How to Start Moving Forward amid the pandemic


It’s been a hard year for mental health. Not that I have to tell you that.

No matter how the pandemic has changed your life — losing jobs, losing people, working overtime, parenting overtime — odds are it’s starting to wear on you as we continue missing family, friends, and any sense of normalcy.

Most people have spent the past 18 months just trying to get by. But going forward, we need to think seriously about how not to just tread water, but to propel ourselves forward despite this strange world we’re living in. There’s no telling how long it will be before we’re back to our old habits and routines. In the meantime, how can we take care of ourselves so that life doesn’t pause while we wait? The Fit Dallas Mom Blog explains how.

Schedule that therapy appointment

First, I want to address how hard it is to change your mindset on your own. It’s possible to undergo radical transformation through self-help, but it’s also slower and prone to setbacks. That’s why I’m a huge proponent of therapy.

Therapy isn’t just for fixing something that’s broken. It’s a means of getting a new perspective on old problems and a tool for changing patterns of thinking and behavior that hold you back from where you want to go. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is great for people who get stuck in cycles of negative thinking. Acceptance and commitment therapy helps with mental flexibility, mindfulness, and aligning values with actions. Psychodynamic therapy promotes self-growth by exploring the deep-rooted reasons underlying behaviors.

Don’t get discouraged if your first attempt at therapy isn’t a good fit. It usually takes a few tries to find the right therapist and modality for you. Luckily online therapy makes shopping around easy (not to mention COVID-safe).

Set and keep goals

Set your mind on achieving goals you’ve been putting off, like going back to school. Low-cost, flexible programs are available, and when you enroll in career-relevant online coursework you’re opening the door to career advancement and a higher income. Going the online route has many benefits, including the ability to go at your own pace wherever you wish, which allows you to continue working your job and tend to family matters without having to attend in-person classes on campus.

Pick up an outdoor activity

Are you spending more time indoors during the pandemic? You’re not alone. Some of that has been positive; however, all that time inside isn’t great for our health — and I’m not just talking about catching COVID-19. Indoor environments are a major source of air pollution and the more time we spend at home, notes The Verge, the worse it gets. Time indoors also promotes a sedentary lifestyle, contributes to vitamin d deficiency , and over time can even lead to a buildup of negative energy, stress, and unhealthy coping behaviors.

An outdoor hobby gives us a reason to spend more time outside, moving our bodies and soaking up the sunshine and warmth that’s so good for wellness. Walking and hiking, outdoor yoga, bicycling, rollerblading, gardening, and contact-free sports like tennis are safe options that don’t require a lot of money or experience to start. Of course, if fitness tops your agenda, working with a dedicated personal trainer can open a new door to customized fitness plans that work inside or outside. 

You can also invite the outdoors into your home. Open your windows daily to clear out stale, negative energy and let fresh air in. Invest in a few houseplants and remember to open the curtains each morning. It makes a bigger difference than you think.

Stay intentional about your relationships

In the beginning of the pandemic, we were hosting virtual game nights, video chatting with extended family, and sending postcards to old friends. But when restrictions began to lift, a lot of our efforts to stay connected slowed down.

As tempting as it is to fall back into solo time, relationships are important for our emotional well-being. I know that for me, the harder it feels to call a friend, the more I need it. Make a point to keep social engagements on the calendar and get into a safe social routine with your closest friends. Even if it’s just meeting up for a virtual coffee date once a week, seeing a friendly face boosts your spirits and makes life in a pandemic feel a little less lonely.

Make a point to also stay intentional about your relationships with coworkers, which is especially important if you’re all working from home. Isolation can be very difficult to manage with remote work, so finding ways to interact can boost morale, and it can add a regular dose of positivity that everyone needs right now. Consider too what else you can do to create more inclusivity for everyone, even if you’re far apart. 

Living through a pandemic has taught us a lot about ourselves and each other — like how resilient we are, how compassionate, and how much we can come together in a time of crisis. Yet there’s no denying this crisis has challenged us in many ways. As you look to the future, learn to let go of the things you can’t control and instead, focus on what you can do to keep life moving forward for yourself and the people you love.

The Fit Dallas Mom Blog is written by a mom, for moms. Read more informative articles today!

