My Secret Weapons for De-Stressing

 

My friend Sephrah blissing out on a rock!

Not really secret, but it sounded good right? And now you’re reading my blog. Great! In my opinion, high levels of stress and anxiety can be just as damaging to health as a processed diet. I reckon the best approach is to catch yourself on the way… prevent it from getting out of hand. To prevent stress I…

  • Do not take work home (an easy trap to fall into as a school teacher). Home is for me and my family and friends. Keeping them separate is key to ‘switching off’ as soon as I walk in my door. It also makes me more productive at work because I have had time to re-charge.  
  • Keep stuff in perspective. I try not to use my energy focussing on silly things like what other people think and comparing myself to others. Sometimes it happens, but I snap out of it pretty quickly.
  • View my to-do-lists as GUIDES for productivity, not deadlines, so that I don’t have a major freak-out if I don’t always meet them. I can keep chugging away at stuff I want to do the next day. The world won’t stop spinning.
  • Methodically work through tasks that need to be done, one by one. One foot in front of the other. Trust the process. Things will be achieved.
  • In saying this, I stay organised so that my shit doesn’t get out of control in the first place.
  • Get rid of stuff in my life that isn’t serving me and my long-term goals.
  • Eat well! Seriously, if I go through periods of eating a bit more processed food and sugary stuff than usual, my mood plummets and I get wound up about stupid things more easily. This is really a good thing, because it means I have no desire to continue eating the crap!
  • Spend my time with cool fun people, and not with d-buzz judgy people.
  • Let things go when they need to be let go.
  • Go to bed early.

Sometimes preventing high stress is not possible. So when I do get in a tizz, I…

  • Take deep breaths
  • STOP and change tack. Sometimes you realise you’re just going about things in the wrong way.  
  • Remind myself that the crazy-busy-stressful period will pass.
  • Laugh! Laugh, laugh, laugh and laugh some more. I wrote a bit about the benefits of laughing here.
  • Do some yoga (even just 10 minutes).
  • Do a ten-minute meditation.
  • Have a cup of tea.
  • Get a massage .
  • Accept that failure is part of success.
  • Stop what I’m doing, do nothing and play some rad music.
  • Do a boxing session or another form of exercise.
  • Read a fiction book.

These strategies can seem obvious, but you actually have to get your shit together and DO them if they’re going to reduce the effects of stress in your life. I also think that the latter set of strategies here, the what I do when stress is overwhelming me list, is a list of band-aid approaches to stress. What I’m saying is to really handle stress in your life you need to get the first list in order; the things I do to prevent the effects of stress list.  Cups of tea and yoga ain’t going to give you a smooth life if you’re still running around like a headless chook doing an unachievable number of things you hate doing all day long!

Just my thoughts. I’d love to hear yours.

By Jasmine at Franklee Healthy

Raw Peppermint Chocolate Biscuits

 

My FAVOURITE combination is mint and chocolate, something I share with my good friend Tanyka. We both love those Mint Slice bikkies, so here is my whole food answer to that…

Ingredients:

Base: 1 cup of almonds, 3 tbsp coconut oil (melt if solid), 2 tbsp cacao powder, ¼ dates that have been soaked in boiling water for 10 mins then drained, a pinch of salt.

Creamy Peppermint Centre: ½ cup cashews that have been soaked in warm water for an hour, 2 tbsp honey, 1 tsp (or more) peppermint essence, a pinch of salt, a splash of almond milk to get the food processor moving.

Chocolate Coating: ¼ cup coconut oil, 2 tbsp honey, 2 tbsp cacao powder.

Steps:

Base: Blitz the almonds, cacao powder and salt together to look like breadcrumbs, then add the coconut oil and dates and blitz for a few seconds to combine. You still want it to look a bit rough. Roll spoonfuls into small balls, then flatten a little with your hands and press down the middle with your thumb to make an imprint for the peppermint cream to go. Pop them on a baking sheet on a tray and into the freezer while you make the next part.

Creamy Peppermint Centre: Blitz all the ingredients together until creamy and smooth. Spoon desired amounts into the dip in the base rounds. Smooth over with a spoon and return to the freezer while you make the next part!

