What to do when you feel too busy, stressed & overwhelmed.

Juliagenerous, goddess, inspired, nourished, soulful

Living in the world that we do, it is inevitable that we will all go through times of feeling that we have A LOT, too much, or waaaay too much on our plates.  Although we must take responsibility for the things we experience and the circumstances we have created in our own lives (the responsibilities we have taken on, the choices we have made, the things we have said yes to, and our ability – or lack thereof – to ask for help and support), it is also the case that our competitive, consumerist, profit and achievement-driven society has shaped us in a way that is not contributing to our well-being.
When we believe what advertisers and the other powers-that-be, protectors of the *corrupt* status-quo want us to – that we are not enough, that we need to work harder, achieve more, make more, buy more to be worthy of and find happiness, success, or love – we ironically often end up burnt out, overwhelmed, stressed, unhappy, or sick.  Our relentless drive to “be the best we can be” often seems to leave us far from our best selves and from our true, loving and thriving, human nature.  Problematic?  Yes.  Why?  Because the world needs you to be your truly best self, sharing your natural gifts with the rest of us, as much of the time as possible.  Unfixable?  No way.  There are simple steps to turn to the next time you are feeling overwhelmed by all that is going on in your life, when you feel like you don’t know how you’re going to do it all, when your next break will be,  or when you’ll start feeling like yourself again.
1.  Breath.  Sitting for just 5-20 minutes each day and focusing on your breath, or even while walking or riding your bicycle, is going to slow down your thoughts, give you some mental space, and bring in a calm and steady energy from which to make positive decisions throughout your days.  Make breathing a priority, because along with eating & drinking, it really is.  You will be amazed at what happens when you allow yourself the time to just breath – everything else isn’t as important and can wait.
2. Prioritize Take the time to carefully evaluate what your top priorities are.  Not just at this particular period in your life, but the real, lasting, truly important priorities.  Write them down.  If the things you are filling your schedule with and getting stressed about aren’t jiving with those larger priorities, it is definitely time to start, slowly but surely, removing them from your everyday load.  You can say no to things in a nice way, you can exit gracefully, you are freer than you think.  And always remember, that you will make time for the truly important things in your life – almost effortlessly, they will show themselves to you.  If you are putting it off, if its stressing you out constantly, than it is likely for a reason, and you have my permission to free yourself from the pressure.  What is best for you is best for all of us, remember.
3. Eat these foods:
     ~asparagus, leafy greens, lentils, orange juice, oatmeal (folic acid balances your mood)
     ~almonds, spinach, sunflower seeds, tofu (magnesium fights free radicals associated with stress)
     ~raw/dark chocolate (boosts serotonin, feel-good chemicals in your brain)
     ~green beans, avocado, chickpeas, baked potatoes, bananas (high in vitamin B6, a calming neurotransmitter depleted by stress)
     ~whole grains (B vitamins calm the mind and have a grounding effect)
     ~broccoli, brussels sprouts, red peppers, berries, citrus fruits (vitamin C boosts immunity and fights cell damage from high cortisol levels)
     ~high quality sources of dairy, cold-water fish – salmon, sardines, etc., seaweeds (B12 content forms GABA, a calming neurotransmitter)
Here is a simple, quick salad to try that incorporates many stress-busting ingredients.  Enjoy and take care of yourselves dear friends, time is on your side.
Spring excitement,
xo Julia
Orzo Salad with Lemon, Spinach & Sheep’s Feta
adapted from Spilling the Beans
1 1/2 cups kamut orzo (can find in health food stores or organic section of many grocery stores)
few handfuls pre-washed baby spinach, finely chopped
2 cups cooked chickpeas or 19oz can, rinsed and drained
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 cup sheep’s feta cheese, crumbled
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, or to taste
1/4 cup rice vinegar, or to taste
sea salt andfreshly-ground pepper, to taste
1. Cook the orzo according to package directions (usually just like pasta – boil water add orzo and cook about 8 minutes) and transfer to a large bowl to cool completely.
2. To slice spinach, stack a bunch of leaves, roll them up tightly and thinly slice the whole bunch.
3. Add the sliced spinach to the cooled orzo along with chickpeas, onion, feta and lemon zest. Toss well.
4. Squeeze the lemon juice over the salad, drizzle with oil and rice vinegar and add salt and pepper.
Toss to coat. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve immediately or refrigerate.