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    Nature Reflections Blog

    Allowing Yourself to be Beautiful

    Allowing Yourself to be Beautiful

     

    When we think of beauty, we may think of a glamorous movie star, someone that is perfectly groomed with expertly applied makeup and a body that is chiseled by extensive exercise. To me, that is not beauty but a manufactured imaged. Though it is pretty and attractive, it is just an illusion. And that is OK, since the actor is portraying a role based on an expectation for the work that they do. An actor, especially one that plays leading characters in a movie or show, often is required by the industry and fans to look a particular way. Now some actors, even with this agenda, may also be beautiful… but being physically pretty or attractive is not what beauty is all about.

     

    Often, we confuse beauty with style, asymmetry or a manicured application. But beauty is beyond these things. Beauty is a vibration. For instance, I ask you to take a moment and close your eyes and think of Mother Teresa. Imagine not just what she looked like, but also the work she did helping the poor and disadvantage, the kindness she showed, the words of grace she spoke and the love that radiated from her being. Do you see her in your head? Do you feel her in your heart, her essence, her light? Good.  Now, I ask you again to think of just Mother Teresa’s appearance. My guess is that now, you are seeing beauty. She magically seems ethereal and beautiful and someone that you would want to be near.

     

    This is because Beauty Is an Expression of Love.

     

    Yes… that is what true beauty is. It is the energy that radiates from love. This is why when we see a rainbow and we look up at it and we are mesmerized by the vibrancy of the colors after the rain and we feel the air that is misty and cleansing. We feel uplifted. That rainbow opened up our hearts and we saw beauty. Or, when we see a piece of art that we just can’t take our eyes off of because something stirs deep inside of us. Is it the love that the artist felt as she painted the painting? Was she channeling beauty into each brush stroke, as she gingerly let the paint glide onto the canvas creating a splash of color that if you looked closely, seems messy but when you take a step back, you feel the energy of her joy, her life and or her soul?

     

    The secret is, that we are all beautiful. It doesn’t matter what we physically look like. Our height, our weight, our skin color, our hair style, our clothing… none of that is what determines beauty. I am sure you have heard the old adage, “Beauty is only skin deep.” We know that means that physical beauty is superficial and that true beauty is from emotional and spiritual qualities that shape our character. However, we are bombarded with images, media and often our own self talk contradicting the true meaning of beauty. What happens is that we tend to forget about being beautiful and instead focus on our outward appearance and image. So, how do we change this perception and embrace beauty?

     

    We need to allow ourselves to be beautiful.

     

    Since beauty is an expression of Love, we first need to love ourselves. I know, you may be thinking, I need to change this or change that and then I would love myself. This is how I use to be and I sometimes I still fall into that trap. You see, I have struggled with weight most of my life and as a kid, I was teased extensively about my freckles and my turned-up nose. But I am going to tell you… you do not need to change anything about you. You are already perfect. You are already beautiful. You were created by divine energy. Beauty is already living inside of you. It just needs to be awakened.  To let your true essence shine, just like Mother Teresa’s spirit radiated in your mind, you will need to allow yourself to accept, feel and receive love.

     

    Well, you may be thinking, that is easier said then done. The thing is, in our culture, we often talk about what or who we love but rarely discuss about loving ourselves. We have this fear of being narcissistic or conceited or some other term that actually doesn’t describe self-love but instead describes fear, separation and low self-esteem. People who truly love themselves, who recognize that it is just as important to receive love as it is to give love, radiate. People want to be near them. This is because their inner beauty is shining through.

     

    So, how do you go about tapping into your own beauty? There are many ways to this, from prayer and meditation, self-reflection, mantras, commitment and sheer will. However, the following exercise is what has worked for me.

     

    First, find a quiet place where you can be alone for a minimum of 5 minutes. You can lay down on your bed, sit in a chair or stand- just whatever is comfortable for you. I actually did the exercise I am about to lay out for you this morning in shower. Once you are in your space, then take a couple of slow deep breaths just to feel relaxed. I usually breathe in through my nose and count to 5 or 6 and then release the air with my mouth open with the same count I used taking in the air. Do this a minimum of three times… lately, I have been needing to do the breathing more than three times, and that is ok. You will know when you are relaxed. This should not be a chore and you will find after the second or third deep breath that you can easily do this step without counting or thinking about it. You will know intuitively when you are relaxed enough for the next step.