Chocolate Coating: Boil the jug and pour boiling water into a medium sized bowl to reach a couple of centimetres up the side. Place a pyrex measuring cup (or similar) in this boiling water. Add coconut oil, honey and cacao, and stir together until smooth. Check the biscuits in the freezer, and if they’ve solidified a little, bring them out to coat. I used a fork to pick up the biscuits, dip into the choc sauce mixture, and bring out to rest back on the baking paper. I dipped each biscuit twice. Pop the complete biscuits back in the freezer until the coating is set. Eat!

By Jasmine at Franklee Healthy

Five Signs You’re Forgetting to be Unapologetically YOU!

 

We all do it; forget to be ourselves sometimes!! How ridiculous does that sound. But I think it’s particularly true in an age where other people are show-casing their perceived highlights of their lives on social media. We compare ourselves to those highlights, then feel inadequate, then quickly try to do things we normally wouldn’t just to bring our life standards up to social media levels. But it’s unrealistic. It’s unsustainable.

I think being yourself is one of the biggest things you can do for your over-all well-being, and particularly your mental and emotional wellbeing. Not to mention your social wellbeing! When you forget to be yourself, these things can happen:

  1. reprimanding yourself for not being yourself
  2. feeling guilty for not being true to the people around you, and subsequently feeling anxious about your next actions or words
  3. YOUR life passes you by while you live someone else’s… you’re filling your schedule with crazy activities that you don’t really want to or have time to do
  4. ignoring your actual feelings and pretending to be happy and resilient ALL the time… it is OK to feel the bad ones!! It is even GOOD and NECESSARY to feel the bad ones. It helps you grow.
  5. losing sight of your actual dreams because you’re too busy pleasing others

And HERE are some ways you can be your amazing self more:

  1. trust your gut… most of the time
  2. do the stuff you love to do and less of the stuff other people love you to do
  3. take steps towards your dreams every day
  4. speak your mind or don’t speak at all
  5. always be honest… especially to yourself
  6. acknowledge your actions even if those actions weren’t great
  7. dress and present yourself how you like to, not how others expect to you to (when I first became a teacher, I went out and bought lots of ‘teacher clothes’ so I could fit nicely into the role. I would always wear makeup to work even though I don’t wear it outside of work. Now I wear what feels good, while still being teacher appropriate, and not a drop of makeup… unless i feel like it!)
  8. Just do and say the stuff that feels right to you, that you don’t look back on and wonder why you did or said them (granted, everyone will do this at some stage as they grow… I look back on my first year of uni and wonder why I did things all the time!)

You can read more about how I try to live my own life here.

Go ahead and reflect on whether you’re being unapologetically YOU. Whether you’re letting your true self shine! I think we all need to work on this, especially when we’re on social media or with people we don’t know really well. So why not start now?

By Jasmine at Franklee Healthy

 

Cauliflower Cakes

Ingredients: 1 cauliflower head, 4 eggs, ¼ cup of gated tasty cheese, a small handful of fresh parsley all chopped up, a good grind of sea salt and pepper.

Steps: Chop the cauliflower into small florets. Throw into your food processor and blitz into fine crumbs. You might need to do this in two lots, especially if you have a food processor with modest strength like I do! Transfer to a large bowl and mix through eggs, cheese, salt, pepper and parsley. Use coconut oil to fry in spoonfuls in a good quality non-stick pan. Use as a side dish for pretty much anything!

By Jasmine at Franklee Healthy

5 Ways with Beetroot!

Beetroot…. that lush, vibrant blood-red vegetable that lures you in at the shops only to sit in the vegetable bin of your fridge to go a bit soft. Then QUICK, you find a way to use it because you hate waste!! Amidst the use-all-the-old-veggies rush, half the kitchen surface (and your body) are stained with red.

Familiar?

