Monthly Planning With Erica | April Goals

Upcoming Plans for the Month of April

April showers bring May’s flowers. But, will we ever be able to enjoy our Spring or Summer this year? With the majority of States in America encouraging all citizens to quarantine at home it’s hard to imagine what the month of April will bring.

As I sit here and plan out my goals for the month of April, I am trying to be optimistic. Hoping that this pandemic will disappear and fade out as quickly as it swept across the nation. With the majority of businesses closed as a result of local shutdowns, I will be taking this time at home to re-focus on some area in my health and lifestyle that I want to improve.

For the month of April– I will be focusing on:

  • Eating fresh
  • Be more intentional in reading food labels
  • Core strength training

Eat Fresh

I have made a change in how I shop over the past few weeks. My focus is on buying fresh fruits and veggies. Not only is this more cost efficient but eating fresh has a lot of benefits.

10 Reasons to Eat Real Food:

  1. Loaded with important nutrients
  2. Provides vitamins and minerals to support your health
  3. Low in sugar
  4. High in fiber
  5. Improve skin
  6. High in healthy fats
  7. Contrains antioxidants
  8. Supports gut health
  9. Improves dental hygiene
  10. Reduce sugar cravings

On Monday I prepared a zucchini spaghetti, substituting noodles for zucchinis. This is a great low carb dish. And did you know that zucchini has a lot of nutritional value? Zucchini has the following vitamins: vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and folic acid. Zucchini also contacts antioxidants. Compared to your basic refined pasta noodles, which are higher in calories carbs, lower in fiber, and most other micro-nutrients. Zucchini is a great replacement and a good source for incorporating more vegetable servings in your meals.

Read Food Labels

How many of you actually read the ingredient labels before tossing an item in your cart? Food labels provide imporant information. By reading food labels it can help you make better and more controlled decisions regarding your diet and intake of high sugary foods. It is also imporant to understand what the recommended serving size is for that particular food.

Ingredients are also important to pay attention to when reading food labels. Take a look below and compare the ingredient list for a jar of peanut butter and almond butter.

Since when did peanut butter need all of those additives? This Wegman’s brand of peanut butter is simply NOT peanut butter. It contains: Roasted Peanuts, Sugar, Contains Less than 2% of Fully Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (Rapeseed, Cottonseed, Soybean), Salt, Molasses. My goal is to eliminate additional sugar, hydrogenated oils, and soy out of my diet.

While, Targets Good & Gather Creamy Almond Butter contains just almonds. This is definitely a healthier option if you are looking for a nut butter. Almond butter is a great source for vitamin E, magnesium, copper, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and phosphorous. Also, it is a excellent source of monounsaturated fat, protein, and fiber which supports heart health.

Core Strength Training

For those that have been following my blog you know that I enjoy yoga and pilates. Well, I came across an article on the blog, Lorieb a few days ago titled, Planks Still the Best Exercise. The article highlights the benefits of incorporating planking into your exercise routine.

I read this article after being tagged by my husband on Instagram to participate in a push up challenge. My attempt to do a push up was a epic FAIL. It was at that point when I told myself that I am going to focus more on core strength training.

Forearm planking is definitely a good way to engage and strengthen my core. Planks have been proven to help with and alleviate lower back pain. Back pain is something I suffer from since I sit down at my desk the majority of the day. Aside from assisting with alleviating back pain, planking tones your abdominal muscles. This is something all of us women who have bore children can benefit from. This is a exercise that should be done routinely and often, if not daily.

Plank when you wake up. A few minutes while watching television. Plank before bed. For my morning meditation I am going to wake up and set a timer to plank for at least 5 minutes starting out. When mediating you are already focusing and quieting your mind to align with you body. I truly believe that planking will add great value to my meditation practice. Starting off my day with a good workout, and warming up my muscles for the day ahead.

What are your goals for this month? Please share in the comments and let’s hold each other accountable.

-Erica ❤

How to Prepare for Daylight Saving Time

This is your friendly reminder to not forgot to set your clock up one hour tonight before going to bed. As daylight saving time begins tomorrow, at 2 am we will spring forward by one hour. It typically takes about a full 24 hours in order adjust to losing one hour of sleep.

The biggest adjustment is getting your internal clock back on track. Oh, and parents beware! It’s not just our internal clocks that need adjusting. Daylight savings time will also have an effect on your little ones, as they will need to get adjusted.

Tips on How to Prepare for Daylight Saving Time

Daylight saving time effects everyone differently. Some people adjust relatively quickly to the change. While, others can be left feeling groggy and irritable as a result of daylight saving time. We are living in a era where we all are generally struggling with sleep deprivation. It is crucial to acquire and practice good sleep hygiene in order to successfully conquer daylight saving time. Having good sleep hygiene has a major impact on your overall health and wellbeing.

As we all prepare to lose an hour of sleep, I have a few tips on how to prepare for daylight saving time.

  • Get a head start on daylight saving time
  • Stick to your schedule
  • Do not take long naps
  • Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
Clock: Two Moose Design via Etsy Big Wall Clock “The Piper” ($195.00)

Get a head start on daylight saving time

In order to get a head start on daylight saving time, you must begin preparing early. This means at least a week in advance. I highly recommend that you start by going to bed early in 10-15 minute intervals leading up to daylight saving time. If you begin at least week prior, by the time you reach daylight saving time on Sunday you will have already adjusted to the lost hour.

Stick to your schedule

Remain consistent with your schedule. This includes your schedule for social gatherings, bed time, and exercise routines. Do not let daylight saving time change any of your daily routines. A benefit from daylight saving time that may help get you moving in the mornings is the sun coming up earlier. You can use the sun as a motivator. Before going to bed, open your curtains. When the sun rises, let the rays wake you up.

Do not take long naps

Taking long naps to make up for the lost hour will only result in you feeling more sluggish than before. If you are tired it is best to avoid naps. If you must take one, keep it short up to a 15 minute power snooze. Taking long extended naps can make it even more challenging to stick to your schedule in going to bed at your normal time. Ultimately, impairing your ability to get a full and goodnights sleep.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine

Alcohol and caffeine are stimulants and can be very disruptive to your sleep. Making it harder to go to sleep and delaying the timing of your internal clock. Consuming these types of beverages four to six hours before bed can prohibit you from getting a quality goodnights rest and reduce your sleep time when you do fall asleep.

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Create a bedtime routine

Bedtime routines are not just to be implemented with our little ones. It is just as important for adults to have a consistent bedtime and routine. It is even more important to stick to your bedtime routine during the week and on the weekends. By doing so, you will make it easier to adjust to daylight saving time when it does come around. Consistency is key!

Avoid intense workouts

Before bed it’s crucial to slow your body down. I do this by stretching and practicing yin yoga for 15-20 minutes before bed. Practicing yin yoga allows my body and breath to slow down, lowering my body temperature, making it easier to fall asleep. It is highly advised to avoid any type of intense workouts prior to bed. Raising your body temperature can make it challenging to fall asleep.

Put all electronic devices away

Put away your phone, computer, and tablets. The high intensity backlight from your electronic devices stimulates your brain and can interfere with your natural melatonin, which is a hormone that triggers your sleepiness. Tuck your devices away in a nightstand or in another room. Out of sight- out of mind. Another cool tool that I use is the do not disturb feature on my devices. The worst thing that can happen when trying to settle into bed is hearing a notification ping on your phone, or being disturbed by a unimportant call. Res assured with do not disturb you can always allow calls from repeated callers, in case of an emergency.

Read before bed

Reading is another healthy habit to add into your bedtime routine. Reading helps you and your muscles to relax. Another routine that slows and calms your breathing. Reading is a stress reducer and slowly winds me down after a long day. I always aim to read for at least 15 minutes, but often I barely can read for 5 minutes before closing my book.

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I hope you found these tips helpful as your prepare for daylight saving time. I wish you the best with implementing healthy bedtime routines. How will you conquer daylight saving time? What will you do with your extra daylight each evening?

In our household we expect for spring weather to peak in the next few weeks to come. More daylight in the evening means more time to enjoy the great outdoors. I foresee spending more time at the park in the evenings with the kids. I am sure they will enjoy the extra daylight at the end of each day.

Daylight saving time is a friendly spring reminder that summer is only just around the corner.

Erica ❤

What is the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)? | The Need to Know | Healthy Hygiene

What is COVID-19?

The novel coronoavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain of the coronavirus, which has been newly discovered. Unlike, the coronavirus that has commonly circulated among humans and has resulted in mild cold like symptoms; the novel coronavirus is a severe respiratory illness. This virus is reported to have developed in Wuhan, China, where the first cases have been identified and documented (CDC,2020).

