Do you wake up, curse on the alarm clock, hit snooze, and 3 times after you’ve hit the snooze button finally find it within you to finally get up? Do you drag yourself half asleep to the toilet, wash up and get dressed ? If you are a female good luck; you will have probably changed 3 times already. Do you make your way to the kitchen -which is probably messed up cause… who has the power to clean the dishes from the day before?- and swallow a coffee as fast as you can because and before you know it, it’s already time to go to work…? AGAIN…?! And you cannot even remember where the stupid keys are! AGAIN! This sadly happens to most of us on most days -if you are living alone! Can you imagine living with more than you? Already CHAOS, PANIC, STRESS rule and take over your body!

It is a fact: Most of us go to work ALREADY stressed! Now, we also have our work, our customers, AND our bosses to worry about it ON TOP! Oh, man…!

I can honestly say that the first time at work I felt stressed was my first day at work. Or should I say first week? Or was it more? To be fair, it was a mixture of feelings, most frequently switching from excitement to fear, to stress, to being proud. So I decided I needed to put an end to the negative stuff, especially stress. I dug deep into my notes from the past and found some answers. Before writing this article, I dug a little deeper for us, just to keep us up-to-date 🙂

I cannot STRESS enough how STRESS can kill you. So I hope you and I find these stress management strategies helpful. Please remember, just because it is working for me or others, does not mean it works for you. The list is quite long -options, options ;)- but even if you apply 1/10 of it, you will probably have better chances of limiting the effects of stress -especially chronic stress- than others. Just experiment with a technique for some time -if you are open to it- and see if it is sincerely for you or not.

 

I. What can I do to release stress in the moment?

1. Learn the physiological signs of stress and acknowledge how your body reacts to it. Do not ignore the signs, i.e. sweaty palms, increased heart rate, neck stiffness, upset stomach..

2. Think of the stressor as an opportunity to grow and move on, rather than something negative. Shift your way of thinking and use the rush you get to focus undeniably to the task in hand.

3. Say over and over: “I got this! Done it before, can handle, time to crush it baby!” Believe me when I say, positive thinking will get you a long way! 🙂

4. Activate your yang, your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) that is. The PNS has the ability to calm down the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which is eventually responsible for the adrenaline rush. How to activate your PNS? A simple on-the-spot technique is the “5x5x5 deep breathing“: breath deep through your heart, feel your abdominal muscles and your chest expanding and contracting, imagine your diaphragm moving up and down. 5 seconds inhale, 5 seconds exhale, for a total of 5 deep breaths.

5. Write down a to-do list, prioritise, strategise. Everything will be clearer and you will be able to focus in no time.

6. Talk to someone you trust, someone who can listen and can give advice. Talking things through will always pave the path for a better understanding. It helps us to see the problem with a fresh eye and get to solutions faster. [PS: These kind of people are hard to find, so when you do, cherish them and show them how much you appreciate them]

7. Promote a calm aura, as if you are the Dalai Lama in the middle of a war zone. Relax your face, relax your shoulders, stand up straight, and keep your voice calm and reasonable. Why? Well, consider the last time someone talked to you in  a distressed tone -for me it will always be the nurses… How did you react?

II. What can I do to relieve/release stress on the long run?

1. Take time to define on paper your code of conduct, your dreams and visions, your values and rules, your ideals, ultimate goals, and beliefs. Be honest and ask yourself these little treasures:

A. Where do I stand today?

B. Where do I want to get to?

C. Why?

If question C does not stir up some emotion inside of you, know it is not the right one. So, keep asking why and you will get there. Finally,

D. How do I get to B? What can I do differently?

Knowing your core self will help your focus and allow you to say no to stressful things that may not even be as important or urgent for you and where you want to be.

2. Practice mindfulness techiques purposefully, intentionally, with an open mind & heart.

mindful breathing

pexels-photo-899753.jpeg
Photo by Nguyễn Xuân Trung on Pexels.com

mindful STOP: STOP and smell the flowers 😉

mindful daily routine

mindful eating: smell, sight, sound, texture, taste, temperature

mindful commuting

3. Pay attention to the positives, rather than the negatives: think of something or someone that makes you happy or puts a smile on your face.