     

    Once you are relaxed, then the next step is to think about your heart in the middle of your chest. Visualize where it is at and then focus on that spot. Don’t worry about technicalities… you don’t need to know exactly where the organ heart is at since you are going to focus on the “feeling” part of your heart… you know, that place that gets tight when you are stressed or flutters when that special person touches your hand or that warmness you feel when you hold a baby or a puppy. Yes, that spot. Now, feel the energy in the center of that spot. This may take a several seconds or even a minute or two if you are not in the routine of thinking about this part of you. Once you feel the center of your heart begin to imagine the energy of your heart swirling in a circle. At first, this circle may be small, maybe only an inch or two wide.  This energy swirls in either a clockwise or counter clockwise path. It doesn’t matter which, you will know what is right for you. You can even imagine it going in one direction for several rotations and then going the other direction and then back again. You know what feels right for you. Now, let the circle of energy expand to the width of your chest, where the bottom of the circle is just past your ribs and the top of it is by your throat. Feel the energy of the circle as it expands and swirls.

    After you feel comfortable with the swirling heart energy, and it seems to swirl on its own without you having to concentrate or think about it, your heart is now open. This is the state where you can start programming your heart for love. As the circle continues to swirl, in your head or out loud, say the following:

    I RECEIVE LOVE

    I ACCEPT LOVE

    I AM LOVE

    Say these three phrases over and over again and as you say each phrase, visualize the love coming to you from everyone and everything, all that is or God or whatever gives that feeling of connection. As that love comes to you, visualize that circle of energy accepting the love and that the love now swirls with the circle you’ve created. The love is filling your heart and as it keeps coming in, you will feel love permeate throughout your whole body as each cell inside of you receives that love. It is like pouring water into a funnel and then water goes into a huge vessel. The water is the love, your heart is the funnel and your body is the vessel. You become love.  

     

    At first, doing this exercise in love may seem strange and you may even get emotional doing this practice. If you cry, that is OK. Sometimes when our hearts are closed for a long time and we start to open up, we will release with tears. This is the way we discard the things we no longer need to hold in our hearts. I promise, the more you do this, the less uncomfortable it will feel. Even if you do shed a few tears, you may experience different emotions including peace and joy.  But if you do not feel lighter after the first couple of times doing the practice, that is OK.  If this type of practice is new to you, it may take a while for the uneasiness to dissipate and the peaceful, loving and blissful feelings to take over.

     

    When you have completed these steps, but before you go about your day, you will want to end with your own mantra on beauty. This mantra should be something that you are comfortable with, something that you could say to yourself throughout the day, with or without doing the above practice first.  For me, I say the following…” I am a beautiful, light being from the divine.” This is what works for me, but I have also just stated things like… “I am beautiful” or “My beauty radiates out to the world.” It is OK if you do not believe the mantra at first. Most of us are used to negative self-talk but tend to shy away from positive affirmations. I would say that I did some form of this practice very sporadically over a 10-year period before I committed to it and saw results. In fact, it wasn’t until strangers coming up to me and telling me that I was beautiful that I felt confident in doing this exercise of love and beauty. The first couple of times that someone complimented me on my beauty, it seemed so weird and out of left field to me. My face and body language gave away my doubt because they would say things like “I am not trying to hit on you, there is just something about you that is so beautiful” or they would say, “you just have this glow about you that I felt I had to tell you that you are beautiful.” Eventually, I just happily accepted the compliments and smiled.

     

    Please keep in mind, that the steps I have laid out work for me. However, it is not the only way to be beautiful. Remember, Beauty is an Expression of Love. This expression happens when you truly love yourself. You may already be there or you may have another routine that puts you in that state of self-love where you emit beauty. Regardless, just know that you are love and you are beautiful. Believe. And. Be Beautiful.

     

    About the author: Theresa Touhey is the owner of Nature Reflections, an online jewelry store that specializes in nature-inspired and handcrafted jewelry. She is also an artist, a writer, a grandmother, a caregiver to a rescued Havanese dog and a nature lover. She has practiced various forms of meditation and yoga for  over 30 years.

    10 Things I am Grateful for During the Pandemic

    10 Things I am Grateful for During the Pandemic

     

     

    I think it is safe to say, that if we all had our choice, we would prefer a world without a pandemic than one with it. It has not been easy times for any of us and for some people, it has been completely devastating. However, sometimes when you are going through difficult times, it is good to reflect and see what lessons and positive things that have happened as a result. These are just 10 things in no particular order that I have experienced and I hope that this little article shines some light your way.

     

     

    • My Hair. When I was younger, I experimented with my hair all of the time. I had so many different hair styles and hair colors. Then, I worked at serious jobs and incorporated more serious hair styles and natural colors. Over the past decade or so, I have pretty much had the same hairstyle and the only difference was with or without bangs. But, while working from home, I have trimmed my own bangs and I have colored my hair pink, bleached my hair and then colored it a pinkish orange. The colors were temporary and have washed out but it felt good to do something different and not feel like I had to conform in any way.

