With chocolates and sweet treats stocked on the supermarket shelves and red and pink decorations galore, it’s obvious that this could only mean one thing. Valentine’s Day is here! This Sunday is the day of love! Whether you are spending this day with your special valentine, with friends or alone, this year might be much different than the past.
With COVID-19 still very much present, capacity restrictions are in effect for most establishments. Getting reservations just got a lot more difficult. And if that wasn’t the only hindrance, we are currently in the middle of a pretty brisk winter season that will surely put a pause on any outdoor plans. So, if you are choosing to spend the day at home why not make it the best Valentine’s Day yet?
So for all of you lovers or lovers of love, we have your guide to the best and most romantic Valentine’s Day at home!
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto
As Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday, it’s the perfect opportunity to get some much needed self-care in! Get your mud masks out and get to work! Masking with your partner is such a fun and sweet way to bond while also taking care of your skin. Check out this amazing mud mask from Fresh! While you’re at it, a hand mask or foot mask might also be a nice treat as well!
Another great self-care activity is a bubble bath! Whether you prefer bath bombs or epsom salts, a relaxing bath is the ultimate way to treat yourself and your partner. Make it romantic with some candles, music and maybe even some rose petals! It’s Valentine’s Day, go all out!
One of the cutest and most popular date ideas are Sip and Paints. It’s where you and your partner or you and some friends take a painting class while also enjoying a few drinks. Unfortunately, many of these places may be closed or under limited capacity but that shouldn’t stop you from the fun!
Bring the Sip and Paint to your home for Valentine’s Day! Pick up some canvases, paint and brushes from your local craft store and follow along to your favorite painting DIY video on Youtube! We love this one by Bob Ross!
If you don’t want to paint all on your own, a great activity is a paint-by-numbers canvas. You can select any picture you like and it will be sent over to you with the mapped-out canvas and the corresponding colors. You can even make it a gift idea, and submit a photograph of your choice to be converted to canvas for you to paint!
Photo by cottonbro
Bring the movie theater date night to you this Valentine’s Day! This lovely Sunday is the best day to snuggle up and watch some movies. Get your popcorn, candy and drinks ready because we have compiled a list of some of the best movies to get you into the Valentine’s Day spirit
About Time – Netflix
Sylvie’s Love – Amazon Prime Video
50 First Dates – Netflix
Call Me By Your Name – Hulu
Pride and Prejudice – Peacock
The Photograph – HBOMax
Fifty Shades of Grey – Hulu
When Harry Met Sally – Hulu
Crazy, Stupid, Love – Amazon Prime Video
Reservations at your favorite spot might be hard to come by this year but fear not, we’ve got you covered! An easy and simple choice would be ordering takeout and relaxing. However, a fun way to end the night could be cooking dinner with your significant other. Make sure to plan your recipe ahead of time so you can pick up all of your ingredients!
While there are millions of recipes online to choose from, we wanted to share one of our favorite meals with you! A quick and easy recipe for some delicious pasta with spicy vodka sauce!
Photo by Engin Akyurt
Spicy Vodka Sauce Pasta recipe to cook at home!
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small/medium onion, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp tomato paste
½ cup whole whipping cream
½ tsp salt, or to taste
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp garlic powder
½ cup shredded parmesan
1 (16oz) box of rotini, boiled + reserve pasta water for later use
1 Tbsp vodka, your choice
Boil pasta according to box directions, or until al dente. Set aside, reserving 1 cup of pasta water for later use.
Prepare all of your ingredients, set aside. Can combine all spices – red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, garlic powder—in one small dish, like a ramekin.
In a large, deep skillet, add olive oil and heat pan to medium/medium-high heat.
Once your pan is hot and sizzling, add diced onion and minced garlic. Sauté until fragrant, about 5-6 minutes. If you like your onions more cooked, sauté until golden brown.
Add tomato paste, butter, vodka and whole whipping cream to the skillet. Mix all ingredients together—the sauce will take on a slightly orange/pink hue, and will be slightly thick.
Heat pasta sauce for about 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, ensuring it doesn’t burn. Lower the heat if it starts to burn, or if the pan gets too hot.
Add in the shredded parmesan cheese, mix until melted and completely combined.
