The year 2015 has come in with a burst of busyness, excitement and changes for me both personally and professionally. I have recently moved house and have spent the last few months living out of boxes, commuting more and using my kitchen very little. Within the chaos of moving I have increased my class schedule as I grow my yoga and wellness practice.
At times like these it becomes difficult to eat and take care of myself in the ways that I know are best for me. It becomes harder to “walk the talk” and I have to get more stealthy at how I integrate self-care and set realistic expectations for myself.
The same body mechanisms that are at work in fear and anxiety are also at work in excitement. The difference is our attitude and the support of the breath. When you get that holding anxious feeling pause and take a BREATH instead of going into overwhelm and shutdown.
Here are a few quick and easy tips I employ during times of stress and change:
- Drink more water. We need more hydration when we are in go-go-go mode. Even if you are not getting a lot of sweaty exercise increase your water intake. Electrolytes in the form of water additions like Ola Loa or Emergen C, or pure coconut water (no sugar or flavorings added,) can also give you a boost.
- Take an express nap or extend your savasana. Even 5-10 minutes of lying down and closing your eyes without any distraction can be extremely restorative. If you can get more nighttime rest as well that is wonderful.
- Give yourself short periods of time during the day to be stimulus-free, especially around bedtime. Put away your phone, turn off screens, and get away from other demands on your eyes and focus.
- Don’t stop going to yoga or stop exercising! Working the body and moving is one of the best stress busters!
- Eat nutrient dense food with sustaining protein and cut down on sugar. While your body might crave sugar and caffeine during stress it will only temporarily help heighten your mood or focus. Keep power snacks on hand like healthy nuts or seeds, hardboiled eggs, yogurt or kefir, spirulina, chlorella or other power algae, or whole-foods nutrition bars high in protein (watch for ones that are actually candy bars in disguise!)
- “Fear is excitement without the breath.” This gem comes from Fritz Perls creator of Gestalt Therapy.
- Get support. Do you have to do everything yourself? Can you call on your partner, friend, neighbor to help you out with your to-do list?
Here is a simple skillet meal guide that I use when I am pressed for time.
Flexible Skillet Meals
One great way to make cooking and meal planning less stressful is to always have plain cooked staples on hand that you can mix together with fresh ingredients to make a full meal. With a little oil or broth, precooked ingredients, fresh ingredients, and spices you can whip up an interesting and nutritious meal in about 10-20 minutes. This technique is a bit messy and imprecise, but that it exactly why I like it so much and find that it works very well with my busy lifestyle.
Broth (veggie, chicken, beef,fish)
Spices & Seasonings
Cliched Flavor Combos that Work
Italian: olive oil, basil, oregano, garlic, tomatoes, parmesan cheese
Indian: coconut oil, black mustard seed, cumin, curry power, ginger, raw cilantro, lime
Asian: sesame oil, chili flakes, ginger, garlic, soy sauce/fish sauce
French: olive oil, thyme, olives or capers, raw parsley, lemon
One-Skillet Meal Making Technique
- Start with a little oil, garlic, onion, or dry spices, etc. and saute until fragrant. If you wish to not use oil you can begin by adding broth instead. Your dish will have a more steamed or stew-like quality to it. Fill with broth gradually so that you are sure the ingredients will fit. You can add more broth later if you wish as it cooks down.
- Add pre-cooked ingredients and stir. May need to +/- stovetop temp.
- Once they start to warm add the washed and chopped fresh ingredients of your choice. At this point you can also crack a raw egg into your dish and stir it to cook if you choose.
- Heat everything together for 5-10 minutes until the fresh ingredients cooked through.
- Serve and garnish as you desire.
May you be well and have an exciting month!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Marisha Doan has been fascinated by using food as medicine her entire life. She is enchanted by the vibrancy of fresh whole foods and is especially obsessed with leafy greens and California avocados. In 2012 she completed a course of study in nutrition through The Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
Marisha teaches group classes at Yoga Tree Potrero and offers one-on-one yoga and nutrition sessions. When not teaching and helping people achieve their health goals she can be found riding her bicycle, taking long picturesque walks with her husband and pit bull terrier, creating elaborate meals and deepening her training in Forrest Yoga and the Tamalpa Institute Life/Art Process. She is thrilled to meld all of her talents and interests into her work as a yoga instructor and holistic health counselor. Learn more at www.marishadoan.com.