Congratulations to our Day 6 winner: Antoinette Toni Green who will receive a $10 Starbucks gift card!
The holiday season often brings unwelcome guests — stress and anxiety! The holidays bring a new set of demands — shopping, baking, and cleaning. Preparing for the holidays and entertaining can drain us and make us feel overwhelmed and stressed to the max.
This week I felt like a failure. All the goals, habits and healthy choices I have worked so hard for this year was tossed off to the side like a used dishrag.
I’ve learned it’s important to monitor your stress levels throughout the day. I try and take notice when I’m getting more revved up or tense than normal. Once I determined I’m stressed, (or my family tells me!) I take a minute or two to pause.
Here are some ideas I’ve used to help me hit the pause button during the preparations.
- Take a few deep, slow breaths. When I buckle down to concentrate or work hard, I’m breathing more shallowly.
- Listen to Christmas music. I love to play a YouTube video on my phone as it changes my disposition and I can pop in my air buds or carry my phone with me while I go.
- Make a cup of peppermint tea. When it comes to relieving stress and anxiety, peppermint tea is one of the best.
- Read. A blog post, scripture or dive into a good book. I love to finish my day reading, but it also helps if I need help breaking busy.
- Pause and appreciate the sights the holidays bring. It’s a beautiful time of year.
- Pause and leave the room. “I need a bathroom break” is a great stress-buster.
- Make healthy food choices. What we put into our bodies can either rev us up or bring us down.
It’s also beneficial to recognize that you are wired differently than anyone else. We are uniquely made which is beautiful but sometimes others do not understand us and our needs. I’m an introvert so when I am stressed, I need to be alone. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, can refresh me enough to handle everything you need to do.
I also find that having a “treat” to eat can do wonders. Certain foods, such as oatmeal, can reduce levels of stress hormones and also result in a boost in serotonin, which stimulates a feeling of calmness. If you have a full day planned, start it with oatmeal.
Nibble on dark chocolate. Having a piece of (healthy) dark chocolate does wonders for me!
So this holiday season, pause during the preparations. Make yourself a cup of peppermint tea, and enjoy a gingerbread mug cake! These little cakes are moist, gooey, and completely guilt-free!
Contest: What helps you pause during your Christmas preparations? What helps you recharge? Are you working on breaking busy despite the crazy Christmas season? Share in the comments to win!
Prize: Gourmet Spice Collection
Gingerbread Mug Cake
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter, softened or melted (no margarine allowed!)
1 Tbsp. applesauce
15-20 drops of Gingerbread Liquid Stevia
Whisk wet ingredients in a larger size mug or individual souffle dish until somewhat fluffy. Blend in dry ingredients until mixed well.
Although these can be made in the oven using a muffin pan or souffle dish, you can microwave them if an oven is unavailable or you only have a minute to bake it.
Place cup in the microwave and cook for 1 – 1/2 minutes. Microwave cooking can be tricky so be careful not to overcook your cake—it may become dry. No worries if it is, we have a lot of options below to salvage your cake or just enjoy it in different ways.
Mix it up with these Delicious Options
- Add 1 tsp. natural peanut butter
- Add 1/2 tsp. hemp seeds
- Add 2 Tbsp. protein powder (you may want to cut down on the flax meal)
- Sprinkle with cinnamon, pumpkin seasons or protein powder (shown).
- Substitute the applesauce for organic or plain yogurt or Greek yogurt.
- Top with a dollop of yogurt. Extra delicious with a few more drops of Gingerbread Stevia mixed in.
- Pour almond, rice or whole organic milk over the cake and enjoy every moist bite.
- Cut your cake into slices and spread with a thin layer of butter
- Dip in almond milk bite-by-bite.
We hope you enjoy this recipe during the holidays and all year long!