Add reserved pasta water to the skillet to thin out the sauce. Start with ½ cup of water, stirring constantly. Remember: the sauce will need to burn off some liquid, so it will be a little thin to start.
Heat pasta sauce on low-medium for about 5-6 more minutes, stirring frequently, while some of the excess liquid burns off. Lower flame if sauce starts to burn.
Once the sauce is ready, pour half of the rotini into prepared sauce. Store extra pasta.
Plate pasta and add additional parmesan cheese and a pinch of dried or fresh basil on top.
Crack open some champagne or wine and enjoy! Happy Valentine’s Day!
Surviving COVID-19 wasn’t easy for anyone. Everyone could see how the virus would impact a person’s body, but most of us ignored how it was doing a lot more than just that. There was loss of friends and family members to cope with and, on top of that, anxiety and depression that weakened us from the inside. While we have somewhat survived for now, the psychological consequences to follow Coronavirus are also a big challenge for the world.
Although there is yet no data to prove it, experts believe there are two major reasons behind the increase in depression during the lockdown.
Humans are social animals and isolation can affect their mental health. They need other people, especially at times of stress, but it’s crucial to maintain social distancing to keep Coronavirus from spreading.
Millions of people lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Even the ones with the job had to manage with reduced salaries.
This is a time when people are losing jobs and their loved ones while living in the constant fear of death. Not getting to make contact with other people to share their feelings further escalates depression and could potentially lead to suicidality.
Although these were difficult times, things have started going back to normal. Cabinet has approved a relief package of $2.8 billion to make the transition easy for its people. Another problem is starting old life again after going through so much trauma. The following are some briefly discussed practices that will help you adjust to life after the coronavirus lockdown.
Understand Your Problem:
If you are having trouble seeing yourself back in the free world again, you should highlight your fears first. Ask yourself whether:
You are anxious that you have to work again
You are afraid of getting infected
You don’t know how you will cover the loss from lockdown
You will be able to resolve the issues only after you have identified and accepted it. There is nothing wrong with being scared, especially after what the world just went through. However, the problem is letting those fears control your life. You won’t be able to do anything and spend the rest of your life trapped inside the house if you don’t face those fears.
Talk to a Therapist
Any problem is only as big as it is in your head. It’s only normal for people to overthink after spending so much time with social distancing.
The whole healthcare was so focused on Corona cases that they didn’t pay much attention to how it was affecting people mentally. Most clinics were closed, and no one was willing to go meet a therapist. There are now platforms that provide online therapy.
Create New Schedules
The routine before, during, and after the lockdown will be different. You adjusted to living and working from home without having to go out for social gatherings, exercise, and other activities. Now you have to go back in the world again and tend to all your needs and wants that you had put on hold for so long.
The best way to make this transition is easy by creating a timetable according to the new lifestyle and activities. If you have a written schedule before you get back to the old routine, you are more likely to get things done. Remember, you can’t make a routine overnight. It is going to take some time and sacrifices.
Learn to Live in Present
If you keep thinking about the lockdown and how it affected you, you won’t be able to progress forward. There is also the possibility that you might be scared of the future. Worrying about the coming future is anxiety, and it takes a toll on both mental and physical health.
According to a study by Harvard, we only spend half our lives in the present. About 47% of the time, when we are awake, our mind is thinking about what is not going on. Instead of worrying about how your tomorrow will be, you should work to make your present better. Thinking about past bad events is no better than worrying about the future. It stresses you out and causes depression.
Stay Away from Bad News
While the Coronavirus pandemic was no minor issue, social media and many other news channels created so much hype that people were more afraid than they should be. There were too many pieces of news about the virus and death toll that put many people in depression.
Many experts believe that we will now spend all our lives with the Coronavirus. If we don’t make mental peace with the situation, we will spend our whole lives in anxiety. It’s crucial that we stop following all social media channels that spread fear and news without any strong source.
Today we want to share some important tips on staying creative during COVID-19. The on-going COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live and work. If your social life has come to a standstill and you’re stuck working from home, it’s likely you’re feeling more than a little bored and despondent.
However, embracing your creativity can be a great way to use your time. Whether you’re dealing with local lockdown restrictions or you’re not quite ready to start socializing just yet, take a look at these top ways to stay creative during COVID-19:
The pandemic has affected people in different ways, but many people are reporting an increase in anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Understandably, these issues can be tricky to deal with when your usual routine is disrupted. Fortunately, channeling negative emotions into a creative project can be an effective way of addressing them and dealing with them.
