Thoughts About Quarantine & Culture

By now, it’s pretty safe to say this pandemic has impacted everyone in some shape or form. In a way, I think it’s bringing the world together and reminding us that we are stronger when we work together.

I’ve officially been in quarantine for over a month. Never in my life did I think something like this would happen. Obviously, I was aware that a pandemic could occur but my naive self never thought it would affect me or my everyday life. By now, it’s pretty safe to say this pandemic has impacted everyone in some shape or form. In a way, I think it’s bringing the world together and reminding us that we are stronger when we work together.

I recently read an article about how Americans view and handle the Coronavirus differently than other countries like China or Japan because we are an individualistic culture rather than a collectivist culture. Individualistic cultures emphasize the individual over the group and stresses individual rights and identity whereas collectivist cultures emphasize the group over the individual and stresses unity and selflessness.

After thinking about this, it made me realize we as Americans are having a hard time with this whole quarantine thing. We are used to thinking about ourselves and what defines us. I’ve seen many Americans struggle to think in this “group mentality” until they themselves or someone close to them has been negatively impacted by the Coronavirus. It needs to affect them before they decide to realize it’s importance. A lot of Americans are struggling with this simply because our cultural values protect the individual rather than the group.

In other countries with collectivist cultures, they seem to be having an easier time putting their own individual rights on a temporary pause in order to protect the greater community. It’s easier for them because their culture focuses on putting individual needs and desires below the needs of their families and communities. Things don’t need to affect them individually before they realize its importance to the group.

No culture is better or worse than another but it’s important to take into consideration people’s cultural values when trying to understand and empathize with their decisions and point of views. While I don’t agree with everything I see on social media, I do try to empathize and understand where people may be coming from and how their cultural values shape their opinions and beliefs. I encourage you to think about such things next time you see a post that seems “idiotic” or “rude” because its values differ from yours. I’m not asking you to change your values, but simply be open to understanding. Once we can understand each other, we can work together. And once we work together, we can create real and impactful change.

9 Tips for a Great Night of Sleep

9 simple and effective tips to help you get the restful sleep you deserve.

1. Don’t sleep in

If you got too much sleep last night, odds are it’s going to be harder for you to fall asleep tonight. Ideally you want to be sleeping 7-9 hours each night.

2. Swap your afternoon caffeine for tea

Listen I’m a coffee fanatic- but after 4pm I have to stop or else I’ll have trouble sleeping. A great alternative for later in the day is a cup of tea. The average cup of coffee has 95 mg of caffeine whereas green teas have about 20-45 mg. And if it’s really close to bed, I recommend decaf!

3. Create a nightly routine

Our bodies naturally respond well to routines and we start to develop habits. By having a similar routine each night, you are telling your body and mind that it is time to wind down. The more you follow the same nightly routine, the easier it will before you to relax for bed. Your nightly routine may consist of showering, brushing your teeth, putting on an essential oil, and reading a book. Eventually, your body know this routine as a way to prepare and wind down for sleep!

4. Turn off the TV & phone!

We all know this one but if we’re being honest most of us don’t actually do it. While I don’t do this every night, the nights I do turn off the TV and put my phone on do not disturb are the nights I get the best sleep. There’s no distractions and nothing to wake me up.

5. Stop drinking water before bed

If you have trouble sleeping through the night, try to stop drinking water an hour before bed. This will help prevent you from waking up at 2 am to “go”. I recommend drinking extra water when you wake up to compensate!

7. Use a sleep calculator to find the optimal bedtime

Our bodies sleep in cycles and in order to get the best sleep, you want to wake up at the right time of your sleep cycle. Check out this site which allows you to calculate the best sleep and wakeup time: https://sleepyti.me/

8. Go to bed (around) the same time every night

Consistency is key- if you go to sleep around the same time each night, your body will start to naturally get sleepy around that time which makes it easier to fall asleep. For the past 4 years or so, I’ve gone to bed around the same time each night and let me tell you once it hits 10pm I start yawning!

6. Meditate

If your thoughts tend to be keeping you up at night, give a sleep meditation a try. If you can calm your mind, it will be easier for your body to fall asleep. There are tons of free guided meditations on Youtube such as this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFEnruF-dts

9. Take melatonin

Melatonin helps with the timing of your circadian rhythms (24-hour internal clock) and sleep. When I need it, I’ll typically take it a half hour to an hour before bed. I find that this helps if I have had an off sleep cycle the past few days and want to “reset” my sleep schedule back to normal. It’s also useful if you just can’t seem to fall asleep on a random night.

15 Minute Meal- Honey Garlic Chicken

15 Minute Honey Garlic Chicken

Preparing dinner can be the last thing you want to do at the end of a long day. That’s why this recipe is one of my favorites to make (especially mid-week when I’m exhausted). It takes only 15 minutes and I’ve got a delicious, filling meal for the night- and usually some leftover for tomorrow too!

Here’s the recipe (4 servings):

Ingredients:

  • 2 Large Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts- Cubed Into 1-Inch Pieces
  • 2 Cups of Uncooked Brown or White Rice ( I use boil-in-bag rice)
  • 4 Cups of Broccoli (I use frozen)
  • 3 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 3 Tbsp Honey
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • Olive Oil

Instructions:

  1. Start by boiling water for the rice. Once boiling, add the rice and cook for recommended time.
  2. Pan-sear chicken until no longer pink and edges become golden brown.
  3. While chicken is cooking make the sauce: mix the soy sauce, honey, garlic and red pepper flakes together.
  4. Add the sauce to the chicken and let simmer for about 4 minutes.
  5. While the sauce is simmering, microwave the broccoli.
  6. Plate the rice, broccoli, and chicken- voila! Dinner is done!

Nutrition (1 serving):

  • Calories: 440
  • Carbs: 61.4 g
  • Fat: 5.6 g
  • Protein: 40.1 g

Apartment Cleaning Routine

After living on my own for about three years, I’ve finally developed a simple and effective cleaning routine! I like having a schedule for my cleaning because I know I’m not forgetting anything and my apartment is always clean. Here’s how my routine works:

When I first moved out on my own, cleaning wasn’t my biggest priority. Obviously, I tried to keep things organized and I would clean if things got “dirty.” This method worked for a little while but not in the long run. I never thought of cleaning the inside of the microwave, regularly checking for expired food, dusting, etc. I needed a better way to manage all of these chores.

After living on my own for about three years, I’ve finally developed a simple and effective cleaning routine! I like having a schedule for my cleaning because I know I’m not forgetting anything and my apartment is always clean. Here’s how my routine works:

DAILY: I start off each day by making my bed- this is huge because when I get home at night, I love to be able to hop into a nicely made bed. After that, I’ll put away any clean dishes from the dishwasher and tidy up the apartment, if needed. In the evening, I wash the pots and pans, load the dishwasher, and wipe down the kitchen counters.

WEEKLY: I typically do my weekly cleaning on Friday or Saturday. I start with the laundry because that tends to take the most amount of time. While that is going, I wipe down all the kitchen surfaces- counters, microwave, sink, fridge, etc. I throw out any expired food and tie up the trash. If the laundry is finished, I start the next load. Then, I vacuum and mop all the floors. Once that’s done, I clean all the bathroom surfaces- sink, counter, mirror, shower, & toilet. By this time, I’ll likely start another load of laundry and finish by dusting.

I prefer to do this all in one day rather than throughout the week. Usually by Friday or Saturday, I just want a day at home anyways so I like to take the day to rest and clean up the apartment (usually binge watching shows while I do it). However, you could most definitely split these tasks up throughout the week if that’s more your style.

MONTHLY: These are the things that most people forget about or put off doing. And honestly, if you forget to clean the baseboards and vents one month I doubt anyone would notice. BUT, if you don’t clean them for six months, it will likely be much more noticeable. With that in mind, I wanted to include these odd-ball cleaning tasks so that they don’t get forgotten about. The most important one is deep-cleaning the shower (with bleach people!). It’s also important to clean your oven, vacuum underneath the couch, organize that area you’ve been putting off (i.e. your messy closet or cluttered pantry), and dust the baseboards and vents.

Since implementing this cleaning routine, my apartment has been consistently clean and organized like never before. I love coming home to a spotless place where I can relax and unwind after a busy day. I encourage you to either try my cleaning routine or create your own because the results have been amazing!

Below are links to some of my favorite cleaning products: