Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

I made these muffins this morning and posted this picture on Facebook. A couple of people commented that they would like the recipe so I am posting it here on my blog. These have been a staple for Tom for breakfast for many years now. He also likes “Breakfast Brownies” which are chocolate zucchini muffins. I believe I have those posted on my blog somewhere, but I’ll re-post for your convenience.

I love to bake and I began making muffins instead of loaves of bread due to the built-in portion control they offer. It was just too easy to cut 1/3 of the loaf and justify in my mind that I had a “slice”of banana bread. HA! Please be sure to review the nutritional data, the information is calculated per muffin. These are made with whole wheat flour and oats which add fiber. Taking in fiber when carbohydrates are ingested slows down the impact on blood sugar levels. This leads to more stable blood sugar without spikes in insulin production. Our bodies then have more time to burn the carbohydrates before they are stored as fat. This is a good thing. If you have a muffin and one egg with coffee for breakfast, your day will be off to a great start!

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cup Oats
  • 1 TBSP. baking powder
  • 1 TBSP. baking soda
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup Splenda/Stevia
  • 1 cup no sugar added applesauce
  • 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 4 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 4 egg whites or 1/2 cup egg substitute
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips (may be omitted, nutritional info. below)
  • Cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt then set aside
  3. Mix together Splenda, applesauce, milk, and egg whites until smooth
  4. Add in bananas
  5. Add dry ingredients into banana mixture and stir just until combined
  6. Stir in chocolate chips
  7. distribute batter into 24 muffin cups
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes
 Nutrition Facts
Servings 24.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 159
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4 g 6 %
Saturated Fat 2 g 9 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Sodium 25 mg 1 %
Potassium 170 mg 5 %
Total Carbohydrate 29 g 10 %
Dietary Fiber 4 g 14 %
Sugars 9 g
Protein 4 g 8 %
Vitamin A 1 %
Vitamin C 6 %
Calcium 4 %
Iron 6 %

 

Nutrition Facts (without chocolate chips)
Servings 24.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 112
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1 g 2 %
Saturated Fat 0 g 1 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Sodium 25 mg 1 %
Potassium 170 mg 5 %
Total Carbohydrate 23 g 8 %
Dietary Fiber 4 g 14 %
Sugars 4 g
Protein 4 g 8 %
Vitamin A 1 %
Vitamin C 6 %
Calcium 4 %
Iron 6 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Macros…Smackroes.

Lots of talk lately about macros. Maybe you feel silly because you don’t know what macros are or understand what they have to do with weight. I kept seeing IIFYM on blogs and social media and was clueless, so thankfully Goggle helped me out! (It stands for If It Fits Your Macros.) Macros is short for macro-nutrients: Carbohydrates (carbs), proteins, and fats used for fuel by the body. Many body builders count their macros to ensure that their intake of protein is sufficient to “make gains”. Athletes of all kinds have tweaked macro intake to “cut” or “bulk” or maximize performance. The reality is our bodies are complex machines that are built for survival. And just as an engine requires gasoline, oil, oxygen, and spark to purr…our bodies require different types of fuel to function properly.

There is nothing wrong with counting macros but you certainly don’t have to in order to be healthy or lose weight. The science continues to hold true that food intake – calories burned = weight lost or gained. If you eat 2500 calories everyday and only burn 1800 calories everyday, at the end of the year you are going to have added some pounds to your frame. Science.

Here’s how I keep it simple. I use My Fitness Pal to track my intake. There are many apps available that will track calories, macros, exercise, ovulation…you name it! The important thing is to track what you are taking in. Set some goals, pick your app, and get started.

My Fitness Pal allows custom goals to be entered. I work out regularly which includes strength training, so I set my daily macros at 50% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 20% fats. I do not stress about these numbers. By setting these goals, I can make educated food choices that will give my body what it needs. For instance, if I’m feeling lethargic and I note that I had eggs (protein) for breakfast, and a Baby Bell mini cheese wheel (protein and fat) for a quick snack, it quickly becomes evident that some carbohydrates would be an excellent choice for a snack to perk myself up. My body is lethargic because it needs quick fuel. Carbohydrates are our body’s #1 choice for fuel. Cue an apple, banana, carrot sticks, or hummus with red peppers. This logical approach to eating helps me to think of my body as a machine needing fuel instead of a hot mess of emotions that just wants chocolate all day, all the time. It doesn’t always work, but I keep moving forward.