4. Practice gratitude:

Write “Thank you” notes

Write gratitude letters

Journal 3 times/week about 3 things you are grateful for. I have noticed that the smaller and the more unimportant something may seem to be, the more I am grateful for it.

5. Volunteer (do acts of kindness), give

6. Connect with others and empower your compassion: with people you love, with people you feel can teach you something new, with strangers.

7. Relax:

Progressive muscle relaxation (Audio)

Diaphragmatic breathing

Guided imaging/visualisation through all our senses to get to our “Happy place”

8. Try destraction methods, i.e. cold showers (not a fan, lol)

9. Have a self-soothing, self-compassionate outlook on yourself: look at your mistakes with kindness, use constructive criticism with yourself rather than cold judgement, see the day as an opportunity for progress instead of perfection. Hug yourself.

10. Be proactive: Plan ahead, use prioritised action lists (what, where, when- even your recreation time!), use if-then statements (i.e. “If it is 20:00, then I will exercise”) and get excited about getting things done! Check out my first blog about planning here!

11. Count your little wins, give yourself a tap on the back, and celebrate your progress any way you feel like!

12. Spend time in nature, in green places.

13. Cherish & nurture your hobbies, recreation and leisure time. If possible do it away from work, and just play and have fun with others.

14. Pray

15. Self-reflect with the help of journaling

16. Use techniques like: Neural feedback or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

17. Search and find a mentor or ask the help of a life coach

 

Appointment booked. I’m all set. Coach me!

$250.00

18. Define your inspirations, role models and heroes according to what you want to improve on.

III. Last but not least, here are some lifestyle changes to consider:

Nutrition: the what is just as significant as the how

The what: limit salt, sugar , “whites”, (i.e. bread, milk, sugar) & red meat,  eat a “rainbow” of vegetables and fruits, go for healthier carbs & nuts, drink plenty of water.

The how: mindfully, without TV, enjoy and talk to others

Exercise: 30 min/day moderate, aerobic exercise (which means not being able to talk with ease) & weight bearing (yoga, pilates, weight-lifting). Zumba® is a fantastic, fun way to tone, burn calories and most importantly have FUN! Check my Zumba instructor page! Check out when the next class takes place and make sure you share your love by clicking on the ♥ button!

Zumba Basic 1

Sleep: 7-9 hrs/d is considered physiological.

Take care of your sleep hygiene, i.e. avoid exercise, alcohol, smoking, caffeine at least 2 hrs before going to bed. Control the sleeping environment, combat cognitive hyperactivity with breathing or meditation.

Now it’s up to you? How does your body, mind, health experience stress? What have you been doing so far? What is working, what not? What would work? Which practices, tools, ideas are you ready to give a go? Which others come to mind?

I would be happy to connect with you!

Until then,

∞ ,

Curious Sabrina

 

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Cooking could be a anything from a necessity to survive to a loving hobby. In my family cooking is most important on Sunday as we all come together for lunch-dinner (#liner) at around 16 o’ clock. Well, at least this is how I remember it when I was living with my parents.

It was important to learn how to cook, I am proud to say I could do the basics before I went to university. During university cooking was rather more of a time management thing. And trust me I was bad at time management at 17.  Even nowadays I feel like I am out of touch with time at times, wanting to escape and throw away my watch… But that is a post for another time 😉

Getting to know a cute guy- it is always a guy, isn’t it?- I was intrigued to understand better where he is coming from, his culture and his people’s habits. And what a better place to start than cooking! Before I knew it, I had found a course in Aargau, registered and a few months later I was standing in front of a group of strangers who had the same curiosity as I did. A couple had received the course as a gift, another couple were friends of the Chef (Andreas was his name I believe) as I understood it, and there was even a couple that had met through these cooking courses and got married! They even shared with us the story of their marriage and the food -yes, it was ALL about food that day-  Andreas had prepared for them. With every story I was thinking to myself “Shit! How did you manage to come here alone?” But that is a story for another time 😉

In the beginning the team enjoyed a little bit of freshly made bread, which was melting in your mouth 🙂 The kitchen was smelling herby, italian herby. Wine and water were complementing our late afternoons. We were all instructed to wear white aprons and wash our hands. The aprons had a bright white color, and a rather complicated mechanism for adjusting the “tails” of the apron. You see, we were given two tails of cloth. Each had at a button at one end, which would help the tail stay fixed. The other end would go through a tiny hole of the apron. Once this was done on both holes – I feel so naughty…- we would basically tie the apron with the tails around our waist. My days… this is harder to describe than to actually do! You get the picture, the complicated picture! I was expecting to where one of those tall Chef hats as well, but I guess I am in a hurry lol. One needs to deserve “The Hat”, it is like the stars of a military uniform I guess.