     

    • Redecorating.  I am still in the process of redecorating my house but I like that I had the time to really think things through and make some changes. The main project that I just completed was to paint my guest room and move my office to this room. The room was painted a dark greenish gray 10 years ago. Then, I felt it was modern but over the years, I felt the room was dark and depressing. Now, it is painted a white with the lightest tinge of blue. It feels bright and happy and I love working in this room. The next two makeovers will be my bathrooms and I am looking forward to doing that project. I have also moved art work to different rooms and walls to change things up. I feel like my house is having not only a new sense of purpose but a lighter and brighter personality.
       
      • Spending time with my dog. Three years ago, my dog was diagnosed with end stage liver disease and given just a few months to live. I am so fortunate that I had found a holistic vet who did some experimental treatments and that my little fur baby is thriving. However, I am always aware that his time here is not long and with the pandemic, I get to spend more time with him. He sits next to me and sleeps when I work and he follows me around the house and when I am struggling with something, all I have to do is look at his cute face and I melt. Spending time with him is special and I am so fortunate that I now have more time to be with him.
       
      • Experiencing nature in my backyard. I’ve always noticed the birds chirping in the morning and I loved waking up to their music. Now, working from home, I get a couple of more hours of the sounds of the birds and nature. I watch the squirrels running across my fence more than I had in the past and I notice when plants bloom. In Florida during the summer months, rain would cause havoc with leaving work between getting wet and extra traffic. Now, when it rains, I will stand in the opening of the back door and take in the coolness of the dropping temperature and the feeling of renewal. I like listening to the sound of the rain hitting the roof and the back patio and watching the drops slowly cascade off of the plants and trees. It makes my yard a little oasis.
        •  Talking to family more on the phone. Before Covid-19, I would chat with my son and sister about once every week or two. Now, I talk with both of them a few times a week. I feel like my connection to both of them has grown stronger. Though I have always appreciated family, the virus has made me more aware of how special all of my family members are and how fortunate I am that they are part of my life experience. I am so grateful that during the past few months, when I would be in a temporary darker place, that they brought me light, love and support.
        •  Experiencing my grandsons in a new way. Don’t get me wrong, I miss those little boys. Wesley is now 6 and Shane is 4 and they are bundles of energy and delight and nothing feels better than hugs from these two boys. However, if I wanted to continue a relationship with them, I needed to change how we do things. Now, we chat on Duo (Android’s answer to Facetime) and we have played Roblox (a multi-person video game platform that is popular with kids) together. I have used technology with them that I rarely used prior and I got to do things that they wanted to do instead of me or their parents dictating the interaction. This is good for our relationship because they enjoyed showing and teaching me new things and it shows them that I am open to change, even at my age.
        •  In regards to technology, I had watched You Tube videos sporadically over the past decade. Usually when I would watch, it was to look up an old music video from the 80s, a show that I had missed or how to do something in Excel. However, with the pandemic, I have discovered so many content creators that I have thoroughly enjoyed. Since I love to travel, I started searching travel videos and stumbled across Tangerine Travels. Tangerine Travels is a 20-something year old couple who is living and traveling through Mexico and who sometimes make stops in Las Vegas. They are budget friendly travelers but what kept me watching their videos is their personality. They are down to earth, funny, informative and a little bit dorky… meaning that they are real, make mistakes and have no trouble poking fun at themselves. They are also very respectful of the places they travel and like to dispel myths. I am so glad I discovered their highly entertaining and informative videos.
        •  Another thing that I am grateful for is the time to do some self-reflection. For me, being alone and having quiet gave me an opportunity to look over past relationships and evaluate areas in which I can improve. I’ve been able to work on visualizing the things I do want in my life and take stock of what is truly important to me. I am thankful that I got this time to reflect, ponder and explore who I am, what I stand for and how I want to make an impact.
        •  And the reason I was able to do some self-reflection is because during Covid-19, I got a chance to slow down. No more driving in traffic hectically to my office, checking messages at every stop light or multi-tasking talking to someone while working on something else. And with this slow down, I’ve been able to add in more time for mediation, prayer and appreciation of everything that I do have. I have reduced much of the stress that I was carrying around on a daily basis, and I came to this realization when I have to leave the home and shop for goods and that fight or flight reaction starts kicking in. This is something that I was living with all the time without even realizing it.
        • As a small business owner, I have become even more grateful for my customers and supporters. Owning NatureReflectionsJewelry.com has always brought me joy, but during the past months, it has also brought me a sense of community. I am more engaged with my customers and I am looking at ways to connect in more meaningful ways. And, I am also looking at other small businesses, cheering on their success and making more conscientious efforts to shop from them, both online and locally.
         

        These are just 10 of the many things that I feel have shifted for me during the pandemic. Living and being alone isn’t always easy, but I am grateful. I have my health, I have a roof over my head, I have loving family and friends and a dog that is the cutest thing ever. There has always been that adage, “What will you be the most grateful for when you are on your deathbed?” I feel that with the pandemic, I have been given the opportunity to really reflect and focus on the things that matter most.

