Like washing your hands, remember to regularly clean surfaces you touch a lot (such as cell phones, door handles, keyboards, refrigerator handles, etc.).
Keep a journal to track existing and new symptoms.
If you’re taking care of someone with cancer, help them keep a journal of their current symptoms as well as any new ones that appear. Having a record of things like the frequency and intensity of nausea can help doctors diagnose cancer complications. Also, noting new symptoms may make treating side effects easier.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include feeling very tired, cough, shortness of breath, and a new loss of smell or taste. However, outlying effects from a COVID-19 infection can affect other areas of the body – especially for people with underlying conditions.
Use phone calls and video chat to stay in the loop at appointments.
Most hospitals and clinics have greatly restricted the number of people allowed inside their facilities. Due to COVID-19, cancer patients will likely end up going to checkups and out-patient treatments alone.
You can stay involved in your loved one’s cancer care by staying on the phone with the patient during doctor’s visits. Take notes and use the speaker function or video chats (like Skype and FaceTime) to ask questions over the phone.
Ask about adjusting the treatment plan.
Putting off elective cancer therapies even a few weeks can allow tumors to spread and cause further internal damage. Yet, some hospitals have been forced to delay treatments due to medical supply and in-patient room shortages.
To avoid treatment delays, ask about the possibility of switching infusions to prescription oral medication. Also, requesting an increase in your prescription amount can reduce the number of trips you need to make to the pharmacy.
Destiny Bezrutczyk is a digital content writer with six years’ experience editing and writing targeted, long- and short-form content for the web and social media. Her work includes topics spanning personal injury and wrongful death law, cancer care and medical research, as well as addiction and the mental healthcare industry. Destiny holds a bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from Texas Tech University.
This past year has upended many aspects of our day-to-day life, from our work to our routines of seeing friends and family on a regular basis. The uncertainty and stress, along with constantly changing news, has caused the anxiety of this past year to manifest itself in different ways for many of us. From increased online shopping to late-night doom-scrolling, many people have been unprepared to live in an extended period of trauma.
One of the ways that this uncertainty has manifested itself is anxiety-induced insomnia, especially for those that have never had sleeping issues before. This phenomenon, also known as “Coronasomnia,” is the persistence of sleep issues (such as trouble staying asleep or falling asleep) due to pandemic-related stressors. This includes everything that the COVID-19 pandemic has altered, including:
The safety of loved ones
Your own health and safety
Loss of sleep, especially due to anxiety-related factors, can further disrupt areas of your life. Fatigue and disrupted sleep schedules can impact workplace productivity, and can lead to increased feelings of depression.
Though there’s no cure for anxiety or anxiety-related insomnia, there are a number of things you can do to try and get a handle on your sleeping habits to hopefully alleviate your anxiety symptoms at bedtime. Committing to healthy bedtime habits can help you get into a routine for bedtime, that will hopefully keep anxiety at bay and let your body know it’s time for sleep.
Here are a few ways you can prioritize sleep to keep coronasomnia away when you should be catching some zzz’s.
1. Read, Don’t Tweet
This is for the people that pop onto Twitter or Instagram “just for five minutes” then end up scrolling away for three hours. We all know that blue light has harmful effects on our eyes and can make it hard for us to sleep, so fight the temptation entirely and grab a book instead of your phone. Reading is a great way to relax at the end of the day and lets your brain gradually shut down and get ready for bed.
If you need another hobby or something cute to remind you to read, try a coloring page bookmark to relax you at the end of a long day and give you something to look forward to every time you open your book.
2. Move Your Body
It may sound cliché, but it’s true — moving your body and/or stretching before bed can help tucker you out for the day, as well as help you get better sleep altogether. If you’re the type that gets hyper or more energized after working out in the evening, try shifting it to working out earlier in the day, or just by doing a few stretches before getting in bed for the night.
3. Stay Away from Alcohol and Caffeine
Especially in times of uncertainty, it can be easy to turn to a little liquid courage to ease our minds and take some of the weight off our shoulders, leading to a bad case of coronasomnia. Avoiding caffeine is a no-brainer, as this gives you energy (which is likely the last thing you want if you’ve been having some sleep issues). While alcohol can make you sleepy, it’s also been linked to poor sleep quality and duration.
If you want something besides water before bed, try a calming cup of Sleepytime herbal tea with no caffeine. To spice it up, you can add some printable “positivi-tea” labels to the end of your tea bag so you’re greeted with a happy reminder every time you take a sip.