4 Facts You Need to Know to Protect Your Family From Ticks and Mosquitoes

Warmer temperatures mean more families are getting outside. If your family lives in an area prone to ticks and mosquitoes, however, you could be more worried about getting bitten. Mosquitoes and tick bites can carry serious consequences, so you’re right to be concerned. Instead of letting those concerns keep your family from enjoying the great outdoors and getting some exercise, though, why not focus your energy on preventing those bites? To make sure your outdoor fun isn’t ruined by these pests, here are some vital facts you need to know, brought to you by Fit Dallas Mom Blog.

Poorly Maintained Yards Can Hide Pests

Is your yard looking a little overgrown? If so, to keep pests in check, and keep your yard looking its best as well, consider hiring a gardener to help with landscaping tasks. Ticks can hide in tall grass, and mosquitoes love to hang out in unkempt lawns as well. In addition to sprucing up your yard, your gardener can also be on the lookout for any standing water or improperly draining planters around your property, all of which can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Garlic Laced Foods Can Repel Mosquitoes

If you live in an area that’s prone to mosquitoes, you may already have some mosquito knowledge. Still, it never hurts to brush up on mosquito repellant tips. For instance, eating garlic on a regular basis may make you less appealing to these insects. As an added bonus, adding more garlic to your diet may also precent tick bites, which can reduce your family’s risk for Lyme disease, which can have lasting and painful impacts on health.

Tick Prevention for Pets Can Also Help Humans

Dogs and cats can bring joy to your life, but they can also bring ticks into your home. The best solution to keep pets from infesting your yard with ticks and other pests is to focus on prevention. Treat your yard with pet-safe pesticides, find a flea and tick preventative for any pets that venture outside, and be sure to check those pets for ticks frequently. If you find a tick on your pet, have a vet or vet tech remove it, to prevent additional issues. Also, stay vigilante for potential Lyme disease symptoms, such as pain or fever, in any pets that have been bitten.

Mosquito Prevention Can Be Fairly Simple As Well

If you don’t want to deal with the discomfort of mosquito bites, the best remedy is to take steps to prevent mosquitoes in the first place. By now, you already know the importance of dumping standing water and keeping your lawn trimmed. What you wear outside, however, can hurt or help mosquito populations as well. So if you notice mosquitoes around your home, be sure to cover your arms and legs before spending time outside in the evenings, and think about using a repellant on your skin. If you are bitten, you can use natural remedies, such as tea tree and apple cider vinegar, to help reduce itching and discomfort.

Mosquito Bites Can Be More Than Just Annoying

You may be aware of the dangers of lyme disease and tick bites, but you may not be aware that mosquito bites can be just as dangerous. In fact, world health reports indicate that mosquitoes may be the most dangerous animal on our planet, in terms of human health and safety. Mosquitoes are responsible for the spread of deadly diseases, such as malaria, which makes it crucial to know potential symptoms of mosquito-borne illnesses. Chills and unexplained pain after a bite should be addressed immediately, so if you or a loved one experiences them, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Bites from ticks and mosquitoes can not only ruin your family fun, they can also harm your health. So take the necessary steps to prevent mosquitoes and ticks from breeding in your yard. Also, make sure you know how to protect yourself from insect bites while you’re outside, and know how to reduce the potential for serious health impacts if a member of your family is bitten.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Survival Tips for Work-from-Home Parents With Young Kids

Written by my guest writer, Janice Russel of Parentingdisasters.com

Working from home has many benefits. You can eliminate commuting, saving valuable minutes, and leaving more time to spend with family. If you have a toddler or baby at home, however, managing child care alongside a busy workday under one roof can be a challenge.

Rest assured, this juggling act is a test of patience for anymom or dad. You are not alone. The great news is that there is a supportive community out there offering plenty of tools to help you manage a home office plus parenting. Fit Dallas Mom Blog is one, with a blog full of tips. A couple of other blogs run by parents who work from home that are worth checking out are Single Moms Income (which has great advice for dads and married folks, too!) and Catherine Alford’s site.

Read on for some additional tricks and tools you can rely on to help make working from home as a parent with young kids easier.

Set aside a dedicated workspace.

Creating a dedicated work zone increases productivity. It also lets you keep your computer and papers in one place, away from baby bottles or your toddler’s sticky hands. Having this separate space will also make it easier for young children or spouses to recognize when you’re working. You can even use colorful tape to mark off mommy’s or daddy’s workspace. This kind of visual indicator is easier for toddlers to recognize.