The Chef and the Sous-chef explained the several dishes for us. The newbie might have felt overwhelmed in the beginning – I felt that way too, especially when hearing all those new names of dishes and ingredients and trying to remember how to do each dish. Eleven or so dishes, different ingredients, different techniques and tools. Apparently there were easy and not so easy dishes. Thankfully we were each responsible for 1-2 dishes which did not lead to a catastrophe, i.e. burning the place down, which would have been a shame because they had recently renovated the place.  

Now first things first. The meat was a priority because it would have to go in the oven asap for all those beautiful spices to marry together with the protein. I do not cook lamb at home but you never know when you are going to need a recipe like this one. “So focus Sabrina and record this- in your mind that is because your phone battery just died.”

Then it was our turn. As we all began cooking, I could hear the hustle and bustle in the kitchen. Everyone was talking, trying to figure out what was supposed to go down. The uncertainty mixed with a feeling of excitement were lingering in the air. A part of me was glad because I was a bit lost as well.

In the end I prepared the desert, which was rather chosen for me – I guess I was the only one looking baklavish enough. The desert, muttabaq I think was its name, did not seem THAT complicated, it was all about understanding the steps and following the recipe. Now, understanding a recipe is not that easy, especially when there are several bowls and tools lying on your station. And you are thinking to yourself, “OK, what is this for? Well, if this is for this, then what the fuck does this do?”. Both Andreas and the Sous-Chef (sorry, didn’t catch the second’s name) were always going around, checking if someone needed help, explaining the steps. And that was lovely, because I did not really know how to start. Anyways, after I got into it and finished the sweet, I put it in the oven and then it was time for the sirup. Now a sirup I CAN do and I felt I wanted to just play a little bit 🙂

So I started using all those fascinating ingredients I could find. I was so intrigued and started opening all kinds of bottles of spices! There were some I knew but others I have never heard of. Just by sniffing a bit, one could intuitively figure out which spices to sprinkle like magic dust in the sirup, which is usually nothing but water and sugar dissolved above a heat source to speed things up and help them marry better together. The whole process was just amazing. I love playing around with spices!

By this time the kitchen was smelling like Morocco, or at least as if we were transported to a region of the arab world.

This is the end result right here:

 

 

Lucky for us, there was a Thermomix lying around and the poached peaches were made by another team member, or as we could be called in the kitchen, little Cook de Partie.

The most beautiful thing however came once we were all done cooking. The Chef and Sous-Chef had prepared a wonderful homy table for us. We all served  ourselves and sat together in good company enjoying all our efforts together.

Oh, the food was so delish! And the place was smelling so appetizing, my saliva was drooling! The meat was just sliding off the bone, it was tender and smooth, smelling warmth and home. And you know, the rest of the dishes were good 🙂 Well, I didn’t mean to make it sound like that. Let me try and save it: The beautiful little pitas with spinach and hot spices in them, man I can eat that for breakfast, lunch and dinner! What caught my tongue -are we allowed to say that?- was the oven-baked aubergines with sheep’s yoghurt, zatar and pomengranate. It was so appetising to the eye, I felt my pupil was going to come out and take a bite! I still make this dish on a regular basis. It is soooo easy and just makes me happy every time I taste it 🙂

Food and cooking brought once again a group of strangers together. There was small talk of course about what we do and how the weather is – yes, we are in Switzerland, these are two favourite topics in any convo- and then there was talk about finances, and food prices and genome modification of tomatoes.

By the end, we -minus moi because of the battery- had pictures as evidence to savour the experience. Then again, that was a great way of getting people’s digits 😉

Would I do this experience again? Absofuckinglutely!

And I did, but that is a story for another time! 😉

Want my fav recipes? Follow me through email and ask for them! I am preparing handmade recipe cards for a quick download and print as we speak!

Now, how about you? What brings your family together? What connects you to the world?

Can’t wait to hear from you, my lovely Curious Creature!

Till then, mwah!