         

        I would love to hear what you’ve come to appreciate during the pandemic. Please feel free to comment. And thank you so much for reading and following Nature Reflections.

         

        About the author: Theresa Touhey is a small business owner, an artist, a blogger, a lover of animals and nature and the grandmother of 2 adorable boys and the caregiver of a rescued Havanese dog. 

        The 6 Best Places to Buy Garden Seeds Online

        The 6 Best Places to Buy Garden Seeds Online

        We have guest content in our blog today! 

        Herman Samano, from Porch.com, reached out to me after seeing my blog post on 100 Things You Can Do During Social Distancing. Since I mentioned gardening, he thought this article would be a good fit for my site and I completely agree! I've always been a big proponent of shopping online and with physical distancing, it is helpful to know that there are lots of seed providers out there to help us grow our own fruits, vegetables and plants. 

        Whether you are an advance gardener, or a novice, this article is great for anyone who is looking for any advice on how to harvest their own organic vegetablesnative plants, or an edible flower garden at home!

        Times are uncertain right now so I wanted to share an article that all gardening lovers could use to make their backyard useful and make the best out of their time at home. Please be aware, some of the providers below may have temporarily suspended new orders due to the overwhelming increase in home gardens. However, as things change, they will be able to ship again. Their sites are also filled with lots of growing tips and information, so I decided to keep them listed in this article supplied by Porch.com. 

         

        The 6 Best Places to Buy Garden Seeds Online

        Bring your garden to the next level with these top-notch sources for rare, heirloom, and high quality seeds.

        Spring is officially here, and that means it’s time to buy seeds for your garden.

        You can find a variety of seeds at your local hardware store. But if you want to grow a garden that’s a cut above, you’ll need to go online. Whether you’re in the market for organic vegetables, native plants, or that perfect shade of peony for your cutting garden, these shops are where you’ll find what you’re looking for.

        Take a look at our six favorite places to buy seeds online, and get ready to make your garden better than it’s ever been before!

        1. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

        With the largest variety of rare and heirloom seeds in the United States, an always-gorgeous, free color catalog, and an endlessly knowledgeable online community, it’s no wonder that Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds is a favorite of Martha Stewart and Oprah. If you’re interested in vegetables, fruits, and flowers that you can’t find anywhere else, then you’ll love getting lost in Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds’ stunning online catalog.

        2. Seed Savers Exchange

        Boasting impossible-to-find gems such as the hot orange Jaune Flamme tomato, the delicately-scented Queen Anne’s Pocket melon, and the bizarre (but delicious) Jelly Melon cucumber, Seed Savers Exchange will delight adventurous gardeners and plain old tasty veggie fans alike. Becoming a member will even get you access to the Seed Savers community exchange boards, where gardeners and farmers from around the world trade rare seeds for nothing but the cost of shipping.

        3. Burpee

        Although the Burpee seed catalog doesn’t boast a wide array of exotic varieties, they’ve hit the mark on offering a range of solid gardener favorites since 1881. Burpee’s seeds can be counted on to get the highest yield and have the best resistance to disease, which makes them ideal for beginner gardeners and seasoned pros alike. They also offer a wide variety of tomato seedlings that arrive at your door ready to plant in the ground.

        4. Seeds of Change

        100% certified organic seed at Seeds of Change means that you can shop confidently for your organic garden, without having to worry about pesticide residues or GMOs. This California company offers a vast selection of heirloom, organic and hybrid varieties, making it popular among conventional and organic gardeners alike. The best part: the site lists detailed growing instructions for each variety on its website, so you can remember how far apart to plant your seedlings without having to keep track of those pesky little seed packets.

        5. Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

        With over 700 varieties of seeds that are optimized to grow well in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, it’s no wonder this Virginia company is a regional favorite. In addition to listing all kinds of delicious and useful varieties, Southern Exposure is home to a constantly growing selection of historic Southern varieties such as peanutscowpeasroselle, and butterbeans. Check out their Virginia Heritage Collection for twelve varieties of heirloom vegetables that will taste great on any Southern table.

        6. Territorial Seed Company

        Territorial Seed Company is another local favorite, with an array of varieties optimized to succeed in the Northwest, as well as a great selection of plants that do well nationally. Here, you’ll find seeds, plants, fruits, vines, herbs, garlic, and potatoes, as well as tools, books, and thorough growing guides. All of Territorial’s products are backed by a full guarantee, so you can fearlessly attempt the newest varieties of carrots, lettuces, and tomatoes.

         

        What’s on your garden list this year? Will you be trying anything new?