I also enter my weight and my desired weight into my customized goals. The app spits out an approximate daily calorie count for me to aim towards. This is not a detailed nutritional analysis like I would receive from a dietitian, but it is certainly a helpful guide and place to begin (and free)! Once I track my intake for a couple of weeks, if I’m not getting the results I want, I can look back and figure out where I need to make changes in my plan. Maybe I didn’t stick to my calorie count or eat many vegetables. If I look back over the previous weeks and see that most days I only logged breakfast…that is a clue, right? Weight management and living a healthy lifestyle are not going to just happen…we gotta commit and work at it every day.

Key Points:

Eat regularly. Remember your body is a machine built for survival. If many hours pass without fuel, it defaults into storage mode. This is why breakfast is important. You have fasted all night, it is time to tell your body that food is abundant and it can burn it, not store it. Shoot to eat every 3-4 hours while awake. This keeps your metabolism humming.

Track your intake. Eating a large meal every 3-4 hours will not result in too much of a good thing! Portion control is critical. Variety is so important as well. By tracking intake you can see if you are getting all the nutrients that you need. A balanced diet including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats is the goal.

Move! Walk, crawl, roll, jump…whatever works for you, but get your body moving. Strength training (lift those weights) is important for building muscle which keeps metabolism revved up and strengthens bones and joints. If you don’t own weights or belong to a gym, that’s alright! Get creative. Full water bottles work great as weights.

Plan for Success. Failure to plan = planning to fail, right? Plan your meals, take snacks when you run errands so that you aren’t tempted by those clever marketing tactics. One evening while the family watches TV, cut up veggies and wash fruit so that you have quick grabs that fit into your desired lifestyle. You have time, you just need to make healthy eating a priority for yourself (and your family).

AuntJodiIt is so great for me to write about all of this! It reminds me why I do what I do and encourages me to keep doing it! I don’t do what I want to every day. I don’t always eat nutritious foods or log my intake. But I’m trying. Blogging helps me to re-focus; I hope you are encouraged to create the life you really want too. Take good care of yourself, you are the only one that can be you!

 

 

 

Macros…Smackroes.

Lots of talk lately about macros. Maybe you feel silly because you don’t know what macros are or understand what they have to do with weight. I kept seeing IIFYM on blogs and social media and was clueless, so thankfully Goggle helped me out! (It stands for If It Fits Your Macros.) Macros is short for macro-nutrients: Carbohydrates (carbs), proteins, and fats used for fuel by the body. Many body builders count their macros to ensure that their intake of protein is sufficient to “make gains”. Athletes of all kinds have tweaked macro intake to “cut” or “bulk” or maximize performance. The reality is our bodies are complex machines that are built for survival. And just as an engine requires gasoline, oil, oxygen, and spark to purr…our bodies require different types of fuel to function properly.

There is nothing wrong with counting macros but you certainly don’t have to in order to be healthy or lose weight. The science continues to hold true that food intake – calories burned = weight lost or gained. If you eat 2500 calories everyday and only burn 1800 calories everyday, at the end of the year you are going to have added some pounds to your frame. Science.

Here’s how I keep it simple. I use My Fitness Pal to track my intake. There are many apps available that will track calories, macros, exercise, ovulation…you name it! The important thing is to track what you are taking in. Set some goals, pick your app, and get started.

My Fitness Pal allows custom goals to be entered. I work out regularly which includes strength training, so I set my daily macros at 50% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 20% fats. I do not stress about these numbers. By setting these goals, I can make educated food choices that will give my body what it needs. For instance, if I’m feeling lethargic and I note that I had eggs (protein) for breakfast, and a Baby Bell mini cheese wheel (protein and fat) for a quick snack, it quickly becomes evident that some carbohydrates would be an excellent choice for a snack to perk myself up. My body is lethargic because it needs quick fuel. Carbohydrates are our body’s #1 choice for fuel. Cue an apple, banana, carrot sticks, or hummus with red peppers. This logical approach to eating helps me to think of my body as a machine needing fuel instead of a hot mess of emotions that just wants chocolate all day, all the time. It doesn’t always work, but I keep moving forward.

