Loading...
All Posts By

back2basicsliving

Covid-19: Our Thoughts

Up until a week ago, Covid-19 virus had a small impact on our daily life. Apart from being super aware of washing & sanitizing our hands and staying clear of overpopulated areas, life was pretty much the same. What a difference a week can make.

Social distancing is in full effect. What does this mean to us? It means we are not meeting with our friends, avoiding public places, bars, restaurants, fitness classes, favourite café’s & limiting our grocery shopping to once a week at quiet times. Luxuries like haircuts, waxing, massage & acupuncture have been cancelled.

George will be working from home. Thankfully he still has work as the construction industry is still moving forward with projects. Currently, I am on maternity leave and will be until July 2nd, hoping the pandemic will be complete by then. Fingers crossed.

Skype calls to our family back home in Ireland are consumed with chat about the covid-19 virus. Mostly all positive as Irish people we like to use humour in times of stress. However, it is strange that family members cannot visit one another. It is a relief that they are all safe and are taking the safety measures seriously.

It’s interesting in times like these how we react to crisis situations. We have seen the effects of over buying in our grocery stores. Shelves are empty not because of high demand but because people are over buying unnecessary items such as toilet paper out of fear of running out. Toilet paper of all things!

The news & social media can be very informative but also one of the biggest agents for creating fear among the masses. It is constantly feeding us misinformation, showing the ugly side of us, promoting the sense of lack instead of abundance, showing the fear instead of the courage, highlighting the bad instead of the good. I am not saying that we should be fed only good news (not a bad idea) but more of a balance so people can remain balanced and not one-sided.

This weekend, for example, we have seen so much good from people in our neighbourhood. A neighbour a few blocks away from us had free toilet paper on their lawn and a sign saying “take one, if you NEED one”, this is the kindness we need to be shown daily so people can learn from it and follow this example.

Our neighbour just 2 doors down left out enough non-perishable’s goods on our common room table to ensure everyone has food.

Posters are up around Kitsilano from people offering help to go grocery shopping & errands for the high-risk population. These acts of kindness are happening everywhere, I personally would like to hear more about them. They are super inspiring and motivates us to help too.

Inspirational bloggers & Instagrammers are offering support in ways they can via free mediation & yoga classes. These are great services for people to help cope with increased anxiety & fear.

We have quite a few old people in our building. One of the men fought in WW2, Leonid is 96 years old. He still goes out for his walks every day. Judy who lives across from us was born & raised in Vancouver, such a beautiful lady with the most amazing balcony garden. These are at-risk people & we are responsible for keeping them safe just as much as ourselves.

We were so delighted to see signs go up in our building ensuring that management has increased the sanitization of all doorknobs, lift panels, laundry rooms to help combat the spread of germs. They also noted if anyone needs help with anything to reach out to them. Kindness is such a wonderful gift. Seeing those signs made me feel so happy & confirmed that we do care.

On our daily walks, we notice more people are out enjoying the sunshine and they seem content, children are playing & are riding their bikes, so many people make eye contact and smile as we pass by, the human connection feels strong. I really don’t think I am imagining this. It’s almost like people are giving each other the nod as we are all in the same boat.

The future is uncertain over the next few months, uncertainly about finances, our health, our family’s health etc. are all at the forefront of our minds, however, it is encouraging to hear that governments recognise that people are out of work & they are creating new legislation to help support people financially. We are all going to be affected by this pandemic, some more than others. I believe we need to keep our best side out for those people who are in dire straights, they need our help, support and hope. Hope is what we all need, not doom & gloom. Turn off the TV, get outside for fresh air (by yourself or with household members only), call a friend, smile at a stranger,

Facebook groups have been set up to support people who are out of work as a result of the virus which has directly affected so many people around us. Yoga teacher friends, friends in the housing & rental business, friends who own a café, friends who work in the gym, actor friends…. all of these people are now jobless until this virus goes. For those of us privileged enough to still have jobs and our health we have a further responsibility of reaching out and supporting our friends as much as possible. Even if it’s just chatting over the phone, we cannot have people thinking they are alone.

The elderly are the most at-risk group, it is our duty to ensure we are abiding by all the social distancing protocol to keep our elders safe and healthy. All we need to do is keep to ourselves for the next while (could be months) which is not a huge ask.

Our aim over the next few months is to take each day as it comes, look for the positives with each new day; like

  1. We still have our health
  2. Our families are still healthy
  3. The weather is beautiful
  4. The cherry blossoms are blooming
  5. The birds are singing……….

Let’s keep our heads up and push through the next few months, all of this will end we just have to sit it out. We are all in this together. Reach out, help & do your bit for humankind by keeping your physical distance.