Observations of Transmission:

This particular strain had not been previously identified in humans and is suspected to have been transmitted from a live animal to human, causing a rapid spread of the virus through person-to-person contact. This outbreak has spread so rapidly that it is considered a community spread virus, highly contagious.

COVID-19 is suspected to be spread between people who are in close contact with each other (about 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets (cough or sneeze). These droplets if inhaled or lands into the mouth of others nearby can be inhaled into your lungs creating an exposure (CDC, 2020).

Best Practices to Minimize Exposure:

It is best to avoid public and closed in areas until more information is collected and gathered regarding this virus. It is possible that one can become infected by touching surfaces.

The World Health Organization has the following advice for the public regarding protecting yourself and others from getting sick (WHO, 2020):

  • Wash your hands frequently (at least 20 seconds)
  • Maintain social distancing
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • Practice respiratory hygiene: cover your mouth and nose, cough or sneeze in your bent elbow, dispose of tissue promptly
  • Clean and disinfect surface areas frequently
  • Seek medical care early: if you experience fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, or if you have reason to believe you have been exposed through contact or travel

COVID-19 Cases in the United States:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2020)
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2020)
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2020)

Treatment:

Currently, there is no antiviral treatment available or recommended to treat COVID-19. However, if you suspect that you have had exposure or are having any of the following symptoms: fever, cough, or shortness of breath – please be advised to contact your healthcare provider immediately or contact your local health department. Although, there is no antiviral treatment for this virus, it is advised to receive supportive health care treatment in order to support vital organ function (CDC, 2020).

Higher Risk:

Those with underlying health conditions and age which all contribute to a weakened immune system are at an increased risk if exposed. This risk applies to all viruses, and should be noted when comparing and reviewing the data of those who impacted by the coronavirus and seasonal flu.

Recap:

We all must do our part in responding to this emerging health threat by taking the necessary steps to reduce the spread of this virus. With it still being flu season it is recommended that if you are sick to seek medical attention and stay home from work or school.

If it can be avoided do not visit public areas where you place yourself at risk of infecting others or further hindering your illnesses. If you can postpone travel that is also advised. Be mindful that with travel (via airplane), air is being circulated in a closed and confined space and this is a contributing factor to the spread of airborne viruses, further increasing your exposure.

COVID-19 vs Seasonal Flu:

Continue to implement and encourage healthy habits with yourself and family members. We must treat all viruses with high alert and severity. Data shows that we have had a greater impact of hospitalizations and deaths related to the seasonal flu, compared to the coronavirus.

Data reports that the “new coronavirus has led to more than 89,000 illnesses and 3,000 deaths worldwide. But that’s nothing compared with the flu… In the U.S. alone, the flu has caused an estimated 32 million illnesses, 310,000 hospitalizations and 18,000 deaths this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)” (Rettner, 2020). [link to article]

Continue to use precaution and take all the necessary steps to keep yourself well and healthy. As more data is collected I will continue to blog on this issue and source any new information or findings in the coming weeks.

Have a happy Wednesday!

Erica ❤

References:

CDC. (2020, March 1). 2019-nCoV Frequently Asked Questions and Answers. Retrieved March 4, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html

Rettner, R. (2020, March 2). How does the new coronavirus compare with the flu? Retrieved March 4, 2020, from https://www.livescience.com/new-coronavirus-compare-with-flu.html

WHO. (2020). Advice for public. Retrieved March 4, 2020, from https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

BLOG LIFE WITH ERICA | BLOG MILESTONE | CELEBRATING 100 DIRECT WORDPRESS FOLLOWERS

I want to thank all of my followers for supporting me on my blogging journey. Just a few hours ago I hit a blog milestone of hitting 100 direct WordPress followers.

A special thank you and shout out to my #100 direct WordPress follower, Penelope Burns.

Each of you made this celebratory milestone possible. Each of you are the reason why I blog and with your support I will continue to produce content that you are interested in.

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To celebrate this milestone I am opening up to a Q&A. I am accepting questions via the comment section below, social media (IG or Twitter), and you can even submit questions via the contact me page here at Blog Life With Erica. I will post answers to appropriate questions via a blog post next week.

Continue to like and subscribe to Blog Life With Erica in order to receive updates on my latest post. Later this week I will be discussing health and wellness and ways in which we can prepare as we continue to face preparation for the current Coronavirus (COVID-19).

❤ BLWE