Things to Do When Quitting Smoking

Quitting smoking cold turkey is not easy. It requires will power and not everyone succeeds but not everyone can handle the nicotine gum or patches without getting sick. One of the worst parts of quitting are the cravings. They get easier over time, but in the beginning they get intense. The first three days are breaking a physical addiction, so once you get over the 72-hour mark, you will find that you’re not feeling physical withdrawal but you are still feeling desperate for a cigarette. That’s because addiction changes your brain chemistry so your brain is trying to get that hit to relieve the withdrawal.

Normally when you quit, you will experience cravings. Those will be like hunger pangs and won’t last long. The best thing to do is try to wait out a craving- it can be as little as a few seconds (just count to ten and see if they go away) to an hour or two. If they don’t go away with counting to ten, try to distract yourself.

Ways To Distract Yourself

  1. Go out and prep dinner
  2. Bake something
  3. Read a couple pages of an interesting book or blog
  4. Watch part of a TV show
  5. Take up knitting/crocheting
  6. Take up loom knitting
  7. Take up making earrings or jewelry
  8. Start sewing
  9. Do a small craft
  10. If you’re a writer, start writing something- a book, short story, blog, article for a client- anything
  11. Play a game with your kids
  12. Play a video game

One of the reasons many people light up is because of boredom. You tend to feel bored when you have nothing to do. If you find something to do, you’ll be less likely to pick a cigarette up and more able to fight a craving.

You will find that you’ll go through some pretty bad withdrawal symptoms while you’re trying to quit. Withdrawal can be very annoying and can make you feel desperate for a cigarette but if you know what to expect and prepare ahead of time, you should be able to fight back against the symptoms to be more successful.

Symptoms of Withdrawal

  1. Cravings– they can vary in severity but typically only last a few seconds to a few minutes. If you can distract yourself long enough, they usually go away on their own but will come back. The best game plan is to decide how you will distract yourself. Come up with a list of things you can quickly switch to doing and do them when a craving hits. Try to also come up with why you crave them.
    Common reasons people have cravings- people they usually smoke with, memories or positive feelings associated with smoking, being hungry or overly tired or being stressed. Different people can have different triggers but it’s best to try to either avoid triggers or reduce them as much as possible.
  2. Mood swings– there isn’t much you can do. There are some methods to controlling anger or emotional outbursts- like stopping and counting to three, walking away from whatever is about to make you snap or using a stress ball. Like dealing with triggers, different methods work for different people at different times. If you normally use video games to relax and you’re at work, you won’t have an option to play. You might find that taking a stress ball to work helps ease the tension enough to get you through your shift.
  3. Feeling anxious and restless– cigarettes give you stuff to do with your hands. Many people find that stuff like suckers and tooth picks help with calming the hand to mouth habit. Chewing gum and brushing your teeth can also help- both give you a fresh feeling in your mouth that will feel better than the stale feeling of cigarettes.
  4. Lightheadedness– Make sure to eat and when this symptom hits, remember that your blood pressure is dropping and some lightheadedness will be common. This should go away by the time the nicotine is fully out of your system. Try to avoid doing anything dangerous while dealing with this symptom; even if that means pulling over into a parking lot while driving.
  5. Being hungry/weight gain– Nicotine is a stimulant and appetite suppressant. It both helps metabolism and decreases your appetite. The best thing to do to handle both of these side effects is to make sure you have plenty of fruits and vegetables/nuts and other healthy items to snack on and to exercise. Also, eat very slow so you will avoid eating past the point of feeling full. The first few bites of a super sweet item typically are the positive bites- the rest isn’t needed and won’t feel any better.
  6. Feeling depressed or lethargic– you may feel down. You may feel more stressed and you may feel that you’ve lost a good friend. All these are normal. You may even feel grief- it could be understood because in a way, it’s like losing a long term friend. Cigarettes were always there when you “needed” one so it’s normal to feel like you’re losing a part of you. It’s best to remember in times like this that you are getting out of an “abusive” relationship. Cigarettes may always be there but they are contributing nothing and they are killing you. If you met friends or bonded with people over cigarettes, the memories may come rushing back. Remember the memories with the people and not the activity. You miss the bonding with people, not the smoking. To try to remedy this, find things to do with those same friends that don’t involve smoking. If they are true friends, they won’t leave you when you quit. They will support you.
    Also where Nicotine is a stimulant, it may mask depression symptoms. It may also suddenly make you feel depressed. The best way to fight that is to either get help for depression, or if it’s situational depression; go out and do things you like. Eat as healthy as you can and make sure to get plenty of sun. Do things like work out that help with those same receptors in your brain but make sure not to replace an addiction with another addiction.

