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Whatever You Want

Make your personal pandemic pivot a good one. #selfcare

There are times in life when the one thing we can control is how we react to what is happening around us. Yep, 2020 is one of those times. This “movie” script of our year is overdue for a rewrite. Let’s get at it.

Here are five things you can do to get you closer to what you want in terms of self care.

  1. Find and use tested recipes when planning meals. Search for quality recipes using your favorite foods and/or what you have in the fridge. Even private label (store) brands from the savviest of retailers have these – I know – I worked for the number one retailer in Chicago and we did. We don’t all have private chefs, but using these expert-created recipes means someone tested it to be “goof proof”. Search “test kitchen recipes”, “which brands have test kitchens”, or type in your favorite brand or ingredient by name. You can find great recipes on appliance and cookware sites, too. What’s your favorite kitchen gadget store? Yep, some of those also have tested recipes. When I bought a slow cooker and a food processor, they came with a recipe booklet (and their sites have more recipes, too!). Get curious and get cooking with this expert help.
  2. Be diligent about bedtime. If you don’t sleep enough, you will be less than your best at pretty much everything else. Pick a bedtime. Be consistent. Stop working for a good chunk of time before you put your head on the pillow. Set an alarm so you don’t have that worry, and nap when you need to. Sleep helps set the tone of the day, friends. Honor that.
  3. Schedule time to think and do. The “24 hours in a day” reality doesn’t mean that’s how many we have to work. There is sleep/exercise/eat/clean/think/create time that HAS to be accounted for. If you are attending meetings back to back to back, it’s tricky to actually have time to do work. We must be able to have time to get water, take a bio break, eat sensible meals, and yes, think/create. Schedule private blocks of time on your work calendar at the beginning and end of the work day. Or maybe the middle – you know what is most realistic for how your day goes. Obviously these need to shift at times, so just start with them on there to remind you that you need them. Identify the blocks to help you stay on task – try “email catch up”, “return calls”, “project brainstorm”, and so on.
  4. Create and offer options. This is directly related to #3. A very smart person I know consistently encourages colleagues to remember that “no” is a complete sentence. This may seem easier said than done, especially if you aren’t used to saying it. Choose the power of “no” wisely. To successfully do this, be prepared with options. Train yourself to think of (and offer) multiple ways to contribute successfully to the team and projects. Ask if timelines have wiggle room. See if meetings can be moved. Give this one some time to reconcile as you try new ways of operating, too. #prioritize #balance
  5. Ask yourself what you value and see if what you DO matches what you SAY. We need and want to be successful work. We need and want to have fun. We need and want to care for ourselves, and we need and want to care for those we love. Is what you are spending your time on aligned with what you believe in? The positive thing I see in this pandemic is a hard stop on just doing whatever we were doing. We can try a new way of managing stress. Perhaps we can look to activity as a break instead of more sitting after meetings. Perhaps we can remember the joy of cooking with music on, enjoying our family (in person or virtually) while we create and eat delicious dishes. Eating well doesn’t have to be extravagant or picture perfect. Some of the tastiest, most nutritious dishes we eat are not pretty and don’t even require much cooking. Awesome.

It’s your chance to try something new. Yes, it will be different. Isn’t that the point? Change what needs to be changed. Embrace what you choose. Make intentional decisions, one at a time.

It’s your move.

By Kim Kirchherr

I am a dietitian working in food and fiber (agriculture) through retail, addressing opportunities to make things better for people and planet.

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