         

         

         

        Caring for Our Pets Well-Being While Staying At Home

        Caring for Our Pets Well-Being While Staying At Home

         

        As many of us are staying home, our pets are getting more interaction with us than they had prior. Is this a good thing for them? It all depends. Pets generally love it when their caregivers are in the same location as them. They love us like we love them. They have a strong bond and connection to us. In fact, there are lots of books and studies on the subject of the human and dog relationship. So, we may think that being home with our pets is a good thing. Emotionally, for a pet, having us around is a positive experience. However, it all depends on how we act at home. We should be aware and take precautions to ensure our beloved pets are doing well during this health epidemic. Here are some things to consider:

         

        Is Your Pet Sleeping Enough Now That You Are Home?

         

        A few years ago, after I took a voluntary separation package from my old employer and I stayed home for several months to learn how to sew and design clothes. You see, I had this goal of applying for the TV show Project Runway, even though my prior sewing experience was a little more than sewing loose buttons or fixing a hem. I had my sewing machine in one room, in another room I had a large table where I did all of my pattern making and cutting and then when I would need to do detail hand sewing (or fixing my mistakes) I would sit on the couch in the living room and work there. Pretty much, I was up and down all day long going from room to room. My sweet little dog would follow me everywhere and after 5 months of this, he become seriously ill. Now, his diagnosis was related to something that may have been genetic but during the time I was at home, he was not getting the amount of sleep that he got prior to me being at home.  He was on lots of medicines and treatments but he didn’t fully recover until I went back to work. Though I have no scientific data on why he made a complete recovery, I do feel that him being able to sleep helped him with his recovery.

         

        Most dogs need between 12 and 14 hours of sleep each day and some require even more than that. Most cats need between 12 and 16 hours of sleep a day. The average American sleeps slightly less than 7 hours a night. If your pet is staying awake when you are home, they are not getting the sleep they need. This could impact their health and well-being.

         

        To help your pet sleep, stay in one room and area as long as you can. When they are sleeping during the day, don’t go up and pet them no matter how cute and adorable they look (trust me, I know it is tempting- I struggle all the time with this.) Keep to a routine as much as possible so they can learn it and know when it is best for them to sleep. Create an environment for them that promotes sleep, such as soft lighting, soft music or anything that is not jarring. Close curtains and blinds so they are not distracted by the outdoors.

         

        Is Your Pet Eating Too Much?

         

        We usually eat at least one meal away from home when we are working. Now at home, we are eating all of our meals in one place. We may have a habit of sharing some of our food with our pets or out of boredom, we may give our pets additional treats.

         

        If you have a food focus pet, you will need to practice restraint during this time frame. I am actually lucky; my dog will only eat if he is hungry. If I gave him a treat when he is not hungry, he will just go and bury it in the yard (or in the crevices of the couch!) and save it for later. But not all pets are like this. Many will just keep eating. It’s important that you do not overfeed your pets because it will lead to obesity and health issues. I know it is tough to resist when they give you the sad eyes.

         

        Fortunately, with dogs, most vegetables are good for them and vegetables are low in calories. If you can’t resist the pleas, treat them with some fresh carrots or string beans. For a list of safe fruits and veggies for dogs, click here. My dog goes crazy over cucumbers which are very low in calories. If he sees me slicing a cucumber, he starts whining up a storm until a slice is in his little mouth.

         

         

        Is Your Pet Getting Enough Exercise?

         

        Depending on where we live, we may or may not be able to walk our pets outside or take them to a field or park. Some of us do not have yards or space for our furry friends to explore. What do we do then to make sure they get their bodies moving?

         

        With cats, all you need is string, a laser pointer or a cat toy to get them going. Cats love to chase and hunt, so any game that you play with them that is about chasing and hunting, they will respond. Need ideas? Here is a funny cat and laser pointer compilation video  and here is a video with cats playing with balls of yarn.

         

        In regards to dogs, they love to play. When I lived in Nebraska and went through my first winter with my pup, I would throw a bouncy ball down the long hallway and he would run and slide to catch it. We also played tug-a-war with a rope, and while playing, he would make this sound that reminded me of the movie Gremlins. I found this good article from iheartdogs.com  about 10 Ways to Exercise Your Dog Indoors.

         

        And, is your pet being affected by your emotional state?

         

        Let’s face it, right now many of us are in various degrees of reaction to what is happening right now with the corona virus. We may be in the extreme panic mode phase or we may be in the "I made peace with it and realize that this too shall pass" phase or we may be somewhere in between. Pets pick up on our moods and emotions. They look to us to see what is going on in their household.

        Pets do best with routine. However, we know that right now, this is anything but routine. Getting yourself into a positive state of mind will help your pet to relax and adjust to the changes. If you take care of you, you will also be able to take care of your furry friend. You may want to check out my article on 100 Things to Do During Social Distancing. There are a couple of sections on self-care. Also, to help with your mood, you can check out another article I wrote, Gratitude Helps With Life’s Curve Balls which was written a couple of months before the impacts of the corona virus in the US.

        Once you take care of you, create a new routine for you and your pet. If you normally walk you pet in the morning but can’t go outside, then create playtime during that time instead. If your pet eats everyday at a specific time, keep that routine going even if you could feed them earlier or later. Show your pet love and confidence and that though things have changed, everything is OK.

        We are so fortunate to have our pets in our lives. They complete our families. They love unconditionally. They are joy captured in cuteness and fur. They are love, which is something we all need, especially now.

         

        Please note: If your pet has anxiety, behavior or health issues, please consult with a trained professional or your veterinarian.

         

        Theresa Touhey is the owner of Nature Reflections, an online jewelry store focused on handcrafted nature inspired jewelry. She is an avid writer and most of all, she is the guardian to O (short for Orion,) a rescued Havanese dog that she adopted from the Nebraska Humane Society.

         

        100 Things You Can Do During Social Distancing

        100 Things You Can Do During Social Distancing

         

         

        Last month, I did a blog post about 5 Easy Ways to Meet People and Do Something Interesting. That article was all about getting out of the house and trying new things. But now we are in a circumstance with physical distancing (aka social distancing) and self-isolation to ensure our safety, health and well-being. Though our primary concern is that we all come out COVID-19 unscathed, being at home for a long period of time can become monotonous and tedious unless if we are proactive in finding worthwhile things to occupy our time. TV and movies are wonderful, but there is only so much of anything before it becomes boring. With this in mind, I’ve compiled a list a things to do at home that I have taken from several sources and broke it down in categories. I used many links with this article so that you will have not only ideas but also instructions and information. You can read this in small chunks or plow through it, whichever works best for you.

         

         

        Expressing Your Creativity!

        1. Rearrange your furniture. By rearranging your furnishing, you can create a whole new flow and make your house feel like a different environment. Maybe take some cues from Feng Shui to help create flow and harmony.
        2. Move artwork and wall hangings to different rooms to create a new vibe.
        3. Make a collage from old photographs or use photos from the web.
        4. Do you have old house paint? If you do, and you also have a board or other flat surface, you can create your own wall art.
        5. Many of us have a plethora of old buttons in a bin. Fear not… you can make art of these! Check out this article for inspiration!
        6. Needle, thread and old clothes? There is so much you can do with these items from making stuffed toys to pillows or totally redesigning a current look. Check out this article for 50 create ideas!
        7. Have rope? Explore these very creative and lovely things you can make from rope.
        8. Is there a box of old hardware hanging out in your garage? If you have some old door knobs lying about, how about making one of these great projects?
        9. Do you have craft projects you have started in the past? Write down a list of them and set a goal on how many you want to complete over the next few weeks.
        10. More craft ideas here using common household items… I love the penny vase!

         

        Cleanliness is Next to …

         

        1. Reorganize your pantry- You can find ideas here.
        2. Do a thorough Spring Cleaning with a list of those things we completely forget about, such as drapes, our doormats and more!
        3. Don’t forget about that coffee pot- to learn more about what lurks inside of it, check out un’kupped.
        4. Wash the things that often get overlooked like your sneakers and slippers.
        5. If you have a pressure washer, this may be a good time to wash your patios, roofs, driveways and stucco or siding. Please follow all safety measures when using a pressure washer.
        6. Clean your car like a professional and maybe jam out to the song Carwash when you are doing so!
        7. Clean out your basement or attic. This is a great time to get rid of items that you will never use and then donate them!
        8. Give some TLC to your garage.
        9. Wash and Clean all of the dog and cat toys! Pay careful attention since the toys are made from different materials- this article gives you tips for cleaning each type of toy.
        10. Go high! Light fixtures, ceilings, ceiling fans, sconces, art work, shelves, alcoves and recesses- they all need a good dusting and cleaning too.

         

        Take Good Care of Yourself

         

        1. Start with your toes and give yourself a home pedicure.
        2. While you are at it, you can also give yourself a manicure!
        3. When was the last time you did a hair treatment? Doing an at home hair treatment is a good way to take your hair to the next level of health and vibrancy.
        4. Nothing is more relaxing than a facial. Use the products you have or check out https://www.boombycindyjoseph.com/ which is a skin care company focused on women over 50.
        5. Light some candles and take a relaxing bath. Here are some good tips for creating the best experience.
        6. Get rid of unwanted hair. Pluck your brows (or in my case, my chin!) and feel more confident being well-groomed.
        7. Give yourself a massage. Yes, you can actually give yourself a massage, though it will be different than what you get from a professional OR…
        8. Have a loved one give you a massage. If they don’t know how, have them read this.
        9. Drink LOTS of water! Staying hydrated is good for you inside and out! Here’s some tips to get in that water (including ways to flavor water or get the hydration from certain foods)
        10. Meditate, pray, nap or relax- it is important to take time to quiet your mind.

         

        Stay Social

         

        You can still be social while physically distancing yourself and here are some ways to do so:

        1. Call your friends and loved ones. Make a list of everyone you know. Do a rotation and call at least one person each day.
        2. Write letters or emails. Writing letters has quickly become a lost art but you can help bring it back. There are many people who would love a letter from you.
        3. Participate positively on social media. Remember, you get more flies with honey so share uplifting stories, happy photos, encouraging quotes and positive memes. Don’t know what to share? Check out Nature Reflections Facebook page as we are committed to posting one positive meme a day.
        4. Join social media groups that have like interest. In the search area of Facebook, type in something that you are interested in and then join the group. This is an easy way to meet others with the same interest.
        5. Play a game! Many computer and mobile games have a chat feature and you can make new friends or play with existing friends. One of my favorites is the classic Words with Friends.
        6. Have dinner with friends with a video call. Use Skype, Facetime, Google Duo or What’s App. Set up your computer, tablet or phone at your dinning table. Have your friends or family join in the call and eat together as if you were in the same room.
        7. Get comfortable with texting. Sending “I love you” or “thinking of you” to your friends and family helps with connecting through text. Send photos and ask for them to send you pictures. The more comfortable you get with chatting, the more you will feel connected.
        8. Walk your neighborhood but make sure to keep at least 6 feet away from others. Wave hi to your neighbors, even if you haven’t spoken to them yet. Do this often and you will eventually develop a relationship. Yell out some “how are you doing?” and “I hope you are well!”
        9. Watch Movies with others using Netflix Party Chrome Extension on your laptop computer. It’s a way to watch movies with your friends and family at the same time and you can chat in the application with each other.
        10. Use three way calling on your phone. Back in the 90s, three-way calling was a feature that many had used and this is a great time to bring it back. Get all of your kids on the phone at the same time. Or, get a group of your friends together. Sometimes, more really is merrier!

         

        Learn Something New!

         

        1. Take an online course at You can learn just about anything, from Reiki Healing to Starting Your Own Business. It was a course I took on Udemy that started my entrepreneurship!
        2. Many local libraries also have online courses for free or they partner with other course catalogs.
        3. Some universities and community colleges offer free online courses. Or, if you have been putting off getting your degree, this may be the perfect time to register and get back to learning.
        4. When my son was a teenager, learned to play guitar by watching YouTube Anytime I need to do something in excel that I haven’t done in a while, I go to Youtube for a refresher. I tiled my kitchen backsplash and learned how to use a wet saw by watching Youtube.
        5. Check out books online through your local library or
        6. Read e-books to learn something new or
        7. Read free opensource college textbooks online.
        8. Listen or Watch TED. TED talks are quick little talks from industry experts with varied subjects including talks on technology, science, design, business, communication, activism, personal growth, the environment, humanity, the future and more. Innovative and fun, one of my favorites is this one.
        9. In regards to TED, NPR has some fantastic podcast including the TED Radio Hour, This American Life and more. There are so many NPR podcast to explore.
        10. And if you find yourself loving podcast but don’t know where to find more, check out this site here which will keep you busy in your discovery.

         

        Keep on Moving

         

        It’s so easy to just park yourself on the couch or in front of a computer when you are home. Here’s how to stay moving.

         

        1. Start a yoga practice. Need something to help you begin then check out this Sliver Sneakers YouTube video.
        2. You already do yoga and you miss your studio classes? Check Out Amazon Prime or this article on yoga classes on YouTube.
        3. For a low key and slow stretch video, I found this little gem with the one and only Richard Simmons. It is stretching to the very old oldies (classical music!)
        4. Or, if you are not one for structured workout videos, turn up some music and just dance around your living room for 20 minutes. Create yourself a play list of some of your favorite songs. I tend to lean more towards alternative rock and these are some of my favorites to dance out to: Should I Stay or Should I Go by the Clash, Change by Churchill and Cake By The Ocean by DNCE.
        5. Do old fashion calisthenics in your living room such as touching your toes, jumping jacks, planks, lunges, etc. Write out the things you like to do and create your own little workout.
        6. If you have an exercise bike, a treadmill or a home gym collecting dust, then go ahead and clean them up and start using them. But..
        7. If you do not have any home equipment, you can always use household items. Here is a video exercise with can food.
        8. Lift your knees up. Every time you go from room to room in your house, march your way there. The exaggerated movement of marching may look silly but it is a way to get some exercise in throughout the day without really trying.
        9. Work your core by doing balance exercises. Check out this video where you use a chair to help you with your exercises.
        10. If you can walk your neighborhood and practice social distancing (at least 6 feet away from others) then do so. Or, walk in your home or around your yard. If you have to stay indoors, clear a pathway and walk as if you are doing laps in a pool. Movement is so important right now to maintain your health.