I also enter my weight and my desired weight into my customized goals. The app spits out an approximate daily calorie count for me to aim towards. This is not a detailed nutritional analysis like I would receive from a dietitian, but it is certainly a helpful guide and place to begin (and free)! Once I track my intake for a couple of weeks, if I’m not getting the results I want, I can look back and figure out where I need to make changes in my plan. Maybe I didn’t stick to my calorie count or eat many vegetables. If I look back over the previous weeks and see that most days I only logged breakfast…that is a clue, right? Weight management and living a healthy lifestyle are not going to just happen…we gotta commit and work at it every day.

Key Points:

Eat regularly. Remember your body is a machine built for survival. If many hours pass without fuel, it defaults into storage mode. This is why breakfast is important. You have fasted all night, it is time to tell your body that food is abundant and it can burn it, not store it. Shoot to eat every 3-4 hours while awake. This keeps your metabolism humming.

Track your intake. Eating a large meal every 3-4 hours will not result in too much of a good thing! Portion control is critical. Variety is so important as well. By tracking intake you can see if you are getting all the nutrients that you need. A balanced diet including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats is the goal.

Move! Walk, crawl, roll, jump…whatever works for you, but get your body moving. Strength training (lift those weights) is important for building muscle which keeps metabolism revved up and strengthens bones and joints. If you don’t own weights or belong to a gym, that’s alright! Get creative. Full water bottles work great as weights.

Plan for Success. Failure to plan = planning to fail, right? Plan your meals, take snacks when you run errands so that you aren’t tempted by those clever marketing tactics. One evening while the family watches TV, cut up veggies and wash fruit so that you have quick grabs that fit into your desired lifestyle. You have time, you just need to make healthy eating a priority for yourself (and your family).

AuntJodiIt is so great for me to write about all of this! It reminds me why I do what I do and encourages me to keep doing it! I don’t do what I want to every day. I don’t always eat nutritious foods or log my intake. But I’m trying. Blogging helps me to re-focus; I hope you are encouraged to create the life you really want too. Take good care of yourself, you are the only one that can be you!

 

 

 

The Grief Walk

Image result for griefAs a nurse, I experience many emotions with families that cross my path. The spectrum involved in one day can sometimes be dizzying and is often exhausting. The powerful emotions surrounding loss can easily overwhelm even the most veteran nurses when tragic loss arrives during a “normal” work day, unannounced and uninvited. A chaplain offers a prayer, nurses gather to cry and hug, and then the serving resumes. We proceed through our shifts and appear to be unscathed…but loss always leaves a mark, whether acknowledged or not. The grieving process is the healing process. As nurses we talk through our losses. We manage them alone at night while the rest of the world sleeps. The goal being to walk all the way through the grief and experience healing that can then ignite deeper compassion and nursing care that promotes true health and wellness for our patients as well as ourselves.

Our response to loss initiates an extensive ripple effect through our lives. It is worth acknowledging and discussing. I think people don’t understand how many losses are really experienced throughout life. Things that we may think are “just a part of life” create losses/wounds that need to be grieved. It is easier to disregard the impact of loss then to address the emotions of these difficult times. Left alone, these emotions destroy us. They build up and become distorted and impact us physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. However, when we are willing to grieve and walk through the pain and out on the other side, we transform a gaping wound to a small scar. We can lift our heads and embrace a new normal.

So why have I brought up such an uplifting topic? My work allows me to see new life coming into the world every shift, and I wonder what lies ahead for these small miracles that have landed in this family called the human race. Hatred seems to be growing like a forest fire after a drought and I have to wonder…is this a ripple from grief and loss that have not been healed but rather passed down through generations? When the response to tragedy is finding someone to blame…a seed of hatred is planted. When the response to loss is jealousy of others who haven’t experienced that same loss…seeds of contempt and entitlement are planted. When the response to loss is isolation and self-pity…seeds of bitterness and resentment are planted. Destructive coping skills can impact families through generations and create deep chasms of pain in stone hearts. These hearts turn into nations imploding.