Keep in mind that slips may happen and relapses almost always happen before the final quit, but if you’re able to quit you will need persistence. Make a plan, plan how to handle triggers and ways you can distract yourself. Don’t beat yourself up over a relapse and try to learn from it.

If you have successful quit, what advice would you give to a long time smoker trying to quit?

What is Reactive Hypoglycemia?

Most people associate all blood sugar episodes with Diabetes, but there is a nonDiabetic condition that can cause chronic low blood sugar, that also includes seizures. The condition is called “Reactive Hypoglycemia.” It can come along with Diabetes but there is another version “Non-Diabetic Reactive Hypoglycemia” and that can start as early as teen years for some (maybe younger, I had my first episode in high school).

The way my former endocrinologist described Reactive Hypo to me was that I could fast for a period of time but if I ate foods higher on the glycemic index without balancing them out right with protein and fats, I would crash. I had a major seizure at work after eating a high dairy baked potato. It was supposed to be fish, baked potato and broccoli but my kids ate the fish and broccoli off my plate and I ended up having just the potato. I didn’t think much about it and headed on to work. A couple hours into my shift, I noticed I no longer felt hunger pangs.

Within minutes, I was pouring sweat- hot on one side; felt like I was on fire. The other side felt frozen and I was clammy in a cold sweat. My hearing amplified but I could also barely hear. My chest started hurting and I was too shaky to hold anything steady. I finally developed tunnel vision and by then was able to get a hold of a manager to help me get something to eat. My husband picked me up and took me to the ER where they ran a few faked tests then told me I wasn’t having a heart attack, it was just a panic attack. By that time, I was calmed down because I ate. I spoke to my doctor later and he told me it was a blood sugar seizure.

After he told me, I researched it and spoke to my endocrinologist about it. She was finally able to give me some dietary tips, but nothing I hadn’t already known. These episodes are normal for me if I don’ t watch what I eat, but it was nice to know what it was, that it had a name and that I could research it a little.

What are blood sugar seizures?

Blood sugar seizures happen when your blood sugar drops too low. Diabetics can also have seizures if their blood sugar goes too high. Normally a reactive seizure (or non-Epileptic seizure) happens when your sugar drops below 30. By that point, you need to bring it up or you can go into a coma and without correcting, it can be deadly at that level.

These types of seizures are caused by your body not having enough sugar in your blood to help your brain function. They are not related to Epilepsy but can run alongside Epilepsy, According to a UK Diabetes site, the two can commonly occur together side by side- Type 1, specifically and there may be an autoimmune link. With that overlap, there may be confusion when people have blood sugar spikes or drops and go into a seizure. The primary way to tell the difference is if eating or taking sugar pills can help come out of the seizure.

What are the Symptoms of Diabetic/Hypoglycemic Seizures?

The symptoms vary depending on the severity of the drop. I know first hand that my body gives me warning for at least an hour before it drops.

