Spring reminds me of fresh starts, new beginnings, and growing things. Plants wake up and start blooming. The air changes. Earth smells fresh. Temperatures (hopefully) start to warm up. People open windows and doors to let fresh air in. And many people feel the urge to start Spring Cleaning. Or may want to clean, but feel anxious about it. Perhaps use cleaning as a coping strategy for anxiety or anxious feelings. Still other people feel the opposite and do everything possible to avoid house cleaning. No matter what emotions or thoughts the spring season brings for you, I hope the following information and recipe help you with your cleaning goals. Anxiety and Cleaning I don’t know about you, but cleaning house does not always feel easy or safe to do. For me, cleaning can be a physical and energetic challenge. The physical actions and smells bring flashbacks and body memories from childhood and adolescence. My muscles lock up and stop working. Or send sharp, stabbing pains in unusual places that send panic attack signals to the rest of me. … Whether you use cleaning to manage your anxiety, avoid cleaning to manage anxiety or fall somewhere in the middle, there are ways to keep your space as clean as you deserve on your terms. Plant based cleaners and DIY recipes are two options.
Cleaning as a Coping Strategy or a Coping Challenge?
On Scent Reflections, I shared some of my struggles around housekeeping and house cleaning – and an easy DIY recipe.
For many people, cleaning is enjoyable and something that keeps our home feeling safe. It’s a way to remove dirt, dust, germs, or clutter while also providing movement and exercise. Believe me, if you do it right, cleaning is exercise.
And cleaning is an effective coping strategy to combat anxiety, stress, or anxious feelings. It’s a safe way to release energy, offers an immediate reward and feeling of success when the task if finished, and keeps them busy.
For other people, cleaning is a coping challenge that does the opposite of what I described in the previous two paragraphs.
Or maybe (like me) people fall somewhere in the middle of those extremes. Some parts of cleaning are less stressful/anxiety-provoking while others are more.
In the blog post I share two effective coping strategies from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy technique and a favorite cleaning recipe. Maybe they can help you with a similar challenge…or maybe not.
There are times when I feel so sick that I can’t bring myself to eat.
It’s not that I don’t want to eat. Or that the alters don’t want to eat. Solid foods are just plain unappealing and hard to digest. Drinking my food is an option. Soup usually does the trick. Something savory and a little sour helps clear many things up. Other times a smoothie or juice with pulp does the trick.
Only thing is, I don’t the texture or flavor of many pre-made soups and smoothies. Nor do I appreciate the cost per drink/soup or the ingredients in the most commonly available options. They have a hard time meeting my personal requirements
Pleases my senses: taste/smell/texture
Cost per item (I am frugal)
Ease of access (delivery, grocery stores, pick up, storage, make it myself?)
So I started creating my own recipes for homemade drinks, soups, and smoothies. They are nutritionally dense, tasty, smell good, easy to make with a few key tools, and require easy to find ingredients.
Today, I thought I’d share some of my favorite recipes with options:
Basic Green Smoothie:
High powered blender with or without a smoothie option
8 ounces of water, milk, or non-dairy milk (almond is my favorite)
1 handful (or more) of leafy green vegetables – spinach and lettuce do not add to or change the flavor of your smoothie
1 Apple cut into chunks (size depends on power of your blender)
1/2 of a 10 oz bag of frozen mixed berries
4 ounces (approx 1/4 container) of silken tofu
Add ingredients to the blender in this order: liquids, cut fresh fruit, leafy green vegetables, ground/powdered ingredients & seeds, frozen fruit or ice.
Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides or push down ingredients between blending as needed
If the blender gets too full, start blending the liquids and fruit first. Then slowly add in the rest of the ingredients until fully mixed.
Makes between 1-2 (up to 3) servings
Optional ingredients: 1 tsp of ground flaxseed, chia seeds, sesame seeds, etc. for extra vitamins/minerals/fiber
Alternative ingredients A: add banana, avocado, yogurt, or ice to thicken the smoothie. Or add less liquids
Alternative ingredients B: can substitute any apples and mixed berries for any fruits. Can substitute almond milk for any other liquids.
Alternative ingredients C: I don’t recommend meat or eggs for protein. Whey and soy proteins have a weird aftertaste. I’m not vegan or vegetarian, but there are affordable, neutral tasting protein powders that work great in smoothies
Rice porridge aka congee in a slow cooker:
1 cup of white rice
8 – 12 cups of liquid (vegetable-based or meat-based broth)
2 stalks of green onions chopped fine
1 lb of marinated protein (seafood, fish, chicken, pork, tofu, etc.) chopped or diced into medium-sized pieces
1/4 teaspoon of grated or sliced fresh ginger (or 1/8 teaspoon of ground ginger)
Add ins: sesame seeds, peanuts or other nuts, mushrooms, sliced vegetables, salt to taste
Add the rice, broth, meat/protein, ginger, & half of the green onions to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Rice will look like a thick soup and take on color of broth.
Ladle the soup into individual serving bowls. Add sesame seeds, mushrooms, vegetables, and fresh green onions on top and serve.
I prefer to mix everything together and then eat, but it’s a personal preference.
some people cook the meat, fish, or other protein separately and add in just before serving**
I am lazy and often throw everything into the slow cooker at the same time. It tastes just as good, but veggies tend to lose their crispness and meat can taste overcooked.***
Hot flavored water (makes individual servings):
12 oz mug or larger
Water of choice (I use tap)
1-2 teaspoons of Honey (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice or 1/4 wedge of fresh lemon
Frozen or fresh fruit of choice (I tend to use frozen berries, mango, cherries, or pineapple)
Add honey or lemon to cup
Add frozen fruit to cup (fill 1/4 of cup max.)
Boil 6-8 ounces of water
Electric kettle needs a minimum of 2 cups
Boil water on stove top and pour into cup
Pour hot water into the cup and mix with honey/lemon/fruit. Let cool down and enjoy
Pour water in cup and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. Or use the beverage option. Take out and mix honey/lemon juice/fruit with water.
Microwave option A: Add honey or lemon or both and water to cup; microwave on high for 2-3 minutes; take out and mix
Microwave option B: Add frozen fruit and water to cup; microwave on high for 3-4 minutes; take out and mix
For multiple servings: Bring water (best to use 4 cups min.) to a boil in medium-sized pot. Add ingredients to taste. Bring back to a boil, stirring lightly, until water changes color or flavors mix. Turn off heat and pour into mugs.
If you prefer a drink without pulp, separate liquid from pulp using a strainer.
The pulp is great in smoothies, fruit bread, muffins, etc.
I hope the recipes, if you try them, bring you as much comfort as they do me.