4. Write It Out
Stress and anxiety can eat you alive, and keeping it all bottled up is one of the worst things you can do. If you find your mind racing and heart pounding when you should be counting sheep, you may want to think about journaling each night before bed. Studies have shown that journaling can be good for mental health, as you’re no longer keeping everything inside that’s causing you stress or anxiety.
Try looking up some journaling prompts if you don’t know where to start, and if you want to try it out before buying a journal and committing try some printable bedtime journal sheets. These can be printed as many times as you need, so grab a pen and start writing — you may be surprised how much better you feel when you can get all your thoughts on paper instead of leaving them trapped inside your head.
Sleep issues are no joke, especially during such a turbulent time as the one we’re in. Through prioritizing your mental health and doing what you can to get into a sleep routine, you’re doing the best thing for you to keep sleep issues or coronasomnia at bay.
Emily Borst is a digital content creator who creates compelling stories worth sharing. Her background in writing has helped her cover unique topics, including sharing her passion for health and wellness. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and eating her way through Austin, Texas.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a struggle for us all, keeping us isolated and cooped up in our homes for months on end. Part of the struggle is maintaining our mental health as we wait for the pandemic to end. If you’ve found yourself in a rough spot over the last year, allow us to suggest some activities that will improve your mental health and help you hold out until life returns to normal.
Get Your Body Moving
You don’t have to jump right into a hardcore routine, but exercise helps you improve your mental health by increasing your blood flow, which makes you feel more energized. This can be as simple as taking a walk around the neighborhood; as long as you’re breaking the sedentary habits you might have formed during quarantine, you’ll feel less sluggish and more motivated throughout the day. Other activities such as yoga give you the opportunity for meditation and self-reflection while making your body more flexible.
Deep Clean Your Home
This may not seem like much fun and could be difficult to get started, but we promise that it is one of the best activities that will improve your mental health. Your environment has a large influence on your mental health in that it directly impacts your physical comfort and your emotional state. So, a filthy, disorderly, and dark environment will negatively impact your mental health by making you feel uncomfortable and depressed by what a mess you’re in. Taking the time to keep your environment clean and adequately lit will make your home a welcoming place that you’ll want to spend time in.
Take Up a New Hobby
Maybe you’re just tired of doing the same thing day after day. Your routine has started making the days blend together and has altered your perception of time. If you’ve ever considered picking up a new hobby, even if it’s just a passing interest, now is the time to give it a try. Even if you decide you don’t like it, at least you’ve done something different and broken up your daily routine.
Cook Yourself Something
Take the time to cook yourself a good meal, especially if you’ve found yourself eating a lot of takeout and fast food during the quarantine simply for the sake of convenience. How we fuel our bodies can impact our emotional state, and eating nothing but processed or fast food can leave us feeling ill and apathetic because these dishes are simply not nutritional don’t provide much energy. Cooking yourself a good meal will leave you satisfied and feeling a bit healthier afterward.
The light is finally at the end of the tunnel, and while waiting for the end can be even harder now that we can see the light, you should still take advantage of these activities to keep yourself preoccupied and improve your mental health. Normal life will begin again soon; we just need to weather the storm until then.
Christina Duron is a writer living in the Chicagoland area. Her passion for writing and mental health help create thought provoking and engaging pieces and hopes to use them to empower mothers and women to embrace the beauty of motherhood.
The year 2020 has been a tough one for every worker around the globe. Landing a new job has become a challenge because of the coronavirus lockdown. Employers now have higher demands, and fulfilling companies’ needs has become a struggle. However, if you already have some tech skills in your toolbox and you’re still fighting to get a job, here are some job alternatives that can make your job search more comfortable. These are among the best job alternatives for tech professionals to succeed and even earn a six-figure salary in 2020.
In the digital era, software engineers have become a must for companies. They are indispensable for keeping software and hardware up-to-date. These professionals have to identify common issues and patterns to improve the quality of systems. Also, because customers care more about their experiences, software engineers are responsible for enhancing apps’ performance. Getting a position as a software engineer is easy as pie for those who have the right coding skills.
If you have a passion for solving problems, I can assure you that landing a job as a software engineer will be a dream come true. On the other hand, if you have no coding skills but want a piece of the action, you can learn by taking online courses or attending coding schools. Nowadays, Flatiron School is among the best vocational schools in the US. The company offers many programs in fields like software engineering, cybersecurity, and data science.
Data is among the most valuable resources these days. Companies gather lots of information, not only to design and develop better products but to provide better services. More companies are moving to the cloud since it enhances security and accessibility. If you have AWS skills in your toolbox, you may land a job as a cloud engineer. AWS is one of the best cloud computing services worldwide, and the demand for candidates with AWS skills is increasing every day.
Today, a cloud engineer earns, on average, $117,924 per year in the US. Companies like Cisco are going further by providing them with excellent perks like tuition reimbursement benefits and annual bonuses. If you know how to code, but AWS is missing in your toolkit, you can enroll in Coding Dojo’s coding bootcamp. Coding Dojo is a leading coding company that offers a part-time coding bootcamp so that students can become self-sufficient developers in 16 weeks. With their part-time coding bootcamp, students learn how to code from home, studying in-demand coding tools like CSS, Git, Apache, and AWS. The company also offers career services to all students. In addition, students receive help during each course to achieve their short-term and long-term goals.
Digital marketers are playing a crucial role in attracting and retaining customers. They improve companies’ marketing strategies by using digital channels to reach potential customers. Also, with their SEO skills, they help companies rank better in search engines. As a result, companies can increase website traffic without spending a penny.
If you have digital marketing skills, and designing marketing campaigns is what moves you, don’t be afraid to apply for a job as a digital marketer. Because of the high demand for these professionals, companies won’t hesitate to hire you. Still, you should build a portfolio to show your actual abilities during interviews. This will help you to increase your job opportunities. However, if you have no projects to add to a portfolio, you should enroll in Thinkful’s coding bootcamp. By joining one of their courses, you’ll update your digital marketing skills and learn from experience.
As the company wants its students to be on the right path to true career fulfillment, pupils learn from the best professionals in the industry. At Thinkful, students also receive help from a career support team and enjoy great financing options to relieve financial stress.
If you’re an individual who likes to deal with rapidly-advancing threats and catch hackers, this is one of the best job alternatives for tech professionals like you. Cybersecurity engineers look for vulnerabilities and risks in companies’ software and hardware. As they are responsible for improving companies’ security strategies, they need to implement the best practices to prevent cyberattacks. They have become indispensable for companies. World-class organizations like Apple are giving them outstanding salaries. The typical salary for a cybersecurity engineer at Apple is $154,468 per year.
Having cloud computing and Python skills in your skillset is necessary to land a cybersecurity engineer job. If you seek to get employed, but these skills are missing in your skillset, you better take the Flatiron School’s cybersecurity program. At Flatiron School, you’ll develop the coding and analytical skills that are key to getting hired in 2020. You will also be able to learn the best techniques to set traps and catch hackers.
If you have the right skills to land any of these jobs, don’t waste time and take action now. These job alternatives for tech professionals are in high demand as more companies move their businesses online. Many companies are on a hunt for candidates who can play these roles. Consequently, getting hired will be no challenge. Otherwise, if you would like to get a job like these ones but you have no coding skills, you need to enroll in a coding bootcamp as soon as possible. Keep in mind that the tech market is changing the way we live, and education is becoming today’s currency.
Artur Meyster is the CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech.
I have been a crazy plant lady for many years now, but it runs in my family. Both my mother and grandmother have homes filled with tropical plants, and it is from them that I inherited my first houseplants. But in 2020, the year of the Covid-19 pandemic, houseplants were all anyone could seem to talk about. So why this sudden surge that’s quickly become an addiction for so many? Here are a few reasons why houseplants have suddenly become so popular during this pandemic.
They Keep Us Company
Houseplants, similar to pets, are alive, but they cannot talk back to us. This makes them excellent listeners. While self-isolation and social distancing have left us all alone and locked up in our houses, we have our houseplants to keep us company. Despite the fact that they cannot actually speak, they DO communicate with us. They tell us if they are happy by sprouting a new leaf or flower. They droop when they are thirsty. Their leaves fall off when they are sick or uncomfortable. Because of these things, simply being alone in a room full of houseplants makes us feel a little less lonely.
They Make Us Focus On The Future
Even houseplants that go dormant in the winter still grow, no matter how slowly. Houseplants remind us to never stop growing, never stop living. While the pandemic might have turned our world upside down, our green friends continue to thrive and grow and change with the seasons. They may lose a leaf or get cut down, but they will grow again. Houseplants are an example of persistence and steadfastness, of never losing hope that we will come back from whatever problems we face.