Bullet journaling is just one way to rid yourself of negativity but it’s surprisingly effective. What’s more – it’s a great way to start being creative if you’re lacking motivation or energy.
Start a Group Project
If you miss spending time with friends, dating, or simply grabbing a coffee with a colleague, you’re not alone – ironically! You may not be able to socialize face-to-face due to COVID-19, but you can stay connected online. Starting a group project can be a great way to get people together and the united goal will give you something new to focus on.
From forming an unbeatable online quiz team to creating a master playlist of all your favorite tracks, there are endless ways you can team up with friends to do something different despite coronavirus.
For many people, missing out on live events, like concerts and gigs, is one of the most difficult aspects of life in lockdown. However, you can develop your own musical talents while the pandemic is still present. With easy to follow tutorials, like https://www.beginyourdrumming.com/, you can teach yourself everything you need to know without leaving the house. Simply order the instrument or equipment you need, and you’ll be up and running in no time.
If you want to combine your creativity with your practical skills, then decorating your home could be an excellent way to spend your time. From minor projects, like installing a photo wall, to something more adventurous, like repainting walls and ceilings, you can transform your living environment. If you’re going to be spending more time at home due to COVID-19, you may as well enjoy your surroundings!
Embrace Your Creativity
If you think the world is split into ‘creative’ and ‘non-creative’ people, think again. While some people may be more naturally talented at some forms of creativity, we all have some form of creative talent. Whether you use yours to entertain people, create artwork, or to process your own emotions, unleashing your creative power can have a positive impact on your well-being.
What’s more – being creative and embracing a new hobby can be a fantastic way to reduce your stress levels and brighten your mood.
Today we want to stress the importance of practicing self love during COVID-19. This winter, as well as the upcoming Christmas and holiday season, will be completely different compared to all the ones you have lived so far. The chances to spend time with our extended families will be limited, and social distancing measures will be ruling all interactions with our friends.
But, you can still make the most out of the magical time ahead. You can do so by introducing a routine that focuses on health, self-love, and self-improvement. Because, of course, the pandemic has thrown many challenges at us, but there are also opportunities worth grabbing. And, it is all in the mindset – so, get healthy and turn your life around!
Exercising is among the most important components of a healthy lifestyle. Indeed, going for a run, swimming in the ocean, or training at home can help you feel happier, more motivated, and full of energy.
However, you don’t necessarily need to keep lifting weights and running as far as you can if this type of exercise does not reflect who you are. Luckily, today, you can find trainers that can guide you in discovering other forms of exercise. For example, yoga or pilates can help you improve your flexibility, balance, and strength while also adding a spiritual aspect that many other disciplines don’t provide you with!
Meditating can be an extremely beneficial introduction to anybody’s routine. You won’t need to be meditating for hours at a time, and even a short five-minute session can help you keep stress at bay, focus on yourself, and improve the control you have over some aspects of everyday life. Meditation is a completely personal practice, there is no right or wrong way to enjoy it, and it can be done anywhere, without props. So, what’s stopping you from starting to fight stress and anxiety back?
Breath in Some Fresh Air
We might not be allowed to meet our friends and family or gather in public places. However, you are still allowed to take a walk among nature and breath in some fresh air. This, as well as Vitamin D from the sun, can greatly benefit your health, making you feel more focused and energized.
Cook With Seasonal, Nutritious Ingredients
Nutrition can impact your overall energy and mood level, so don’t underestimate how important this aspect can be. But, during this time of the year, some seasonal ingredients and meals can get you to enjoy every single meal while providing you with all the vitamins, minerals, and healthy compounds needed for a balanced lifestyle.
Speak to a Professional
Home remedies might be helpful when you are trying to fight back issues related to your current environment or lifestyle. But, if you have been dealing with chronic pain such as neck pain and migraines or other underlying issues, there is nothing better than getting in touch with a professional. Indeed, if not promptly addressed, these issues can grow to represent a major obstacle between you and your daily goals. A quick consultation with an expert can help you identify all the possible solutions to the issue you are experiencing.