 

Keep safe.

Chat soon,

Theresa xxxx

Our Top Tips for Travelling with a Baby: As a Couple & Solo

We brought our baby girl of 5 months back to Ireland, our home, for 6 weeks during Christmas. We currently live in Vancouver, Canada. Unfortunately, there are no direct flights to Dublin from Vancouver during the Winter.

Our first tip would be to book your flights early especially if you are planning on travelling a long-distance during holiday seasons. We did not book our flights early enough & paid through the roof for flights. Learn from our mistake. We flew with Air Canada and had to call them after booking our flights to inform them that we would be travelling with our baby. They booked us into bassinette seats, which meant more leg room & a bassinette which attached to the wall for the baby. We would not do this again. Our baby sleeps on her belly so the bassinette was a no go, she would not go into it at all. In addition, the bassinette seats are by the toilets so there are constantly people and noise by the seats. We are lucky that our baby loves white noise which blocked it all out for her, she slept the whole flight (11 hours). However, for myself, it was a further distraction from trying to get some sleep (did not happen).

Honestly, we will be booking a seat for baby from now on, just for the comfort of the long journey. She is more mobile now and needs more space. Yes, it’s more expensive but it’s worth every penny for an easier flight.

Our next tip would be, bring only what you need. Make a list of the must-have items for each person travelling and use this as a checklist. Check in the majority of your luggage (1 suitcase per person worked for us) Only bring the essentials as carry on and avoid having to carry lots of bags. Our essential list for carry on luggage is:

  • Stoller (Brilliant to use in the airport & a must for the baby when at your destination, the airline crew will store the stroller just as you are boarding the flight & it will be waiting for you as you exit the flight at your destination)
  • Baby carrier (arms get tired carrying baby up & down the aisle, handy in the airport too)
  • Changing bag with diapers etc.
  • Change of clothes for baby & parents just in case child poo’s or vomits everywhere
  • Baby food & bottles depending on if that applies
  • 1 -2 toys (empty water bottles entertained our child so she needed very little toys)
  • Mini travel kit for emergencies (Band-Aids, baby Advil etc.)
  • Snacks & Reusable water bottle(We are vegan & vegetarian so we bring our own snacks just in case we don’t like what’s on offer, the water bottle was constantly refilled by the aircrew which was great)

We managed to fit everything under the stroller & 1 backpack so it meant our time in the airport was not stressful and this worked really well when I had to travel solo on the way back with a baby.

Next tip would be to ensure you are completely packed the night before leaving & returning. Be organised, have as little stress the morning/day of flying. Nothing eliminates stress more than being prepared. Ensure you have passports in an easily accessible bag, have your ride to & from the airport arranged & confirmed, know what terminal you fly out from…. eliminate the stress of forgetting something by being prepared the day before. Nothing is worse than trying to pack under pressure with a baby.

If you can, book yourself into an airport lounge. They may be a little pricey but if you have a long layover or arrive at the airport super early like us, the lounge is a nice area to relax. They generally have showers, food, drinks & comfy chairs. Also, great changing areas for babies.

Next tip, look to see if the airport you travel from has a breastfeeding/bottle feeding room. We used this in Dublin airport on the way back & it was amazing. It’s a private room with comfy chairs for feeding and a microwave if you need to heat milk or food. Highly recommend. This is a cool service.

Finally, as you are checking in your bags ask the person at the desk if the flight is busy if not ask if you could be seated in a row where nobody else is seated. I did this on our way back as the flight was very quiet. We got a whole row of 4 seats just for us. It was great as baby could play and had lots of room to stretch out. It’s always worth asking, it rarely happens on short flights but it’s better to ask, we always do this even before the baby arrived.

The above is our top tips & which we will do for every flight moving forward. Keep it simple and the experience goes much smoother. We hope this was helpful. If you would like to share your tips we would love to hear them.

Thanks so much,

Chat soon,

Theresa

2020 Challenge: Buying Less & Appreciating What We Already Have

Our transition to living a more mindful lifestyle has been a huge eye-opening experience. The amount of needless waste we created in the past is shocking to us now. Personally, I was a compulsive shopper, who would shop to help improve a dull mood. No thought was put into what was bought or questions were never asked like, “Do I need this?”, “Have I something similar?”, “Will I wear this next year?”.

Shopping was something I did when I was bored, sad, happy, excited, basically, I needed no excuse. My perception of happiness & the first thought of contentment entered my mind after we moved to Canada. We began working & socializing with people who had “everything”: the cars, the houses, the clothes, the shoes, the jewellery, the bags, the holidays & the money.