These are my personal symptoms leading up to seizures
  1. Hunger
  2. Violent hunger- my stomach will start aching and growling loud and often
  3. Hunger suddenly stops- here is where I know I need to eat or else. I’ll stop having all signs of being hungry
  4. The drop- typically happens suddenly and very fast. Lightheadedness is the first symptom
  5. Vision difficulties
  6. Numbness and tingling
  7. zoning out
  8. If I have gone this long without eating, I’ll be needing to sit down or rest from whatever I’m doing- I’m too shaky and it will be extremely difficult for me to stand up.
  9. This is around the time the seizure starts- I almost never make it this far. If I do make it to the shakiness it won’t be long until I find some kind of sugar to raise my levels
  10. Last seizure I had: I developed tunnel vision, lost peripheral vision, everything looked strange overall, I was numb, felt like one side of my body was on fire while the other side was frozen- and I was sweating on both sides, I was slurring my speech, I was shaking uncontrollably, pale, my eyes even lighten up from a dark brown/black to a very light golden brown.
  11. Any longer and I’ll faint but I never get to this point.
Traditional Hypoglycemic Symptoms

According to endocrine.org, symptoms of mild hypoglycemia happen when levels drop below 70.

They are:

  1. Hunger
  2. Anxiety
  3. Shaking
  4. Sweating

Moderate symptoms occur when levels dip below 55, they are

  1. fatigue
  2. dizziness
  3. confusion
  4. trouble speaking
  5. weakness
  6. anxiety

Seizures and coma happen when levels dip below 50.

What Can You Do About Hypoglycemia?

What is there that you can do about hypoglycemia before they lead to seizures? It’s actually a very simple solution and doesn’t have to be disabling or inconvenient in any way. If you make a few simple changes to your diet, you can typically avoid having strong symptoms.

Carry snacks with you at all times. If you can’t always grab something to eat, the Diabetes supply section of the pharmacy in many grocers and other pharmacy stores have blood glucose tabs. They aren’t very expensive and easily can fit in a car glove box or purse. When you start to feel an episode and you’re out, all you need is to pop a tab and dissolve it in your mouth. One tab should help in most cases.

Ways to work your diet:
  1. High protein
  2. Low (bad) complex carbs
  3. Low starch
  4. Low white foods (bleached flour, white rice, white potatoes)
  5. Use sweet potatoes instead of regular
  6. Even out carbohydrates with protein and healthy fats
  7. If you’re diabetic, talk to your doctor about the Keto diet. It was specially created for Diabetics and may work for you. Of course, you’re looking at going on a medical diet so make sure you’re working hand in hand with a medical professional.

I was told that I don’t need to avoid any particular foods, I can eat any of those- carbs or sugars but to make sure I always even out with a lot of protein.

When it comes to blood sugar, most people will have a time or two with low swings. It can be when you’re exercising heavily and haven’t ate well enough or it could be during a time you’re too stressed to eat properly. If you start finding that normal foods- sandwiches, baked potatoes and similar foods are making you feel hungrier or numb, it might be good to bring it up to your doctor. Food is supposed to help us and not hurt and when a particular food crashes your blood sugar, it’s worth talking to the doctor.

Even when the solution is as simple as carrying sugar pills and eating healthier, it could be warning you that you’re developing Diabetes or another blood sugar disorder or it could put you at a higher risk. Being monitored (A1C) is a good idea, as well as talking to your PCP about diet.

New Parenthood is Hard

Being a new mom is extremely hard. You’re still hormonal and now you have a little human you have to take care of. Your sleep schedule is messed up, every three hours you have to get up to nurse. You may be having trouble latching or getting baby to take the breast, so you have to use a bottle. You may be recovering from a c section while also taking care of a new baby, or you may have the baby still in the NICU or baby unit. You are tired, stressed, overwhelmed and the last thing you’re thinking of is taking care of yourself.

I know, I’ve been there. My oldest was a c section 3 months early due to severe Pre-Eclampsia. She was in the NICU for over 8 months and had multiple surgeries.

We were tired, scared and it took me days to see her because they couldn’t get my blood pressure under control. It was scary but I decided I wanted to find some way to give back.

When she was 16 months, we got pregnant again. This time, I had a folic acid deficiency and she died from Anencephaly. It took me a whole six weeks to recover from the c section because I was a depressed lump.

They wouldn’t tie my tubes and put me on prescription supplements. I got pregnant two years later and had a healthy, happy baby. She was big and perfect.