Consumer behavior has changed significantly as the use of beauty products has drastically declined. Data acquired by Fraicheur.com indicates that for the first time in decades, the beauty industry is set to lose $175 billion USD in 2020.
Changing consumer habits reduce revenue for almost all beauty products
From the data, it is clear that COVID-19 has greatly changed the beauty habits of every customer. Due to work from home becoming the new norm, the use of skincare and makeup products experienced a significant decline of 20%. Personal care products are faring slightly better with only a 3% reduction in overall use.
As a large part of the beauty industry’s customers continue working from home, hope for complete recovery is slim. Data has shown that 90% of women use little to no makeup while at home which has greatly cut into spending on beauty products. As long as social activities continue to decline, a return to previous levels of consumption is unlikely.
Fraicheur CEO, Ingrida Cerniauskaite, said:
“COVID-19’s impact on the beauty industry is undeniable. Our acquired data shows that we are looking at a rare loss of revenue. Yet, there is hope in the online market. As our customers move towards shopping online, so should our businesses. With enough innovation and adaptation, we can greatly lessen the blow dealt by COVID-19 to our beloved industry.”
A chance for recovery seems to lie online. Innovative beauty solutions for the internet age might be able to hasten the recovery of the industry.
Adaire Byerly is a woman on a mission. After witnessing firsthand how often ego and power struggles prevent businesses in the entertainment industry from being productive and healthy workplace environments, the former model decided to launch Entertainment Mindframe, a company which seeks to improve communication among industry professionals through the application of brain and behavioral science. Adaire has a love affair with the brain – our own personal supercomputer. Understanding how it works and the role our own perceptions play in both communication and mental health is one keystone of a thriving professional and personal life. Learn more about Entertainment Mindframe on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Cliché: Your experiences in the acting and modeling industries catalyzed your initial awareness of unprofessional behavior in the workplace. What was it about these moments that really stuck with you and led you to resolve to want to make a change?
Adaire Byerly: Through my years as a professional in the industry, I noticed psychological patterns & behaviors that were constantly projecting into business politics, negatively effecting the success in one’s career, or an entire brand. Working in a world full of creative geniuses, you will experience the want for expression and acceptance rather than structure. You find a lot of ego, selfishness, rebellious and stubborn behavior, push back, gossip and power dynamics that make it difficult for anyone to properly conduct business. The main issue I found through observation is many people only view these industries as a platform to showcase their talent, overlooking the fact that these industries are actual business that that effect our U.S. economy by billions of dollars. When we put that into perspective, we begin to understand why we should ensure our brands are operating as such.
Talk about your company, Entertainment Mindframe.
Entertainment Mindframe™is a company developed to provide cognitive enhancement for professionals in the Entertainment industry by applying brain and behavioral sciences into the business side of fame. The industry branches include media, fashion, film, and sports.
I developed the company to tackle the common and intangible communication issues in the work environment that negatively affect business. My focus starts at the root. That means everything that goes on behind the camera, in the mind of professionals and in operations. I aim to identify, eliminate, rebuild neuropathways, and shift perspectives that project into a career & work environment by creating a tailored communication strategy. That includes trainings, cognitive consulting, seminars, rewriting policies or HR procedures or changing company culture. I focus mainly on communication through linguistics and perception. I also work with professional Psychologists and Neuroscientists to ensure the methods concur with the scientific community and provide long lasting results.
What are the basics that everyone needs to understand about workplace communication?
I often tell my clients that communication is a science as much as it is an art. It is not just made for you to express how you feel. The purpose of communication is to become fluent with another person by speaking at their comprehension rather than enforcing your own.
In business, we cannot just look at people as opportunity or money, we must recognize them first as humans. Communication is key. Without proper communication an understanding will never be reached. Many people view an understanding as “agreeing” however, you do not need to agree to reach an understanding, or to even communicate. I have a simple order of process that I show my clients to visually show them how their thoughts impact communication, which then impacts the company as a whole:
The individual (the mind) ➡️ The environment ➡️ Operations ➡️ The project/production ➡️ The final product
It all starts in our heads and trickles into everything we do. If we can solve it at the root, the rest of the process runs smoothly. What does that look like? It increases employee retention rates, lowers office tension allowing more efficient workspaces, even prevents legal repercussions by enforcing proper business code and education, and finally creativity and work production is greatly enhanced by finetuning this communication. All of this has ultimately resulted in an increase and expansion in business.
What are some common issues that arise and how can we make ourselves aware of them to better avoid those issues?
Beginner common issues include frustration, gossip, “I” thinking, lack of appreciation, lack of trust, lack of respect and exhausting your work ethic. These all result in larger issues such as resentment, bad business deals, loss of business deals, losing great talent or workers, creating a bad reputation associated with the brand and loss of clientele.
From a scientific perspective, one thing to note is, your thoughts and beliefs are not always right or true in the grand scheme of things. Our perception is a huge factor regarding the decisions we make. Understanding that everyone has their own perspective, (Which is their reality) will tell you that there are multiple realities in the same room. Does that mean someone is wrong? No, it means we are human and that is how we process information. Understanding human nature in business is a major way to not only prevent miscommunication but enhance the company as a whole.
Your practice is now working to help companies navigate both COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter. How is that restructuring going to impact the way that employees and companies themselves approach work and communication?
One major focus point of my assessments when I am working with clients is to make sure they adapt to the social changes that can affect business. Covid-19 and the social justice movements are the current changes that we have to alter in operations. We have to ensure that protocol and safety procedures are being followed for health reasons, as well as educating ourselves on social justice movements and how they influence the economy, as well as being sensitive to the visceral reaction and human nature aspect of workers and customers during these times.
You have a rich family history – your father’s ancestors were the first African-Americans to own over 4000 acres of land in East Texas following the end of slavery. What does it mean to you in this moment to be a Black woman, a Black mother, and a successful Black female entrepreneur?
Honestly, it is extremely powerful and motivating. The history I come from has always been a fire in my soul to push forward even when the odds are against me. When I am facing the unknown, the impossible, and even wanting to accomplish something that has never been done before… I look at my ancestors and I say if they can do it, I can. I have no excuses because it is in my blood to make things happen regardless of the circumstance.
How can non-Black entrepreneurs and consumers better support Black-owned businesses and Black entrepreneurs?
I would say to first educate yourself on local and even major black owned businesses that you are interested in. For consumers, the best way is to purchase their products and spread the word. For Entrepreneurs, if you find a black owned start-up, you can either promote or offer a solution as a third-party resource for the brand. For instance, if there is a black owned business that is in line with a mission you believe in and is having trouble getting off the ground, invest in it or provide resources to help that business flourish. Offering educational resources, lawyers, advisors, potential business clients or even seminars or promotional deals to help expand their exposure and success.
You’re a licensed Practitioner in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Neuroplasticity. Break that down for us. Why are you so fascinated with the brain and what do you think a greater understanding of how it works can inform in terms of how we understand ourselves and each other?
Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a psychological approach to quickly find solutions in communicating and perceiving the world around you. Neuroplasticity is the ability for the neurons in the brain to change and how information travels through the nervous system. I also have studies in Cognitive Behavioral techniques which is a short-term psychotherapeutic technique that changes toxic thinking patterns. Scientifically, it changes the neural circuits related to negative emotion in the nervous system.
I am in love with the brain because it is the root to everything that we do. It is the most complicated computer on the planet and we still do not fully understand it. After studying neuroscience, it is fascinating how our thoughts, belief systems, decision making, and behavior all start from tiny cells in our brain. And it is all happening on a subconscious level, meaning we do not even know it is happening! Being able to see that, to me, is phenomenal.
I believe educating ourselves on our own brains is a recipe for a potential superhuman mentality and life. I am sure you have heard this before, “The mind is a powerful thing”, that is said because so much of what we need to enhance, lies between our ears. It can be the make or break of your life.
Why do you believe it’s so crucial to advocate for a greater focus on mental stability of professionals?
This ties in with the understanding of power that the mind has on our lifestyles. If our mind is not right, we cannot do right. It always starts from the inside. The product of work, personal life, relationships, finances and even grounding all starts from within, mainly tied to belief systems that we have. I often find professionals getting lost in their work/brand resulting in an identity crisis OR they become a part of business so heavily that they treat themselves as robots, which then neglects major needs that any human requires to function. Don’t get me wrong, you can still hustle, commit and work your tale off to get the results you need. Sacrifices do have to be made when you are pursuing a career but if you are doing it to the level of needing to see a therapist or take medication just to function, that may be a good indicator that you need to re-evaluate your habits and mental state.