However, these people still felt they did not have enough. After a shopping spree of which I spent A LOT of money, I came home and began looking online at other things I could purchase……for some reason I caught myself doing this & paused. I paused to think about the people who we got to know in recent years, so much money but it wasn’t enough, more money had to be earned, more holidays, more houses, more bags, shoes etc. had to be got. That’s when I realised it would never end for me, I would constantly come home after shopping and feel I needed more. I wanted to feel content with what I had and start to live my life differently.

The first thing that I wanted to change was my wardrobe. I wanted a wardrobe that would last years & not date. I started researching about capsule wardrobes and how French girls always look chic & stylish with only a handful of garments. This was the first step on the road to a new life for us.

Almost 5 years later, we both have capsule wardrobes and are so much more content in our lives. With contentment comes happiness. We appreciate what we have & take care of our things so they can last as long as possible. We are conscious of our waste and look for ways to reduce our carbon footprint. In light of all the climate protests in 2019, we have decided to challenge ourselves to reduce our waste further in 2020.

One way we plan on doing this is through the challenge #2020wehaveplenty which was created by Signe from Uselesswardrobe.dk. It is a small set of rules for reducing our buying for 2020. Buying only what we need, trying to source it second hand first are our priorities.

If you are interested in joining the challenge please take a look at the buy less 2020 recommendations list below and post your pictures in Instagram to the hashtag #2020wehaveplenty.

So far, we have been loving this challenge. Today I bought a dress for my friend’s wedding in June in a second-hand store for a fraction of the original price. I had seen the dress in a high-end store last year and couldn’t justify paying the amount for the dress. I was so happy to have found the dress and now I have a beautiful dress for any other fancy occasions for years to come. This has been my only purchase this year, and it was on my list of items to get. Super happy.

The best of luck on your low spending in 2020.

Chat soon,

Theresa xxx

 

5 Practical Tips On Maintaining A Consistent Meditation Practise

We have written many blogs on meditation and the benefits. It changed my life, I went from being a stressed out, reactive person who exploded when things went wrong to a (relatively) calm person who is more or less in control of their actions.

The three main actions I put in place to help me were:

  • Meditation
  • Fresh air
  • Exercise

You can read more about my anger management issues and how I dealt with it here.

If you don’t currently meditate I recommend you try it. Hopefully, you’ll find the following tips useful. They’re also great if you struggle to keep your meditation practise consistently. Consistency is the key to meditation. There is more value in meditating every day for five minutes than in meditating once or twice a week for twenty minutes.

1. Create a comfortable space

The space you practise in is important. You won’t be able to settle into a relaxed state or let go of what’s going on around you if there are distractions, whether it’s noise or discomfort it will be on your mind. Background noise is sometimes ok, for example, if you’re meditating outside and there are distant voices or traffic but a close-up conversation or loud distracting noise will throw you off.

If I’m travelling or for whatever reason, I can’t meditate at home I have a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and a blindfold. Theresa constantly makes fun of me when I use these, especially if I happen to be wearing my poncho at the same time but that is the way it goes I suppose.

I use a meditation cushion because I can’t sit on the floor without some support. I also like to sit on the floor because if I sit in a chair I tend to fall asleep as I meditate early in the morning.

2. Meditate at the same time in the same place every day

Just as consistently meditating every day is important it also helps to meditate in the same place at the same time every day.

I meditate in the morning for two reasons. I need to get up before the baby (little babies don’t seem to agree that we should sit still in silence), also it sets me up for the day ahead, especially if I have a stressful day in work ahead of me.

Being consistent with the time and place also makes it easier to form a habit. You will hear different opinions on this but it generally takes about 40 days or so to form a habit and come to a point where you will do something without really thinking about it, like brushing your teeth or making breakfast.

Make it part of your morning routine.

3. Start Small

I meditate for 20 minutes every day and have been doing this consistently for about four years. I have certainly missed practises or not gotten my full twenty minutes in over the years but generally, I have been hitting the 20-minute mark every day.

I don’t recommend starting out at 20 minutes, that’s likely to lead to an inconsistent practice. Start small – 5 minutes a day or even 2 minutes a day. Try to keep it up for a month.

You won’t feel massive benefits from 1 or 2 minutes a day but you will feel some difference. Notice that difference and once you have a consistent short practise that’s where you can build up gradually to 10 or 20 minutes a day.

20 minutes is what works for me, I tried half an hour for a while but it was a little much for me at the start of the day from a practical perspective.

4. Use an App to help

I understand that meditation is about getting away from screens and input from everyday life but there are apps available that are very helpful.