They Have So Many Health Benefits
The health benefits of houseplants are numerous. They clean and detoxify the air inside of our homes. With the coronavirus pandemic being spread through the air, this makes owning a few air cleansing houseplants very appealing. Many plants are grown for their medicinal benefits as well, such as Aloe Vera and Lavender. A lot of herbs can also be grown indoors that are used to treat ailments all naturally.
They Reduce Anxiety and Depression
Just as houseplants benefit our physical health, they also offer respite for our mental health as well. Having a living plant inside our homes can reduce levels of anxiety and irritability. Studies have shown that houseplants can improve heart rate and blood pressure. They make us feel calmer and more at peace. Plants also make people happy. Flowering houseplants can be a great mood booster, especially for those battling seasonal depression during the winter.
Those on the hunt for a clipping of a rare houseplant will tell you there’s no better thrill in life. Groups are popping up all over the country filled with houseplant collectors looking to buy, sell or trade a clipping or two. With hundreds of varieties available, houseplants have become the latest treasure hunt prize. Some find themselves trying to collect all the different varieties of a single species. Others want a wide array of succulents and cacti. Some pride themselves in “rescuing” half dead houseplants from grocery store aisles. Once you get a taste of the world of raising houseplants, it’s nearly impossible to stop.
They Give Us a Sense of Accomplishment
Is there a better feeling in the world than growing something from nothing? Or bringing a plant back from the edge of death? The pride that comes along with growing lush, beautiful houseplants is unlike any other. In fact, bringing an over or underwatered plant back to it’s former glory is one of my favorite pastimes. There are so many things in life we can be proud of (raising three kids included) but none give us quite the satisfaction of seeing our hard work “grow.”
They Make Our Space Beautiful
Interior decorating using houseplants is one style that works for everyone, no matter your taste. This new outlet for creativity has opened the door for makers of plant stands, plant hangers, woven baskets,moss poles, trellises and more! A simple space filled with plants has now become the most desirable room in the house. With more people spending so much time in their homes due to the pandemic, it’s no wonder they want to make it the most beautiful space possible.
They Are So Easy to Care For
Unlike adopting a pet, which has been another popular pandemic craze, houseplants are easy to care for. They don’t require daily maintenance and some even thrive on neglect. A little bit of water and sunshine is all you need. While many are investing in grow lights and humidifiers, it’s definitely not a necessity. There is such a large range of plants from low to high maintenance that anyone can find one (or a few) that suit their schedule.
They Offer Us a Challenge
While the majority of houseplants are low maintenance, there are those few that no one can seem to keep alive. These infamous plants offer up a challenge to those houseplant gardeners who want to prove their worth. Cultivating the most beautiful and healthy Calathea or growing a tall Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree in your home gives you some bragging rights. Perhaps propagating is the challenge you seek? Growing new plants from cuttings or succulent leaves can be so rewarding… ifyou succeed.
They Don’t Break the Bank
While many addictions end up costing a fortune to maintain, raising houseplants doesn’t have to cost you anything at all. Grow an entire tree from a discarded avocado or fruit seed. In fact, you can grow almost anything from leftover vegetable scraps that would normally end up in the trash. Take a clipping from a friend’s plant, it costs them nothing to give it to you. If you have your own little collection of plants, look into propagating them and then trade them for new plants. While the houseplant accessory industry might be taking off, the truth is, you don’t need anything fancy to simply grow a plant.
These are just a few of the reasons why houseplants have become the latest pandemic craze. If you have another reason, please leave it in the comments! I firmly believe that anyone can grow houseplants, even the self-proclaimed “black thumbs.” And with all the all physical and mental health benefits of owning houseplants, why wouldn’t you? They are often easy to propagate, so you can get more from nothing. And when this pandemic is over and everyone goes back to their normal lives, you will have an urban jungle to enjoy for years to come.
Don’t know what to do during these uncertain times? Consider taking up one of these hobbies to help you cope with being in lockdown. Since Covid-19 spread all across the globe, we don’t have another alternative than to stay indoors. People are having real struggles dealing with their daily life routine, once the pandemic broke their personal habits and careers.
It’s inevitable to become bored, without actually knowing why, and this can have huge impacts on your mental health. Studies have shown that depression and anxiety have increased especially in the young adult generation since this pandemic struck our modern society.
You’ve already boosted your working-home station, did a number of workouts to keep the spirit up, and binge-watched all TV series that Netflix has to offer. So… what more is there to do? Don’t worry, today we’ll help you find out, with some incredible and productive hobbies to help you cope with quarantine. Get creative and keep your mind healthy!
This isn’t a general hobby that can be adapted to everyone. It’s a bit hard, especially if you don’t have a shop station where you can make any type of mess you like, for example, if you live in an apartment or in a cozy study. But if you happen to have enough space at your house, woodworking can be a total stress relief.
Are you getting sick and tired of that coffee table getting old in the middle of your living room? If you’re a handy person, you know that building something from scratch, with your own dedication and working-craft abilities, can seriously improve your personal achievements. Woodworking can be an option for those stressful and anxious days, since it takes some time and dedication while realizing that you’re creating something from nothing! It’s cheaper than buying a new desk and it’s totally worth it, having something home-made by yourself.
There are some DIY shops that can help you get all the materials you need, at cheap prices like this site. And there’s nothing more helpful than your friend “YouTube tutorials” to help you get started.
We’ve never really appreciated our grandmother’s work during childhood, but it turns out that knitting can be a huge stress reliever, while giving your room a whole new appearance. Being thorough isn’t always a flaw. Having a blanket made with creativity and caution can help be a great coping mechanism, for example. Being focused on tiny details can help your concentration and increase your serotonin levels, while your bed gets a whole new fancy look. If you have a birthday coming up, what a lovely way to deliver something home-made to a friend or family member.
Did you know you can make your own scented candles? Candles are totally trending right now and as you know, their scent can create a relaxing environment. If you do little research you can find cheap and environment-friendly ingredients that can also be recycled. Fragrance or essential oils are a tremendous improvement to revive your mood, energy and your sleep routine!
Like knitting, you can improve your concentration skills if you take a little time coloring or drawing. It’s a relaxing and fulfilling craft that can help you loosen up for a bit, and I’ll ensure you’ll lose track of time, while getting lost in the canvas.
If you’re not much of an artist, you can acquire drawings that are custom made and color them following the paint instructions, usually by numbers. This requires way more concentration and helps your brain to focus on one function only. Painting is one of the most relaxing hobbies to help you cope with feeling isolated.
If you’re looking for a mindfulness activity, calligraphy can be the answer. With a beginner’s tutorial, you can improve your hand-writing skills and fundamental practices of this art at home, while reconnecting with yourself. You can learn the functions of ink, dip-pen, or brushing writing while creating different shapes or primer strokes. A great hobby to relieve your brain from nowadays struggles.
Stay Home… Stay Safe!
As you can see, being at home can be really productive. There are always meditation and online therapy courses you can do, in order to keep your mind away for a bit while learning new skills that can be really helpful in the future. Discovering new passions gives you a sense of joy and fulfillment, and these activities can be the food your brain needs during this time indoors. Listen to what your mind has to say, and answer the call. It’s never too late to change your daily routines and discover new pleasures.
This guest post was submitted by Luke Zitterkopf from Parent Richly. You can view the original article here.
I like to visit with people everywhere I go. I am found at only the coolest hangouts. The grocery store, Target, and around our neighborhood. I sincerely enjoy visiting with people, oftentimes for selfish reasons because I don’t get the healthy amount of time to socialize that most adults take for granted.
Once I became a stay at home dad I was able to fully appreciate the value in a plain old no computer and no phone type of interaction with another human being. Or maybe the Covid-19 event has already given us an appreciation for visiting in person. Either way I value the time people spend talking with me.
Anymore it is hard to have a no phone conversation with adults. Phones are difficult for many people to ignore even for a few minute conversation. Sure, I would like folks to have better manners and at least put their phone on silent, but hey, what if the hospital is calling and you need to go perform an emergency operation right away! I poke fun at the issue but seriously too many of us are missing out on actually listening to what other people are saying while being prepared for the ever important call or notification.
In my view there is a great risk of losing the art of the in person conversation. Partly due to phones but partly because we are forgetting to live in the moment and value what is going on in the present. If we cannot place a greater emphasis on listening to each other in person, what more important things can there be for us to do? Go back to our work or checking social media? Would we rather read someone’s post on Facebook than visit with them in person? Food for thought. One day I will be the gray haired guy at the family event telling all the kids about back when people used to talk to each other using just their voices. It was an amazing time!
How Does This Relate to Covid 19 and Homeschool?
Since late March I have had many conversations with people who see us out around town with our three kids. They cannot help themselves to ask one of the kids “Do you miss being in school?” The reactions from all three of our kids are priceless because they are being asked something akin to “Do you miss traveling in outer space?”
Our kids have a big smile and they laugh a little bit. They do answer the question and say “We don’t go to school. We do homeschool.” I suppose our kids should develop a more complete answer and maybe keep the laughter to a minimum. Maybe they should provide more information such as the historical context of their homeschooling resume from day one. They learn at home and in the real world. But that would be a crazy thing to do, wouldn’t it?
I am sincerely interested in other people’s lives. When people ask the kids and I about homeschool I take the question seriously. I let the kids give their own answer but I make an effort to fill in the blanks when a person is really wanting to know more. I want to not only answer their question but I want to help them realize that homeschool is something any parent can provide if they choose to.
It is challenging to give a complete yet concise answer about choosing homeschool. There is no short answer to questions about homeschool. So many factors will influence what homeschool looks like for a parent and their child. Is Covid 19 and the schools being closed or converted to online a good reason to start homeschooling? Not necessarily. But they are a starting point to realizing that there is probably a better way.
There is a better way for many parents with homeschool but I advise every parent to know up front that homeschool is a big commitment of their time. It is also a big lifestyle change for a parent to be at home full time, and kids will need time to make the transition mentally and socially to a homeschool life. It can be a big change for the positive but it takes time for all the dust to settle.
One of the benefits of living the homeschool life is that I have a great answer for the often asked question of what homeschool is all about. This way my answer sounds as though it is narrated by Morgan Freeman. So rich, so masterful. Well maybe I don’t sound that good but maybe I am still a voice for sanity and a beacon of hope for those wanting to leave the public school system. Those wanting to live a better family life that is free of kids living within the confines of the public education system. A system of mass education. Sounds kind of sinister. And it is!
Be free and live a richer life where the learning is made for the child and not the child made to fit the learning.
I Don’t Know Much But I Know About Homeschool
I am honored every time someone wants to visit with me and as a result they hear my story. And thank you as well for reading about my story here. Before I answer the question about homeschool I like to give a short bio. It adds greater context to my answers.
My bio looks like this. Christian. Father of three kids. Homeschool facilitator.* Stay at Home Dad. Husband. Tennis Coach. Fairly bad tennis player. *note the use of the word facilitator. I have an aversion to the word teacher. More on that in a later post.
As far as the title of this post, here’s the number one question I field from the Covid 19 school closures. This is where every parent needs to know they hold the power to determine what learning and “school” will involve. If you have been considering homeschool and want a little motivation to move forward with it, this post is just what you need to hear!
#1 Most Asked Question During Covid 19 School Closures –“How are you guys doing with the school closures?”
Shocking question, right! I feel the best answer to this question starts at the beginning and works forward with additional details. So it begins with a statement. It goes like this. “We are doing great because we don’t go to any schools.” Once the initial shock of my answer wears down a bit I continue the dialogue.
Not that people are shocked negatively but they are more in a state of surprise, and in some cases jealousy! The good kind of jealousy. As they think about the bullsh—t that is often part of most public school environments. They want to get out and who can blame them! But let us not digress, back to answering the school closures and how do we live without the public schools question.
Once I let the cat out of the bag that we are not part of the school system people are often paying close attention to any details I present. Curiosity is peaked and there is a fair enough question in most people’s minds. They wonder, rightfully so, two big questions.
“How do you do homeschool?”
and most people’s common fear of
“Do you have to report to the state what you are doing?”
Before answering either question I start the conversation with an overall context as to what our lives are all about as a family placing no emphasis on the aspect of what school our kids attend. This is an important part for setting the stage for why we are homeschool by default.
Most important is we are Christian and that has the most influence for why or why not we make certain choices. We are blessed to have children and it is our responsibility to raise them in a way that honors God. As such, we have the liberty and freedom to give the biblical perspective of truth in everything our kids learn. They are shown that not all information is true. And not all intentions are good. This sounds a bit dark but in reality our jobs as parents is to equip our kids in preparation for them being on their own. And that means they must be able to think for themselves.
An essential part to good thinking is sorting out what is true and what is an opinion.
