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Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Going to the gym and working out is always a good idea for your health but you need to know how to stay safe and avoid getting injured. Nothing slows down progress faster than an injury, especially when it comes to your body. Between faulty equipment, people who aren’t paying attention around you, and even over-exercising, there are plenty of ways to get hurt at the gym. This guide will help you understand the most common gym injuries, as well as how you can avoid them so that your workout doesn’t become an injury instead of progressing toward your fitness goals!

Lack of training

There are many different machines, tools, and equipment in a gym. If you don’t know how to use them properly, the risk of injury increases exponentially. If you’re new to the gym scene, take it slow and check with the staff about which machines and workouts would be good for beginners.

Once you know what equipment is available, ask your gym’s staff to show you how to correctly and effectively use the machines so that you can minimize the potential for getting injured.

Faulty equipment

When using any type of equipment in a gym or fitness class, it’s important to use it correctly. But, what’s even more important is to use equipment that is reliable. When the machine suddenly breaks unexpectedly, it could lead to severe injuries. This can be frequent for weight trainer gyms that fail to maintain their equipment. An injury sustained as a result of faulty gear can affect your fitness goals and health for a long time. Ideally, you should always check that the equipment is in good condition. You can also refer your case to a personal injury lawyer, who can help recover your medical bills and lost income in the event you’ve been hurt by damaged gym property. 

Lack of attention

The gym is a place for physical activity, not a mental one. If you’re too busy thinking about work or school, that only distracts from your workout. The answer? Bring your phone in your pocket or handbag when you go to exercise but leave it there. Don’t take it out unless you need it for an emergency call or text. Once you start working out, concentrate on keeping your mind on what’s important—your workout goals! Also, I’ve found that when I’m working out, it’s a great way to destress and focus inward; be present for myself, which is something as a busy mom, I seldom get to do.

At the same time, good gym etiquette requires that you pay attention to the people around you. Many gym members use headphones to stay in the zone. They may not hear you approaching them or may not know you are next to them so keep that in mind when coming up behind someone. 

Overtraining

Never let a day go by without exercising. This might seem like good advice, but it’s actually very bad. While working out several times a week is certainly better than not working out at all, an excess of exercise can lead to overtraining—a condition that occurs when you work out so much you break down your muscles and burn away your gains faster than you can replace them with new ones. The solution? Work out two or four times a week, allowing at least one full day of rest between each session.

Exercising is healthy. But it can include risks if you are not careful. That’s why it’s important to get familiar with the gym environment and your own body to always stay on the safe side of fitness. 

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Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Funny story, a few weeks ago, I started getting dizzy while driving. Scared the sh*t out of me…Okay, not so funny. Anyways, went to the doctor and surprise (no surprise I’ve battled eustachian ear issues my entire life) and I had not only an acute sinus infection (no surprise there either…chronic sinusitis is my life) but also had an inordinate amount of fluid in my ears (Duh, I could feel it sloshing around in there teetering between itching and hurting for almost 2 months…again nothing new). But the getting dizzy while driving my kids, was new and I did not like it. Is this perimenopause, menopause, cancer, dementia or low blood sugar?

Needless to say, that sparked a series of way overdue anxiety attacks.  I mean come on, I’ve kept my shit together pretty well these past couple of pandemic years but some things got to give. If we’re being really honest, and if you know me you know that I am, my first thought at the dizziness which I’ve never experienced in this way (in waves) was a brain tumor ( long story short, I’m chronically afraid that God is going to use my big brain and big boobs against me and in the end they will take me out #pandemictriggeredhypochondriac). My doctor assured me, “Nope, Debi your heart, lungs and everything else is fine but your ears are a mess.”

So I went on a high dose of antibiotics with a side of Diflucan (because what would an ear infection be without a side of a yeast infection to add insult to injury? I mean if you don’t get an itchy vagina to go along with your sinus pressure and vertigo, did it even happen?) and something for the anxiety that the dizziness triggered (what if I blackout while driving my kids and we all die?) but since I have high blood pressure (controlled but still diagnosed) that’s all I got…not a damn thing to dry up all that fluid stuck in my head.

Disclosure: Some of the products mentioned in this post were sent to me for review purposes. All opinions and gynecological misadventures are all my own.

Fast forward to the week I was finishing up my antibiotics and I woke up in the middle of the night, not once, not twice but three times soaked from my shoulders up in the middle of a full-on panic attack. Sorry to say, I’ve battled my fair share of demons in my life ( #fullymanicteensandtwenties) and I am not about that in my head life. It’s a dark and scary place and I’d prefer not to live there for very long. So, I did what any sane person would do, I called my doctor and my gynecologist because eureka…this bitch is almost 50 and maybe it’s time to admit reproductive defeat. Maybe I’m (gulp) perimenopausal or even menopausal. I mean, it could happen.

Ever since I had my hysterectomy in 2018 and have been living that 1 ovary life, I’m basically waiting to become reproductively challenged. I know this. Every day of estrogen is a gift. Shit, my baby sister went through menopause a few months after having her baby a couple of years ago and didn’t even know it ( God really said…you are done) so, me, being 5 years older, it’s just a matter of time.

Let me share some knowledge with you, I’ve always been an alpha ( if you know you know) if you got anywhere in my orbit, I would pull you onto my cycle ( ask my sisters and my daughters). I knew exactly when I ovulated ( day 14) and menstruated ( day 28), I could literally feel it. I haven’t had a period in almost 4 years because I don’t have a uterus but every month, I still get PMS and every other month, I can feel my ovulation. I know when my girls get their periods because I get their bloating and munchies.

However, my husband did good choosing in that crucial left ovary, right ovary moment ( it was decided after I was under because someone forgot to ask me before) because this girl, she’s a boss. She will not go quietly into that good reproductive night. Girlfriend is keeping us in the game but alas, those hot flash/cold sweats and anxiety, what else could it be. It must be the reproductive grim reaper coming for me.

