Normally this is the time of year when I’m so ready to bust out of my winter cocoon and flip on the extroverted switch. Usually I’m feeling so prepared to go out and socialize after months of hibernating, to host a BBQ, and plan some fun summery adventures. But I haven’t hit that mode yet. For the past while I’ve been more focused on looking inward rather than outward, trying to figure out how to feel healthier and happier.
Part of that has materialized in a lot of cleaning and organizing around the house (I guess that’s why they call it spring cleaning?). I can’t feel relaxed if our house seems cluttered or messy, which maybe is a reflection of how my brain feels most of the time; it makes sense that there would be a connection between our physical surroundings and mental/emotional state. So before I can address my cluttered/busy brain, I address what’s in front of me, because making a to-do list of chores is infinitely easier than resolving the stresses in one’s mind. I think it’s a sense of control, like if everything else is running smoothly I can start to address the other stuff. So I pull things out of the fridge and meticulously clean the drawers; grabbing things out of that closet full of random crap and sorting into keep/donate/recycle/trash piles; vacuum, throw on some laundry, start meal prepping.. and when I feel accomplished, I sit down in the quiet and think, ‘What next?’
On a more personal level, I’ve been slightly tweaking how I eat, trying to use my gym membership more (but my motivation comes and goes), and more recently I’ve been getting into the groove of meditating. I used to get together with a handful of co-workers a few years back to listen to a meditation for about 20 minutes, whenever we could coordinate a time that worked. I always felt so calm after, but I could never manage to do it on my own. Every once in a while when I was a little high strung Luke would play one for me as we were going to sleep, and I’m now determined to make it a nightly routine without forcing it too hard. As I post this I’m on day, or night rather, 24 of meditating. I’m going to stop counting soon, mostly so I don’t feel guilty if I skip a night, but also because the goal isn’t about a number, but regaining the feeling of calm in my mind.
While I don’t find it easy to calm my mind every night, I’m at least finding comfort in my nightly routine: tea and magnesium, read my book, then meditate. Some nights it’s more effective than others, but I still feel encouraged to keep trying. If you have any relaxing nighttime routines that you love, let me know!
ps the app that I love the most is Headspace, and I just keep replaying the free 10-day guide over again. I have also used Insight Timer and like it as well for the wide variety, and that it keeps a record of your meditations.
raspberry rhubarb buckle (vegetarian, vegan)
1/2 cup coconut oil, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground white chia seed + 3 tablespoons warm water
1 cup non dairy milk, room temperature
1 1/4 teaspoons orange blossom water
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup diced rhubarb
1 cup raspberries
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil, room temperature
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 325 F convection (or 350 regular).
Streusel: Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl until it feels like wet sand.
Cake: Lightly grease a 10″ cast iron skillet. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the coconut oil and sugar until combined, then add the chia mixture, followed by the milk and orange blossom water. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. With the machine on a low or stir setting, slowly add the flour. When it’s mostly incorporated turn off the machine. Pour into the greased pan, then evenly scatter the fruit over the batter, followed by the streusel. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
I found this cake to be the perfect slightly sweet breakfast treat for me, especially with the streusel topping, but if you want more of a dessert sweetness you can up the sugar in the cake to 3/4 cup.