What advice do you have for professionals out there who may feel that their company does not provide adequate mental health resources?
The good thing about this is, if you see your company is lacking, you can always change it. You don’t necessarily have to have mental health resources to create a better environment. You can very easily allow employees to do certain things, such as take multiple short breaks throughout the day, advise them to move around from their desk, allow employees to play music or dress more comfortably. Another way is to acknowledge that they are human. Ask them how they are doing, ask about things that interest them, and if you don’t know, get to know them. There are always fun team building exercises that you can implement.
If you are wanting to lean more on the side of resources, you can also inform your coworkers of certain apps that help regulate your mood such as Virtual Moodbox, Stop, Breathe and Think and Mood Coach. You can also provide them with emergency hotlines and/or websites that can assist them during their own time.
Read more Celebrity Interviews on ClicheMag.com Adaire Byerly Examines How Cognitive Science Can Reboot The Business of Fame. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Adaire Byerly.
For most of us, the last few weeks have consisted of adjusting to the new normal of social distancing and quarantine. While staying informed by the news is important, it can be easy to succumb to the 24-hour news cycle and allow it to drain us. We all need a good distraction, now more than ever. With all live sports and movie theaters on pause, entertainment streaming services have become our new best friend. We’ve compiled a list of our Top 5 Binge-Worthy shows to Get You Through Quarantine.
#1. Starting off the list we have the most talked about series right now, Netflix’s Tiger King. Whether you are sick of hearing your friends talk about it or have it saved to your must watch list, Tiger King is the ultimate quarantine binge. It gives a wild look into the dangerously competitive nature of big cat breeding and introduces the world to some of the most eccentric characters you could possibly imagine. We can assure you that you will experience almost every emotion while watching the 7 episodes of Tiger King and we know you won’t regret it. Happy watching, all you cool cats and kittens!
#2 Another Netflix favorite that we must include is Love is Blind. If you enjoy shows like The Bachelor or any reality television for that matter you will be obsessed with Love is Blind. This show tries to answer the age old question of whether or not love truly is blind through a social experiment. Single men and women must try and find their true love, and get engaged before ever seeing each other. They must solely rely on the emotional connection they form through ‘blind dates’. We follow the couples right up to their wedding day and get to see whether the experiment worked or failed. Trust us, this is a must-watch! You will fall in love with some of these couples! This show is perfect for some laughs, some happy tears, and some absolute WTF moments. Enjoy!
#3. Coming in our third spot we have an oldie but a goodie. If you need a show to watch with your parents or siblings that will boost your mood and give you a laugh, we recommend Gilmore Girls on Netflix. The story of our favorite mother-daughter duo, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, and all of their lovable family and friends is the best kind of escape from the day. If you haven’t seen this show yet, be prepared to want to hug your friends and family, but remember, we still need to be socially distant!! Enjoy your trip to Stars Hollow!
#4. In our fourth spot we have an ultimate favorite, Fleabag. This show may not be one to watch with Mom and Dad but if you need a good laugh or a serious pick-me-up this is your show. From the brilliant mind of Phoebe Waller-Bridge we are introduced to a flawed but self-aware woman who navigates the struggles of owning a small business, maintaining her awkward familial relationships while also having quite a colorful personal life. The unfiltered and raunchy comedy is unlike any other. Use that Amazon Prime membership and binge this show, you won’t regret it!
#5. Finishing out our list we have one of Hulu’s best, Ramy. This show is one of the most unique stories being told. A story not often told of a first-generation Egyptian-American guy from New Jersey named Ramy who is finding his way in life through his own spiritual journey. This show is hilarious but also present and grounded in a reality that so many people go through. Discovering yourself through your faith while also being an average American millennial is a combination that describes many people. Ramy tells his story through an honest, realistic, and comedic lens. This show will teach you a new perspective on life that you may be unfamiliar with and will make you laugh in the process. Enjoy!
As we all try to adjust to life in the age of coronavirus, our shelter animals could become invisible casualties of this epidemic. Due to social distancing and lockdown guidelines, many shelters have been forced to severely restrict their adoption hours or close their doors altogether. This means many fewer animals leaving as the intake levels remain the same, leading to rapid overcrowding and increased euthanasia of pets in need. Shelters are also bracing for a potential spike in relinquished pets as their owners face mounting financial strain as the pandemic goes on. Luckily, there’s a simple solution – adopt and foster pets! We spoke to Larissa Wohl (host of Hallmark Channel’s Adoption Ever After) about how you can make a world of difference in a pet’s life today.
Cliché: How has COVID-19 been impacting our shelter population?
The coronavirus is going to affect rescue animals in SO many ways and now is the time we really need to rally to help make a difference! Because animal shelters across the country are closing their doors and working by appointment only, many people aren’t going to go that extra mile to see what animals are for adoption. In addition to that, private rescue groups are cancelling all their adoption events because of social distancing, so the animals in THEIR care aren’t being adopted either.
That means while animals will still be turned IN to shelters and rescues (stray animals, owner surrenders, accidental litters, etc…) – no animals are going OUT. This leads to a very serious math problem where there won’t be enough room to house them all and euthanasia will have to take place for space. The other important issue is that many people are losing their jobs and won’t have the financial ability to care for their animals as time goes on. Vet visits, food, basic care, etc… can all add up with pets and the longer this coronavirus goes on, the more of a financial burden animals may become.
How do you intend to keep spreading your message of the importance of pet adoption during the coronavirus outbreak?
Thank goodness for social media right now, right? Luckily, I’ve been continuing to stay up to date with shelters and rescue organizations to see what their current needs are. The great news is that so many amazing people have stepped up to help, so it’s been a little challenging keeping up with all the moving pieces. That said, I’m still making videos of adoptable animals and spreading awareness about how to be the best pet parent possible during these crazy times! I’ve released a few videos on my social profiles as well as my website, www.SavedByTheL.com. Hallmark Channel and Home & Family are also working hard to continue their efforts and we’ve been releasing videos and photos on their social media sites as well!
Is the lockdown having an impact on pets currently being fostered or those who have recently been adopted?
This is such a great question because I think we, rescuers, have been so focused on getting the animals out of the shelter that we’re forgetting what happens next!
Here is the biggest issue I foresee happening…
All the animals who are being fostered right now or have been newly adopted are enjoying life with humans around them 24/7. That’s great except for when the day comes that we all head back to work and leave our animals at home! It’s very similar to children who have stay-at-home parents for years and then suddenly find themselves with a nanny… they may experience some sort of anxiety and act out. With animals, it can lead to, what we call, “separation anxiety.” This can take many forms such as whining, whimpering, barking or can lead to more destructive behaviors in extreme cases. Things like chewing, scratching, etc…
This behavior is usually unwanted by the adopter and can lead to frustration, anger or the returning the animal. Obviously this is not what we want and I hope I can help educate everyone to have some patience and compassion if this does happen to them.
The other wonderful thing is that they can start working on some simple training techniques NOW to try and combat these behaviors down the road.
How can someone look into adopting an animal when so many shelters are closed at the moment?
While shelters and rescue groups are closed to the public, they are still open for intake, foster and adoption appointments. This means that you can still foster and adopt right this second! Most shelters and rescues will have an appointment link on their website so that you can connect and figure out a time to meet in person.
What should someone do if they want to foster an animal?
Fostering is such an extraordinary way to help animals in need. This is ESPECIALLY true right now! If you’re open to fostering, please remember that it’s such a rewarding and educating experience. You can start by reaching out to your local shelters and rescue organizations and see who needs fosters. Most of them will direct you to their website where you can fill out a foster application. I always urge people to be upfront about how much of a time commitment they can offer an animal. That way the shelter or rescue can plan ahead if the animal needs another longer-term foster. Depending on the rescue or shelter you’re dealing with, fostering usually doesn’t cost money. They usually provide all the supplies needed!
As the foster, it is your job to keep the animal safe and loved and allow it to relax and unwind from the stress it’s been under. As the animal comes to learn that you and your home are safe, it’s then your job to help remind the animal how to be the best pet possible! That may mean introducing it to other animals, teaching it simple commands or manners, etc…
All of these things are fun, fulfilling and set them up for success in their future forever home!
