Halloween 2020

It will look a little bit different this year due to COVID19. You might not be able to go trick or treating, but you could have a small gathering and have fun doing it. It could be on one of your kid’s birthdays at a tiny party in the park (note: In Victoria, we can’t do this until the 19th!). Even then, you still cant visit each other’s houses for Halloween.

Pumpkins on Stairs in Front of A Door

Halloween is on the 31st of October. It is prevalent in the US but not so much in Australia. Due to the virus, many events have been canceled.

You can do themed scavenger hunts and hold a Halloween party provided that it’s only a small gathering. You should all wear masks, and you can make some themed face masks.

You can make your own cupcakes and other treats. If you can’t see friends, why not make it a virtual one. Turn off all the lights and scare each other online. You could make a virtual party with all the trimmings.

Due to the virus, I don’t whether trick or treating would be such a good idea. It involves getting close to people and not within the 1.5-meter distance. Also, no grabbing candy from the bowl this year as it could be a way to spread the virus. You could, however, give out some small and secure lolly bags with gloves on. Or you could hand people their sweets (but wear your gloves and mask)!

Hope this helps in times of COVID!

Peer support for mental health and why we need it more now

Mental health has always been an issue for many, but we have seen it skyrocket during Coronavirus times, with one Tuesday being Lifeline’s busiest day.

woman wearing eyeglasses in grayscale photography

Photo by Elina Krima on Pexels.com

Peer support groups for mental health can effectively reduce the number of hospitalizations and suicides. Canada has its peer support program and its doing quite well. Victoria has that sort of program, and there is no fee.

But you usually have to be referred to that sort of program, and your GP can do that if you need it. Also, a range of mental health services can make that referral for you.

The peer support groups are run by volunteers who have had the same experience as you, so they know what you are going through.

What does the peer support group do?

They provide hope for someone that is experiencing mental illness on the path to recovery. Peer support looks at health wellness rather than the disability of that person. These people are like your friend. It is a volunteer program that lessens the amount of hospitalization needed and suicide. It can save the Government money in the long run.

Peer support during  COVID

In New South Wales, Australia, $73 million has been provided to these services to meet the extra demand for service. In Victoria, it is estimated that the same amount would be offered due to the high intake of calls. Lifeline receives about 90000 calls a month, according to Mamamia. 

If you have mental health problems, don’t wait until it’s too late. Do go and see your GP. If you are afraid of catching the virus from them, most of them will do telehealth.

If you can do volunteer for a peer support program near you. The benefits of this would be amazing, and you could make someone’s day.

Buddha’s stir fry

Are you trying to go vegetarian? If so this might be a great dish for you. This would be a great Meatless Monday dish.

This stir fry has the Chinese wood ear mushrooms, shitake mushrooms, Chinese mushrooms, bean sprouts, tofu, ginger, snowpeas, and the like. You can have it with rice. This video is from The Art of Cooking on Youtube.

You can get the Wood Ear mushrooms and the Chinese mushrooms from your local Asian grocery store. They come in the dried form so you might have to soak these for a few hours before using.

You would have this dish with rice or noodles.

How to manage your energy better

We talk about ways to manage your energy better, even though we are all in isolation. If we don’t manage our energy well, we lose productivity, and our mental health goes down the drain.

Most people are now working at home or looking for jobs which will take up their time and energy. So here are some ways to help you manage your energy better during the day.

I know that this is a difficult situation for most but try to be as positive as possible. Extreme Limitz Photography mentions that positive energy brings out the best in people. 

Work out when you are the most energetic.

For some people, it can be morning, and for others, it can be at night. Work out what’s best for you. We all have different bodies and rhythms and know when we are most energetic.

And don’t force it. Some days you might not be as energetic.

Set goals for the day

Most people can get more done in a day if they set some goals. Your goals should be specific and measured. Work out what you can achieve during the day. You should work this out over breakfast

Eat breakfast

Even though you are in isolation, it doesn’t mean that you can skip breakfast. If you skip breakfast, then you lose productivity.