Follow these tips from SHAPE magazine for creating an ergonomic workspace that is comfortable and healthy. Invest in a proper desk chair and desk, and set it up correctly. In addition to configuring your office furniture, make sure your workplace electronics are configured for home office use.

Consider a career change.

If you’re at home with young kids, you may want to start thinking about a new career once your kids are old enough to attend school. Fortunately, there are many online degrees you can earn which allow you the opportunity to learn from home at your own pace so you can still meet your children’s needs. For example, if you’re interested in becoming a teacher, you could work to earn a bachelor’s degree in education.

Create a kid-soothing zone.

Create a kid zone with your little one’s amusement in mind. If your baby has that one rocking crib that always seems to soothe them, place it here. If your toddler has a favorite stuffed animal that stops the crying, make sure it’s there. Set your kid-soothing zone up near your workspace. As a work-from-home parent, it’s impossible to avoid interruptions during the day. By setting up this space close to your office, however, you can hopefully minimize the amount of time every disruption takes.

Take advantage of nap time.

As a work-from-home parent, nap time is your best friend. Take advantage of these quiet moments. For example, if you know that your child usually goes down for a snooze after lunch, this is the perfect time to schedule conference calls. Of course, nap time isn’t a guarantee. It can seem like the moments when you really need your little one to sleep, they simply won’t. The website Parents.com has great tips on helping your toddler nap, for example, by laying them down with some gentle music.

Call for reinforcements.

Remember, you don’t have to do it all on your own. If you have a partner to help, enlist their assistance. Sit down at the start of the week and compare schedules. What days do you each have critical deadlines or meetings? See if the other one can step up and take over child care during these times. Alternatively, you may have friends or family who can help. Another option is to hire a professional via an online platform like Care.

Be kind to yourself.

Working from home with kids clamoring around you isn’t easy. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Find time for self-care. Taking a hot bath after the kids are in bed is a great way to unwind. Also, take time to nurture your mental health by practicing mindfulness through activities like meditation and showing gratitude. These small acts will enhance your mental wellbeing and make you more resilient to everyday challenges.

Being a working parent isn’t easy. There’s scientific evidence to prove it, as surveys show that working mothers are more stressed. The above survival tips will help you get through the workday while alleviating worry.

I’d also offer the advice to recognize when you need to pause. For me, this is when I start snapping at my kids. If I notice myself doing that I try hard to set boundaries and realistic expectations with myself and my family. For example, “Mommy needs five more minutes, let’s set a timer and when it goes off let’s snuggle!”

Photo Credit: Pexels

Back in the red

We are back in the Red in DFW. I don’t care what anyone says. I’m wearing a mask even when I workout. What inconvenience is it really to me? None. I put on clothes in the morning so a mask isn’t any different to me anymore.

I actually haven’t worn makeup since the masks requirement went into effect. With the exception of mascara of course but no actual face makeup. It’s been great! My skin has never looked so even toned and breakout free! I wash my face often or use face wipes. I also wash my mask regularly so that helps quite a bit to reduce any skin issues.

I really don’t mind wearing a mask even after the mask order is lifted. Honestly I’ve never gone this long without catching even just a cold! I credit that to the masks, over disinfecting and hand washing. I know masks are annoying to some but I’m one who doesn’t mind it. I’ll do whatever is going to keep my family and myself healthy! Better safe than sorry!

Benefit of fevers

All our lives we have been told (if you paid attention to your Dr or in health class 😉) that fevers are beneficial to fight infection. Having a fever can be scary, especially if it gets into the 104+ range. However, it’s also good. A fever, which is an elevated body temperature, sets in motion a series of mechanisms that regulate our immune system.

If you remember back to health class in high school, your hypothalamus is what sits at the base of your brain and regulates body temp. When your hypothalamus detects pathogens from the immune system, it signals for the body to generate and retain more heat. Thus triggering a fever.

There’s a saying…..”feed a cold, starve a fever.” If you have a fever you should avoid eating. You want your body focusing on the fever and riding itself of pathogens. By provoking digestion, you are over stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system.

Most fevers, a doctor will tell you to just stay home in bed and rest. When my son was 2 he got a fever of 104. The doctor told us to put him in a luke warm bath. If him temp continued at 104 or higher for two hours or more, then we were to take him to the emergency room. It’s scary, but again the body is just fighting an infection.