In addition to relieving overcrowded shelters, what are the benefits to fostering or adopting animals during this time?
Fostering in general has many benefits, no matter when you do it! It allows you to see if you’re ready to make a lifetime commitment to an animal, teaches you valuable information about different breeds and what dog may work best for you, helps an animal reach its potential and makes an animal more adoptable. As a foster, you can provide vital insight into that animals behavior, likes, dislikes, etc…
Potential adopters LOVE to see that an animal has lived in a home environment because it makes the adoption commitment less of a guessing game! Basically it’s a win-win in every direction!
Lastly, fostering is fun and provides you with constant comical relief, companionship and love during this intense time of isolation and uncertainty. I am so thankful for my three rescue babies right now. They are helping me get through this time period immensely!
How can we best take care of our animals at this time, especially when so many regions have stay at home orders in place?
Luckily, dogs don’t require too much from us to be happy! They want our time, love, food and exercise! Most veterinarians and pet supply stores are still open and considered “essential,” so you can still get what you need. Other than that, walking, jogging, playing and cuddling is all in a perfect day for a pooch!
And just as importantly, how can we help the pets of our friends and neighbors who have the highest risk at could be unable to go outside?
Thank you for asking this! Offering to help a neighbor with their pet may mean the difference between life and death of that animal. If you know a senior citizen or someone scared to go outside, please offer to help them right now. This may lift their stress and make keeping their pet manageable. Utilize sites like NextDoor or Facebook to see who may need help near you and offer to drop off pet food, cat litter, supplies, etc…
If you are going to walk someone else’s dog right now, I’d suggest you use your own collar and leash. Wear gloves and wash your hands afterwards. Experts don’t believe Covid-19 can live on dog fur for any amount of time because it’s porous, but use common sense when dealing with their other supplies!
What advice do you have for people who have active pets that are now stuck inside? How can they better entertain them?
First and foremost, I would TRY to get them outside as much as possible. If you can take a walk or go for a jog (when there’s not a lot of other foot traffic), that would be ideal. If not, using interactive toys can go a long way! Interactive puzzles, Kongs, snuffle mats etc… can help stimulate your dog physically and mentally. You can purchase them online or make your own. For safety, always supervise your dog when they’re playing with toys to ensure nothing breaks off and becomes a choking hazard.
Additionally, something that MANY people don’t realize is that training your dog is physically and mentally exhausting for them (and for you!). Simple commands like “sit” “stay” and “down” are great, or more intense tricks like “dance” or “jump” if your dog likes a real challenge! Even if you don’t need your dog to know these commands, just the act of training them can be fun, help solidify your bond with them and lead to a tired and happy pup!
Many of us are working from home or currently home all the time. When we do go back to work and start going outside again, how can we expect our pets’ behavior to change and respond to it accordingly?
This question is similar to the one above where I talked about separation anxiety. I can almost guarantee you that many people who have fostered or adopted during this time period will suddenly see a side of their dog they don’t know when they go back to work. Again, this is to be expected and must be dealt with accordingly.
If possible, work on creating some distance between you and your dog NOW, so that they don’t suddenly freak out when you leave the house. Utilizing boundary techniques (there’s some great online videos), crates, and/or separating them into a different room for a period of time is a great way to start! They need to learn that they can survive without you so that they don’t suddenly go into “panic mode” when you’re not there!
What are some stories that you’ve seen in the community that are giving you hope right now?
There are so many!! First and foremost, I am so happy to see so many people stepping up to foster, adopt and donate right now! If you think back 10-20 years, people never put much emphasis on animals during times of crises or natural disasters! We’ve definitely come a long way and I hope it continues. I just read about a family that went to foster an animal during their quarantine, only to be told their was just ONE dog available. It was a pitbull type dog that didn’t like other animals. As soon as they saw this little guy (who had been passed around from shelter to shelter his whole life), they fell in love and decided to adopt him on the spot! He’s now living his best life with a family that adores him!
I know there will be many more wonderful stories of adoption that are a result of this quarantine and I can’t wait to see them unfold!!
Read more Interviews on ClicheMag.com Animal Shelters in Crisis: Larissa Wohl on The Urgent Need For Adopting and Fostering Amid COVID-19 Pandemic. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Larissa Wohl.