Balanced Health in a Pandemic: A Year in Review

Happy New Year! The past year can be categorized into three things: resilience, patience, and grit. My last blog post in March 2020 was a week before I learned that I would be working remotely (after beginning a new job on January 27). My son was moving home from college to finish his semester. My daughter’s company required all employees to work at home. Since my husband runs his business from a home office, he was equally disrupted by all of us home 24/7. I can honestly say as a family, we were able to adapt well and bounce back quickly in times of stress and uncertainty. The term “patience is a virtue” served us well as we waited to see the year unfold. To tolerate something that takes a long time is a good quality, but can be trying at times.

Let’s face it, flattening the curve means different things to different people. For some, it means getting rid of the quarantine 15 and committing to a healthier lifestyle. Social distancing is easy for some but challenging for others who live alone and work remotely. Some days you feel like you accomplished so much by crossing things off your to-do list. Other days you feel good because you changed out of your pajamas or took a shower. Large or small accomplishments take perseverance and grit. Self-care is not only important, but it is also necessary for self-preservation.

Goal setting is part of my daily, monthly, and yearly ritual. 2020 was a challenging year to set and keep goals. Knowing the importance of reflecting back on the past year before setting new goals, I am starting this new year with “Simple Steps to an Incredible Year,” a free online course with @melrobbins ( In the first course, I realized there are habits to continue and alter. I am more of an introvert than I thought, humility has made me a better person, and my family is the most important unit in my life.

Let 2021 be a year of hope and good health for all. Be resilient, be patient, and show the strength of your character.

Quote of the Week:

“One small crack does not mean that you are broken, it means that you were put to the test and you didn’t fall apart.” 

― Linda Poindexter

Recipe of the Week: Apple Maple Butter Oatmeal Bake

This is a “sneak peek” recipe from @ShalaneFlanagan and @ElyseKopecky new book Rise & Run: Recipes, Rituals, and Runs to Jumpstart Your Day, which launches October 2021. Great way to include oatmeal into your daily diet and you can make ahead to enjoy all week.

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1/4 cup ground flax

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, optional

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided (plus more for baking dish)

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups whole milk, nut milk, or water

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 cups chopped apple (about 2)

1/3 cup chopped nuts or raisins, optional

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with butter.

In a large bowl combine the oats, flax, cinnamon, cardamom (if using), salt, and baking powder.

In a small microwave bowl, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter.  Make a well in the center of the bowl and crack the eggs into the well. Whisk the eggs and add the milk or water, syrup, and melted butter. Whisk thoroughly then stir to combine with the dry ingredients. Stir in the apple and nuts or raisins, if desired.

Pour into the baking dish and spread into an even layer. Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into small cubes and sprinkle on top. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes, or until set in the middle, and golden and crispy on top.

Allow to cool slightly, then slice into squares and serve warm topped with whole milk yogurt and an extra drizzle of maple syrup, if desired.

Published by

Leslie Ouellette

Listening and learning about nutrition, exercise, and health-related issues has been a life-long passion turned into action. I am most passionate about my family, friends, and good health. I am a business professional with over 30 years of expertise in marketing, market research, communications, writing, and editing. @balancedhealthblog

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