We now are raising an 11 year old with special needs and a healthy six year old. I had a strong support system through everything. My parents still play a very active role in my girls’ lives so I know the importance of having a strong support system.

Even if you have no support, a life coach specializing with working with new moms can be beneficial. A life coach helps you through the rocky roads of new motherhood. She can help you when you’re unsure if something is normal. She can talk to you when you’re needing someone to talk to and can help you take the steps you need to take to be the best new mom you are meant to be.

This course will take you through the lessons I have learned in my 11 years of being mommy.

Pregnancy is a scary time, filled with emotions and fears. A good parenting coach can help you work through those heavy emotions so you won’t waste money talking to your doctor unless it’s needed (now, psychosis or PPD requires a psychiatrist, certain symptoms require a doctor but going to the ER can cause you to actually get sick instead of fixed; especially if it’s a normal pregnancy symptom. On the other hand, they can tell you to do a home treatment when it’s actually something you need to see the doctor over.

I was pregnant with my second. I had wet pants so I called labor and delivery and they told me I peed. It wasn’t and by the time my appointment rolled around, I found out it was my water breaking. I was in active labor and didn’t know (no bad pain- it was like a moderate period cramp)

When you are pregnant, you need support. You need people to help you through the process. As a new mom, you need to have support in place to talk you through how to stay from losing yourself. This course covers everything from self care to keeping from losing yourself. It covers breastfeeding, when to see a doctor, long term pumping, NICU stays and how to handle hard to handle babies.

This is ongoing, so there will be much more added and there will be multiple courses in the school.

If you’re interested in visiting my Mom School, visit here. The beginning of Self Care is listed, these are all ongoing courses and the school is still new.

Beginner Guide: Beekeeping

If you’re interested in having a supply of fresh honey, wanting to eventually sell honey or you’re wanting to collect your own beeswax to make candles or other items, you may have thought about starting to beekeep.

Research

The first step is to study up. Start in the summer or fall and read everything you can. Look on Facebook or Nextdoor and find a local beekeeper group, ask people you know who keep bees. They say spring is the best time to start a new hive, so spend the other seasons collecting your gear and preparing for your hive. The first thing you want to study is all about honeybees. You want to know as much as humanly possible about the way honeybees work, how their bodies are made and what they do.

You do not want to even think about bee keeping until you’re well versed on bees themselves, it likely won’t work if you do not understand bees.

Supplies

After you learn about bees, start studying and watching everything you can about bee keeping. There are many great TikTokers who go into detail about their hives, including one who is always showing herself moving hives around and saving hives that are in bad locations.

Once you have learned all you could about bees and beehives, once spring rolls around, you will want to start gathering everything. You will want the supplies before you get your hive.

If you network in local or online groups, you may be able to find someone who will sell you a hive when you’re ready to start. They can also recommend the best supplies.

Get your supplies- you will need a full body suit, a smoker, storage for the hive, a veil to keep your face safe, a hive tool and uncapping tool and a brush. You can find these on Amazon for cheaper than in specialty stores and depending on where you live, you may need to shop online.

Once you get all the supplies, it’s time to get an actual hive with the bees. It is recommended to start with 1-3 hives. You could try more, but more hives would take more time and care and if you end up with your bees getting sick, you could deal with all hives getting sick.

While doing your research, learn the difference between honey bees and all other types of bees. You need to be able to identify any bees that could come along and pose a threat to your hive(s). You also need to be able to identify honey bees if you want to get bees from the wild instead of ordering. If you get them from the wild, make sure to get the queen so the worker bees will stay in the hive. There are clips you can get to keep the queen from escaping until they are more established in the hive.

You can go on Youtube and TikTok and search for beekeeping to learn everything you’ll need to know about what to do and where to go.

You will need to find a location far enough away from the house where you won’t be attacked, but also away from creeks and other bodies of water- that way the hive won’t be lost if the pond or creek flood over. Some people recommend to point the hive to the south, but there is nothing proven about bees preferring a certain location.

Some random tips

Make sure to include the queen, not everyone does but the queen helps hold the hive together and helps with reproduction.

