Dealing with Stress and Anxiety At Home Due to COVID-19

stressed woman in messy home

This is a tough time. COVID-19 has shifted our entire world. Things aren’t back to normal yet, and we have no idea when they will be. If you’re already prone to stress and anxiety, this time may be especially hard on you. Or it may be triggering your anxiety or depression. Know that you’re not alone. We’re all in this together. Don’t be afraid to get help, or speak with your therapist about new issues that are coming up due to the pandemic. In the meantime, I have a few ideas to take some of the stress out of everyday activities. Every little thing helps, especially now.

Don’t Worry Too Much About Home Chores

Since we’re home a lot more than usual, there could be some extra pressure to keep your home clean and tidy. But in reality a lot of people have a messy home right now! To take some pressure off, consider hiring a maid service, and taking your laundry to the dry cleaners nearby. They probably offer more services than you realize. If you care for your elderly parents or family members, now is a perfect time to consider hiring an in-home caregiver. Any service that can check some chores off your daily to-do list would be a huge help.

Herbal Remedies

There are plenty of natural remedies to help with anxiety. Herbal teas are always a great way to get a little downtime during the day. Even the ritual of making a cup of aromatic herbal tea and sitting somewhere quiet to drink can be a huge stress reliever. Remember, increased caffeine intake can actually increase anxiety symptoms, so look for caffeine-free teas. If the tea ain’t cutting it, consider some herbal supplements. I know that the pharmacy near me has a wide variety of natural stress and anxiety aids. Your pharmacy may do the same, too. Check them out and ask the pharmacist for suggestions while you’re there.

Don’t Forget About Your Pets

Animals can sense when things are off. If your schedule is different now, and your pet’s routines have changed as a result of the pandemic, they may be feeling some anxiety too. It wouldn’t hurt to check with your vet about possible antidepressants for dogs. Also, making a few extra trips to the dog park during the week can help both of you get some stress relief.

Remember, we’re all feeling the effects of the pandemic right now, and it’s important to take care of each other.

How to Enjoy the Outdoors in the Fall

Fall isn’t often thought about as the season where we spend all our time outdoors, but it should be! The weather is the perfect mix of not too hot, not too cool and nature puts on quite a show displaying a wide array of beautiful colors. There are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy in the Fall. Here are some tips to prepare for them.

Fall Cookout

Barbecues aren’t just for the summertime. In fact, Fall is perfect grilling weather! Get out those autumn themed linens and set the picnic table. Don’t forget to take them to a dry cleaner nearby for a refresher. Also, fill up that propane tank for the grill. How about a nature theme for the decor? Pumpkins, gourds, corn cobs and leaves are never in short supply this season.

group hiking

Forest Hike

The changing leaves are one of the best things about Fall. A family hike through the woods is the perfect way to enjoy the show up close. Be sure to pack supplies like bug spray and a first aid kit, the forest can be unpredictable in this season. Your local pharmacy should have everything you need to prepare.

Bonfires

Be sure to check your local town ordinances for the rules on backyard bonfires. But if they’re allowed, go for it! The fall is the absolute best time of year to enjoy a backyard fire. Home supply stores usually carry firewood if you don’t have your own supply. Even your local drugstore may carry some seasonally, be sure to call ahead to check. Also, make sure you take all the necessary safety precautions like purchasing a fire extinguisher. If you already own one, check the expiration date and replace it if necessary. Don’t forget S’mores supplies from your local grocery store!

Bike Rides

A bike ride around the neighborhood or through the park is a great outdoor activity for the Fall. Don’t forget the helmets! While we’re talking safety, it’s always a good idea to have an updated first aid kit on hand for things like bike rides and hikes. Your local pharmacy should have all the supplies you need like bandaids, gauze, antibacterial gel and pain relievers

Outdoor activities are even more fun in the Fall. So with a little preparation, you can take advantage of all nature has to offer while enjoying the outdoors before winter hits.

Dealing with Fall Allergies

Many people think of Spring and Summer as big allergy triggers. But actually, Fall can be quite the culprit as well. Ragweed is rampant in autumn and can cause all sorts of problems for allergy sufferers like coughing, red and itchy eyes, and sneezing. Mold and dust mites can be another Fall allergy trigger, especially since you tend to spend much more time indoors. Here are some ways to prepare for and deal with fall allergies.