What’s crazy now days is the minute we find out someone has a fever, we go into full on panic because it’s possible they have corona virus! Before this pandemic, if someone had a fever they were told to go home and rest and no one really thought twice about it. But because of this virus, you get a fever, and people literally run from you! Lol

You body does some really cool things if you just pay attention to it. People are so focused on a quick fix and pump themselves with medication too early so their body becomes reliant on medication vs allowing it to use its immune system and fight it as god planned. Mind you, not all illnesses can be fought off by the immune system. I think we can all agree that there are quite a few cases where medication is needed. Please don’t go on the attack. I am not anti medication. I am just one who prefers to let the immune system try to work first. Then if help is needed, you call your doc and get your body extra help!

Diet pains

Ever gone on a diet and felt achy during it? Sort of those body aches you get just before you actually get sick? Well, that’s not uncommon. So what causes it?……

When you eat unhealthy foods for a while, your body builds “immunity” to these junk foods. That’s why you don’t feel any major discomfort after having eaten them for weeks, months or years. Once you remove these foods from your diet, your body can actually go through withdrawals. Your body became addicted to these foods so it’s a shock to it when you remove them. Symptoms can include body aches, anxiety, exhaustion, irritability, jitteriness, and tiredness.

A lot of people who get these symptoms while dieting feel like their diet isn’t working due to the symptoms they experience. What they fail to remember is that dieting isn’t easy at first. You have to get your body into a routine. They often feel this discomfort, get discouraged and immediately want to feel comfort. They remember how junk food was a comfort feeling for some of them, so they go right back to eating it.

Don’t get me wrong, I eat my fair share of junk food. However, I eat it in moderation. I may eat a burger and fries for dinner one night. But all my meals before that are healthy. I don’t do an entire day of eating terrible. If I do eat terrible one entire day, my body goes into a shock and I actually get an achy, tired and uncomfortable feel. It’s one I can actually feel in my muscles and stomach.

There is what I call the “diet hump.” For me it’s always around week 3 or 4 of my diet. I start to feel achy and I get tired and discouraged. I think to myself how much I hate this feeling and I just want to lay on the sofa with a box of pizza and Chinese food. But once I push past those thoughts and a few days of the achy, tiredness passes, I feel better. Things get easier after that hump. My diet becomes more of a routine and easy to follow. I don’t crave unhealthy foods as much. My body actually feels stronger after.

Diet and weight loss is not easy. It honestly takes a lot more mental work than people realize. It’s not 100% physical when going on a diet. You have to keep yourself on track and not let what may be withdrawal symptoms, set you back if they come on. For me a lot of “self talk” is involved. I tell myself regularly “I can do this.” It’s a lot of mental pushing. But it’s worth it on the end. Especially to wake up feeling better every day. Having my stomach feel clear and not heavy and bloated. To not have my joints an muscles ache when I try to get up or sit down. With two kids under 3, I need all the strength and energy I can get from this body!

Lack of alone time

The worst part about quarantine….zero alone time. And by alone time I mean me, by myself, with no one to talk to and nothing to think about. 🙄

I’m an independent person with more introvert characteristics than you’d think. I like to do things on my own and figure things out for myself. I also enjoy being alone sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and my husband. But I’m one of those people who needs an hour or two to themselves just to relax and think about nothing important. It’s like hitting the reset button for me.

I lost most of my alone time when I became a stay at home mom. But what little I was holding on to is completely gone now thanks to this quarantine. I can’t even take a shower in peace without my husband opening the door to have a conversation or ask me questions. Or my toddler coming in to hand me a toy or ask for something. I know my child means no harm by it, and it’s sweet he wants to share a toy. But when you just want a moment of silence, a child standing there with the shower door open staring at you, isn’t the most relaxing.

Im trying to stay positive and remember that this quarantine wont last forever. We will go back to normal life eventually, and I’ll be able to go back to the gym and have an hour to myself. And if God wills it, maybe I’ll get an entire day to myself one day too to recover from all this 😂🤷🏼‍♀️

Wash your hands!