Try to keep a place bees can go if they swarm. Swarming is done when hives get too full, so they will either take off or you can have another location so you won’t lose part of the hive.

Check on the bees at least once a week. You don’t need to check daily, but you do want to monitor at least every week. You want to be able to see if the bees get sick, are got by predators or end up with any parasites that could destroy the whole hive. You also want to make sure they’re safe and still there.

It’s best to use a frame but let the bees build the honeycomb. Frames are easily taken out and moved around, so they are better to use.

Bees become stressed easily, they can be harmed by being checked on too much so you do not want to check every day or excessively. Let the bees do what they need to do.

Enjoy- Beekeeping is a hobby. It’s meant to be enjoyed by people who love bees so don’t stress out over it and don’t fear it. A lot of honey bees are mellow when they aren’t feeling threatened.

What tips do you have for people interested in starting to bee keep?

Ways to Keep Creativity Flowing While Stuck at Home

*Disclaimer, this is a sponsored post.*

One thing that the virus has done has shown us how important being /comfortable in our homes needs to be. We spent months under restrictions and even though things are slowly going back to somewhat normal, it’s still going to be a long time before we are fully back. If you’re a normally creative person you may find yourself stuck despite being stuck at home. Here are some ideas to help keep the creativity while stuck at home.

  1. Get or use a Cricut- these machines are fun and become easy to use. With them, you can design tee shirts, vases, candle holders, tote bags or anything else you can think of. There are tons of different designs you can gain access to.
  2. Find a print on demand site and play with designing shirts or other things. You can find places you can purchase fonts, like this fun tattoo lettering font that will work great on shirts or wall decorations. With those sites, you can sell the items from the website or find a website like Ebay or even Etsy to sell the designs.

  3. Look to Pinterest to get ideas for cute crafts you can do with the kids. I get a lot of craft ideas off Pinterest. They have any types of crafts you can think of doing- for all people.

  4. Find videos on Youtube. Youtube has a lot of expert tutorials for all crafts and following suggested videos, you may find a new art you love.

  5. Keep a journal by your bed, write down any idea that comes to you and write out any dreams you remember. If you love writing, a dream may end up being your next big writing project.

  6. TikTok is a fairly new social network with a feed tailored to what you have been watching. If you search for crafting videos, before long you will find your feed filled with them.

  7. Rest for a day. Give yourself a day of doing nothing to recharge your batteries. If you’re well rested, you will find that you can get those creative juices flowing again.

  8. Redo a room in your house. Print off some art and frame it, make a new sign to hang in your room using the fonts from this site and it will add a pop of creativity. You can also add floral arrangements, redo the layout of the furniture or paint the walls a new color. Watch shows on HGTV or read Better Homes and Gardens to get some ideas.

  9. Learn new baking skills. Watch Food Network or a cooking show, vlog or read a food blog and start testing new recipes. Michaels, Hobby Lobby and other craft stores offer everything you need for cake decorating, including fondant.

  10. Make a list of every craft you have wanted to learn, write them all down and put them in a hat. Draw from the hat to see what skill you want to learn. You could also browse your favorite store’s website for beginner craft kits and pick some at random. It doesn’t have to be intentional.

With the virus dragging on so long, many of us who are normally creative can find ourselves stuck in ruts and straining for ideas to keep our creative juices flowing. If you find yourself in a slump, try one of the listed ideas and let me know how it went. If you have any ideas yourself, feel free to comment and share.

Keeping the House in Order With Multiple Cats

Owning more than one cat doesn’t mean your house has to smell like a litter box or look condemnable. With cats, come food bowls, litter boxes and potential fleas. If you have multiple indoor cats, you may still want to keep a flea treatment on hand since they can come in on shoes, clothing or through cracks in doors. We lived in an apartment with one cat and ended up having to flea bomb the house. Bombing worked and we were able to get rid of the infestation fairly quickly but had to make plans to have the cat out of the house.

person cleaning a cat litter box
Photo by chatchawarn loetsupan on Pexels.com

Keeping more than one litter box and making sure to scoop in the morning and evening can help eliminate odors, especially if you throw the bag away in an outside trashcan immediately. Air fresheners and litter deodorizer also helps.

