Days 14 to 19: You Vs. COVID-19 Challenge

the bluebird in my yard

In addition to these new challenges, keep on drinking 2 glasses of water each morning and getting your exercise. Pre-decide your healthy snacks and try to get a few minutes of mindfulness or meditation in as well ask keeping your sleep routine, sparking joy with creativity and keep on being of service.

Have you been so inspired by pushing out of your comfort zone that you’re doing a home improvement project or are studying ballet on-line? I hope you’re still practicing affirmations and have incorporated more plant-based meals in addition to doing core exercises which also helps boost your resiliency.

Day 14: Coloring or Drawing to Tap into Your Feelings 

Sometimes words fail us, which is one reason that coloring, drawing and art therapy is a powerful way for people to express themselves without words. Research has found that choosing colors, creating patterns and working with your hands helps reduce anxiety, intrusive and negative thoughts and helps diminish the fight or flight reactions that may be troubling.

Focusing our thoughts on colors and creativity and is a calming activity that has been used for years, it provides a sort of mental canvas to work out and process feelings. 


The Kennedy Center is sponsoring Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems

Dover Coloring Books:

Day 15: Taking a Photo of Nature to Remind You of Our Interconnectedness 

I discovered a pair of Western Bluebirds in my backyard about 5 weeks ago, which sparked my interest in creating a safe place in my backyard for all sorts of birds. Before I knew it, I was purchasing live mealworms, setting up a sunflower feeder, filling up a birdbath, and buying suet by the case, and that’s in addition to the 3 birdhouses and 2 hummingbird feeders. 

The truth is, we are all connected by the air, water, and earth that surrounds us.  We don’t have to go on an African safari or Alaskan cruise to see wildlife, it’s all around us: Flowers, squirrels, and birds in any park. It’s just a start. 

Just as you slow down and focus on your breath in meditation, slowing down, being still and quiet while you’re out will inevitably attract your attention to the beauty of the natural world. 

I hope you’ll share your photos.

Day 16: Listening to a New Podcast to Expand Your Perspective

Broadening your perspective is like peering into a new dimension.  You may be surprised at what you find. 

Look for a topic that you know nothing about or something you normally dismiss. Maybe it’s Italian Opera or Japanese baseball. The list is endless. Just commit to something interesting and dive in at least for 1 hour. 

Here are some suggestions:

Song Exploder: For all of us who wonder how a song was made or the meaning behind it. You might listen to Will Butler from Arcade Fire or Ramin Djawadi who wrote the theme song for Game of Thrones.

The Black Guy who Tips: A hilarious married couple, Rob and Karen keep it real and cover current events and celebrity issues.  

Stuff You Should Know: Explains everything that you never thought about before

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History: Very informative and thorough information explained in a way that makes sense.


Day 17: Reaching Out to Remind You the Value of Connection

Staying connected during the Covid-19 pandemic has many important benefits. People who are isolated are more likely to be depressed, angry, self-medicate, and indulge in less than healthy habits like smoking and using too much alcohol, all of which can weaken the immune system.

Reaching out and extending yourself to a neighbor, to someone you see walking the same path every day or to an old friend helps build a network of community, more love, compassion, and the very real sense that we’re in this together. 

Suggestions for Covid vulnerable neighbors

Leave some flowers from your garden in front of their door

Offer to pick up groceries, prescriptions 

Drop-off a meal or snack

Offer to walk their dog, mow their lawn or put out the trash

Day 18: Strolling Through a Virtual Museum, Aquarium or Garden Tour Online to Nourish Your Soul

Art, music and dance are all part of nourishing and nurturing more health and wellness.  Take a stroll through a museum or garden to delight your senses and expand your thinking. 

No matter where you are, you can have a virtual tour of many museums including:

 The Louvre in Paris (

The American Museum of Natural History:

The Georgia Aquarium has live webcams for the tanks with Whale sharks and Beluga whales: ( )

The Vatican Museum with the Sistine Chapel:

Where will you go? Leave a comment or link to your favorite discovery.