Apparently the flu risk is high in Dallas right now. I never used to get the flu shot but after having kids I do. The last thing I want is one of us (or all of us) catching it. I feel like we are more at risk of getting it with them being around other kids now. So many little hands in mouths! 🖐🏻

I’ve been having both my toddler and infant wash their hands like crazy. I’ve also been disinfecting toys regularly, especially with Camden in the teething phase and chewing on everything! Most germs can survive on fabric for a while, so I change their clothes the minute they get back from day care. I’ve been washing my hands more than normal as well. With the Coronavirus flying around I feel like we can never be too safe! 🙅🏼‍♀️

Here’s a couple random facts that might get you thinking……🤔

Did you know that low humidity enables the flu to survive longer and spread faster?! Also, people spread germs more easily in cold weather due to more time indoors together. 🏡

1 in 10 people don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom. This is one major way we spread germs! We were taught this when we were kids! 95% of people don’t wash their hands long enough to kill harmful bacteria. The CDC recommends washing your hands for 20 seconds. Not sure how long 20 seconds is? Sing your ABC’s twice through at a normal speed. That’s about 20 seconds! 🧼

Wash your hands and say a prayer you don’t catch what’s flying around! That’s about the best we can do. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Mom Sick

Mom sick….that’s what I’ve been for a few days. It’s miserable, especially while pregnant.🤢 As a mom you don’t get to lay down and rest or even take care of yourself when you have the flu, a virus, a cold, etc. You’re too busy taking care of your family and everything else. There is no calling in sick or having someone take care of you as a mom. You just push through and hope it’ll pass fast. 😷

I like to do the “mind over matter” that my dad taught me. I tell myself I’m not that sick and I can get through the day. It may not actually make the illness go away. But of anything the positivity and encouragement helps more than self pitty or complaining. 🤷🏼‍♀️

When I try to remember back to when I was younger, I can’t remember a time when my mom was sick. I always thought she had an amazing immune system that kept her from ever getting sick. Now I realize she got sick, she just was mom sick. She never showed it because she didn’t have time to be sick. She was too busy working and shuttling us kids around to our activities. There literally wasn’t time for her to be sick.🤒

To all you moms out there pushing yourselves through a “mom sick” day, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you. I understand your struggle now. You make it look easy despite how miserable you might actually be. Comfort and health is definitely something that we sacrifice some days, but we do it for the love of our family.💙

Finding out about food allergies

A question I get asked often…..How did you find out you were allergic to flour/wheat? 🌾

Soooo over a period of a few months I noticed some weird, irregular things happening with my body. After eating, I would get this unbearable itch in my right leg to the left of my shin. It would itch so bad I would sometimes scratch till it bled. Crazy I know! 😳

Other times I would get severe stomach pains that felt like my stomach was trying to rip itself out of my body. Sometimes that was followed by the runs. Or other times I would start to turn red and splotchy, get red bumps all over my body, start to feel really hot and itch a bit. As some people like to call it…..hot hives! 😩

I went to the doctor and they told me it was anxiety. It didn’t make sense. I don’t get anxiety after eating. I feel happy and content after I eat. So I brushed off that doctor and tried another. Who told he he had no idea what it was and maybe it would go away in its own. 🤦🏼‍♀️

It took me going to 4 doctors to finally have one tell me it’s possibly a food allergy. So he told me to fast for a full 24 hours to get everything out of my system. Then try one thing at a time and see the reaction. I started with fruits, then veggies, then meats, then cheeses and nothing was happening. One day I made a sandwich and BAM! Stomach pains and the runs. The only thing new I’d eaten was the bread on the sandwich! So I figured that was it! After a few more trial and errors I learned that I have a wheat/flour allergy. I tell people it’s a gluten allergy because it’s just easier to explain and I get less questions since gluten allergies are like a “thing” now. But for me it’s wheat and flour. Different types of wheat/flour affect me differently. Hence one time I’ll get hives, and another the runs. 🍴

My food allergy and my auto immune run hand in hand. They each affect each other. Turns out the itching in my leg is due to inflammation of the skin and tissue caused by eating wheat/flour. My body becomes inflamed, doesn’t understand what’s happening and goes on the attack. Therefore causing an itching reaction. It’s crazy but makes sense how one thing affects another.

I’m not missing out too much in life. People always give me the poor pitiful you look and ask what I can eat. Well I can eat pretty much what I want within reason…..fruits, veggies, meats, cheeses, etc. Instead of flour tortillas I do corn, when at a Mexican restaurant. I have always hated pasta so there was no loss there. They make gluten free bread/wraps and gluten free pizza crust so I can still enjoy a good sandwich or pizza when I want. I honestly don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. Going wheat/flour free hasn’t changed my life other than ridden me of stomach pain, itching, etc. 🤷🏼‍♀️