Keep food and water dishes confined to a small area, like the kitchen so messes are easier to keep up.

Clean all vomit or anything else up immediately.

Make sure your flooring isn’t carpet. Carpet is stained easier, harder to clean and retains smells worse than hard wood, tile or linoleum. Run a dust mop or sweep 1-2 times a day and mop as much as you need.

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Vacuum all fabric surfaces, like sofas or kid toy sofas, pet bedding or towels on a regular basis. Brush your cats daily and sweep up all stray hair balls.

Keep all cats treated for any and all parasites and make sure they visit the vet regularly- otherwise you could look at diarrhea, flea infestations, worms or other messy problems.

Get cats fixed to help keep from spraying

If your cat has problems with hairballs, there are foods that help control hairballs and brushing can help.

 

If you have any other tips for multiple cat households, what do you do?

What is it like to downsize with a family?

Last year, we moved out of a somewhat small/medium size town home and bought a smaller home. We needed out of the town home and buying made sense- we wanted stability of one location with the added bonus of owning instead of paying to nothing, so we found a cute home but smaller in the area where he grew up.

We only went down 40sqft but that was enough to see a difference.

We now generally have lower utility payments, which is a perk of moving to a smaller home. We also have a smaller home but bigger yard. Moving from a town home joined with several other homes to a single family in a rural area gave us a garage as well, so he is able to do side jobs in the comfort of our garage.

We did move from a 4 bed with two closets the sizes of rooms to a 3 bed with closets in the bedrooms and a linen closet in the bathroom, so we are having to get creative with storage.
We have taken pieces of wood and turned them into key and jacket hooks to hang on the walls, bought book storage and extra children’s toy boxes to handle larger toys and the kids’ books, had to buy a new shoe rack and we use as many wall hanger storage systems we can get. I also went through most of my stuff and have donated bags of clothing, outgrown toys and fabric I’ll never use. We have cabinets from Walmart and Lowes along most walls and have a lot of furniture that doubles as storage.

If you’re moving to a smaller house out of a larger town house or apartment

You will likely have more of a yard and might have a garage. You will be able to make up the storage you’re giving up by adding in a storage shed in the yard and putting seasonal decor and other items in the garage. Storage sheds can be bought on credit at places like Lowes or Home Depot, they typically can range from 1-2/3k depending on the dimensions and material.

Home Depot also has portable closets that can be set up on the wall to give you a makeshift closet. That would require extra wall space, and space can be limited.

For larger budgets, watching the Netflix documentary series about tiny houses can give ideas for mods to make to give storage in compact areas. One I personally liked was a sewing center under the bed- pull it out and the sewing machine pops out and it fit snugly under their bed, so it took up no space.

Finding things like storage ottomans, storage benches that work in the kitchen as seating with lids for storage works as well.

 

If you’re moving from a larger house with a larger yard and more storage space to a smaller house or apartment, the best way to handle lack of storage is to hold a large yard sale, sell stuff on Facebook or Craigslist or donate. When you downsize and there is less opportunity to create storage (and renting a storage building is out of the question), downsizing your belongings (and making some extra cash) is the best way to go.

Have you ever downsized? How did you handle going from lots of storage space to practically nothing?

Spring Cleaning: While Home Social Distancing

Since it’s well past the first of Spring and we have all been stuck at home, there’s a good chance some of what you have been doing has been cleaning, disinfecting and going through closets and garages. If your weather has been anything like ours has (a lot of cool and rain) you probably have spent a lot of time inside as well. What are some spring cleaning ideas for the time while under stay at home orders?

1. Now is a good time to go through clothing. Watch Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and lay all your clothing out on your bed- then hold each item to see which ones excite you. If they no longer fit, aren’t worn and you feel nothing when you hold them, they will likely be worn in someone else’s closet.