Loss is a given, but grieving and healing areImage result for grief choices and not mandatory. When we acknowledge our feelings and our grief, we are accepting the hurt and pain that come from the healing process. We must be vulnerable and welcome uncertainty and that is not in our comfort zone. However, the beauty is that as we journey, we grow and develop new skills. We meet others that reach back to aid us in our assent. And we stop the bleeding and heal. Then we can turn around and extend a hand to others with soft hearts and eyes filled with tenderness instead of hatred. I have walked a few roads that involved extreme loss and I have many scars. These times were dark, heavy, and oppressive. I would not want to experience them again. But the emotional stamina, faith, strength, confidence, hope, and clarity of thinking that I have today were all developed and nurtured during the grief walks of my life. Now, my scars offer common ground when others that are hurting. Ripples of empathy and non-judgmental kindness instead of hatred, bitterness, and pain are the result.

Take a moment and think about losses you have experienced. Some will be enormous, like loss of trust or control from an abusive situation or loss of a loved one or wayward child. Some may seem insignificant like the loss of a pet or a friend moving away. All loss leaves a mark. When kids move away we experience loss. When we retire there are losses to address. When loved ones pass and there are no answers, the loss is immense. We all experience loss and must choose our responses carefully.

I pray for you today as you read this blog. My journey has led me to a deep faith in God that sustains me each day. I know that He can be trusted and is my unwavering foundation of security no matter what losses come my way. Maybe I just lost you there. Maybe you have been hurt by something that happened to you at church or someone’s actions who said they were a Christian. I understand and I truly am sorry. My prayer is that you take it up with God. His shoulders are big enough and He can handle even the most rambunctious human heart. This is encouragement for healing, a hand reaching back, an acknowledgment of need. Please stop the bleeding and find rest and peace.

 

 

“May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14, New Living Translation)

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Way

 

laughing-baby Unique from the Beginning

From our first breath, we are unique. I see it every day in my job as a baby nurse. Some infants are quiet and content, some are feisty and “talkative”. Some babies want to be held all the time, other babies need a break from the cuddling. I continue to be in awe of the unique personality traits that are evident from the first moments of life. From feet to fingerprints, we are individuals and one-of-a-kind miracles from the moment we arrive on this earth until the moment we take our last breath.

In order to fully embrace our lives, we must understand, accept, and remind ourselves daily that we are unique…and that is how it supposed to be. You have been created with a unique set of gifts, talents, desires, and characteristics. When honed and mastered these skills will enrich your life and bless those who come in contact with you. So, open your heart and identify your strengths. Nurture them, refine them, use them, and relax in knowing you are exactly who you were meant to be and you are precious.

In our world buzzing with social media it is easy to get lost and believe that only other people are having fun, enjoying life, and making dreams come true. That is a bunch of b.o.l.o.g.n.a! Don’t waste time wishing you were someone else, spend your time and energy becoming your best you!

Healthy Lifestyle – My Way

A healthy lifestyle means different things to different people. That makes sense being that we are all different! Acceptance of others and their beliefs is an important component of any healthy lifestyle. For me personally, my approach to eating is one of balance and moderation. I enjoy every food group and choose to focus on portions, monitoring my macro-nutrients (Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fats), and overall caloric intake (Thanks My Fitness Pal!). This approach has developed over years of frustration with fad diets and yo-yo weight loss/gain prompting research and commitment to success. It works for me. Does that mean it is the plan, morsel for morsel, that you should immediately apply to your life? Nope. You need to discover your own style, your own methods, and a lifestyle that works with your big picture of life! It is unfair and unrealistic to think that just because a certain plan or approach works for one person that it will work for everyone. Flexibility and adaptability are important components in all of life, including the development and maintenance of a healthy lifestyle.

That said, I still am passionate about sharing what I have learned over the years! Managing diet and nutrition can take up an inordinate amount of space in life and become an obsession. I got so tired of thinking about food all the time while trying to not eat! So I share, hoping to lighten your load and encourage you. If you truly desire to lose weight and eat healthfully, you can do it. It takes commitment and acceptance that habits will not change overnight, but you can do it. It takes support and willingness to be uncomfortable, but you can do it. It requires learning new things and applying that knowledge, but you can do it. You have to want it more than you want the instant gratification of a yummy morsel, but you can do it!