With biblical perspective to our learning at home we have our kids practice seeing all information from the lens of truth and morality as defined by God. This reality is the short answer of why we homeschool. A longer list of reasons why are covered in posts tagged homeschool.
Nearly every person I meet is intrigued that our family is homeschooling. I can understand why it may seem fascinating to the casual observer. It is different. It is a big commitment. It often requires a stay at home dad or mom. For all of these reasons I feel it is critical to start with the why and then progress to the how.
More information about the why part of my answer I often describe our daily lives in terms of living in a balanced way. This is important to our family and to provide a rich life for our kids.
We start the morning with all three of our kids having breakfast together and deciding what activities to do first. And I am not talking about the “activities” of doing worksheets for hours at a time in a classroom. Activities at our house include reading a book of their choice, painting, playing outside, working on math puzzles or going to tennis practice. Other times our activity is making a grocery trip to Costco. We almost live at Costco with our frequent visits to buy food for our family of five.
A more complete answer to “How are you guys doing with the school closures” involves painting the picture of our kids’ living a balanced life where the learning takes place in a natural way to the student. This is a totally different approach than the forced feeding style of a public “education” system.
Our family lives each day in the real world and we learn with every opportunity that is part of our day. We do not have a separation of life that would include going to a school building to “learn.” We live and thereby we learn. The real life application of any form of knowledge is natural and obvious. There is not a time when any of the kids or myself are wondering why we are learning something new. We learn because our brains are naturally hungering for information and we want to make better sense of the world around us.
The approach to a child learning naturally is in direct opposition to that of a public education system. For our kids and family the learning is part of living. We do not have a separate time for learning and there is no separate time for learning. Life is our learning laboratory.
We have the freedom to choose learning materials that are best suited to each of our children’s needs. If you have not already encountered the term, the public education system uses the term curriculum for learning materials and areas of study. It sounds more academic using the term curriculum. As though a group of the world’s best minds are all sitting in a room debating about the newest and best curriculum. Funny, in the old days it was called studying and learning when the opportunities for learning presented themselves. Which happens to be every day, even to this present day!
When people discover you are doing homeschool they will often ask about what curriculum you are using. If you are familiar with the movie The Matrix you can think of curriculum as a pleasant state of ignorance blue pill. I recommend you take the red pill. Though it may be initially unpleasant you and your child can see learning as it ACTUALLY IS versus a place to send your child for most of their young lives. For our family, the thought of the state spending more time with our kids than we do AND being the primary source for presenting are reinforcing most of what they learn is chilling.
I personally feel the term curriculum is synonymous with programming material. As in, program everyone the same way. Sinister much! Maybe I am too sensitive but I take this issue very seriously. Every child deserves better and more personalized care than mass programming. But hey, if it’s good enough for the state it should be good enough for your kids, right? Of course not and we all know better. But making the switch from public school to homeschool is nonetheless a little intimidating. At least until you see there is nothing but freedom on the other side. The freedom comes at the cost of your time and considerate choices for your child’s learning opportunities. But you are truly free. Free from the directives of what other people insist is best for your child. How ludicrous a concept, yet the public education system is big and they will not be going away without a big fight. They are too big to fail. So we can do our part and not send our kids there!
Proverbs 22:6: Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Math sheets with all the basics, reading comprehension pages with questions about the text, short stories, science principles and experiments, geography and the list goes to infinity. Anything we want to practice and learn. We move on when the child is proficient. Which leads back to the question of reporting back to the state. For some of us, including me, we think of Darth Vader strolling around the bridge of the Death Star.
Each state has different laws and requirements. In our state of WA, we must declare with our local public school district that we will be homeschooling our child. After that letter is sent to the local district, that state of WA will mail a test for our child to complete and we mail it back to the state. That’s it. Check with your state to determine your requirements to be in legal compliance with doing homeschool. After that you are officially free to provide a learning environment for your children. You have the privilege to provide learning that is integrated into everyday life. And you have the essential room needed to fit the learning in ways that best meets the unique needs of your child.