Day 19: Reviewing your Notebook to Remind You of Your Limitless Potential

Has it really been 19 days? This has been so much fun!

I’m so grateful that you’ve come along on this 19 day journey.

Today, I’m inviting you to take a look at your notebook and see all the healthy and protective routines that you started, and hopefully are continuing. I hope you feel stronger, more rested, recharged and are seeing joy in small things.

I hope you’ve enjoyed healthier snacks and more movement and that it’s easier to sit quietly for a few minutes of mindfulness or meditation.

All of this will serve you well in the coming months and will help you live more fully in the present, developing more resilience, health, and wellness.  Take care!

You VS COVID-19: Welcome to the First Three Days!

a table with apple, lemon water, almonds, and carrots

Nurse Barb’s 19 Day Health & Wellness Challenge

Hello and welcome to the first three days of my 19- day Covid-19 Health and Wellness Challenge.

Remember to jot down in your notebook when you’ve completed each challenge and send me your comments about how you’re feeling and any other insights you’ve had. Be well and have fun with this.

Day # 1: Improve Your Immune System by Increasing Movement

The bottom line – regular exercise slows down changes that happen to the immune system with aging, therefore reducing the risk of infections. On top of that, when you exercise your body releases a chemical called endorphins.  That’s what we are talking about when we hear someone talk about “runners high.”  It’s that positive feeling that happens when we exercise. 

So in the first challenge, we are going to literally take a step towards wellness and by increasing movement and exercise.

Start with 15 minutes of walking and then increase your time each day by five minutes. Your goal is 45-60 minutes of activity each day. If you’re already walking, add a different type of exercise to your routine such as yoga, an online dance class, tai-chi, cycling, or you can try this video:

especially if you are sheltering in place and/or unable to leave your home.

Day # 2: Healthier Snacking for More Energy in Your Day

Snacking on junk foods can leave you feeling sluggish and bloated.  Processed foods and snacks with a lot of sugar, release glucose faster.  This translates in your body as a burst of energy, followed by a crash.  

When you eat healthier snacks, like complex carbohydrates (read more about carbs : ) protein, and healthy fats, your hunger is not only satisfied, but it provides a steady stream of energy. 

I have two tricks to help jump start your healthy snacking:

1. Have 2 big glasses of water every morning. If you’re dehydrated, you’re more likely to feel hungry throughout the day. Most people need 6-8 glasses each day, so start out with 2 each morning.

2. Pre-Decide. Yes, start your day, by deciding what your snacks will be, so that you aren’t making 1000 mini decisions about the chips, pretzels or chocolate chip cookies throughout the day. 

Healthy Snack Ideas:

• A full cup of cherry tomatoes and a string cheese

• A full cup of baby carrots or 3 ribs of celery with and 2 tablespoons of hummus

• ½ apple and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter

• 1 cup of yogurt with ½ cup of blueberries

Day # 3: Mindfulness/Meditation to Ease Your Anxiety 

First, what is mindfulness? It is a state of mind that is achieved through focusing on the present moment and accepting it.  Who can’t use some of that? 

Researchers have found that a meditation practice can decrease the volume in the amygdala, the place in your brain where anxiety, fear, and stress are made. 

The truth is, there’s an on-going chatter in our heads all the time. With mindfulness and meditation people are more able to quiet the background noise and develop the ability to stop, pause and be more present and in the moment. This is one of the best ways to train your brain to become less reactive.

When we can stop, pause and breathe, it helps stop the “knee jerk” automatic reactions and increases our ability to consider our choices, options and alternatives in every aspect of life including our relationship with ourselves and others.

Visit one of these sites, or download one of the apps, or even go to YouTube and search for “meditation for beginners” and try yourself some zen. 

Free Mindfulness and Meditation websites/podcasts/apps:





–   UCLA Mindful app

–   SmilingMind app