So what is “Your Way”?

What works for you? If you don’t have success stories, then what you do have is valuable experience. You have learned what doesn’t work for you and that is very helpful! When you fail (and we all do), realistically evaluate what happened and adjust the plan. Don’t keep trying the same thing and expect different results. This behavior modification is the difference between falling with a crash and burn vs. falling but building strength and momentum! We all run off the rails sometimes. A healthy lifestyle must include a recovery plan and realistic expectations.

baby fat If you know that you love lattes, then don’t develop a plan that completely eliminates lattes or you are setting yourself up for failure! If you are used to eating 2500 calories per day, don’t restrict yourself to 1200 calories and expect that you won’t struggle with that…be realistic and work your way down. Don’t eliminate all bread if you love bread, just commit to lunch being a lettuce wrap instead of a sandwich…small changes grow into bigger ones! Modify and adapt changes in slowly and you are much more likely to enjoy success and create true and lasting change. An additional perk to a slow and steady approach is that you are not so irritable or frustrated! You will be able to sustain changes and even continue to tweak your choices. After a while you will look back and see the emptiness in trying to find satisfaction and contentment in cookie dough or a bucket of chicken.

healthy lifestyle pic                       Some Science

While we can tweak when we eat, what we eat, and how active we are, there are some things we need to accept and apply as fact to our healthy lifestyle plans. Here are a few things to log away as “givens”:

  • All calories count. Healthy food, junk food, vacation food, food no one sees you eat, every calorie in is faithfully either utilized or stored by your amazing body.
  • Math is involved. If your caloric intake is less than your caloric output then you will lose weight. If your caloric intake is more than your caloric output you will gain weight. Friend, it is math, I’m sorry, but it is. If you honestly and consistently create a calorie deficit, you will lose weight.
  • Balance is required. Our bodies function best from a combination of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. If you want your body to perform for you, you must fuel it appropriately. This is about more than weight loss or gain, it is for your overall health and wellness. Our immune systems, emotions and coping mechanisms, mental processes, hormone cascades, and sleep cycles all depend on a balanced diet to function at optimum settings.
  • Patience is required. Weight management is an ongoing goal. Our bodies are complex and our habits are hard-core. Be patient with yourself and take one day at a time…one choice at a time.

               “The way I live either contributes to the darkness of our world or to the light

                                               and hope of our world.”  ~ Ann Smith

 

Muffin yumminess…yes please!

I took these to work this week and the girls gave them the thumbs up. I wanted to share the recipe with them and thought I’d post it here to share it with you too! I love food. I love texture and variety and knowing it is actually fueling my body at the same time it is satisfying my taste buds.

I am not on a diet and don’t encourage them. I have created and manage a healthy lifestyle. This allows me to enjoy the foods I love, appreciate fruits and vegetables, proteins, and complex carbs and the benefits of all the pieces that complete a balanced diet.

The key is this: eat foods that digest quickly, like sweets, with foods that slow down the digestion process, like low-fat dairy, high-fiber foods, or foods that contain protein. When we slow the absorption we reduce the glucose hit our body takes, we reduce the insulin rush that is the response to a spike in blood sugar, and we give our bodies Image result for muffin tinsmore time to utilize the calories we have just ingested before storing it as fat.

Balance. Portion Control. Smart choices. One choice at a time and you can create a lifestyle that will allow you to feel good, work hard, play with enthusiasm, and maintain a healthy weight.

Try these pumpkin muffins with your morning coffee and a scrambled egg and you will be all set to feel fabulous as you begin your day!

Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients: 

  • 1 15 oz. can canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg + ¼ cup egg substitute
  • 2 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup applesauce, no added sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup Splenda
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ cups oats
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • ¼ tsp. cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Spray muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. Mix together pumpkin, eggs, bananas, applesauce, Splenda, and vanilla and set aside.
  3. In large bowl, combine flour, oats, soda, powder, spices, and salt.
  4. Add the banana mixture and stir just until combined.  Fold in chocolate chips
  5. Spoon into muffin tin and bake for 18-20 min.

