Lentil Vegetable SoupTis the season where we’re all insane hectic. We forget that this time of year means slowing down, hibernating, nourishing ourselves, and getting more rest. Our busy lives don’t allow for that. I have more things planned in December than I have had all year, and so far, none of it has to do with family or friends – it is all work travel, planning events, and arranging workshops. And that is great. I love what I do, and I’m lucky. But we all must slow down, too.

This is why we get sick, and why we get crabby, and why we get upset when things don’t go our way (things don’t ever go as we expect, right? So let’s just drop the expectations, to start).

Every year, I rejoice the shorter days. Nothing makes me happier than reading, journaling, meditating, writing, and I feel like I have to make less of an excuse when it’s dark out to be doing those things than I do in the summertime. So in many ways, this is my favorite time of year.

If you’re feeling hectic or tired or drained, here are some tips:

  1. Go to restorative yoga. Today. There’s a lot of yoga studios here in Fort Worth, which means there are probably also a lot of them in the city you live in as well. One of them, if not several, is offering a restorative yoga class, today. For about $20, or less, you can go and experience an hour of bliss. Go. Sign up now. All you’ll be doing is laying on the floor with various props and hopefully assists, and every single bit of it will be worth it. Look up your studios, and make an appointment. It’s the best and cheapest form of self love that I know of. One of my students leaving my restorative yoga class today said, “I didn’t think I could squeeze this in today, and I thought my mind would be scattered the whole time, thinking of everything I need to do for Thanksgiving. But this was exactly what I needed“. Yep. You can get that too. Sign up!
  2. Make your foods in advance. Duh, right? This is hard for me to remember, and so I’m telling you, too. Go to the store early in the morning and go with a list and then come home and start chopping. Put all the chopped veggies in bags or containers and put them in the fridge. You just saved 20 minutes of time from your evening routine, when your kids are home and you’re rushed and so you’re about to reach for the Door Dash app (I don’t have kids, and I do this, nearly every week). Don’t do it! Prep in advance.
  3. When traveling, bring the one thing that will help you calm down. I hear people all of the time say that they bring 5 oils and a candle and their journal and disinfectant spray and who knows what else when they’re traveling. I like to travel as light as possible, and carrying (and trying to fit) all of that stuff only stresses me out. Bring the one thing – one – that you need to decompress. For me, it’s one essential oil blend that I love. I don’t need any others while I’m away from home. I have a notepad in my purse at all times that I use for various inspirations, and that is what I use to journal with when I’m away. No need to carry anything bulky, or to travel with too much.
  4. Think of that person who drives you crazy. It didn’t take long for that one person (or many) to come to mind, right? Come up with a way to 1. not see them over the holidays, or 2. (best option) say to them what needs to be said. Get it out, in a respectful way, and be done with it. You can prep the conversation if that works for you (it has never ever worked for me, but people swear by this). Get it off your chest, and go on with your day. You’ll feel better, and so will they. In my Corporate life, I was in management, so for a decade, I had to hire and fire people. I loved hiring people, I mean, loved it – it’s so fun to find the right person, even when it’s draining and you have 400 resumes on your desk. But firing, oh my gosh, I hated, hated, hated it. Even when the person really needed to go. I would make myself sick, wouldn’t sleep, simply couldn’t handle it, until I was on a work trip in Alabama with my old friend and coworker Kendal and he said: Malloy, you have to realize that by letting this person go, you’re giving them so many more opportunities. It’ll be hard for them at first, but then the right path will appear for them. And by keeping them here, in a job that doesn’t work for them, you’re holding them back. Boom. That’s all it took. He’s so right, and I thought of this often after that day. Say what needs to be said, try not to stress about it, and know that at the end, you’re helping them grow and improve.
  5. OK, alchohol. I love it and hate it. I drink it often, and then I go without for a very long time. I’m in that stage of mostly going without. My suggestion is, try, just try, to not use it so much this season. I know families are stressful and alcohol makes family time better (sometimes) by making everyone seem interesting and funny. But just try to avoid it if you can, and see if you’re less stressed and less irritable and can sleep better. I am so, so much better when I don’t drink. I don’t give it up all the time, but I’m trying to spend more days without. It’s a huge help to be without it (dammit). I wish I could say otherwise.
  6. Write out what you are grateful for. And smile. Just the act of smiling will lift your spirits. And writing out what you are grateful for is an excellent way to stay centered around what’s good in your life.

For me, I worked over the weekend to get caught up on my marketing job so that I could destress a bit more this week and go to one yoga class a day. That’s my favorite way to stay centered. As they say on every flight you’ll take, put your mask on first. Do this each and every day and you’ll be more ready to take on all of the good and bad that comes your way. Going to yoga is my way of putting my mask on first. I hope you find your self-care and get in as much of it as possible this season. I’ve been cataloging my fave Fort Worth studios on my Instagram account this week. If you’re also on Instagram, please follow along.

Have a beautiful Thanksgiving.

Love, Jen.

Lentil Vegetable Soup

Put Your Mask on First, and Make this Veggie Soup

Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Total Time 1 hr 40 mins
Course Soups
Cuisine Vegan
Servings 10 bowls

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 3 tbsp. chili powder
  • 3 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 c. green lentils
  • 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 32 oz. vegetable broth
  • 24 oz. water (or veg. broth)

Instructions
 

  • In a large stock pot, cook the onion and garlic over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add the veggies and spices, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add the lentils, tomatoes, broth and water, and bring to a boil. Then simmer, covered, for 60 minutes.
  • Top with vegan sour cream, sliced avocados, jalapeños, or your favorite toppings, and enjoy!
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