Another idea for clothing is to hang everything in one direction in your closet, flip the hangers as you wear each item and in 6 months, all the originally hung clothes get donated- or 1 year if they’re seasonal.

Go through kids’ clothing as well. Make sure everything fits, is in good condition and is seasonally appropriate.

Go through shoes and accessories next- if you have a purse or shoes that are wearing out or that you haven’t used or worn in years, toss them.

2. Kid’s toys. How many games are laying out with missing pieces that are never played? How many toys are broken or outgrown? Sit toys to the side and put away to have a yard sale when things clear off.

Another recommendation is to put some toys away and switch them out. Kids typically have too many toys so not all get played with- when you rotate the toys, it’s like the toys are new again.

3. Take this time to go through your kitchen. Find all the gadgets you don’t use (or forgot about) and either find ways to use them or put them aside for a yard sale. Make sure your dishes are in good shape and get rid of and replace anything that’s chipped or broken.

Make sure you have a full set of measuring spoons and cups and make sure all your normally used supplies are in good shape. Anything you don’t need or have too many of, set aside for a yard sale.

Go through all your food- pull it out of the lazy Susan, pantry and all shelves. Anything that has expired, toss and take close inventory of everything. Make sure everything is still good and put it back with earliest dates first.

Remember, not all food goes bad by the date and best by is not expiration.

Before you put the stuff back, clean and wash all shelves or wipe them down with clorox wipes.

Clean out your fridge, it there is food growing mold, toss it out and soak the container. Wipe down the insides and shelves then organize as you put everything back.

4. Go through your bathroom. Find all of the medications that are expired  and  drop anything off that has expired, destroy and toss the prescription take labels to destroy. Find all your cosmetics, lay them out and go through dates and condition of each item. Also go through personal care, hair and skin products and get rid of all almost used or empty bottles. Before you put the stuff back, clean and wash all shelves or wipe them down with clorox wipes.

Before you leave the bathroom, clean the toilet, tub and sink. Make sure you get the edges of the toilet- not just the bowl, get the back and under the seat.

5. Get rid of all your towels that are in bad condition. Animal shelters are always willing to take old, used towels for bedding. Move all ragged wash cloths to cleaning cloths and replace anything that is needed.

6. Put your washer and dish washer on cleaning modes and have them clean themselves, self clean your oven if it has that option. Otherwise, scrub down the inside of your oven. Remember to make sure if you’re able to use oven cleaner, it’s not always safe to use.

7. Pick everything off the floor and sweep or vacuum. Move the furniture and appliances and sweep/vacuum/mop and shampoo under everything. While you’re at it, vacuum and shampoo (or steam) the couch, all upholstered chairs and other fabric furniture.

8. Go through your books. They may have an attachment but they do no good just sitting around collecting dust- if you have already read them and aren’t going to read them again, give them to a friend who would like them. Donate to the library or sell- they do good when they’re being read not sitting around and doing nothing.

9. Wash all the windows, TV and computer screens, mirrors and all glass.

10. Dust all knick knacks, ceiling fans and light covers before sweeping

11. Take a Clorox wipe and wipe down the sides of all appliances and cupboards in your kitchen and laundry room.

The states are slowly working on starting to open back up but stay at home orders are slowly changing to “safer at home” and a lot of people are still wanting to stay home as long as they can.

If you still haven’t returned to work, now is a good time to work on trying to get your home caught up, decluttered and deep cleaned. Cleaning can help take your mind off things and deep cleaning can help protect against insect invasions that happen during the spring, viruses and can make you feel fresher.

What areas in your house are you or have you cleaned out? Have you been spring cleaning your house?


	

Keeping Sane During the Virus Pandemic

Most of us are stuck at home. When we do go out, it can feel a bit stressful.

Now that we are staying at home things may be starting to slow down.

Some people are looking to find the benefits of being stuck in the house all day and are trying to enjoy the “break” from the day to day life.

I’m one of those people who has that voice in the back of their head that always assures them things will work out. I’m always striving to see how I can make things work out well and am always looking for ways to improve my life.

Here are some tips for people to get through being stuck inside and unemployed without going crazy.

1. There is so much extra time- now you don’t have to commute and don’t spend 8 or more hours at work. It may seem like you’re doing more, but you should be able to look around and find extra time to spend doing something for you. It could be sneaking away to take a bath while your partner is home with the kids or after the kids go to bed. You could try to wake up a few minutes early to put on your coffee or tea and get a small workout or meditation in before the kids wake.

2. Take this time to quit eating out and learn to cook, if you can’t.

If you’re able to, turn on food network and start playing with the recipes.

Not only do you save money by not eating out, it’s healthier. Its more time consuming but kids can join in and it can turn into both an educational and fun family activity

3.If you’re working from home or laid off, try taking up a new hobby. If there is something you have been wanting to learn, do it.

There are YouTube tutorials for everything, if you want to learn to paint or learn to decorate cakes, now is a good time.

4. Just take time to sit down every night and be lazy. All those posts telling people to use this time for productivity is not for everyone.

The most important thing to do right now is take care of your mental health, especially those of us with mental illness of any kind. Starting a business or writing a book are great ideas- for those of us with interest, but self care is vital right now more than any form of being productive. Self care could be getting in bed earlier, sleeping in later or speaking off to take a bath.

My kids and I have spent several hours over the last couple days working on our garden. Gardening is a great way to relieve stress. I also turn to writing and have to have a creative outlet.

Right now may seem hopeless but if you look deep into your day, hopefully you can find at least a 5 minute window to do one small thing to care for yourself.

What are the day to day expenses you can easily make or produce?

One of the primary things to look at when you’re working on getting out of debt is where you spend your money.

Where are some areas your money is going that you could make with ingredients you already have at home?

All you need is to buy some extra supplies like citric acid and lye and adding it to oils you likely cook with (olive, grapeseed, coconut or nearly any other plant based cooking oils), water or milk (or even coffee) and you can make cold pressed soaps. You can also use lye to make cleaners- lye is a dangerous chemical that can cause burns, but once the soap is processed, it’s safe to use. All soaps have had lye in the beginning.

Citric acid is what is typically put in bath bombs to make them fizz. There are subs if you don’t have citric acid.

Mixing coconut oil with shea butter, cocoa butter or any other natural plant based butters

Shampoo is another needless expense. All you need are a few ingredients from your kitchen and you can make shampoo and conditioner (or a conditioning rinse). I tried the “No Poo” method for about 4-6 months a few years ago. Baking soda and apple cidar vinegar didn’t work long term for me, but everyone’s hair is different. The Apple cider vinegar rinse was amazing, I still do it occasionally. After one rinse (I didn’t bother measuring, just used roughly half a cup of apple cider vinegar and filled the rest of the container with water, poured it over my head after washing my hair, waited a couple seconds then rinsed it out- it left my hair soft and fluffed up.

Produce can be grown. You may not have room to put all your normal foods, but some veggies can easily be grown from inside your home or in containers outside.

Herbs are easily grown in containers by your window or on a sunny sill. They don’t require tons of maintaince and seeds cost less than jars at the store.

Napkins, paper towels, even feminine hygiene and toilet paper are all available. Look up “unpaper towel,” “unsponge” or even “family cloth” and you’ll find reusable napkins, paper towels and toilet paper. All you do is keep them in a bucket and wash in your washer and you can say goodbye to all those paper products.

With products like the cup and cloth pads, even feminine hygiene products can be made or purchased less frequently.

Bread, rolls, buns all cost. All you need is the internet and you can easily replace any breads or you eat regularly for less money.

Store bought microwavable and other convenience foods are more expensive due to the convenience. There are easy meals to make in just a few minutes or batch cooking is also good- on a day off, cook for the whole week and freeze for later use. This also works well for staying on track while you’re at work.

These are just a few small changes you can easily make to replace more expensive items with homemade versions. Depending on your skills, you could even take up woodworking and make your own furniture, decor or anything else. It all depends on how far you’re looking to go.

What changes are you making or have you made?