Tips for working from home successfully

This weekend’s news update by President Trump to extend the Social Distancing Guidelines through the end of April may have some of us pulling out our hair or some of us smiling and letting out a sigh of relief. How was your response to this news? Your reaction may be a sign of how well you will be able to endure working from home successfully and how well your relationship will be with family and friends. We want to have all our hair on our heads by the time we can go back physically to our jobs and to re-group and be back with our community. With the entire world’s economy largely shut down, this is as big of a stressor as the COVID-19 virus itself. How then are we to act and respond when we feel like we do not have any control over our circumstances? First, we have to know that there is hope no matter how bleak the outcome may look. We may not be able to control outside factors, but what we can control is our emotions and reactions to our circumstances. An important reminder to control emotional roller coasters during these uncertain times is to creates space not only in your mind for peace but also to develop physical peace at home by setting up your at-home environment for success. Since our daily routine may have shifted a bit and may or may not go back to what it was before, we need to be flexible to that change. Here are a few tips for setting up a successful and peaceful home environment that will win over with your spouse and kids and keep you sane while working from home.

Tip 1: Designate space/room for activities

  • Mom or Dad area to do work
  • Kids area for school work
  • Family entertainment
  • “Quiet Time” Prayers and reflection

Tip 2: Plan/organize a schedule

  • Office work to be done (morning/afternoon/night)
  • Kids school work to be done (morning/afternoon/night)
  • Meals (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)
  • Family Time (specific time during the day/ days of the week/ frequency during the week)

Tip 3: Plan B- If the day or week not going as planned

  • List of resource to restaurants for takeout or delivery (if not able to cook or a family member is sick)
  • Work overload/lack of focus and concentration (have an uplifting playlist and positive movie list to go to)
  • boredom/redundancy (have resources of physical activities to do to increase endorphins and stimulate creativity)

Tip 4: Smart Tech Usage

  • Refrain from watching 24/7 news on all social channels- can be draining and negatively impact your mindset and perspective
  • Set guidelines on watching YouTubes and Netflix
  • Have a “tech-free” hour/day to give your mind and eyes a rest

Tip 1: Designate space/room for activities

Keeping everyone in the household safe and healthy is the number one priority. Making sure each room in the house is cleaned and wiped down ensures a healthy household and helps maintain daily activities. For parents that have not been laid off but are still actually working but are now working remotely from home, keeping focused and on task requires a big learning curve for parents and kids. Similar to working at the office, there are designated spaces to get certain things done so work can be efficient. We have to look at our work environment in the same way. First, determine what type of work environment you work best and most efficiently. A space with you and a computer or open space with bustling noise around you? Once you figured out your zone of genius, designate an area that fits into this model. If quiet and physical wall boundaries are preferred, use a room that gives you the privacy to be alone. Having a lock on the door is a plus, so when doing intensely focused work, you can lock yourself in the room so no interruptions can distract and bother you. Set up your table/desk with necessary accessories to make the workspace flow without always running out to other rooms to pick up a pen, stapler, glue, printout, or a snack. Set a timer on your phone to complete your days’ work and let the rest of your family know when you will be done and available for them.

Once you figured out your zone of genius, designate an area that fits into this model

If social distancing is already enough for you, and isolation in a room seems like torture, find a space in the living room or kitchen to set up your workspace. This way, there is open communication, being able to attend to your family if they have any questions and, at the same time, do your work and snack and walk around to relieve fatigue. If you can handle distractions and can quickly refocus on the task, the open floor plan is doable.

It is vital that kids stay on task and not succumb to mindless games and Youtube watching all day. Set up a space where kids can feel motivated and inspired to do homework. Online learning is new and is a bit daunting with keeping up with emails and reminders of when school work is to be done and turned in. By setting up space and placing all their essential school supplies in one area, they are ready to learn and get started without excuses for not having a pen, paper, or computer/laptop available. Just like school, provide an incentive or reward when they complete their schoolwork. It can be as simple as a snack they like. If there is only one computer or laptop that the entire family shares, make sure you create a separate login screen, so they do not accidentally delete or move your important files or download spam or files with a virus.

The social distancing orders set by government officials has left some of us feeling isolated and alone. At home, we can still feel isolated and alone, even when there are people around. Prevent feeling lonely during these times by designating a space for family time. Good areas are the living room, kitchen, or back yard. These spaces are large enough for the entire family to gather and play games. The living room is probably the least used space these days since we rarely sit around with families due to our busy and hectic schedules. Now with more time on our hands, it is the perfect opportunity to utilize this room and bring back the “family room.” Place board games, videos, books, magazines, special toys, arts, and craft supplies in this space, so when it is time for family entertainment, you have it ready. Family fun is always better with food and drinks. Make sure to have a table that you can set up snacks and drinks, so the family stays in the room without going into another room to grab food and drinks.

The last room we must designate is for “Quiet time” used for prayers, reflection, and meditation. It is more important than ever to have space where we can calm our minds and connect with our Faith. During these uncertain times, we must continue to pray for our family, friends, leaders, teachers, the sick/poor, and ourselves. By designing a space that fosters tranquility and calmness will allow your entire household to ward off stress, keep emotions under control, and combat fear and anxiety. This quiet space can be a bedroom or living room. Add an aromatherapy diffuser to enhance the experience to help relax you, bring mental clarity, and energize you. Incorporate Faith-based icons, scriptures, verses, and quotes to help keep your focus during meditation and prayers. Include a journal to write down your thoughts, prayers, and gratitude.

Remember, when you clear your mind during meditation and prayer, you must also fill it with something good and not keep it void of emptiness. When your mind is void of nothing, negativity will always creep in. Invite your whole family to experience this quiet time. You will see a great mood shift if you incorporate this into your daily schedule. It is essential to stay mentally and spiritually strong during these times.  

A few scents to keep your emotions under control. (

Scents to Relieve Anger: Chamomile, Jasmine, Patchouli, Rose and Ylang-ylang.

Scents to Relieve Anxiety: Bergamot, Cedarwood, Cypress, Frankincense, Hyssop, Lavender, Marjoram, Myrrh, Neroli, Orange, Peach, Rose, Rose Geranium and Violet Leaf.

Scents to Increase Confidence: Frankincense, Jasmine, Patchouli and Sandalwood.

Scents to Ease Depression: Bergamot, Clary Sage, Grapefruit, Jasmine, Lavender, Lemon, Lemon Balm, Lemon Verbena, Neroli, Orange, Petitgrain, Rose Geranium, Sandalwood, Tangerine and Ylang-ylang.

Scents to Improve Memory: Bay Laurel, Jasmine, Lavender, Lemon and Rosemary.

Scents to Ease Sorrow: Clary Sage, Cypress, Fir, Marjoram, Rosemary and Sage.

Scents to Invigorate and Overcome Fatigue: Angelica, Benzoin, Camphor, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove Basil, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Lemon, Peppermint, Pine, Sage and Spiced Apple.

Scents to Deal with Stress, Nervous Tension and Insomnia: Bergamot, Chamomile, Cinnamon, Cloves, Frankincense, Lavender, Lemon, Marjoram, Myrrh, Neroli, Nutmeg, Orange, Petitgrain, Rose, Sandalwood, Sweet Melissa, Valerian, Vanilla, Violet, and Ylang-ylang.

Scents to Calm Irritability: Chamomile, Neroli, Rose, and Rose Geranium.

This wraps up Tip #1, check our blog the rest of this week for Tip #2, #3, and Tip #4.

Staying Mentally Strong and Focused Through a Crisis

Our mental strength has been tested quite a bit these last few years, and now with the COVID-19 pandemic, our mental strength, along with our physical strength, is stretched thin and put to the test.  Living in a world where we can calculate and predict every aspect of our daily lives, we are at a loss right now because we are no longer able to predict and calculate this virus with accuracy. What then will our minds do to compensate this discrepancy in relinquishing us from the data-driven mindset we are so accustomed to?  This mindset is when our “imagination” takes flight, conjuring farfetched things, trying to grasp reality, and yet somehow distorting it at the same time. How then can we quiet our imagination, so it does not take us down the rabbit hole of insanity of obsessing over the fear of not having enough of our moratorium and concern of missing out on important information?  We create for ourselves an infopandemic that can be worse than the viral pandemic itself. This infopandemic is the beginning of losing our focus and weakening our mental strength leading to despair, hopelessness, doubt and anger, unrest, and blame.   

To stay mentally healthy and focused during these unprecedented times requires us to start focusing inward, in ourselves.  We have the power within us to be mentally healthy. We have to find good and contentment in ourselves to start seeing and spreading positivity and joy in the world.   Things are ever-changing, and we feel the loss of control. To create a sense of constancy, have a ritual or routine in place every day. Begin by finding time in the early morning before anyone in your house is awake to schedule “Quiet time” and make it non-negotiable time. 

At least 15 minutes to 1 hour, however your schedule permits. During this quiet time, pray, read, and reflect on things that will grow you mentally, start giving thanks every morning and do some physical activity to get your blood flowing. By creating this “Quiet time” and space in the morning hours, your mind will be calmed and relaxed, releasing endorphins that will produce positive and joyous feelings of euphoria ( and further increase dopamine, serotonin, and melatonin.  By creating this sacred time, you are designing a constant routine in your day, focusing on the unchanging truth, which you can look forward to and will counteract the ever-changing world you live in, reducing stress, anxiety, and the way your body manages pain.  Designing this morning, “Quiet time” is necessary to shift your perspective and mindset to better mental health.

