It’s a crazy time we are living in right now. Never did I imagine myself under a global quarantine! Despite the funny memes about post-apocalypse life, being forced to stay at home and not see friends can be depressing. I’ve decided to write this post because I feel that a lot of people feel similar to myself and are trying to find ways to be more more optimistic. Here are some things that I am practicing to staying happy, optimistic, and less stressed during this time.
Call or FaceTime a Friend
Check in on your loved ones! On a normal day, you would probably interact with friends, classmates, coworkers, and maybe a family member. If you’re not interacting with anyone, then you can feel a bit isolated. To relieve yourself from feeling lonely, try calling a loved one and check-in on them daily. Even check in on your coworkers to keep up the normal day-to-day interaction you would have had pre-quarantine.
Read a Book
I feel as though the older I got, the less time (or desire) I had to read. In college, I was assigned readings that I would forcibly read for class, which kind of tugged away the fun in reading. Instead of reading in my spare time, I would hang out with friends for leisure because I craved human interaction. Now that I work full-time, I still tend to push off reading until prior to bed (or never), because I want to unwind and give my mind a break. Since I’m at home and have to find alternate ways to decompress, I’ve dived back into reading! I shut off my phone, my laptop, the tv and just clear my mind to get into a character’s thoughts. Just because we can’t go out, doesn’t mean we can’t order books online (with caution) or read e-books.
These are a handful of books that I have read or am reading at the moment:
The Defining Decade: How to Make the Most out of Your 20s
To Kill a Mockingbird (I never read it in 8th grade because I didn’t pay attention in class)
Other Favs: A Thousand Splendid Suns, City of Women
Watch a Movie or a TV Series
I am not going to lie, I love to binge watch a good movie on Hulu, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, or Netflix. So far, I’ve watched Aladdin, Nobody’s Fool, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Crazy Rich Asians, and Little. I’m also rewatching MTV’s The Hills. It’s crazy to see that I am now living the age that LC and her gang were just over 10 years ago?
Already binge watched all your streaming service favs? Well, you can watch movies that came out in theaters straight to your TV by purchasing them on Amazon.
Try a New Recipe
You finally have the time to cook, so no excuses! Try something new! Cooking is a good stress reliever for me, and it really gives me the freedom to get creative and experiment with new flavors. Cooking allows me to see what I am putting in my food so I know how healthy my meals are. Sometimes when I dine out, I have a salty aftertaste from my meal and need to chug a ton of water or I just feel super sluggish. Cooking is a good way for me to save money, get creative, and stay healthy.
Below are just a few recipes that I have been trying out:
2 scoops of Orgain plant based vanilla bean protein powder (use my code: SAVOR30 for 30% off!)
2 tbsp rolled oats
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup almond milk
1 tbsp butter (I use a sea salt and olive oil infused butter)
Chocolate Sauce, Agave Nectar, Blackberries, Raspberries (Option: any fruit or topping you like)
Mash up the bananas, then whisk in the eggs, vanilla, almond milk, cinnamon, oats, and protein powder. After finely whisking, put a tablespoon of butter on the skillet (medium heat) and then pour a ladle of batter on the skillet. Cook for 3-5 minutes on both sides. Makes 2 servings, 4 medium pancakes total.
Thin Crust Vegetable Pizza
1 packet of yeast
2 cups of all purpose flour (or whole wheat flour)
2 cups of warm water
1 tbsp sugar
1 can of tomato sauce
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp sugar
1 tomato, diced
2 cloves crushed garlic (option: use minced garlic or garlic powder if you don’t have garlic)
5 sprigs of fresh basil (option: 2 tbsp of dried basil if you don’t have fresh basil)
1/2 fresh mozzarella cheese log
1/4 yellow bell pepper
1 cup sliced mushrooms
4 sprigs of fresh basil
Pour one packet of yeast into a bowl of warm water and let sit covered for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, add flour, sugar, and mix. Add more flour if dough is too sticky, then let dough sit covered for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, on a flat surface, knead the dough and separate into three parts (makes about three balls of dough). Then flatten out dough with hands and place on baking sheet. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a sauce pan, pour one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and the crushed garlic gloves. Let garlic cloves brown and mix in basil leaves and diced tomatoes. Let tomatoes soften, then add tomato sauce, salt, pepper, oregano, more fresh basil, sugar, cayenne pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Add more seasonings to your preference. Let sauce simmer for 10 mins on low heat. Use about 1/2 cup of sauce per pizza or save remainder of sauce for later or freeze.
Pour sauce onto pizza, and add toppings of your preference. I sautéed my vegetables beforehand with salt and pepper. Bake for 8-12 minutes until bottom of crust is brown. Cool for 5 minutes, then serve. Makes about 6 servings, 2 slices per person.