I made an appointment with my gynecologist and left it to God. I resigned myself to the fact that I’m at the very least perimenopausal if not menopausal and it was time to get myself some estrogen, progesterone, supplement, patch or black cohosh (only not black cohosh because it would surely make this bipolar 1 manic woman full-on manic.periodt. and nobody wants that.)

Yesterday, I went to see Nina ( that’s my gynecologist, we’re on a first-name basis because we’ve been together over a decade and been through cancer scares, a miscarriage, a D& E, another surprise in office ( no anesthesia) D&C when she removed multiple cups of blood from my uterus after my fibroids literally tried to kill me and ultimately a hysterectomy and, I thought to myself, now….the death of my femininity aka the pause. But after an offer of Paxil ( no thank you…manic people shouldn’t take anti-depressants if they can avoid it) then estrogen, we resigned ourselves to the fact that our perimenopause or menopause journey together had begun but first, let’s make sure ( because I need proof for everything…how can I fix it if I don’t know what’s broken?) and we did a blood draw to get my hormone levels.

Guess what? Congratulations, I’m not perimenopausal or menopausal or any other pausal. I’m 100% normal hormone levels. To say I was surprised is an understatement. To say I was relieved is more like it because even though I know I am knocking on reproductive invisibility’s door, I’m not ready. Not really. The same way I wasn’t ready for my first period, my last period or any of my pregnancies because even though you read all about it and plan for it, you can never be ready but it still happens.

I feel like maybe this is the universe’s way of giving me a 5-minute warning, Debi, get your health in order because soon, it won’t be a false alarm and you need to be prepared so drink your milk, workout, eat more healthily, get that weight in check, moisturize, drink your water, play soduku and, for the love of all that is holy, make peace with your anxiety because one day those hot flashes and triggered panic attacks are going to be triggered by hormones (just like your migraines and hypomania used to be). I’ve never been so excited to just be “normal” whatever that means.

Here’s a list of some of the things I’ve been doing to prioritize me.

I’ve recently tried some new Reset 360 products to help increase my protein and reduce my carbohydrate intake. I’m a diabetic but I think it’s a pretty good idea for everyone to keep an eye on what’s going in their body.

Plant-based cookies

The Decadent Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie is a soft-baked plant protein cookie that tastes delicious and delivers healthy plant protein.

Bite fuel Power Bites

Double the chocolate, double the gains! These little guys are packed with so much chocolate that if you leave them in your milk, you will have chocolate milk after 5 minutes. They are soft, chewy, and really pack a chocolatey punch and each bag contains 18 gm of protein,

Super greens dietary drink

They’re called Super Greens because they are mega packed with superfoods like wheatgrass, spirulina, kale, spinach, plus 6 more! It makes getting the right amount of veggies easy. With Super Greens you can make healthy eating easy without struggling to eat pounds of vegetables each day.

All-in-one-chocolate shake

A plant-based protein shake that may help support overall health, ideal weight, & digestive strength. Creamy, delicious flavor that blends smoothly, and provides exceptional nutrition.

Superpower bars

Protein-packed, dark chocolate goodness with only 2 grams of sugar- sounds like a dream come true. With all organic ingredients and 10 grams of plant protein, this bar is the perfect anytime snack. 6g of dietary fiber in every bar keeps you satisfied for hours without weighing you down. keep these bars nearby during break times for a pick me up when there’s no time for a full meal.

I’ve also been cutting out animal byproducts as much as possible. I am not currently a full-time vegetarian but I do prefer vegetarian meals over meat options and it’s better for my health to choose leaner and cleaner foods. I love to bake so I’ve been swapping out regular flour, dairy

Organic Cacao Powder

LESS FAT and FEWER CALORIES: Chocolate is a staple in most households, but it can make people feel guilty because it is often associated with candy and sugary treats. Our Organic Cacao Powder provides you with a more nutritious alternative to regular chocolate. Our chocolate has the same great flavor as ordinary cocoa with the added benefits of organic cacao and less guilt.

Oatsome milk

NON-DAIRY MILK: Oatsome delivers a mild, creamy flavor—without dairy, nuts, added sugar, or any artificial ingredients. Now you can enjoy milk without discomfort from lactose or other components.

Coconut Palm Sugar

REFINED SUGAR ALTERNATIVE: Organic Coconut Sugar makes an excellent 1 to 1 ratio (spoon-for-spoon) replacement to refined white sugar. That means it’s easy to switch out white sugar or artificial sweeteners for BetterBody Foods Organic Coconut Sugar in simple meals and gourmet recipes. The possibilities are endless.

LOW ON THE GLYCEMIC INDEX: BetterBody Foods’ Organic Coconut Sugar is naturally low on the glycemic index. This means that it doesn’t raise your blood sugar as quickly as refined sugars do, so you can have the sweetness of sugar in naturally sweet coconut sugar without the associated insulin spike. 

PB fit peanut butter powder

  • POWDERED PEANUT BUTTER: All-natural PBfit has 87% less fat and almost 1/3 the calories of regular peanut butter. Made from roasted and powdered peanuts, it has real peanut flavor without the high fat.
  • PROTEIN POWER: With 8 g of protein in one serving of natural PBfit, you’ll get a boost of protein right before your workout. Add it to your morning shake or smoothie for a creamy peanut butter taste.

BBF oat Flour blend

This whole-grain, organic oat flour makes a great alternative to traditional flour for anyone with sensitivities to gluten or anyone looking to improve their diet. HEART-HEALTHY OPTION: Low in both saturated fat and cholesterol, oat flour is a healthy alternative to traditional wheat flour and also contains soluble fiber (1.2 g per serving).

Bowmar Butter

High protein cashew spreads. Flavors include peanut butter pretzel, cake pop, sugar cookie and buckeye!

Cashew Spread ( Cookie Butter)

High protein peanut, almond or cashew nut spread is a great way to add more protein into your diet.

These spreads all have 10g of whey protein and are a great alternative to other butters and spreads that are loaded with sugar and artificial sweeteners. available in cashew, almond, and peanut butter.

I’ve also started drinking my water, getting enough sleep, exercising, upping my moisturizer game and taking care of myself, mentally and physically. Maybe I narrowly escaped the pause for now but its coming for me ( and you too) so why not start preparing now?

And if you’re wondering about the mystery root of my hot flashes and panic attacks and what cured it? ½ a dose of Sudaphed 2 times a day, it was all caused by the fluid in my ears. It’s crazy what your body can do to signal that your check engine light is on.

What are you doing to prepare for the next phase of womanhood? Have you already entered perimenopause of menopause? If so, what is one piece of advice you’d give to those following close behind?

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Tips to Get Past Your Fear of Needles, #Hackthevax

This post is made possible with support from the Meg Foundation. All opinions and tips to get past your fear of needles today are my own. 

There’s a lot going on in the world. It’s been a crazy year. None of us ever imagined we’d live through a global pandemic in our lifetime. The biggest concern for most of us before 2020 was a laundry list of first-world problems. Life in 2019 could be hard, but not 2020 pandemic hard. Suddenly, for most of us, nothing made sense, and when that happened, the unknown brought with it new stresses and anxieties. 

Right now, the only answer to stopping the pandemic is herd immunity. That term kind of makes me want to moo, right? All kidding aside, I’m thrilled that science has given us a way to save ourselves and those we love, but getting vaccinated brings with it a new set of anxieties and stresses for some.

The fear of needles is real and nothing to be afraid of.

Tips to Get Past Your Fear of Needles, #Hackthevax

Don’t like shots? The thought of a needle freaks you out? You’re not alone. 25% of adults have a fear of needles. Don’t be embarrassed. I got so many shots as a kid with chronic health issues that I get sweaty palms just thinking about it even now. I worked through my fear of needles by making a plan and moving through my fears. Please don’t let needle anxiety stop you from being safe from Covid-19.

The Meg Foundation has resources to help you get through needle fears. Everyone can benefit from learning these techniques, but for people with needle anxiety, the techniques are life-changing. The first thing is to make a plan because action is the enemy of anxiety; the more concrete the plan the better you will feel.

Tips to Get Past Your Fear of Needles, #Hackthevax

Here are a few simple tips from Hack the Vax to get past your fear and get vaccinated.

Be an advocate for yourself

If you are nervous about getting your vaccine, don’t be afraid to say so. Lots of people have a fear of needles. Those administering the shots are aware of this. Letting people know what you need is the only way they will know (this goes for everything in life, not just vaccinations). You’re not being difficult, you’re advocating for yourself. You are a self-aware bad B. People don’t mind giving you what you need but you’re going to have to tell them.

Block the pain

Getting vaccinated doesn’t have to be painful. Over-the-counter anesthetics like Lidocaine cream are great for a little pre-vaccination numbing at the injection site. To be honest, when I was vaccinated recently ( both times) I didn’t feel a thing. I usually get the flu shot every year and I do feel that but with the Pfizer vaccine, I honestly felt no pain or even the standard pinch when a shot is injected.

Take deep breaths

You probably remember the power of breathing techniques from giving birth. I never put much stock into breathing techniques, until I experienced a unmedicated, Pitocin induced birth. That made me a believer and anyone who has used it, knows it works. Don’t overthink it. Just take a few slow, deep breaths before and during the injection. Using a meditation app for a minute before also helps me in stressful situations to just slow down and get through the moment.

Distract yourself

If you want to rely on something more than just deep breaths to get you through, focus on something that makes you feel happy or relaxed. To clear my head, I always listen to music. However, watching kittens on YouTube or just scroll through your social media feeds is enough to take your mind off the task at hand…or arm, I should say. I’ve done this a lot with my girls throughout their childhood. Distraction is a great way to refocus those overwhelming feeling of stress and anxiety that needles might bring. For me, when I am stressed, I talk, so I chatted with all the other people getting vaccinated.

Bring a support person

Phone a friend or family member and either bring them with you physically ( schedule your vaccinations together) or Facetime them during your vaccination appointment. Maybe it feels a bit awkward as an adult to be virtually hanging out with a friend in a room full of people but if it relaxes you enough to not feel as overwhelmed, it is totally worth a few minutes of talking to your phone in a room full of strangers. A bestie, spouse or sibling is a great support person for getting out of your head and engrossed in conversation. The Big Guy and I got both vaccinations together, sitting side by side.

Tips to Get Past Your Fear of Needles, #Hackthevax

The Big Guy and I got both of our vaccinations, and even though there was trepidation about getting the shot, I’m so glad that I did it. Getting everyone vaccinated is a step towards keeping the whole country safe and being able to hug our loved ones once again. Making a plan and working through your fears of needles to get vaccinated not only keeps you safe, in my eyes, but it also makes you a superhero because not only are you protecting yourself from getting coronavirus, you are protecting everyone you know and love. You are part of the solution to this devastating problem that is ravaging the world with no discrimination, rhyme, or reason. 

Don’t let your fear stand between you and your safety. Think, plan, and go get your shot and pass on these techniques because you never know when someone else is feeling nervous, too.

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easiest way to get protein without eating meat

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

I was a vegetarian for 10 years. To be honest, I am not a huge fan of meat even now after going back. It just isn’t my vibe. Sure, I love the occasional steak, burger, fish or chicken but mostly, I prefer anything else. I’ve taken a lot ethics and animals classes, joined PETA when I was 18 and it’s hard for me to enjoy eating pretty much anything with a face but I’m not here to pull anyone over to the vegetarian side. I just know that I’m not alone.

A lot of people are starting to think seriously about how much meat they eat on a daily basis. Some people have ethical concerns about how much animal products they eat, others are aware of the environmental impact of farming for meat, and others realize that a lot of meat in the diet simply isn’t healthy. Yes to all of this for me.

However, most people rely on meat for the vast majority of their protein consumption, which is crucial for healthy muscle growth amongst other things. So, what can we do to get the protein we need without as much meat or none at all?

A teaspoon of powder is all it takes

We all know the nutritional benefits of milk in the diet, with the calcium, iron, and other additions it has for your diet. However, making one replacement can help you not only get the same calcium but also add some protein to your morning glass of milk. Soybeans are a tremendous source of complete protein, meaning they have both protein and the amino acids that typically go with it in animal sources of protein. Of course, milk isn’t the only way to have your soy, but it’s an easy replacement to make and it tastes great.

All that power in one little bean

If you’re looking to live a healthy, active lifestyle and you need plenty of protein to make sure that your muscles are regenerating and growing as they should, then powdered protein may be something you’re familiar with. Not only can it help you up your protein throughout the day, but it can also help you replace meals if you’re trying to cut down on your portions.

Get nutty with it

Although not quite the same as soybeans (since they are not complete sources of protein), you should also look at the various ways you can use nuts more in your meals. This can include salads, soups, desserts, and snacks throughout the day. Peanuts have, per gram, the highest amount of protein out of all of the nuts. However, walnuts and hazelnuts also pack plenty of protein in their punch. What’s more, they also have a lot of those heart-healthy unsaturated fats. You shouldn’t eat more than roughly 30g of them a day, however.

Completing your proteins

Soybeans tend to be one of the few most readily available sources of complete proteins, which is why they’re the easiest to recommends. Others, such as rice and nuts, do not contain the amino acids that are also essential and typically come with animal proteins. If you’re ever worried that you’re not getting enough, you might also want to consider using amino acid supplements just to top you up. Getting it through your diet is more widely recommended, but the option is there just to err on the side of caution.

Getting the protein you need is possible without eating as much meat. Hopefully, the tips above help you see the alternatives to getting your protein when milk isn’t the.

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If you Wouldn't Drink Paint Thinner while Pregnant then Pass on Decaf coffee, clean label project

Do you love coffee? Is it something that’s part of your daily routine? I’ve been drinking cafecito bombon since I was a tween and sneaking sips from my dad’s mug since before then. Coffee has always been comforting in my life. Even now, one of my favorite things to do is sit on the back deck with the Big Guy and sip coffee over conversation or make TikToks while dancing around the kitchen with my teens sipping our whipped coffees. It doesn’t matter if it’s hot or cold, caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee is comfort and enthusiastic support on all days and in all the ways.  But what if you found out that your coffee had toxic chemicals in it? Worse, what if you were pregnant and found out that your decaf coffee had paint stripper in it?

Disclosure: This post is a sponsored campaign in partnership with the Clean Label Project. All opinions and pregnancy experience is my own.

When I was pregnant, I kicked my coffee addiction. I gave up caffeine completely. A few times, I did treat myself to a decaf Frappuccino. We lived in Tennessee, 600 miles away from our parents. Some days during pregnancy, I really needed to be comforted and I thought it was safe to treat myself to a small decaf coffee. Was I wrong?

READ ALSO: Unexpected Pregnancy at 40

My mom has a heart condition. She doesn’t drink caffeine because it’s bad for her. She drinks decaf coffee twice daily. A lot of older people drink decaf coffee because caffeine is bad for them. Pregnant women drink decaf because caffeine is not great for development. There are several different kinds of medical and mental disorders that encourage those diagnosed to switch to decaf because it’s “better for you”. But what happens when the very thing that you are told to be healthier is terrible for you?

READ ALSO: Things no one tells you about pregnancy

Clean Label Project recently released findings on methylene chloride (the active ingredient in paint strippers), which is found in popular decaffeinated coffee. Clean Label Project has filed lawsuits against four national brands for false and misleading advertising and labeling. These brands claim that their decaffeinated coffee products are “pure and natural.” In contrast, Clean Label Project’s study showed that methylene chloride was detected in the decaffeinated coffee products of these brands.

I’m not saying that you can’t drink coffee. I love coffee. Just ask my Nespresso account. Seriously, coffee is still warm and comforting to me but, as I’ve gotten more label savvy in the past year thanks to my recent health scares, I am also more discerning about what I put into my body. There are always healthier options, we just need to be aware of all the facts and ingredients.

 

So what’s going on with decaffeinated coffee? Removing caffeine from coffee generally involves one of two processes: water-based vs. solvent (chemical) based. However, the FDA currently allows methylene chloride to be used in the coffee decaffeination process and brands are not required to disclose which decaffeination process they use on their labels.

 

 

Clean Label Project tested 25 popular brands found in major retailers for the presence of methylene chloride. Ten brands tested positive. The onus is on the consumer to demand chemical-free decaffeinated coffee.

 

The thing is we have enough to worry about when we’re pregnant or elderly or just trying to take care of our health without having to go in search of all the hidden dangers of every single thing we ever want to eat or drink. There shouldn’t be secret chemicals in our food that can poison us or cause harm to our unborn babies. You don’t have to just take it. You can take action and Detox Your Coffee.

If you Wouldn't Drink Paint Thinner while Pregnant then Pass on Decaf coffee, clean label projectIf you Wouldn’t Drink Paint stripper while Pregnant then Pass on Decaf coffee. If you don’t think paint stripper is acceptable in decaf coffee, use your voice to contact your favorite brands and demand that they make it safer.

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Strategies to Help you Manage your Stress Better and Worry Less

Life has been stressful lately. More than stressful, life has been downright trying. The pandemic has us all in a holding pattern. I’m constantly afraid that if I move too fast or in the wrong direction, I’ll tip the balance and everything will come crashing down around me. This can’t be how I live my life now. I won’t do it. I’m trying to let myself learn how to work on the things I can fix, let the things I can’t fix go and turn the rest over to a higher power because holding on is not working.  I’m looking into learning strategies to help you manage your stress better and worry less.