We need about 150-300 mins of exercise, and we should always move more. If you’re allowed outside, then that is great. But if not, you can download the Les Mills on Demand and do the workouts inside your own house

Sleep well

Dr. Wadeson says we need about 7-9 hours of sleep a night to function properly during the day.

Treat yourself every now and then.

Buy something online that you like. It doesn’t have to be food. It can be a new pair of shoes or some bath bombs (Bustle.com). Something that will encourage you to take care of yourself is a good idea.

RSPCA cupcake day

We all can’t be there for cupcake day, so why not bake your own and post it online. The day itself is on the 26th of October and you can register here.

The RSPCA is a charity that looks after animal welfare and this year like other charities have been doing it tough due to COVID.

In Victoria and the rest of Australia you can have a picnic and post it on Instagram. This way you can get people to support the cause.  Or you can do a virtual cupcake party and everyone donates to you.

Baking your own cupcakes is easy as and it’s a good way to stay at home and get rid of the boredom blues. You can even get your kids involved in this. We got this recipe from In the Kitchen with Matt.

You can use some of the things in your Basics box such as flour, milk, and sugar. You could use the canned fruit if you have. But you still need eggs and butter.

This is a fun way to get the family involved during the lockdown. You could even do Halloween themed cupcakes.

Professional networking during COVID19

What is professional networking like now that COVID has hit? We wonder if it would ever be the same.

I remember going to many events pre-pandemic and going and seeing the stalls. There used to be many Friday after work drinks where we would network with people.

Not anymore. That’s changed now. Now we have virtual drinks where the drinks get sent to your home address and you do it at home online. It feels really weird and very lonely to do it this way.

In Dr Sharma’s Obesity notes he says that most of the networking will continue online. Pre pandemic they always were face to face at various drinks and meals. But now due to social distancing rules, it is more online. Technology helps with gaining new knowledge at conferences it does not replace the face to face meetings.

In Australia this may be a challenge for the older folks who are not used to technology. I believe that the local councils are running classes for seniors although that might be a challenge. Most older people own a smartphone but just figuring it out may be difficult. But again it might be a challenge for the younger people who don’t know anyone in their career and who are just starting out for the first time. The older people know people offline as they have been around for a while.

Nowadays everything is virtual with all the seminars and events going virtual and it will stick with us for a long time. But it does not replace going to a physical event. 

Self care with the Body Shop products

The Body Shop is a company that is known for its environmentally friendly products. During COVID times everyone has been hit the hardest.

Whilst the Body Shop stores are closed in Melbourne you can buy your products online.

Here they do great foot creams, bath bombs, and scrubs for a night in. A night in is important to relax the mind. A night having a foot bath is also important for the mind.

They have an amazing range of body butter. I love their mango flavor.

They also have face scrubs and other moisturisers and things. I have tried the hand cream a few times and enjoyed using it.

Here’s how to do a foot bath.

You’ll need about half an hour for the whole process and you’ll need to wear some loose pants. You’ll need thongs and a bathtub and bath salts to relax the feet in.

Some people like to have wine at the tub but I’m fine just without.

First, fill the bathtub with warm water. Take off your socks and roll the pants up. Next, sit on the edge of the bathtub and soak your feet for 5 minutes. And then you can use the Body Shop pumice stone to get rid of the dead skin. You will need to do this a few times. This will be a good chance to inspect your feet to see whether you have any spots or other odd things going on in there.  And then soak your feet for an extra five minutes.

Now get out of the tub and dry your feet. If your toenails need to be cut, do that first whilst its drying. Put your thongs on and go to another spot where you can put some moisturizer on it and let it dry. I love the Body shop’s foot cream.

The word challenge

I got these set of inspirational cards from Weight Watchers at one of their meetings but hadn’t had a chance to try it out.

This is a great chance to lift yourself up from the drain of the news of the virus and lockdowns. The lockdowns are costing us a lot and mental health is one of those. Its important to stay strong throughout the pandemic. 

Each day you pick one card and you see the word and you think about that word or feeling. We then put it on Instagram and our thoughts on that word. When we did our pictures got 0-6 likes. 

For example today’s word is happiness. Now I can think about many things associated around that word. The sun keeps us happy. The case numbers keep going down and that keeps me happy.

Grateful was another one and I am grateful for the restrictions.

One of the words was Strength and I wondered if we would ever have strength to get through this lockdown and others. It is a long road to recovery from COVID19 pandemic and no amount of complaining will help us defeat this wave and other waves. It just takes time for the restrictions to be eased and we have to hang in there.

We need the energy to fight this Coronavirus pandemic and the mental health wave which is happening now. Guys please do the right thing and abide by the Government restrictions for a little while longer.

So play the word game with me and I hope your spirits will be lifted.


How to keep your career active during the pandemic

Most people will find that their career has fallen by the wayside during the pandemic. So here’s how to keep things going and your career going. Post-COVID things will not be the same in the workplace.

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

Just because you are at home doesn’t mean that your career has to fall to the wayside. You can work remotely and learn new things.

Keep up with your connections

This is important for when you return to the office or workplace post COVID. There is Zoom and Facebook and Whatsapp. You want to make sure that everyone is together. You should all set a time each week where you can talk about things

Do go to some seminars online

Its important to stay in the know about topics. Most of them are free but there are some in which you might have to pay a fee for. Do subscribe to some industry associations (your employer can suggest some or you can find some of these online. Do a Google search)

Do a short a course or two

Many universities offer short courses or two via Open Universities. This is a good chance to upskill and learn new things. Just because you are at home, doesn’t mean that you can’t learn new things and ways of working.

Update Linkedin

If you have Linkedin now is the chance to update it so that people know where to find you. You might have some research articles that you are willing to share

Do some research on topics that you are interested in

For example, I’m interested in mental health. So I did some research in that area. I’m also interested in dietary things and the USDA guidelines so am doing some research in that field.

Consider Freelancing

Do share some other people’s posts online. Also, you can consider writing a blog or two since people love to hear your expertise on things like stress management or cooking or loving nature. Or gardening. Or other things and research that you are working on.

18 cheap ideas for you to do at home

Are you bored at home? Are you sick of all the lockdowns that are happening? I am and here are some ideas to help you get the most of your time at home without feeling suicidal. These ideas won’t break the bank either

  1. Bake cakes and other goodies for neighbors and those that are vulnerable
  2. Make face masks and sell them online
  3. DIY movie night with the people that you live with. Nowadays you can rent movies online via Amazon Prime or Netflix.
  4. Make cross stitch and then maybe sell them online or at the markets
  5. If you grow flowers you could do a bouquet.
  6. Do meditation at home
  7. If you live with a few others you can go backyard camping. Its so much fun and you could even do a small fire
  8. You can host a small wine night via zoom- Wine tastings are around $50 per person if you book it via a restaurant.
  9. You can do an online baking thing where you bake something and you show it off to everyone. This will keep people happy. Bake what you want but then you need to post the recipe
  10. Get a good glass of red and read a book
  11. Do a massage at home.
  12. You can start a Spoonville at home or in your closest park
  13. If you live with just females, why not host a Girls Night in? You can enjoy some champagne from your favorite cellar and a yummy meal from your favorite restaurant. 
  14. Do a Les Mills workout at home.
  15. Do a Yoga with Adrienne class at home- they are free on Youtube
  16. If your supermarket or grocery store is holding a collectibles event- why not try and collect all of them and then when you have all you can frame them
  17. Make a card for someone. It can be an e-card via Canva and you email that person.
  18. Draw a chalk message of hope on the pavement outside and when people see it they feel joy.

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