Stock up on Allergy Meds

Having everything you need for an allergy attack ready and waiting is a good idea. Since we’re going into flu season, and still have the effects of the pandemic to contend with, stocking up on supplies is key. The local pharmacy near me has everything I need to get a Fall allergy kit ready. Over the counter medications like antihistamines, pain killers, nasal sprays and decongestants are all essential to have on hand. Your pharmacy probably carries some alternative health options that could be helpful as well. Look for vapor rubs and essential oils like eucalyptus or peppermint that can alleviate respiratory allergy symptoms. On the other hand, if your allergies require prescriptions, then make sure you get your prescription refills.

person blowing her nose

Give Your House a Deep Clean

Since dust and allergens tend to accumulate in the fibers of your carpets, curtains, and linens, the Fall is a great time to deep clean your home. You could rent a carpet cleaning machine or hire a cleaning service to deep clean your carpets. For curtains and linens, I find that the local dry cleaner near me is the perfect spot for help. When I mentioned that I have allergies, they said they have hypoallergenic products they could use to treat my laundry items. And don’t forget the bedding! Most dry cleaners clean comforters, bedspreads and other household items. Just be sure to call ahead to check their policies.

Clean or Replace Your Vacuum

This is something that people don’t often think of. But your vacuum can be quite the collector of dust and allergens. If you own a vacuum with a replaceable or cleanable filter, the Fall is the perfect time to do that. Read the manufacturer instructions (you can find most online) for how to replace or clean your vacuum filter and also clean out the bottom brush head. This will not only get rid of stored dust and dirt, but it will ensure your vacuum is working at its maximum power to suck up all those allergens.

Now that you’ve done everything you can to prepare for allergies, enjoy the Fall!

Preparing For Your Labor Day BBQ

We made it to Labor Day, guys! Now, more than ever, it’s important to celebrate whenever we can, even if it’s a little differently than we’re used to. If you’re planning a Labor Day BBQ for your family, or a social distanced version with your neighbors, here are some tips to get you ready.

Hamburgers on a grill

Prep That Grill!

Your grill is always the MVP of any BBQ, and this one is no exception. Make sure you have everything ready to grill up all your favorites. The first step is to make sure you have a full tank of propane, or a bag of fresh charcoal depending on your type of grill. Then make sure you have clean grill-ready utensils like tongs and spatulas.

Plan Your Menu

When planning your Labor Day BBQ menu, keep in mind that grocery stores still have limited supplies of certain ingredients, or that some may be hard to find. The regulars like ground beef for burgers and hot dogs should be readily available. But if you’re planning on something a little special like grilled salmon or kabobs, it’s best to have a Plan B, just in case.

Prep Those BBQ Linens

Now is the perfect time to pull out those red and white checked picnic linens! Your local dry cleaners is the perfect place to get them cleaned quickly. If there’s any stains leftover from last year, be sure to let the dry cleaners know, so they can properly treat them.

Stock Up on Essential Meds

Barbecue foods can mean heartburn for some of us. That’s why our favorite underrated tip is to stock up on antacid and stomach meds. The friendly community pharmacy near me has all the essentials that I need to enjoy our evening safely and comfortably. Yours probably does too.

Enlist Help

If you happen to be caring for an aging parent or family member, now is a great time to think about enlisting the help of a home care agency. Holidays sometimes remind us of all the extra things we’ve taken on over the pandemic, and it’s okay to take a break and get some help.

Once you’ve got everything ready, the fun can begin. Let’s enjoy the time we have with our friends and family and have a great Labor Day!

Caring for an Aging Parent at Home

Caring for an aging parent can be both complicated and rewarding. Having a little extra help can make all the difference. It’s important to take care of yourself, as well. Being a family caregiver can be both emotionally and physically exhausting, so here are some tips for caring for an aging parent at home.

Daughter with elderly parent

Cooking Simple Meals

Part of holding on to your dignity as you age is remaining as independent as possible. So even if your parent needs significant assistance with living by herself or himself at home, there are ways to make it so that they can do some of the everyday tasks themselves. For example, on weekly grocery trips, be sure to pick up food items that they may be able to prepare themselves. Prepping ingredients beforehand and labeling them in containers in the fridge is always a great way to lend some assistance without overstepping.

Laundry and Cleaning

Laundry and cleaning are chores that require physical exertion, so it is best to get help with these tasks as much as possible. This could mean taking certain items to and from the dry cleaners or signing up for laundry delivery service. Or just designate a certain day that you do your loved one’s laundry, even if it’s at your own home. Hiring a cleaning service is always an option. Or you could make sure your parent has easily accessible tools like brooms or dustbusters so they could still do some light cleaning themselves.

