How to Stay Focused When You’d Rather Eat Cookies and Chill

How to Stay Focused When You’d Rather Eat Cookies and Chill

I made my fourth batch of cornbread yesterday since this pandemic reared its ugly head.

Apparently banana bread is the quarantine baked treat of choice. But I didn’t have bananas. So hence, cornbread.

Until a few months ago I can’t remember the last time I made cornbread.

In fact, the only reason I had the ingredients on hand was because I’d planned to make it last Thanksgiving.

I changed my mind back because that was “back in the day,” when I believed I’d always be able to have the choice to make cornbread.

Back when “running out to the store” didn’t require a hazmat suit, a can of Lysol and taking a Purell shower and burning my shoes once I got home.

Those days.

So I bought the flour and baking powder back then, two ingredients you apparently can only buy on the black market, according to recent reports.

Everyone’s whipping out their dusty Betty Crocker cookbooks and trying to recreate the good ‘ole days… going back to times when women wore petticoats and ground their own flour, and swept wooden floors while assigning a child to fetch water down by the well.

I’ve seen old wild west movies, so I know the deal.

As someone who once worked as a pastry chef (yes, for reals), after many years of being knee deep in cake batter, I vowed to never bake for as long as I lived.

But here I am, sticking a toothpick in the center of this golden square to make sure it’s ready.

Is it low-calorie?

Nope. (But it falls far short of chocolate mousse cake rich.)

Does it contain sugar? Yup.

Am I going to beat myself or spin four hours on my Lifecycle as punishment for having a small square as a treat? Not a chance.

(Although I’m also not spooning it directly out of the dish while binge-watching Netflix. So I haven’t completely lost my mind.)

It’s called doing what I need to do to not lose my mind right now… which is what I suggest for you, too, if you’re feeling the stress of this whole deal.

It’s also about taking care of myself by controlling what I can and letting go of the rest.

If you’re feeling even remotely like you could use a bit more control of your life, I’d like to offer up the following tips… let me know if they help or if you have tips of your own to add:

1. Move it move it 

You knew I had to include this, but working out is an instant mood lifter. I still keep a schedule as if I were going to the gym – just an hour later (love that extra sleep!). Create a schedule and stick to it as if you were attending a class.

2. Make a to-do list so you can feel accomplished

Even a short one helps you feel as if you’re making progress when you make your way through it. This can include tasks around the house, like cleaning out a kitchen drawer you’ve been meaning to do forever, or brushing the cat. Be sure to give yourself the “reward” of crossing it off your list.

3. Kick the news to the curb  

Here’s the thing about the news: It’s rarely good. And if you’re like me, it can also be easy to find yourself down a rabbit hole of more and more depressing COVID stories. If you find yourself feeling worse every time you open the NEWS window on your phone, limit the time you spend on it — ditto for social networks. Which leads me to…

4. Turn that frown upside down

To borrow from Marie Kondo, do things that spark joy. Maybe it’s watching cat videos (*raises hand*), or watching makeup tutorials (*keeps hand up*), or calling a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. Include this in your schedule and make it a daily priority.

5. Let your creative inner child run free

Like cooking or baking, working with your hands, and creating something can be extremely rewarding. Painting, building something, needlepoint and coloring can also be stress reducing (if it causes stress, stop doing it). If you’re not super creative, try puzzles or card games.

6. Treat yourself like the king/queen that you are

This can be a sitting in a cozy chair and reading a book, giving yourself a mani-pedi, taking a nap, watching YouTube videos of interest to you that you’d normally consider “a waste of time.” It’s not a waste if the end result is you feel happier, more optimistic, or otherwise better than before.

7. Just BE you


Call it meditation, being in the moment, or sitting staring into space. The idea is to stop thinking of the past and worrying about the future. Just be in the present moment. Right now. This one. Now this one. I do this myself whenever I find myself getting caught up in “what could happen.”

We only have this one moment.

Weave any or all of these into your day whenever you need a breather.

What’s your favorite way to unwind and chill? Post below and let me know.

Till next time…





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