         

        Home Improvements

         

        1. Do paint touchups around the house. Those little nicks on the edges of walls could use some TLC.
        2. Clean out your dryer ducts. Not only will your clothes dry faster and you will use less electricity, you could be preventing a fire hazard as well.
        3. Remove the sediment from your water heater.
        4. Replace dingy switch plate covers or, better yet, get creative and make an interesting and decorative switch plate cover.
        5. Fix wobbly chairs around your home. Here is the take apart and glue way or you can watch this video which tackles dining room chairs.
        6. Depending on the kind of windows you have, you may run into them sticking or being hard to open and close. Here is a cheat sheet on how to fix multiple types of windows.
        7. Got lots of little holes in your walls from old pictures and art work? Here’s a video to help you repair those walls, especially if you are going to paint them afterwards.
        8. Clean your windows and screens. If you are going to do all of your screens at once, use a sharpie to mark which window the screen came from so that it is easy to put them back once they are dried and cleaned.
        9. Repair the dings and scuff marks on your floors. Here is a bunch of articles depending on the type of floor you have and the issue you are experiencing.
        10. Caulk your tubs, windows or any area that could use a good caulking. I like this video except for the very beginning… please cut away from your hand, not towards it. 😊

        Be a Hobbyist!

         

        There are countless hobbies but here are a few suggestions if you are looking for something to do:

         

        1. Grow something! Start an indoor or outdoor garden.
        2. Regrow your vegetables? You can easily grow things like ginger, garlic, celery and more. Check out this article on vegetable scraps that are easy to regrow.
        3. Write a journal. You can use a notebook, pad, word program or one of these journaling apps.
        4. Shop! Yes, you can shop online. Shopping helps the economy and small business (like Nature Reflections) to stay vital and in business. This virus will pass and you will have something to look forward to with your new finds.
        5. Become a fermenter. Make Sauerkraut, Kombucha, Sourdough Bread and more. Wild Fermentation is my favorite site and book.
        6. Have you ever thought about coding? You can learn how to code for free at
        7. Knitting and Crocheting are great hobbies to do because you can make beautiful things and do it while listening to music or watching TV.
        8. Have you ever wondered about your ancestry but don’t know where to begin? Here is a list of sites to get you started.
        9. Preserve your family recipes and stories by writing them down. Share them with your family through email or create a private family Facebook group and invite your family members to it. Who knows, you may have a future best seller or the basis of a movie script!
        10. Learn a new language. Here are some sites to get you started.

         

         

        Additional Things to do:

        1. Enjoy Nature from your Phone, Tablet or Laptop. Enjoy these Wildlife Webcams.
        2. Volunteer. Here are seven ways you can help others during this time period.
        3. Create beautiful Social Media Posts and Memes using tools such as Canva.
        4. Do you know how to sew and want to help out? You may be able to make some masks.
        5. Explore recipes and cook things you haven’t cooked in the past or in a while. There are so many recipe sites. One of my favorites is Isa Chandler Moskowitz Post Punk Kitchen for delicious vegan and plant-based food.
        6. Start composting. This is a natural way to get rid of waste and create rich soil for your yard or garden.
        7. Save seeds from your fruits and vegetables. You can use them for future harvests.
        8. Have date night with your loved ones or by yourself. Order delivery through one of many food apps like Grub hub, Door Dash, Postmates, Uber Eats or Favor. Just go to the Apple Store or Play Store on Your Phone and Type in food delivery to see which ones deliver in your zip code. Please make sure to note that they leave the items at your door (you can see on the app when it is delivered) and make sure to tip these hard-working drivers.
        9. Watch a movie. Don’t know what to watch? Find a list of the best of a certain genre or watch one of the best movies of all time.
        10. Watch a series from beginning to end. Please spread it out over days or weeks. Don’t know where to begin? Explore your options with this list.

         

        More Reminders to Take Care of Yourself

         

        1. You may not be as active as you were and may get laxed on hygiene. However, taking a shower makes you feel refreshed. Shower at least every other day. Always shower and wash your clothes when you get back from going out in public.
        2. Moisturize yourself. Take care of your skin even though you may not be out and about.
        3. Sleep. Try your best to stay on routine and a schedule. It is easy to let the days blur together and then mess up your sleeping pattern.
        4. Plan each day with activities, ways to socialize from a distance and keep your mind and body active.
        5. Destress. Breathe deeply. Do the things that keep you most at peace.
        6. Focus on positive things. Keep reminders of what brings you joy. Visualize happiness and health.
        7. Take advantage of this as an opportunity to grow. Pat yourself on the back each day for your accomplishments.
        8. Use positive self-talk and when others give you compliments and support, accept it with grace.
        9. Be kind to you and everyone else. We are all going through this together.
        10. And know… this too shall pass. We may not know how long but history dictates that this is only temporary.

         

        Theresa Touhey is the owner of Nature Reflections which is an online jewelry store that focuses on Unique, Handcrafted Jewelry that is Nature Inspired.