Getting the Necessary Medical Supplies

It’s imperative that your aging parent has the necessary meds and medical supplies such as walking canes, shower seats, and reaching aids. Check with your local pharmacy about automatic prescription refills. Delivery may always be an option as well. This kind of thing is where hiring a home care agency could come in hand. A home healthcare aide will be able to provide assistance not only with picking up prescriptions but also help with mobility and physical assistance.

Caring for an aging parent can be tricky, but with a little extra planning, it doesn’t have to disrupt your life. Your parent deserves to be able to live out their lives as independently and comfortable as possible, and so do you. Don’t forget to take a break every now and then. A respite care provider can provide the at home care assistance that your parent needs while you rest and recharge.

Support Your Local Businesses During the Pandemic

COVID-19 has changed the world, and changed the way we do just about everything. Local businesses are being hit hard, and now more than ever, we need to come together and support them. Here’s how.

Shop local sign on a window

Support Your Local Dry Cleaners

The dry cleaners near me are taking quite a beating right now, since the majority of the office work force is now operating remotely. You may not have suits or fancy work clothes to clean, but what else do you have lying around the house that could use refreshing? Comforters, linens and specialty fabrics maintain their shape and longevity the best when cleaned once a year. Call your local dry cleaners ahead of time to check on their current hours and policies.

Support Your Local Pharmacy

You may think that pharmacies are doing fine during the pandemic, but that may not be the case. Smaller, independent pharmacies are being hit just as hard as everyone else. Your local pharmacy isn’t just for prescriptions, they also carry most of the supplies you need for common illnesses and cuts and scrapes. And don’t forget that you can get most vaccinations and flu shots at your local pharmacy as well. 

Support Your Local Restaurants

Restaurants are really struggling right now, especially the ones that usually feature fine dining. If you’ve been living off of cheap take out and more inexpensive fare, consider treating yourself once a week. Call your favorite fancy restaurant ahead of time and check to see if they’re offering take out specials. Most are, and you’ll be able to enjoy a gourmet meal in the safety of your own home.

Support Your Local Salons

Most salons are now open, although they have lots of new rules in place. If you’ve been putting off that haircut or beauty treatment, now may be the time to try. Call ahead of time to check on hours and protocols in place. Grab your mask and hand sanitizer and be sure to tip well. Most workers in the service industry are just getting back to steady income and could really use some extra support.

This is a hard time for all of us. So let’s all support each other and do what we can to make sure our favorite neighborhood spots can survive this pandemic.

Getting Ready for Back to School in the Time of COVID19

Well, it’s that time of year again! But this time, it’s a little bit different. Okay, it’s a lot different. At this point, we’ll take any sort of normalcy we can get, so it’s time to the kids (and maybe yourself) ready for back to school in the time of COVID19.

Children in a classroom

Get Those School Clothes and Uniforms Ready

You may not have done the usual annual shopping trips this year for new wardrobe staples. And that’s okay. Social distancing is more important right now than getting your hands on the latest fashions for your kids. But that may mean you have to dig last year’s stuff out of storage. School uniforms are usually a bit trickier to care for than traditional jeans and t-shirts. Be sure to take them to the dry cleaner at least a week (more if possible) before school begins. Check for stains, rips, or missing buttons beforehand. Most dry cleaners can do repairs like that for a very low cost. Also, be sure to ask them about alterations for those hand-me downs!

Don’t Postpone Those Shots

Everyone is a bit nervous about medical appointments these days, especially if you’re perfectly healthy. Medical offices are well aware of these fears and are taking extra precautions to keep germs away. There’s no excuse to put off those back to school vaccinations. If you’d rather go somewhere more convenient, where you can get in and out quickly, check with your local pharmacy. Most pharmacies offer low cost (or even free with your insurance) vaccines and are almost guaranteed to have the ones your kids need for school requirements. And don’t forget your flu shot!

Stock Up Those Flu Season Essentials

Flu season is going to be even more intense this year, with the threat of COVID-19 still looming. To prepare, stock up with all the necessary over the counter medications for cold and flu. Ibuprofen, Tylenol, cold medicines and cough drops are all great things to have on hand. Vapor rub and chapstick are helpful to have on hand too, and all available at your local drug store as well.

Things may be different this year, but it’s still an exciting, fun time for the kiddos to see their friends in school again. Taking a little extra time to prepare will make it a lot less stressful. Stay safe!

Go Camping This Summer

Summer is here, but the COVID-19 pandemic is still with us. Most of us are still leery of flying, so vacationing overseas or out of state is not under consideration. Although we are in phase 2 of re-opening and many restaurants and shops are now open, our safest activities this summer would be outdoors, especially in parks and beaches, with social distancing, of course. One place I’d like to visit with my family is the Minuteman Campground in Lexington, which is just 30 miles northwest of Boston. There, you can enjoy a quiet, spacious campsite among the tall pines. The campground has tent campsites, RV campsites and cabins. The RV sites have picnic tables, Wi-Fi, laundry, fire pits and electricity hookups, so you won’t need propane for RV generator. For fun, the campground provides kids playground, swimming pool, basketball, volleyball and more.

rv in campground

As long as the family is outdoors, you always should be prepared with insect sprays and sunscreens, first aid kits and wound care supplies such as bandages, dressings and wound cleansers.

If you have a senior loved one at home, you may not be able to bring him or her along. In that case, it would be a good idea to get respite care service from a trustworthy home care agency. A professional home care aide can provide companionship, as well as take care of daily tasks such as simple meal preparation, errands, and also make sure that your loved one is taking prescribed medications.

Worried about your routine household chores while you are on vacation? Take a break and let others do them for you. Use the nearby dry cleaner to do your dirty laundry, maid service to clean your house, and a personal concierge to do whatever else that needs to be done. With their help, even though you are still in the Boston area, you can take your mind off your daily routine to rest, recharge and have fun!

Celebrating the 4th of July During a Pandemic

The 4th of July is always the event of the summer, but things are a little different this year. Maybe we can’t go to parades or fireworks celebrations, or have a giant neighborhood block party, but we can still have a good time. Here’s are some ways to celebrate the 4th during a pandemic.

Freshen Up Your Flag

You may have already been proudly displaying your American flag, but preparing for the Fourth is the perfect reason to freshen it up a bit. Most dry cleaners will clean flags for free, so give them a call to ask about their policies. A flag can get a bit grimy and even moldy after swaying in the breeze through all sorts of weather, so you should have it professionally cleaned at least once a year. If it’s a big flag, you should take advantage of a free laundry delivery service in your area.

Plan a Picnic With Your Family

You may not be able to have a giant backyard BBQ this year, but you can still plan a fun picnic with your family. Now would be a perfect time to prep your linens and blankets, and anything else you may need for a picnic in the grass. Most of these items can be machine washed, but for fancier or delicate fabrics, you may want to take them to your local dry cleaners. Don’t forget the bug spray and sunscreen, both available at your nearby pharmacy.

Go Camping

Now’s the perfect time to go on a camping trip, even if it’s not very far away. If you don’t own an RV or camper, think about renting or borrowing one, for a great weekend getaway on a budget. Don’t forget to fill that propane tank so you’re all ready to go.

4th of July during a pandemic doesn’t mean you have to be stuck inside, think outside the box and enjoy some quality time with your family safely!

Going Green: Tips for Eco-Friendly Laundry

Laundry is one of those chores that can be resource intensive and a significant polluter, but it doesn’t have to be. Yes, you can go green and get your laundry clean. There are a few simple things you can do to make wash day more eco-friendly.

Do Full Loads

A full load uses less energy and water than two half loads. Save water, energy, and time.

Use Eco-Friendly Detergent

Choose a laundry detergent without added dyes, fragrances, and petroleum-based chemical compounds.  Some dry cleaners offer eco-friendly wash, dry, fold service that uses custom detergent, formulated to be eco-friendly and boost cleaning power.

Use Less Detergent

Pay attention to the amount of detergent you use, too. Read and follow the directions on the detergent box. Too much detergent not only dumps more soap into the water, but also reduces the washer’s efficiency.

Use Non-Chlorine Bleach

Chlorine has many damaging effects on the environment, and you don’t really need it to get your laundry white.  Try lemon juice or a “free and clear” bleach.  To help save the environment, we should try to use only chlorine-free laundry products.

Use the Right Dryer Settings

Match the drying time to the load.  For example, nylon dries faster than denim. Use lower heat to save energy. I dry all clothes in low/medium heat.

Upgrade Your Washing Machine

Commercial washers are already more efficient than home washers. The newest generation of high-efficiency washers is designed to use even less energy and less water. This new technology is available in home washers now too.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Try a concentrated eco-friendly detergent to get the same amount of wash from a smaller package.  Recycle plastic detergent bottles. Reuse laundry bags, hangers, containers, and anything else you can think of – be creative. Some eco-friendly dry cleaners use reusable laundry bags for laundry pickup and delivery service, too.

Spend Time With Your Family, Not Your Laundry

I prefer to take my laundry to the dry cleaner near me, or use their free laundry pickup service. That way, the hours and energy that I spend on laundry are better spent on playing with my kids and watching TV with my family. Wouldn’t you do the same?