If,  like me, you want to help yourself manage stress better you’ll need to start by knowing what the signs of stress are for you. We all have triggers. Sometimes when you’re in a high-stress situation, maybe your blood pressure rises or your heart starts racing. This can make you feel dizzy and knock you off balance mentally and emotionally. If you want to help yourself get through these incidents, then you need to pay attention to when these feelings get to be too much, because this is your body’s way of sounding the silent alarm.

Here are strategies to help you manage your stress better and worry less:

Identify the Stressful Times of Day

The first thing that you need to do is identify the times you are most stressed during the day. What pushes your buttons? If you are most stressed in the morning because you are trying so hard to get your kids off to school, then it may be worth trying to simplify your routine as much as possible by preparing the night before. When you do this, you will soon find that you can easily reduce the pressure you are under.

Take a Break

It’s very important that you take a break from time to time so you can decompress. Sometimes you need to do this, and that’s okay. You should never feel like a guilty mother just because you need to go somewhere or do something for a little while. As long as your kids are safe, you have nothing to worry about.

Workout

Working out is something that you can do as a family. If you want to help yourself then make the effort to try and get the family involved. It may be that your family like getting out of the house, and if you do this, then you will soon find that everyone can have the best time without you having to get stressed out. Swimming, jogging, biking or even walking are all fantastic exercises and they will also help you to keep in shape too.

Find a Good Support Group

You also need to make sure that you have a very good support group around you. This could be other people who are your age, or mothers that are in the same situation as you. Either way, you need to make sure that you have someone who you are able to chat with so you can make sure that you are getting the help you need.

Take Time to Laugh

Take time to laugh. Think about it, when was the last time you had a good laugh with your kids? Use humor if you can, so you can diffuse stressful situations where possible. Studies have shown that people tend to hold tension in their faces, and a good laugh can help you to release this. It can also help you to forget about all of the things that you were stressed about before. Little things like this can make you feel much better about yourself.

What are your best strategies to help you manage your stress better and worry less?

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coronavirus, 6 feet apart

The past 7 weeks have been life-changing for all of us. I can feel it in the very thread of my soul. 50 days is a long time to be apart from the ones you love and society in general. Honestly, 6 feet apart can feel like miles when it’s the people you love who you want to be nearest to. Coronavirus has taken physical contact out of the equation for all of us.

My family is very close emotionally but more than that, we’re a very touchy, feely group. There are a lot of us and we were raised on good morning, and off to work/school, home from work/school, and good night kisses. No matter what kind of day you had or how many times we fought, in the end, there was always love. These hugs and kisses were guaranteed. Maybe we didn’t have money but in love, we were/are rich.

READ ALSO: What Every Mom Should Know about Coronavirus

This is not just a childhood thing, I’m a grown woman, mother to two and when I’m home or my parents visit, I kiss them good morning, good night and whenever I leave the house. My kids do the same with their grandparents. We all do the same at our house. My brothers and sisters do it at their homes and whenever we visit one another, there is a good 15 minutes of just welcoming hugs and kisses and we love every single moment of it all. It is as natural and necessary as breathing for us so it’s been really hard.

Add to that the fact that my dad had just returned from months in Mexico for Bella’s quince that never happened, the week before the shelter in place order went into effect. I got to see him and my mother the day before it went into place. I haven’t seen them since. My youngest sister just had a baby 3 weeks ago. I haven’t met the baby yet. My middle sister is planning a wedding, I haven’t gotten to help her at all. My 3 brothers live in town but for the better part of this shelter in place, I’ve felt like I was hiding in place. I haven’t been inside anywhere in weeks and the only people I’ve seen have been the random neighbor here and there that I try to avoid on my walks.

READ ALSO: Doctor Gave Up Her Kids for Months to Save Yours

After a while, it starts to feel normal and that might be the worst part of all. 3 out of the 4 people in my house fall into the underlying condition category, so I’m in this for the long haul. I know this. I’m fine being in my house but lately, I’ve been missing my family in ways that I can’t explain.

I’m missing them in the little ways, my little brother’s Charlie Brown dance he does to make us laugh at family gatherings; the look on my little sister’s face when she watches her boys, the serious look of confusion and love that floods my middle sister’s face when we bullshit her about something, or my big little brother’s smirk when he’s bullshitting us or the care and concern in my middle brother’s voice when he asks if you’re alright and is genuinely concerned. I miss that same serious face my mom gives me before she breaks into my big little brother’s smile when she’s pulling my leg. I miss my dad’s laugh and the way he always blesses me before he leaves me or I leave him because we were raised that every time could be the last so always say I love you and that’s never been more true than now.

READ ALSO: Interview with a Coronavirus Doctor on the Frontline

Most days, I push it all down and try not to feel it. But this week, this is my terrible, no good, very bad week of the year. Every year since 2012. Even when I forget the anniversary, my heart remembers and it’s soft and sensitive and exposed and it hurts. It’s the one week of the year when I always need a soft place to land and here I am twisting in the wind. Right now, this 6-feet-apart feels like miles and miles and miles. I feel so alone.

The other day, I needed to see family. I needed to hear their laughter, see their faces and feel their energy; the energy I was born of. The family who knows all of my secrets and shares my history and loves me still; loves me more than I probably deserve and always has me held in their hearts, lifting me up in prayer and covering me in blessings and unconditional love even when I feel unblessable and completely and utterly unlovable. Still, there they are always in all the ways. My family is truly everything to me.

READ ALSO: How Coronavirus is a Blessing in Disguise

The other day, I made an executive decision as I am known to do and I told my brothers,” I’m driving by just to see your faces.” 6-feet-apart, so close but so far apart. And while it was balm to my soul to see their faces and hear their voices I never realized how much it would break my heart to have to walk away, to be in their orbit, and not get to hug them. It was almost unbearable and felt absolutely unnatural. It was the first time since they’ve each been born that I’ve seen them and not hugged and kissed them. I left feeling sad and hollow.