Here are five ways to use that luscious vegetable and make it shine like a star instead of remaining an end-of-week after-thought…

  1. Grated salad – beetroot makes for a salad feast for the eyes as well as the mouth… grate it up with carrot, purple cabbage, zucchini, and add your favourite dressing or dried fruit, nuts and seeds… I love beetroot, carrot, roasted pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and a squeeze of orange!  
  2. Baking – the resulting moist-ness of using beetroot in your baking is amazing. Try these Chocolate Beetroot Brownies for a decadent real-food treat.
  3. Meat patties – grate ‘em up and add them to the mix of your meat patties. Try this Beef ‘n’ Beet Burgers recipe. 
  4. Smoothies – grate it up and throw a small handful into your next smoothie for a nutrient boost. You can freeze the grated beetroot in ice-cube trays for an easy smoothie go-to ingredient. Goes well with berries and cacao!
  5. Scrambled eggs – next time you scramble your eggs, toss through a handful of grated beetroot about half way through. Add a bit of chopped feta cheese and you’ve got yourself an irresistible brekkie or lunch!

So go ahead, embrace those red hands and enjoy creating new things with your beetroot!

By Jasmine at Franklee Healthy

Coco-Blueberry Oat Cake

 

A light, fluffy but moist baked blueberry slice!

Serves: 9      Time: 45 mins, mostly hands-off

Ingredients: 1 cooked kumara (sweet potato – I just boil mine, skin and all), 5 eggs, 2 tablespoons of honey, 1 ripe banana, 1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries, 50 grams of melted butter or coconut oil, 1 cup of oats, 1 cup of shredded coconut,  1 teaspoon of baking powder, a sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon, a grind of sea salt.

Steps: Throw all of your nutritious ingredients into your food processor, and blitz for a minute or so until lovely and smooth. Pour into a baking-paper lined square slice/cake tin, top with extra frozen blueberries, and bake for 35-ish minutes, or until just cooked through. It should still be nice and moist. Take it from the oven and let cool for 10-15 mins. Pull the sides of the baking paper to remove from the tin, place on a chopping board and slice carefully. Enjoy with a dollop of coconut cream (or thick, full fat, natural greek yoghurt) and a sprinkle of cinnamon! And, a steaming cup of tea would keep it company quite nicely…

By Jasmine at Franklee Healthy

#10 Manage My Stress: Jasmine’s Healthy Habits…

 … that you can do too!

Ok so ommmm isn’t quiiiite the sound-track of my life as I juggle work, study, blogging, and other real life admin and activities. But I do take a good shot at being aware of and managing my stress. Someone (who I cannot remember) said that you can’t reduce stress, but you can manage it. Stress is always there in some way, especially in this fast-paced modern life. But I choose to respond to the stress strategically so that it doesn’t control my life. Some ways that I manage my stress include…  

  • Saying no! Postponing or cancelling plans if I have too much on my plate
  • Taking some ‘me time,’ as I have also written about here
  • Write… write anything!
  • Doing stuff that makes me feel good
  • Exercising, even for a short ten-minute walk or skipping session in the back yard
  • Talking… to a friend, family member or colleague
  • Practicing yoga
  • Meditating
  • Reading a book
  • Taking some deep breaths
  • Pottering in the garden for a little while
  • Patting and smooching my cat on the VERY odd occasion she obliges
  • Hugging my partner, a friend or a family member (hugs are just MAGICAL)
  • Putting my thoughts into perspective… will it matter in a five years? Granted this can be difficult when you’re feeling stressy.  
  • Having a solo dance party in the kitchen while cooking a darn good meal (neighbours, you are most welcome for the show-stopping dance performances)
  • Cranking up some feel-good music on the UE boom (again neighbours, you are welcome)… my go-to is The Cat Empire
  • Cranking up some let’s-get-frank-and-maybe-a-little-cynical-about-life music, such as Lily Allen

These are NOT strategies for ignoring the stress that I feel. Rather, they are strategies for reducing the negative impact that stress has on my life. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes, I just have to ride it out and accept that I’ve taken on too  much because I am an over-committer and just need to be really super stressed for a minute!! And then I get over it and all is good, as I realise I wouldn’t want live my life any other way. I like it to be full.

These are some of my tools for stress management. They might work for you too. What can you add to the list?

By Jasmine at Franklee Healthy