I like to use an app because I can see how consistent I am and it’s useful for the timer. I keep my phone in flight mode with the screen black and white and light dimmed so I’m not interacting with it or receiving notifications which will distract me.

It is very important to keep the notifications, emails, texts etc out of your day until after meditation. Also, keep a buffer period between the meditation and screen time. My phone is set up so most of my apps are unavailable until after 7 am. I’m already out of the house at that time. If you’re curious about recommendations to limit screentime you can find them here.

I use Insight Timer. It’s free and it also has thousands of guided meditation available but you can also try Headspace. There are many others out there also that I have not tried.

One little thing I’d like to mention – many apps keep track of how many consecutive days you have achieved. Try and stay away from the competitive mentality of getting a tally of many days in a row. Consistency is the key but it’s not about being “good” at it or hitting 100 consecutive days.

5. If you don’t feel like meditating cut it shorter

If I am in a hurry in the mornings or got up too late or just don’t feel like meditating for whatever reason, I will try to do 10 minutes instead, or even 5 and then sometimes when I reach the 5-minute mark I may be in a state of mind where I continue.

If I miss completely I try to get it in the evening before bed even if it’s just 5 minutes.

Remember, It’s ok to miss a day, just try not to miss two or three days in a row or you will start to form a new habit of inconsistent meditation.

 

I hope this helps. Working towards the 20-minute mark is a good place to be for consistent meditation. Many people recommend 30 minutes or an hour or I have friends who get great benefits from 20 minutes twice a day but that is not always practical.

Do what works for you and notice how you feel after.

Peace,

George

 

Useful links:

My current yoga/meditation routine – How it has changed since baby

Meditation challenge – 40-day sadhana – Habits define you

A daily meditation practice – Make it work for you

Meditation – It takes two minutes

 

Belief Allows Us To Achieve Everything

We often set our sights on a task, something that we want to achieve in life, for example, to take yoga teacher training and teach regular classes. This was certainly not an insurmountable goal but it was not possible without believing it could be done. I am a civil engineer. What business does a civil engineer working in the construction industry have in teaching yoga? That was my thought process but that had to change. I had to believe I would teach yoga.

External circumstances do not dictate the ultimate direction of our lives. We have the power to go where we want to go. We have the power to steer our lives in the direction we want to steer it, we just have to realize that. We can achieve whatever we want to achieve, once we believe it.

Ask yourself. What do you know to be true about yourself? What are your limitations? What holds you back?

Now go back to those questions again. What holds you back? Nothing. There are no limitations. What are you reaching for? If it’s out of reach and you can’t grasp it, then build a ladder.

In other words, do the work.

The material is there for you to build a bridge, build a ladder and climb up and reach for the stars.

You just have to realise it and believe in yourself. The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.

― J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Have you heard of the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset? Fixed mindsets are limited, an example being, “I can’t do this,” whereas you could counter that with a growth mindset by telling yourself, “I can’t do this….yet.” The difference is in the belief that the inability is not permanent. It can be changed and you are in control.

When we praise a child for being smart we are working with a fixed mindset.

We do not succeed because we are good at something, we succeed because we have worked hard to be good at something. The belief that we can and will succeed encourages us to put in the work to eventually get where we want to be. Not because we are good at it but because we have worked hard to become good at it.

Our thoughts control us. We are what we believe we are. If we believe we are kind we will be kind, if we believe we are strong we will be strong. If we believe we can win we will win….eventually.

We need to dig deep to find that inner strength. There are so many layers that we can peel away to access what is buried within ourselves, within our soul, close to where our true selves lie. That is where our true intentions, our true beliefs, our true personality can be found.

There is no fooling that true self. There is no denial and no way to lie to our true selves. That aspect of ourselves will see right through the bullshit because it is sitting there at the back of it all watching.

We can dig deep physically to find that belief in ourselves, but we can also dig deep into thoughts and mind by sitting with ourselves and exploring the silence, looking inward and really seeing where we are at and what we are capable of.

We can achieve what we want to achieve.

We can look deep inside, like searching in a black well of nothingness to find a treasure deep within us which will guide us. That is the true self, it is belief and knowledge in our capabilities.

We want to work, we love to work. We want to sweat and fight and work through the back-breaking, painstaking labour to get to our destination, but why do we do that work? We do it because we believe. We know we can get there.

Peace,

George

 

 

 

Reference:

Useful videos:

The Power of belief — mindset and success | Eduardo Briceno | TEDxManhattanBeach

Related blogs:

Photo Credits:

Photo by Ran Berkovich on Unsplash

Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash