Thoughts and Ramblings on Covid-19. April 18th 2020.

Another week has gone by in this strange Covid-19 stay-at-home lifestyle. This has now been my life for almost five weeks. I have accepted it and maybe as an introvert it has not been too hard to adjust. Like everyone, I long to be around people, to have the freedom to get out and about whenever and wherever and with whoever I want. But for now we all just have to make the most of the situation. My motto in life has always been ‘if you cannot control the change then either accept it or do something about it’. Feeling like a victim and just complaining will not change anything.

So how do I cope and make the most of what this virus has thrust upon us all on a global scale?

Initially, I freaked out and cried a lot. I am sure we all did. You can read about my thoughts and concerns in my previous post.Thoughts and ramblings on Covid-19

But then I accepted my circumstances, and with acceptance came a strong focus and desire to learn, develop and to look for activities that gave me a deeper satisfaction. The start of an inward journey, a reflection, a slowing down.

To look after my health both physically and mentally became a driving force. I have a natural interest in nutritious food and health. My old uni studies into biology/nutrition and later Reiki/Massage therapy and personal training has provided me with an excellent base to look after myself. Trust me, I’m no angel. I know how to indulge in terrible food and couch binge on Netflix like a pro, but I love healthy food and exercise more.

So here are the things I have implemented. Not all at once, but bit by bit as my body and my mind craved them.

Connecting

I have connected a lot more online with friends and family. Zoom meetings and messenger video chats are now a regular pass-time. It seems with the social distancing rule of staying physically apart our social connections have increased. With more free time and not rushing around ‘doing stuff’ we now have more time to nurture our relationships with people we care about.

Every Friday night my girlfriends and I meet up for a drink and a bite to eat online. We chat and we laugh; we share our fears and our hopes,  and most importantly we stay connected. It’s a gathering we all look forward to.

 

Yoga

I have loved yoga for a long time, but because of shoulder issues I could not do much till recently. This epidemic has renewed my love for this exercise. I now do a 30 minute Yin stretch class online every morning in the fresh air on my porch and after a few weeks I am so much more flexible and stronger. Even on a mental level. The focus on your breathing brings you into the now and helps reduce stress about the future. With daily changes, we cannot plan tomorrow. We can only focus on one day at a time. Today.

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Dancing/cardio

I still work five days from home, which means a lot of sitting in front of the computer. Not having to commute means we move so much less than on a normal working day. It is so important to incorporate movement into your day. At least twice during my working day I put on some loud dance music, plug my blue tooth earplugs in and dance like no-one is watching. Hang on, no-one is watching! It gets me moving and makes me feel good.

I have also found a strange love for Les Mills cardio classes on YouTube. Never been a massive fan, but for some reason doing Body Combat with 7000 other people feels invigorating and for a brief moment makes you forget you are by yourself at home. Heart pumping and loads of feel good endorphins rushing through your body.

Learning

I love writing and creating stories. Into my forth draft edit of a romance suspense novel. Had plans to finish another draft, then send it off to agents. But 2020 has so far been draining. First, we had the horrendous bushfires here in Australia, then it flooded and now we have Covid-19. I have felt a lack of any creativity.
I decided early on to not push myself. To just focus on adjusting, on work and on myself. But I want to ignite the muse again, hence the reason for these ramblings.
So I registered for two online writing courses with The Australian Writers Centre. I have 12 months to finish them in, but I plan to do them much sooner. It will give me some focus, teach me some new skills and get me back to my manuscript and to writing.

Growing plants

From the love of nutritious healthy food, the next step into growing my own vegetables seemed a natural one. My only issue is I live in an apartment. I do have a wonderful porch, large enough for a few pots. So I bought a few seedlings; climbing beans, tomatoes and snow peas. They have doubled in size and seem to be thriving. It has been a long time since I have grown anything and it has surprised me how much enjoyment I get from it. Checking on them every morning is now a routine I look forward to. In addition to my outdoor vegetable project, I also bought a Micro-greens plant box that now sits in my kitchen window seal waiting to grow enough for me to cut and put into a delicious salad or smoothie.

Food

The nutrition we put into our bodies is so important, and even more so now. Despite my family no longer living with me, I make sure I still cook myself delicious and nutritious meals. I eat lots of vegetables and fish. No other meat apart from the occasional bacon with my breakfast. Like this morning’s scrambled eggs with bacon, spinach and parsley; mouthwatering as it’s a treat these days. I find the more I focus on eating healthy food, the fewer cravings I have for unhealthy food. But yes, chocolate cravings still exist. Sometimes you just have to indulge and be ok with it.

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Pets

The benefits of pets are many. Watching them go on with their daily lives seems somehow relaxing. Their simple needs of food, shelter, and love brings us right back to basics. Reminds us to appreciate the simple things we still have in our lives. Nothing is better than cuddling up to a pet and forgetting about the outside world. My cat Schnooks, now almost 18 years, is an old girl. She doesn’t jump as much as before, need a bit of help to get up onto a sunny chair and sleeps/snores an awful lot. But since working from home she has been my constant companion and pretty much never leaves my side. Where ever I am she follows and finds herself a comfortable place to sleep. I think we will both find it hard to go back to working away from home.

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Nature

The Australian government advised us to stay at home here in Sydney except for essential trips to go to work, to the supermarket for food or for medical reasons. We can also go out for exercise with the people we live with or with one friend, but are encouraged to do so by ourselves. During the week I stay at home as I work all day. I find I have no desperate need to get out. I love my home and feel very comfortable in my own company. Never get bored.

