This post is also available in: Suomi (Finnish)
I think a lot of people can relate to the mixed feelings of stress in our lives. We hate it, but in a way we kind of need it sometimes too. A couple of years ago I was really stressed. I couldn’t sleep, I lost some hair, my appetite and probably a part of my sense of humor too. When I noticed that I wasn’t really able to laugh anymore and I felt constantly exhausted, I knew I had to do something to change the situation. So I started to learn how to control my stress levels. I wrote all my worries down in lists, repeated some power mantras to myself, and tried to see things in a positive light instead of a negative one.
Nowadays I and stress get along pretty well. Most of the time I can be quite relaxed and not worry so much, but every now and then there are days or weeks when there’s a black monster living in my head. The monster usually appears when I feel that my to-do list is way too long and there’s too little time. These feelings have been around in the last couple of weeks as I’ve been trying to balance between my studies at the university here in Amsterdam, random work and traveling back to Finland. A lot of things have been nice and I’m happy to do them, but sometimes you can also have too many things that you like to do. And then it won’t take long when those feelings of being overwhelmed come into the picture and that relaxed, laid back girl is thrown out of the picture.
Luckily, we do have some power over our feelings, thoughts and that to-do list. What I recommend is to first erase all unnecessary things from the list. You know, the ones you think you should do but are not that important. Just erase them. Instead of doing things that really aren’t that important, we should focus on doing the most important ones: eating, sleeping and exercising. Giving up on eating well, sleeping enough or working out regularly seems like a good idea at first (we think we’re more efficient) but it really isn’t a good idea. Been there, done that. And what I’ve learned is that you should always remember to eat, sleep and move your body. And then when the basic things are in order, we’ll just have to trust ourselves, our skills and the fact that everything’s going to work out. ‘Cause it always does! And even if everything doesn’t work out the way we wanted, it won’t be the end of the world. What I’ve learned in the last couple of years with this roller coaster with stress, it is that you shouldn’t take things – and especially yourself – that seriously.
Busy days and weeks require meals that are easy and quick to make. On those kinds of days, my favorites are raw porridges, smoothies, soups and all sorts of things that can be made beforehand and are easy to pack as a lunch or a snack. A day at the office, in the library or even at home is much more comfortable when you’ve got nourishing food waiting for you.
So let me present a smoothie that’s perfect for stress relief. I came up with this recipe for a smoothie workshop that I had last week for one company and since then it has been my favorite. This stress relief miracle is creamy, gentle and has just the right amount of sweetness to make you feel better. To make it nice and creamy, I recommend using frozen banana or just blending some ice with the other ingredients. This smoothie should be so thick that you’ll need a spoon to eat it, and while eating it spoonful at a time you can take some time just for yourself and forget all those unnecessary worries and thoughts. And just give yourself a break. ‘Cause we’re worth it :)
Date, Banana & Coconut Smoothie
makes one big or two small servings
notes: if you don’t have frozen banana, just blend some ice with the other ingredients to make the smoothie really creamy.
2 tbsp hulled hemp seeds
1 big frozen banana
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
4 fresh dates, pitted
1/4 tsp cinnamon
a drop of vanilla extract
+ almonds and hemps seeds for serving
1. Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and add more spices or sweetener if needed. Pour into glasses, top with crushed almonds and hemp seeds, and enjoy!