1 lb chicken breast
1/2 packet of Shan Karahi Chicken Masala
2 tbsp plain yogurt (optional)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tomato, diced
1 cup water
1/2 onion, julienne style
1/2 jalapeño, cut into match sticks
1/2 cup cilantro
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger
Option: use ginger garlic paste
Place a skillet on medium heat and pour olive oil, ginger, garlic, and chicken. Let chicken simmer for about 5 minutes, then add tomatoes, onion, and masala. Let vegetables and chicken simmer, then add 1 cup of water and cover for 3 minutes. When water begins to slowly dry out, add yogurt and let simmer and cover for 5 minutes. Then add jalapeño and let simmer for an additional 5 minutes, add more water or yogurt if you would like more sauce, but Karahi Chicken is a bit more dry than saucy. Turn off stove after chicken is cooked, then top with fresh cilantro. Serve with buttery naan or rice. Makes 3-4 servings.
Aside from my own recipes that I have been testing, I’ve also been exploring the internet. One blogger’s recipes that I really enjoy trying is halfbakedharvest. Her food is super flavorful and most of the items she cooks with are already in my fridge and pantry so I don’t have to go additional grocery shopping.
Pro-Tip: When looking for recipe bloggers, look for someone who makes food out of items that are similar to your pantry’s staples! That way you can avoid spending extra money on testing out recipes that you may not enjoy.
Learn a new language or brush up on one you sorta forgot
In college, I minored in Spanish and traveled to Spain to practice the language, now that I am back in States, I don’t speak Spanish as often. Since I’m home, I have been trying to brush up on my Spanish speaking skills by practicing on the Duo Lingo app. It’s super helpful and challenges you everyday with quick quizzes.
Want to learn a new language? Try purchasing Rosetta Stone and choose from a variety of languages.
I have a nasty habit of snacking, and to fight off my cravings (or control them), I exercise! A lot of local work out studios are offering FREE online classes via Facebook or Instagram. Studios such as Barry’s, Fit9ATL, and Stellar Bodies are offering at home workout videos on Instagram. One studio in particular that I have been following is Pure Barre, and they are offering FREE, LIVE classes on the Pure Barre Go Facebook page. Sometime’s I miss the live classes so I just save the video for later and follow along at my own pace.
Not into those workout studios? You can also search for yoga, HIIT, and other strength training at-home exercises on YouTube, Instagram, or via free applications. A couple of bloggers I use to reference for at home videos are Kayla Itsines and Ruba Ali. I love how Kayla shows a variation of at home exercises as well as dupes for tough positions. I also really enjoy the intensity of Ruba’s workouts and how I can really leverage my body as a weight when I don’t have free weights.
If you’re a cardio nut like me, then go for a run! Be cautious of course, but if your county hasn’t closed all the local parks, then go for a jog and keep a 6 foot distance. If your county has closed all the local parks or if you don’t want to risk your health, then run some laps around your neighborhood. Go for a walk and take in some Vitamin D, just get moving!
Research ways to invest the money you’re not spending and get your sh*t together
We all get a little stressed when we have to look at our monthly expenses. We set a budget for dining out, shopping, miscellaneous items, and then somehow we end up spending a little more than we hoped. Since we are quarantined, I’ve been less tempted to spend money and I am much more comfortable looking at my expenses and dropping the expenses that I do not need, i.e monthly manicures. While exploring my monthly expenses, I realized, I can save a lot more money by not spending, but I can’t make more money by not spending. So I’ve been exploring different ways to make extra coin while staying at home. So that means, exploring ways to sell old clothes online that I don’t wear anymore on Mercari and looking for opportunities to invest.
The economy is obviously slowing down and stocks aren’t worth a lot, aka probably the best time to invest in companies that will most likely increase in stock value within the next year. Now, I am not suggesting that everyone should invest all their savings into stocks, but it wouldn’t hurt to do some research on untapped areas for investment. Apps like Ameritrade and E*trade can help you find the best stock options for yourself. Also, the drop in interest rates can probably be a good sign to invest in property or refinance your mortgage if you have the extra money to spend. Accumulating interest on a credit card that seems like you can never pay off? See if you can apply for an interest free credit card that will let you transfer that balance. If we enter a recession, then most likely we will exit the recession with inflated prices. So get on the internet and do some credible research on how to get the most out of your dollar.
Start a DIY project, or just do something you have been pushing off
Still haven’t hung up that painting? Grab your stud finder and hang it up. Said you were gonna make a vision board? Get on Zoom/Facetime and have a vision board party with your girls! Want to get back into an old hobby? Now is the time to do it. I’ve been saying I’ll clear out the memory from my old laptop since last March…its been a year and I have no excuse not to strike that task off my to do list. That being said, get your list of “things you would do if you had the time,” and do it now!
Practice Good Habits
You’re not in the office, at school, or sitting in traffic anymore; you’re at home. The world is officially your oyster so you have full control of what to do with your time at home. Despite what is outside of your control (the economy, coronavirus, layoffs), take the time to focus on what you can control. We are now forced to look in the mirror and reflect. Want to break your bad habits? Then start breaking them! I am not suggesting to be super hard on yourself, but now is the time to reflect on yourself and who you want to be coming out of the quarantine. That being said, go on the internet, explore Thought Catalog, a Book for Dummies, an e-magazine, or watch some documentaries. Engage yourself in activities that will make you the best version of yourself.
I know that this post offered A LOT of ideas and activities to engage yourself in, but that does not mean you have to engage in all of them! Pick one or two (if you want), then put them into practice. I hope you all enjoyed reading this post.
Until next time,
The Spicy Savor