But on weekends, if the weather is sunny, I long to get out either to the beach or nature. So I get up early and go to a quiet natural park next to our local beach. It’s quiet except from the noises of birds and animals in the bush. On a typical 45-minute walk I might see ten people, all staying far apart, practising the 1.5mth social distancing. All the park benches are now blocked off stopping people from gathering or staying long.

It’s peaceful, and a brilliant time to reflect and exercise at the same time. Plus on this morning’s walk I found a few dead branches/sticks that I think may come in handy for my climbing vegetables.

Walking in the bush also provides me a chance to take a few photos.

Photos are only taken with my iPhone as I haven’t had the desire to grab my Canon yet.

Interesting how my creative side took a dive with Covid-19.

I wonder if anyone else has felt it? The lack of creativity. How are you coping?

 

Healthy Living – Citrus Poached Salmon

I love salmon, and this recipe would have to be my favourite so far. It’s simple, quick to prepare and totally delicious.

Citrus Poached Salmon with Asparagus.

  1. Mix juice of one large lemon and one orange.
  2. Put aside 1/4 cup for dressing
  3. Add rest of citrus juice to pan with cup of water.
  4. Bring to simmer and add skinless salmon
  5. Simmer covered for 4 minutes
  6. Add fresh asparagus, woody part cut away
  7. Simmer covered another 4 minutes
  8. Meanwhile add finely cut up parsley to the citrus dressing and mix with salt, pepper and lemon rind
  9. Add small dollop of butter on top of salmon.
  10. Serve on plate with asparagus and drizzle with parsley citrus dressing

Enjoy! 😊 👌

Healthy Living – Frittata

Vegetable and Bacon Frittata

Great dish for a warm summer day – and today is a super warm day here in Sydney.

  1. Quickly stir-fry cut up bacon, shallots and mushrooms.
  2. Add to oven proof dish and layer with cut up vegetables (I used carrots, beetroot and kale but add any you have in fridge will do. Just make sure they are even sized to cook at same time)
  3. Add chopped parsley and parmesan cheese.
  4. Whisk 6 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, 1tblspoon Flaxseed meal, a teaspoon of mustard, salt and pepper together. Pour into dish. Should cover bacon and vege mix.
  5. Bake in oven till golden (about 30 mins)

Enjoy with extra parmasan cheese, parsley and a light salad

Healthy Living – Sesame Prawns

A delicious light lunch.

1. Stir fry raw prawns in sesame oil and sprinkle with sesame vege seasoning.

2. Spread avocado on crispbread.

3. Add baby spinach leaves, cucumber and top with freshly cooked sesame prawns.

Enjoy 🙂

Healthy Living – Work Life Balance

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I don’t always get this right; the work life balance.

I like to do my best and do it well, which sometimes means I end up working long hours.
But when I get a chance, I make sure I get the life balance part in.

Like right now, on my 10 day break from work.

I found myself without family this Christmas for the first time in my life, and I have to admit I struggled with the idea. Knowing I would be in a bad mood I turned down invites from well-meaning friends, and decided instead to book myself into a small cabin up the coast for the 3 days around Christmas time.

Right up until the day I was due to leave I had doubts. Was I doing the right thing? Should I stay and celebrate with friends I loved?

But I hit the road and it was the best thing I could have done. I had 3 days of pure bliss; total me time and total relaxation. My cabin was in a quiet coastal town within walking distance to a lake. You can see the photos here

Lake Budgewoi Track Walk

Sunsets at Lake Budgewoi

Birdlife on Lake Budgewoi

As soon as I arrived, I could feel myself relax, and I fell in love with the peace and quiet; the sound of nature; the sweet smell of green bush and trees along the lake; the bird life and the smooth shimmering water.

I found my life balance, and can highly recommend time alone. It may not be for everyone, but as an introvert I need it to recharge properly.

Coming back to the city has been a shock, but I am making the most of it. I live in a lovely area near the beach, and it is easy to continue the holiday balanced living when on a break.

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This morning I headed for the beach, and after a long walk I hopped into the ocean for a refreshing swim followed by an extra strong late at the beach cafe. I love watching people; imagining stories about them; finding new plots for future stories. Doing it on a hot summer’s day with the sound of the waves makes it so much more enjoyable.

By the time I got home I had worked up an appetite, and prepared myself some brunch to enjoy on the porch with my current read ‘The Obsession” by Nora Roberts.

Brunch was a delicious meal of:

Organic sourdough toast
Advocado
Vegemite, a spread us Aussies love, but most of the rest of the world hate
Truss tomato sliced
Cheese
Baby spinach leaves
Strawberries

Plus another coffee, of course.

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Best part is I have another 3 days off before work calls me back.

Right now the Work Life balance is tipping towards life.

I hope yours is too.

See you soon. I am off to the beach again this afternoon with a friend for some reading and no doubt girly chatting 🙂

Healthy Living – Breakfast for writers

A great start for any day. Especially if you have a big day ahead of writing or editing. It’s important to eat nourishing food that will help ward of those ‘need to eat snacks’ moments we all get when in writing lock down.

I find starting the day with a nourishing and filling breakfast helps. At least I hopefully won’t have to hit the chocolates till after lunch 😁

Porridge is my favourite.

1. Microwave organic rolled oats mixed with banana and milk till soft.

2. Stir in super seed mix and cinnamon

3. Add dollop of natural yoghurt and a few prunes.

And of course enjoy with freshly brewed large coffee.

Happy writing