Back To Basics

With the new decade ushered in a few weeks ago, we look back on a decade of wellness fads and trends that have come and gone.  What will this new decade bring to restore our wellness that will truly stick and not be tossed out like yesterday’s bathwater?  First, we must start by getting back to basics. The 3 letter acronym that is so essential that is never outdated. It is the basic elements of H20, water.  Its property is very basic yet, it is the building block to so many things in our body and the natural world we live in. Water’s ability to transform from a liquid to gas, to solid,  is remarkable. It’s maneuverability through corner and crevices in streams, rivers, and man-made pipes are undoubtedly an advantage to our irrigation system. Without this H2O, you can say life is not alive and living.  Basic water is enough for us to thrive but as in a consumer world, water has been upgraded and become a sort of “Super Food” Liquid. With the introduction of Mountain Spring Water, Glacier Water, Coconut Water, Smart Water, Ionized Water, Hydrogen Infused Water and Alkaline Water.  The basic H2O has been treated with a bit of Extra goodness that is suppose to be better for your health, your community, and the environment. Mindful hydration is this decade’s key to restoring health and wellness in our bodies, our environment and in our Spirit and Soul.

Mindful hydration is being aware of the living water that flows through this simple liquid, be intentional about hydrating your body with more than 8 ounces of water each day and keeping your mind clear, focused.  Emerge in a relaxed state by taking water breaks to replenish your body and mind with the much-needed hydration and minerals to inspire and jump-start productivity while reducing the number of carbon footprints.

Inspired to start your mindful hydration routine?  Here are a few water bottles that are a clear choice, merging modern style with basic practicality.

Start a 30 Day water challenge, see the results of what increasing your water intake can do to your body and mind.  Designate a water bottle for the challenge, post your before and after results. #30dayswaterchallenge.

Would you like to be my neighbor?

Where one or more gather, life will flourish and give rise to communities. Our human nature is wired to have a natural urge to find common grounds among those we associate in our day to day interaction. The need to build communities is stronger than ever in our culture today. By bringing people of different backgrounds together and using groups as a vehicle to help and encourage one another gives a sense of cohesiveness and peace that can transcend to other aspects of our lives. Reaching the ultimate goal of belonging and being loved makes life worth living and sharing.

The world needs a sense of worth, and it will achieve it only by its people feeling that they are worthwhile.

Fred Rogers

Finding ways to be part of a community is easier than you think. It is choosing a community that will flourish you physically, spiritually, and mentally is the challenging part. A social group that values all three aspects is worth investing your time and effort. Once we start to flourish by engaging our mind, optimizing our body, and feeding our soul, we will begin to become stewards for one another. Our perspective of thinking just thinking of “Me” will change to “We.”

Write your own story
Gratitude journals

As Thanksgiving is approaching next week, being gracious, showing hospitality, and loving your neighbor are the ingredients to being thankful. This holiday is a season to dust off our own need for attention and refocus it towards others. A great example of showing hospitality and loving your neighbor is exemplified by the so loved TV personality, Mr. Rogers (Fred Rogers). The life work of Fred Rogers was devoted to giving thanks to others. He showed appreciation, from the smallest acts of merely saying hi to being engaged and listening to a person. Whether that person is speaking, playing, dancing, building, sing, or painting, if we care, we can listen (The World According to Mr. Rogers).

It is in the small acts that big things can get accomplished. When you are planning out your invitation list, your meal preparation, and all the to do’s that are needed to prepare a Thanksgiving meal, just remember not to stress and overcomplicate things. Less is more. Keep in mind that putting love into the details will always result in a great meal, even if things don’t go as planned.

Ease into the giving season by taking your family and friends to watch “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” in most theaters this coming Friday, November 22nd. It is a beautiful way to jump-start your heart and open your eyes to the world of Mr. Rogers. A lesson from a man who’s unhurried manner and keen way of sharing simple acts around the neighborhood brings lasting joy and happiness.

World According to Mister Rogers
by Fred Rogers

In the next few weeks, we will get the opportunity to play Hostess to everyone that comes through our door. Will you answer the knock to be a neighbor to those that enter your door? Show your hospitality with these tips.

  • Always greet everyone with a “Smile” upon arrival
  • Introduce guest to one another
  • Mindful of time
  • Have plenty of food and beverage on hand
  • Thank guests for attending, (walk them to the door)
  • Send Thank you Cards or text/email after the party

Would you like to be my neighbor?