Since March 2020 families have been forced to pivot quickly every time we go into lockdown. I've been referring to it as, "The Pandemic Pivot." It means being spread thinner than we could have ever imagined. A crazy combination of work, online learning, cooking, cleaning, keeping everyone happy and feeling safe, managing our mental health, and the mental health of our kids.
Sitting here locked down at home, the only thing I want to do is help people in any way that I can. Here are some tips to help you pivot, and stay as healthy and happy as possible during lockdown:
Meal prep on the weekend so you have some healthy meals and snacks at the ready to quickly feed yourself and your kids - we don’t want anyone getting "hangry.” Give your body nutritious choices that will keep your blood sugar stable, and energy levels up. Roast a big sheet pan of sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, parsnips or beets to throw into salads for lunch, or make a batch of healthy muffins or cookies to give your kiddos while they're online learning. My Banana Blueberry Muffin Tops are a hit in my house.
Make a work/managing the kids schedule with your partner so you know when you'll be working, and when you'll be on kid duty. This will allow you to plan your day effectively and focus either just on work or just on the kids. According to a Forbes article, multitasking actually reduces productivity by as much as 40%, and the majority of people aren’t good at it.
Make time for a break. Either get up early before your kids, take turns with your partner for lunch breaks or take some time after the kids go to bed. Even though you may be tempted to scroll through Instagram on your break, do something that will increase feel-good chemicals and hormones like: - Dopamine: go for a walk in the sun while listening to music, - Serotonin: do an online fitness class that will boost your heart rate (I love Obe Fitness, (use code LAURENF30 to get 30% off your monthly membership!) MadFit and CrazyFit), - Oxytocin: do an online yoga class, give someone a hug, give/get a massage (remember massage trains?!) or tell someone you love them, and - Endorphins: eat dark chocolate (try my Kapow Chocolate recipe!), dance (check out DJ Raphi’s dance tutorials with your kiddos!), laugh, create music or art
Avoid looking at screens from your cell phone, tablet, reader and computer at least 1 hour before bed. The blue light emitted from screens can reduce the production of melatonin - a hormone that causes us to feel sleepy.
Speaking of sleep, make sure to get at least 7 hours! Develop a bedtime routine - turn the lights low in your house a couple hours before bed, avoid blue light from screens, read a book, do some yoga, have a bath, take some magnesium - develop a routine that will calm you, and prep your body for a great sleep.
Avoid having too much coffee (limit yourself to four, 8oz. cups before 11am), added sugar (I like using monk fruit sweetener as a sugar alternative as it doesn’t spike your blood sugar), and drinking alcohol every night (avoid alcohol Mon-Thurs, and limit yourself to 2 drinks per evening). No fun, I know, but too much of these substances can lower your mood, energy levels (sugar & caffeine provide a temporary burst of energy, followed by a crash) and affect your sleep. A treat I look forward to these days are my No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies (see recipe below).
Do less. Put your vacuum down or laptop away for 15 minutes and be there for your kids. If they want to play puppy for 15 minutes (not my favourite game, but it makes my 4-year old so happy), just show up for them - this is hard on them too. My kids always end up making me laugh, and remember, laughing releases endorphins.
It sounds cliche, but be grateful and try to focus on the positive. Make it a habit to start your day with something you’re grateful for. It can be as simple as breathing in the fresh spring air, and enjoying the sounds of the birds chirping. Every night before dinner our family says a prayer of thanks that we are safe, together, healthy and have food. Don’t lose sight of what’s really important. Stay safe - we’re all in this together.
No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes approximately 30 small cookies
1 cup creamy natural peanut butter (or any nut/seed butter that you like!)
¼ cup unpasteurized honey (or maple syrup for vegan)!
¼ cup monk fruit sweetener
½ cup coconut oil measured in solid state
½ tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. real vanilla extract
2 cups oats
½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
⅔ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
Combine peanut butter, honey, salt, vanilla and coconut oil in a glass bowl, and heat in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds, just enough to soften. Mix well to combine.
Add quick-cooking oats, coconut, monk fruit, salt and mix well.
Add chocolate chips until completely combined.
Place dough in the fridge for 10 minutes to chill.
Drop 1 TBS portions of mixture onto your prepared baking sheet (a cookie scooper works well here!). Continue until you’ve used all your cookie mixture.
Place cookie sheet in the freezer for an hour.
As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, I offer one-on-one or family nutrition counselling. I don't believe in diets or quick fixes, I believe in developing healthy habits that lead to living a healthy, balanced lifestyle. While exercise is a big part of that, so is what and how we eat. I specialize in weight loss and digestive issues. Contact me for more information about my Nutrition Programs.