*The nutrition information was created by entering the recipe into My Fitness Pal.

Nutrition Facts
Servings 18.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 140
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5 g 7 %
Saturated Fat 2 g 12 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 12 mg 4 %
Sodium 563 mg 23 %
Potassium 52 mg 1 %
Total Carbohydrate 25 g 8 %
Dietary Fiber 3 g 11 %
Sugars 9 g
Protein 3 g 6 %
Vitamin A 0 %
Vitamin C 0 %
Calcium 1 %
Iron 7 

 

 

 

Stress Management…just do it

What Stress?

Work, Image result for stressed outfamily, relationships, finances, illness, change…the variety of ways stress comes into
our lives presents us all with a challenge. There is no one way to reduce and manage stress. But, it is universally accepted that less stress is better. So, the first important step is identification. You can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge. You know you feel it, just identify and accept what causes stress for you. Don’t worry about if it would cause stress for someone else or if you believe it is less stressful and worthy of attention than what someone else may be experiencing. Your life, your stress, and your job to handle it. Own it and then you can fix it. Identify each stress and your response.

Good stressors, like a promotion or a new baby, are still stressors. Negative stressors, like hectic schedules or holding grudges, need attention. Internal stressors, such as striving for perfection, must be managed. External stressors, such as deadlines at work, must be given an outlet. We need positive and effective coping skills to enjoy physical, emotional, & mental wellness. The first step is identifying what is stressing you. The next step is identifying what you can do to reduce & manage your stress.

Just do it

We all know the top tips for managing stress I bet. Get enough sleep, eat right, exercise, meditate/pray, play, take time for yourself…blah, blah, blah. That is what you expect me to say, right? Well, I’d love to report that I have new information and there is now a pill. You can take this pill and your stress will be relieved; you will sail through adversity without a tight muscle or added pound; you will glide through 17 dance, gymnastic, and soccer practices a week, help with homework, and still prepare healthy meals with a smile and a hug; and you can immediately dismiss hurt feelings and apologize to your spouse without shedding a tear! Ummmmm…not gonna happen! Here’s the truth: in this life there will be trouble (John 16:33), we will have stress, good and bad, and we get to decide if we manage stress or if stress gets to call all the shots, even determining our health. So just do it.

SoAuntJodi, as your friendly u.b.healthy coach and mentor, I’d like to gently encourage you to pay attention! Today is the day to make changes and decrease the impact of stress on your physical body as well as your mental health. The stress level you live with impacts not only you, but everyone around you. (As does your effective or not-so-effective set of coping skills) None of us get to try today over again…this is it. This is not like Solitaire where you can play and then hit the button to “replay this game” now that you see the correct moves. The impact of stress is very real inside our bodies and chronic stress is very damaging in the short-term as well as the long-term. It is time for us to take stress management seriously and enjoy our lives more each and every day.

Usually I try to stay positive in my approach here, but I feel the need to help us all identify some poor and ineffective coping habits regularly on display all around us:

  • Denial/Suppression
  • Isolation
  • Procrastination
  • Indulging addictions (food, alcohol, shopping, gambling, drugs, etc.)
  • Ranting/Rage

I’m sure this list is not exhaustive, but it covers a lot of the most common “fails”. These strategies create more stress and perpetuate dysfunction in our lives. Procrastination is probably the culprit if you read this and say to yourself, “this is true, I do need to manage stress differently”, and then get up and get a snack.

Change is a choice and is often difficult. These types of ineffective coping skills were probably modeled in our homes and are reinforced daily everywhere we look. But making changes in how we manage stress has enormous rewards. Rewards for us personally, our families, and our co-workers. So, yes, I’m encouraging you to slow down, take time for yourself, eat a healthy and balanced diet, exercise, enjoy being outside, breathe deeply, meditate, pray, spend time with friends, have fun, laugh, play, sleep, eliminate grudges and comparisons to others, and share with trusted friends the concerns on your heart. Take time to share, but also to listen, to advice from people who know you, love you, and have your best interest at heart. This is your one shot at today, don’t just wish it was over, decide to enjoy it.

“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” – Winnie the Pooh

 

Night Songs

Surviving life with grace and hope

u.b.healthy

Create the life you want