Mentally, I know that I saw them. We spoke and laughed and fed off of one another but the physical connection that transcends time and space that comes with touch was missing and there I sat, looking right at them, missing them and that’s a horrible side effect of the coronavirus. I can give up going to Target and restaurants and movie theaters. I can even give up travel and the freedom to roam the world as I so much like to do but giving up my people, the handful of people who mean everything to me, that’s hard but it’s selfish not to right now. So I take what I can get. Spaced laughter, togetherness apart, 6-feet apart dinners on my deck, movies in my family room with masks on with the same people who I share a mother and father.

READ ALSO: How to Protect Your Mental Health During a Pandemic

I’ll keep dropping snacks off at my friend’s and family’s houses just to get a passing glimpse of their smiles and to feel connected. If that means that I have to drive 3 hours to get a glimpse of my parents from 6-feet-apart for a couple of hours, it’ll be worth it to see my mom’s smiling eyes above her mask and hear my dad bestow upon me a blessing before I get back in my car to drive the 3 hours home. Until then, it’s ok to feel sadness and grief to miss what might have been and what once was. At least, when this is all over and we’re all safe and healthy, we’ll all have each other’s hugs to look forward to. For now, we stay 6-feet-apart so we don’t end up 6-feet-under.

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Doctor Gave Up Her Kids to Take Care of Coronavirus Patients, stay home, shelter in place, sacrifices of healthcare workers

While we’re all feeling a little stir crazy and a lot caged in our new normal, but there is a lot to be thankful for… it could be a lot worse, even though it feels quite dismal when you’ve been wearing pajamas for almost 3 weeks straight and played 7 million games of UNO and cooked and laundered for infinity. It’s hard right now for all of us but I have a story that I think a lot of us can relate to and all of us should hear.  A Doctor Gave Up Her Kids to Take Care of Coronavirus Patients.

My best friend is an Emergency Department doctor. Every day she goes into work, knowing that PPEs are limited and running out quickly. With still no quick testing for coronavirus at her facility, it’s a simple conclusion that asymptomatic patients have been sent home with CoVid 19. People are already dying at her hospital. If you think your anxiety is bad, imagine hers.

This week she sacrificed seeing her children for three months to take care of America; you and me, our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and our children. To do this, she had to give up hers.

Three months of no hugs. There will be no kisses. She will get no snuggles. No good mornings or good nights. No seeing the faces who’ve called her mom for the past 16 years; not like before. No, their meetings will be weekly and at a safe distance. She doesn’t want to do this, she has to do this; for their safety. The only way to protect her own children from any virus that she might come in contact with is to stay away from them. This devoted mother who happens to be a Doctor Gave Up Her Kids to Take Care of Coronavirus Patients.

Imagine as a mother or father not being able to hold your child for 3 months. We only have 18 years and then they leave on their own for college but right now, she has to give up some of that precious time in the name of the greater good. Right now, in a time of deep confusion and uncertainty when her daughters need their mother, possibly more than ever before, she has to stay away. If they do get sick, she can’t take care of them because she’s exposed every day, repeatedly, with limited PPEs.

READ ALSO: An Interview with a Doctor on the Front Lines of Coronavirus

Her hospital is presently giving providing doctors with one single N95 for the week of shifts; previously, doctors changed N95 masks between each patient.  Nurses are provided no N95 masks. Local members of the community have started to make and distribute fabric masks to the nurses. It is a beautiful and kind gesture but it’s sort of like taking a marshmallow to a gun fight. At the very least, it provides the patients with some reassurance just seeing their nurses mouth and noses covered but it’s mostly a fashion accessory unless it turns out that coronavirus is being spread by just breathing or talking, in which case…cover all the faces. Everything is so unknown , we’re all learning as we go.

Her hospital still doesn’t have Coronavirus tests on hand and readily available, which means that if you do get a test, it takes 10 days to get the results. In 10 days, you could already be dead, if I’m being quite frank. There is also a 1 in 3 chance that you will get a false negative when tested and, as any Emergency room doctor, it shows. She goes in every day and wears her 1 provided N95 mask for the week, from the minute before she walks in the door until she goes home. She doesn’t even eat or drink throughout her entire shift. It’s like sending a soldier in to battle with no protection at all. 

Still, this mother, friend, and doctor gave up her kids to take care of coronavirus patients. It wrecked her to her core and I heard it in her voice but she did it for them and for you. This was selflessness at its purest form. 

My friend does not live in a major city, well, not in comparison. She’s not in New York, L.A. or Chicago. However, she is in a highly populated college town, not far from Chicago. It’s not she’s in a widespread rural community. People who work in Chicago, live in her city. It shouldn’t be the way it is in her hospital or in any of the many others just like hers all over the country.

Doctors just like her, and many others who are coming out of retirement and stepping up to help in makeshift hospitals all over the country to help meet demand of an onslaught of American coronavirus patients, are heroes. They are running in to the virus when the rest of us are supposed to be sheltering in place. We need to listen.  We need to stay home so that they can stay safe, as safe as possible in this situation.

READ ALSO: What Every Parent Needs to Know about Coronavirus

Doctors and nurses ( all healthcare workers) are more than just their jobs. They are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, wives, husbands and mothers and fathers. They’re someone’s everything. Healthcare workers are also very human and just as susceptible as the rest of the world when it comes to coronavirus. Just because there is an M.D. after their name and they are superheroes, unfortunately, they are not immune to the ravishing affects of this virus and it does not discriminate. It doesn’t give a flying f*ck if you’re a good person or not. It doesn’t even give special privileges to nurses or that a doctor gave up her kids to take care of coronavirus patients.

Doctor Gave Up Her Kids to Take Care of Coronavirus Patients, stay home, shelter in place, sacrifices of healthcare workers

The bottom line is this is new to existence and none of us have immunity to it. If you come in contact with it, you will catch it, regardless of how good your immune system is or how healthy your are. The only unknown is how hard it will hurt you. Will it hit you like a worst case flu, will you be asymptomatic and a secret carrier to your loved ones or will it invade your body and kill its host. Do you want to take that chance with yourself or anyone you love or know?

My friend is a severe asthmatic. So many doctors have underlying health conditions or live with family who have underlying health conditions, but they don’t have the option of sheltering in place, they are essential. They are vital. We need them more than ever before. They took and oath and they want to take care of you and your loved ones. This is their calling. They are angels. We need to do our part to make that possible.

So I am asking all of you, I am imploring, that you stay home. My friend, a Doctor Gave Up Her Kids to Take Care of Coronavirus Patients.

I know that you are so bored, exhausted, anxious and scared. I am too. I’m on day 24 of quarantine, I’ve resorted to day and night pajamas and have made a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese for lunch one day ( just the Mac and cheese) nothing else. I’ve been drinking the occasional adult beverage, like every 3 days, I need a drink when previous to this it was about once a year.  The thing is be gentle with yourself, be patient with your family and just do whatever you need to feel normal. We’re all in this together. Sleep all day, eat cereal for dinner or dress up and have a fancy date night at home. Be present with your kids, zoom your friends and call the people you love.

But please, follow the recommendations and shelter in place. I know you think that one person’s actions won’t have that big of an affect but, trust me, they will. We are all potential carriers. We are all potentially armed and dangerous to the people we love the most.

When you think you just really need to get out of the house and take the kids to the park or the beach please remember my friend, she gave up her children to save you. Please return the favor by making our world a little more safe for her and all the healthcare heroes that live in our communities, especially the ones who’ve taken care of us when we’ve needed it most because the alternative is that we do whatever we want and they die, even after their immense sacrifices.

Take care of each other. Be kind and compassionate. Shelter in place but stay connected. Human interaction is so important so install ZOOM, FaceTime, use the phone, write a letter or send an email. Check in on your people. Most importantly, take care of yourself; wake up, eat, move, laugh, love, sleep and repeat. That’s all you need to do.

PLEASE STAY HOME, it will be over eventually and the only way we get through this is taking care of one another from afar.

Thank you for doing your part and to the essential workers, I see you. I see your sacrifices. I’m doing my part. I’m staying in. You’re in my prayers and I’ll never forget the sacrifices you’ve made in this time of coronavirus.

How are you and your family holding up during the coronavirus? I’m here to listen and connect whenever you need me.

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spring break, Coronavirus in the USA, Life in the time of Coronavirus

College Spring breakers in Miami, Florida don’t give a damn about social distancing. The spread of Coronavirus in the USA is not their problem. They want to party and that’s all they care about. College kids and Millennials don’t understand why the beaches and bars are closed, “it’s not that serious”. Drinking until they blackout is their only objective. Screw you and your fear of coronavirus.

Coronavirus in the USA has me quarantined and looking for outside conversation via the Internet. However, that leaves me inundated with all the information. I’m sticking to the CDC for reliable information. This social-distancing, self-quarantine state of being has me alone with my thought a lot lately. I forgot how much I like my own company. Unfortunately, I’ve had to bring back Throat Punch Thursday because apparently, people are so f*cking stupid that even when their lives are at stake they think that the rules don’t apply to them.

“If I get Corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I’m not going to let it stop me from partying.” ~Spring Break Coronavirus in the USA denier.

I’ve been trying to do my part to flatten the curve regarding Coronavirus in the USA; social distancing, caution, preparation and move along. I prepped for quarantine. We’re in the house and self-quarantining to be safe for everyone. We’re on day 7. We don’t love it but it’s what needs to be done  for the safety of our elderly, my parents and your parents, for the immunocompromised ( our children & ourselves) and those with asthma ( like my best friend an ER doctor), diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and a host of other immunosuppressed conditions.

READ ALSO: What is Coronavirus and what every Mom Needs to Know

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that coronavirus in the USA can be nothing or it can be devastating, the problem is we just don’t know how COVid19 is going to effect us. It changes from person to person depending on a host of mitigating factors. What I do know is that it’s not a chance that I am willing to take with my loved ones or yours. A 34-year-old man just died after contracting coronavirus. He had just returned from a trip to Walt Disney World and Universal in Orlando. He was young and healthy but had a childhood history of asthma. No one is safe.

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What I do know is that we are in the middle of a national emergency and what we do now will have ripples felt for years to come. I also know that a knee-jerk reaction and a bad case of verbal diarrhea on the part of some of our administration and a plethora of misinformation being spread has put even more Americans in danger.

READ ALSO: How to Educate during Coronavirus in the USA

My own mother sat in my living room and told me, “He said it’ll pass quickly.” She’s not worried at all. Did I mention that she is over 70 and has a heart condition? She believes ( as many people her age do) everything Trump says and she thinks he knows best. “He wouldn’t lie. He’s the president.”

That coupled with the fact that early reports that the 20-40 year-old age group are all but exempt from the devastating effects of coronavirus. These people have been given false hope that they are safe. There is no safe. We are dealing with an unknown, brand new virus that is potentially fatal under the right conditions. Thanks to over confident reporting that everything will be fine, it’ll past fast and it’s just like the flu, have people bucking up to take their chances.

“It’s really messing up with my spring break. What is there to do here other than go to the bars or the beach? And they’re closing all of it. I think they’re blowing it (coronavirus) way out of proportion.” ~idiot on Spring break during a pandemic

Ignorance might be bliss but it won’t protect you from the coronavirus. It’s not subjective. Coronavirus does not discriminate. It will infect you even if you choose to not believe it exists. Ignoring the warning only makes you more susceptible because you are not exercising caution. Worse, it makes you more likely to carry to someone else who it might kill.

READ ALSO: Sending Kids to School Sick is the Worst

The thing is I get that you need a vacation, probably now more than ever. You’ve been cooped up in the house with your kids all week and the weather is terrible. You’ve been holding out for this vacation. You saved and paid for that AirBnB in Siesta Key or Fort Lauderdale. You just need some sunshine and the beach. I get it. Me too. Fuck, we just cancelled a quinceanera for our daughter, our annual Boston trip, a trip to Nashville, Los Angeles and depending on what happens over the next few weeks, even more travel will be cancelled.

If you know my family, you know, travel is our love language. We’re explorers, free-spirited, open-minded adventurers but before everything else, I’m a mom, daughter, wife, sister and friend. My main objective is to keep everyone healthy and survive this coronavirus pandemic because the alternative is unthinkable.

“We having day parties all day. It’s my birthday. ” ~Birthday Celebrating Spring Breaker who Doesn’t Give a Shit about Coronavirus in the USA

Everyone is being pretty understanding considering. Flights, hotels and reservations can be rescheduled. Hell, I cancelled and rescheduled an entire quinceanera mass and reception. I broke a heart doing it but the option was putting people I love in danger. I’m not willing to do that. They’ll recover from disappointment. They might not recover from the coronavirus.

“This virus ain’t that serious. There’s more serious things out there like hunger and poverty. We need to address that.” ~Philanthropic Spring Breaker who side hustles as head of the CDC (NOT)

My point is this, DON’T GO ON SPRING BREAK while there’s Coronavirus in the USA.

  • Stop traveling abroad or nationally.
  • Keep yourself home with your immediate family.
  • Stay in groups less than 10 people.
  • WASH YOUR HANDS.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough into your elbow.
  • Dispose of tissues in garbage and immediately sanitize your hands.
  • Stay out of other people’s space.
  • If you’re having symptoms, stay home from work.
  • Cancel all non-emergent appointments. Call your doctors they will help you with prescriptions.
  • Work from home when possible.
  • Do not buy masks. The hospitals need those.
  • Go outside and get some fresh air.
  • Unplug to avoid anxiety.
  • Buy groceries for up to 2 weeks to limit your exposure at frequent store trips. Do not buy all the groceries and TP.
  • Use delivery and drive up options for your groceries, medications and whatever else you need.
  • Order online.
  • Be kind to others. We’re all in this together.
  • But MOST IMPORTANTLY, DO NOT GO ON SPRING BREAK!!!!!! If you do, you are an asshole.  Just because you are young and healthy doesn’t mean you are safe from coronavirus.

I get it. You need the break and the governor of Florida hasn’t shut down the beaches. That doesn’t mean it’s safe. I go back to my JAWS analogy ( Coronavirus in the USA is JAWS in this scenario), everyone’s on the beach. JAWS is in the water ( Coronavirus is out there, everywhere, lurking just waiting to make contact) but everyone wants their sunny beach vacation. Some of us are coming off like crazies warning you ( begging you) to cancel your trips but all you can see is the water, the sun and that fruity cocktail that you’ve been dreaming of since Christmas.  I GET IT! But please, make the fruity drink at home and get a light therapy lamp. It’s not worth it. The beach will be there next spring but will you be?

What are you doing while we work to flatten the curve? I’m gathering free sources and putting them on my The TRUTH about Motherhood FB page if you need ideas and if you have any, please share here and I’d love to share with my audience.

Stay safe and be cautious. #LifeInTheTimeOfCorona

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How To Continue Education During The Coronavirus Pandemic

By now, we are all painfully aware that Coronavirus is serious. President Trump has stopped visitors from the EU, and other countries around the world, from entering the US. Ladies and gentlemen, we’re officially amid a Coronavirus pandemic. The WHO classes a pandemic as “the occurrence in a community or region of cases of an illness… clearly in excess of normal expectancy.” Life is definitely not normal at the moment, it feels like we’re living in a sci-fi horror film, so the World Health Organization must be right. Aside from every other fear on our minds, the nagging thing we have to consider is how To Continue Education During The Coronavirus Pandemic?

READ ALSO: Parents who Send Sick Kids to School are the Worst

But, most families’ routine isn’t going to stop in its tracks because you can’t afford it to. Education is a prime example as many Americans will still need to go to work and some kids still need to get to school or a daycare center, though many of our children’s schools have been suspended indefinitely. These are uncertain and unpredictable times. How can you still get your kid an education during an outbreak of one of the worst health crises in the past decade?

Homeschool

As a mom, you always have the right to homeschool your kids. It’s not as simple as pulling them out and starting the curriculum halfway through as you have a life, too. However, if you’re worried about the state of the education system right now, it’s not unfeasible.

Speak to The School

Parents have the final say; however, your children’s daycare or school isn’t off the hook. If the virus starts to get in the way of education, the teachers and principal should craft a plan to limit the damage. For example, they might upload the classes onto an online program that allows the students to complete the work at home. 

Study Via E-Learning Technology

Let’s not forget that the children aren’t the only ones studying in the US. Plenty of adults are trying to better themselves also. As a grown-up, you have the flexibility to decide against attending class, where kids don’t. I’m actually going back to school myself in April and it will be online. As far as the kids go, I was keeping them home Monday no matter what (I’m the parent and their health and safety is my top priority).

READ ALSO: Working with Preschoolers

Luckily, the girls have the luxury of using E-learning at their schools, not every child does. Even so, it’s essential to study hard to stay on track for good grades and to ensure their hard work doesn’t go to waste. Thankfully, currently, the world is more technologically savvy regarding e-learning, so it should be as easy as logging-on and completing studies from home.

Practice Good Hygiene

In a health scare such as this one, it’s vital that everybody practices quality hygiene. It’s up to the parents to help their kids maintain a high standard as they’ll happily drop the ball. Believe me, if working with preschoolers has taught me anything this year, it’s been the power of germs and the lack of childhood hygiene. As adults, it’s our responsibility to help them. That means packing extra tissues for coughs and sneezes and leaning on hand gel and antibacterial gel. Try not to touch your face, either, and get the kids to follow your lead. If you are having a hard time explaining this to them, you may want to grab a Kids Hygiene Book so that you can show and educate them easily the importance of practicing good hygiene. Hopefully, these tips will keep the whole country safe.

How is your family life-changing during the Coronavirus pandemic?

 

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