Saturday, August 12, 2017

Staying Centered When The World Feels Out of Control



I know I'm not the only one who looks around and thinks our society has collectively gone mad on many levels.

Yesterday, on my way home, I decided to stop into the newest HEB grocery store because I needed to pick up some milk. It was opening day. People were filling the parking lot. I grabbed my milk and decided to look around, but after a couple of minutes decided to head straight for the checkout. It's a beautiful store, shiny and bright, filled with a wide selection of items, but is it really what we need? Wouldn't the world be better with more farmers markets, local bakeries, small mom and pop shops? Do we really need another Wal-mart, Target, corner drug store, gas station, etc.?

Folks, we are rushing headlong into an environmental disaster. And we don't seem to be able to stop ourselves. We are like buffalo running ourselves off a cliff.

While all of this is going on, our country is dangerously divided. People are slinging hateful words at each other, and worse. The threat of a war with two different countries is being flung about. Every day, the news brings something else negative and the divide gets wider.

Then there are our own personal struggles. Right now mine is the struggle to build a thriving business while taking care of all the responsible stuff as a single parent. Some days are about flow. Some days are full of resistance and I just want to give up.

It can be hard to not feel discouraged. But there are some things you can do, that I do, to help keep you in the right mindset.


Acknowledge Your Feelings

It's important that we own how we are feeling. When we feel discouraged, we may try to push down the sadness and disappointment. Or, if you are prone to anxiety or depression, curl up in a ball and hide from the world. But in neither of these instances are we owning how we feel. We need to be able to look in the mirror and say to ourselves, "Yes, I'm feeling really overwhelmed right now.  Things feel out of control."  



Ask Yourself This One Question

What is one step I can take today towards achieving XYZ? Whether XYZ is taking control of where your food comes from, speaking out politically, building a business, working toward minimalism, or something entirely different, just take that one step that is in your power to take. There is always something you can do, no matter how small. 

Minimalize

When you're surrounded only by the things that bring joy to your life or you need to make your life run smoother, your life isn't going to feel as chaotic on a personal level. It's one more thing you can feel you have control over when things aren't going as planned. 


Find Your Tribe

Find people who understand your way of looking at things. Then reach out to them. Isolation can be devastating when you are feeling overwhelmed. I know first hand. Taking a step back is fine, especially if you are an introvert in need of recharging. Hiding out and avoiding people, especially those people who can lift you up, is unhealthy.


Get Out In Nature

Research has shown that exposure to the natural world is healing. If you aren't up for a hike through the wilderness, take your morning coffee outside and listen to the morning bird song. Grab someone from your tribe and go for a walk or run at a local park. You will be avoiding isolation, getting some exercise, and exposing yourself to nature all at once. 

Detach From Social Media

Some of us, like me, depend on social media to promote our businesses. I can't be away from it for large chunks of time. But I can step away for blocks of time. One thing I did so I'm not absent mindedly clicking into Facebook when I'm out is to simply uninstall the app from my phone. I can only access Facebook from my laptop or my tablet. In fact, I don't have any social media apps on my phone, so if you want to get ahold of me when I'm away from my desk you will have to call or text. I'm looking at going further and declaring one solid day where I step back from social media. 

And finally...



Keep A Gratitude Journal

I can't stress this enough. I have kept one for five years now. I switched from keeping a traditional journal to a gratitude journal because I felt like I was focusing too much on the negative stuff. I don't write in it every day, but I do make sure to sit down with it several times a week, especially on those days things don't feel like they are going well. It is on those days that you especially need to sit down and take stock in every positive in your life, no matter how small. Maybe it's just that you got out of bed and combed your hair. Write it down. The plus about a gratitude journal: you won't need to burn them to get rid off all the negative stuff you don't want your children to read when you are gone. 

What do you do to help keep you centered during crazy times? I'd love to hear your stories.



Friday, August 4, 2017

Healthy Black Bean and Corn Salad


I'm not sure why I haven't shared this recipe with you guys yet. It's a summer staple around here. The best part of all is it requires no cooking, thus no heating up your kitchen on an already hot day. Just chop some veggies, toss in some beans, pour on the dressing and you are ready to go! I usually serve with a side of tortilla chips.

A cold bottle of Topo Chico sparkling mineral water tops it all off. Easy to find here in San Antonio, apparently it's gotten the attention from foodies all around the country. It's bottled in Monterrey, Mexico, so it's no surprise that we've known  about it here in south Texas for quite some time. After all, the drive to the border of Mexico is shorter than the drive to Dallas. But, I've strayed off topic. Back to the Black Bean and Corn Salad recipe.



If you want your dressing slightly sweetened, add a little honey to taste, or agave to keep it vegan. You don't have to use fresh corn. I use frozen sweet corn straight out of the bag. I don't even worry about thawing it out.




Black Bean and Corn Salad

  • 3 cups sweet corn (cool, if cooking fresh)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed
  • 2 green onions, chopped
dressing
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • juice from 2 limes
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • salt, to taste
Place corn, tomatoes, avocado, black beans, and green onions in a large bowl. In a separate container, mix together the ingredients for the dressing. Whisk until well combined and pour over the salad. Stir gently to avoid mashing the avocado. Serve immediately.