The commentary I usually provide for “how do you homeschool” is to make the clear distinction between homeschool and public school. When done well homeschool is kryptonite to public school. A brief list of versus attributes:
Class based on age
No class, individual learning at own pace
Learning material, AKA curriculum, chosen by the Department of Education
Learning material chosen by student in conjunction with parent
Student is fed information
Student feeds themselves information
Student is asked to recite information
Student is asked to apply the information
Student receives grades for homework
No such thing as homework, all work is at home
Grade is received at the end of class or year
Student is asked to correct their work until it is correct
Grades are given on a curve from the student population
Assessment of the student’s work is based upon their best effort and completeness of answers
A failing grade means repeating the class/material
The student stays with the material until they understand
Exact amounts of time per day are applied to studying mandatory curriculum
Proportionate time is used for the student to learn the material and move on
For a more complete study please see the book by Mary Pride, School Proof. It is not only insightful but it is written with bright humor throughout. A must read for those wanting a guide to what homeschooling means.
My work with homeschool has proven to me and our family how it can be used to meet the needs of a student better than any group educational system or school. One of the best ways to convey the message for any of us, including myself that does not have a homeschool background is to think about learning a new language.
We can read books about German, listen to an instructor talk about German dialect and composition best practices, and take tests to see what we can remember about the subject. This would be comparable to taking a class at a school.
To put the same goal of learning German in the homeschool approach, one choice would be to install the Babel app on a phone or computer and practice the language with an interactive program. The next step would be to locate a native or fluent German speaking person in your community and ask if they would be willing to speak with the student for one hour per week. Hopefully this person would be willing to accept free lunch for their work. If not, Babel allows for practice speaking but a real live person would be more fun. An additional step would be to watch YouTube and listen to a guide that is providing tours through Germany while speaking in German. The student can go from learning the very basics all the way to practicing fluency.
All of this without a school, class, formal “teacher”, or grades. Homeschool should probably apply for an official name change in the dictionary to Home Based Learning. Wait, that’s a bit too fancy, too academic. Maybe we should just call it Learning.
Did this post encourage you or help with homeschool ideas? Please let us know! Leave a comment below.
Luke Zitterkopf is a writer and parent coach. He lives in the Pacific Northwest in Spokane Valley, WA. Luke provides insight and coaching on homeschooling, parenting, and individual personal development. When he is not writing or responding to audience questions he spends time coaching youth tennis. Luke responds to as many messages and emails as time allows and he believes that the only dumb question is the one that is never asked. Website: www.parentrichly.com Pinterest:@Luke_Zitterkopf Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/parent.richly.9
Could you live without your smartphone these days? Some people can’t. It seems we have become a nation that has our phones attached to our hands for the majority of our waking hours. Of course, this isn’t because we are constantly texting or talking to someone, this is because our smartphones can literally contain our lives. With that in mind, it is worth exploring how dependent we are on these devices, and what we can do with them. Maybe it will inspire you to make more of your phone in the new year, or perhaps motivate you to use your time more wisely.
We all know that meal planning can save us money when done right, but did you know your smartphone can help you stick to it? Not only could you record your weekly meals in there, but it could also help you generate a list to take to the store. There are even apps that will provide you with recipes by typing in a few select ingredients. Having all of this information at a touch of a button can save you a lot of time, and also save that money.
Streaming our favorite films and TV programs
Sometimes it’s hard to get that time to watch your favorite programs or films, especially as a busy mom. So you take your moments where you can, and your smartphone can really help with that. Having applications like Netflix could help you do that. Enabling you to even watch something fun at any moment, even when you are awake at night during a night feed.
Let’s go online shopping
Online shopping is a little dangerous for any shopaholic amongst us, but let’s be honest here, our phones have made it so much simpler. With our favorite stores having their dedicated applications, it’s now even easier to check out when a sale is on, or you just have to have that new pair of shoes.
Cash back, discount codes, and voucher apps
There are even more applications that can help save and make you money. Now with cash back apps there for every time you shop online, and even discount and vouchers online to help you make those all-important savings. Your phone not only helps you buy the products but save and make in the process.
Applications for children
Smartphones have been a parents savior. From letting your children watch videos online when you are wanting to eat a meal in peace in a restaurant, through to letting them play games that help stimulate their minds when you need time to do the washing or ironing. Also children end up having their own devices, which can be a worry, but also you might need to consider apps where you canview the location history of your child’s iPhone. As long as children are not spending too much time on them in one sitting, they can really benefit from them.
An online diary at our fingertips
Finally, with appointments, after school activities and children who have better social lives than we do, it’s important to have a diary to keep it all together. So even better that your smartphone has an online version that enables you to know where you are up to at any moment of the day.
Let’s hope this has inspired you to maybe use smartphones more wisely.