Let’s talk about stress.
We all have it. Some more than others. Maybe not all the time or everyday, but I’ll bet at least once a week you feel acute or chronic stress. It comes from a variety of sources: school/work, pleasing others, not enough rest, comparison, exercise, food, or health problems. And it manifests differently for everyone. Maybe you feel anxious/panicked, maybe you gain energy and go into overdrive, maybe you berate yourself or others, or simply curl up in bed choosing to ignore it all. Each one is valid, and real.
And obviously we can’t get rid of stress, and we wouldn’t want to. Stress helps us meet that deadline, or escape a real problem. But everyday, unproductive stress is not healthy. It starts to take a toll on your body, and eventually you get burnt out. So the first step is identifying your sources of stress and their manifestations.
I find it useful to write everything down, and identify how I’m feeling throughout the day. Get one of these.
It makes me feel SO much better, realizing that I’m not just a bucket of nerves, but rather I’m coping with something else in my life. Awareness takes the power away from those feelings and puts me back in control. So that even if I’m not in control of my source of stress, I’m aware of my reaction to it.
So how to react? Self-care, it will look different for everyone, but the bottom line is to take care of yourself however you need. Identify your source of stress and decide if it’s worth it? If it’s not, breath deep, write about it, talk to someone, and let it go. We don’t need to be wasting our precious energy on worrying about what others’ think, things out of our control, or food, exercise, and rest. We can take care of those things here and now.
But there are lots of things that are stressful and that we can’t let go of. Maybe you have poor health, are a caretaker, or your job/school is in a busy season. Maybe you are dealing with the loss of a loved one or simply adjusting to a new situation.
Take time in the morning to sit still. You can meditate if you choose, journal, or just think. I find this helps SO much- rather than just getting up and going straight to my computer, I check in with myself, which leads to more awareness throughout the entire day.
Make sure you schedule time. Time to eat, sleep, move your body, talk to someone, drink water, and connect to some aspect of your spirituality. But seriously, schedule it in.
If you have only 5 minutes for each that’s fine, but you still have 5 minutes to take care of yourself. Incorporating these simple acts will lower your cortisol levels, and leave you more equipped to handle the source of stress and survive this season.
So what does stress have to do with granola bars? Well I’ve been having a trying time. Simply a busy season of school. I’m on rotation right now, and don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome. But working 6 days a week, and 3 of those being 12 hour days, has gotten the best of me. My go-to reaction is complaining, avoiding, and not caring about my meals or moving my body. And I blog about food, so clearly it’s a big part of my life, and not caring about it is starting to have its effects.
There are only so many pre-made meals and snacks I can eat before I start to feel less than ideal. In addition, I’m not making time to move. I’m a dentist so I’m sitting all day. Taking a walk, or a run if I feel up to it, at lunch makes a world of difference for me. Getting to a yoga class on my day off, or stretching at home are things that I can do, but am choosing not to. I’m tired, stressed, and I just want to veg out. But after 2 weeks and only one to go, I’m choosing to feel better.
So I made these granola bars! Whole food packed, healthy, and delicious. They will make the perfect snacks this week and they only took 30 minutes to throw together, so minimal effort with maximal reward. They will not only be my snacks, but they will be my subtle reminder that I’m committing to taking care of myself this week. I was so inspired by Jessie’s recent post about a 4 weeks to wellness challenge (inspired by this book) that I’m creating my own. She linked to a really cool document Phoebe made to help you create your own. So go read Jessie and Phoebe’s ideas, and then make your own! Here are mine:
- Meditate in the mornings. I used to practice this every single day, and since I’ve gotten a case of “busy” I haven’t made it a priority. But I’m recommitting, because for me, it makes me feel so much better.
- Take walks. Everyday. Walking is my favorite thing to do, I feel calmer, happier, and more energized.
- Stretch, because I’m a yoga teacher and I haven’t been practicing yoga. Stretching is my first step to get back into it, and it’s built in time at the end of the day to check in with myself again.
- Called a friend or family member everyday, because my default stress mode is to avoid, but this only makes me feel worse. Calling someone, and even better seeing someone, makes me so, so happy.
Let me know if you make one too! And if you’re going through a stressful time, I’m sending you hugs from my side of the screen, and letting you know that everything is going to be okay. xx Karlie
- ¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 2 Tbsp ground flaxmeal
- 1 cup oats
- ½ cup oat flour (grind up ½ cup oats)
- 2 Tbsp oil (I used melted and cooled coconut oil)
- 1 ripe banana, mashed
- 2 Tbsp non-dairy milk
- ½ tsp each cardamom, cinnamon, and vanilla (optional but recommended)
- ¼ cup dried unsweetened cherries (or dried fruit of choice)
- Hemp seeds, for topping (optional)
- Pre-heat oven to 350F.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl one at a time until mixed well, adding in more milk 1 tsp at a time if too dry.
- Fold in dried cherries and press into a greased 8x8 inch pan. Sprinkle with hemp seeds, if desired.
- Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
Linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud!