We're excited to welcome Dr. Zarya Rubin, holistic health coach and CEO of Wild Lilac Wellness, to the MOB blog! Learn more about Dr. Rubin at the end of this blog post.
Well, it looks like masks and social distancing are here to stay with no end in sight.
When this was a two-week affair way back in the beginning, maybe we could get by with pajama parties and Netflix and chill, but sh*t’s been real for a while now and is only going to be more challenging once the weather turns gloomy and rainy – I don’t know about you, but the sunshine is one of the only things keeping me going!
Maybe you’re an essential worker, putting yourself on the front lines so the rest of us can have groceries delivered, or treating our loved ones in the hospital. And for that we are beyond grateful. Or maybe your business has ramped up with folks seeking self-care or online services, or maybe you’re pivoting and accidentally homeschooling and trying not to fight with your significant other between Zoom calls and doing All. The. Things.
Wherever you are in all of this, here are some creative ideas I’ve been using to stay safe, stay (somewhat) sane, and still feel like I’m doing something with my brain. I would love to hear your creative ideas in the comments!
Make Beer Bread
For some unknown reason, this pandemic has brought on a baking frenzy. I’ve seen bags of flour for $85 on Amazon, and yeast is pretty much nowhere to be found (true confession, I just bought a 1lb bag! Apparently it keeps for a year).
But you know what is plentiful? BEER! And you can use that brew to create the easiest, most delicious bread in about an hour. You heard me. That’s
including the baking time. No rises, no proving, no sourdough starter, and no Great British Baking anxiety. This recipe is foolproof. And it can be made with alternate flours, like spelt, but I haven’t attempted it yet with totally GF flour (which can be found without heading to the black market). Tabor Bread in SE Portland also sells their gorgeous flour as well as their divine breads for pickup, but hey, it’s not as much fun for the ‘gram.
Here’s the recipe – I used any old bottle of Modelo Especial and it turned out perfectly!
Start A Meditation Practice
If you’ve been telling yourself “I should meditate” but haven’t gotten around to it, now is the time. Without the shrill daily alarm clock and morning rush to get the kiddo off to school, I’ve been doing daily morning meditation along with my nightly ritual. There are a couple of easy ways to get started with online apps that will guide you through all of the beginner steps.
My favorite is Headspace, which is free right now for healthcare providers, but also has a free section for beginners. Other popular apps are Calm and Insight Timer (which is completely free). The key is really finding a quiet space where you can be uninterrupted (I know, it may sound impossible right now, but maybe lock yourself in the bathroom if you must!) and not judging yourself. Your mind will wander – that doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong.
There are also some great specific meditation practices I share with my clients like The Body Scan and The Five Senses Meditation. You may find some amazing results in terms of your overall focus, decreased anxiety levels, and increased calm.
Take An Online Course
What better time to acquire a new skill or some new knowledge? Earlier this spring, I took THE most popular Coursera course – the Yale Science of Well-Being, with Professor Laurie De Santos. It’s free to audit, all online and self-paced, and has been an eye-opening wealth of information as well as
practical tips for increasing happiness. Bonus: bragging rights that you went to Yale!
Another friend has decided to learn Korean. I’m taking an Instagram course to
uplevel my online game, and I also plan to catch up on all of the amazing MOB talks we have at our disposal before hitting MOBCON!
Get An Activity Box For The Kiddos
If you’ve hit a home schooling wall and are looking for some outside assistance, why not try an activity box or kit? Some of our favorites for my curious 6-yr-old explorer are:
- The Kiwi Box, with STEM-focused activities that change every month,
including crafts, experiments and more. Kits are available for ages 0-14+ and
you get 30% off when you sign up for emails. https://www.kiwico.com/
- Highlights magazine has an amazing subscription called Top Secret, for ages
7+ which sends you on a spy mission to a different country every month. Kits
come with an activity book filled with challenging puzzles that get you closer
to solving the crime, along with a fact-based book that holds the answers to
history, geography and cultural questions. So far we’ve done the Egypt set
and are ready to head to Mexico, Australia and China! All from the comfort of
our couch. https://www.highlights.com/store/puzzle-book-clubs/top-
- MOB-owned Little Minds Learning Box by Bry Daley
(https://www.littlemindslearningbox.com/) is an amazing monthly
subscription service geared towards early childhood development though
play based activities. Activities are created to strengthen children's skills in
major areas of child development including: physical motor, social-
emotional, language, and cognitive development. The activities are so
beautifully put together with such care and inspire both instructed and open-
ended creative play!
We just got the Performing Arts themed box and my kiddo has already hosted a movie night and transformed the popcorn into a sensory “calming box” that even got her featured on an episode of Brains On!
Host A Virtual Happy Hour/Coffee Date
In the past few months I have hosted my medical school class reunion, created a weekly happy hour for my best girlfriends from around the world, done co-working online, and caught up with a few old friends I haven’t chatted with in AGES. I also have a “virtual coffee” option on my Calendly to network even during a pandemic!
Even though we may be sick of Zoom, it’s always uplifting to see people other than your cats, share your struggles and wins, and raise a glass to surviving another week of this challenging time.
Oh, I also joined a wine club…Cheers!