De-Stress in 3 Minutes or Less

There are many instances when you need something you can do right now, to keep yourself grounded, focused and able to make good decisions. After all, you don’t always have time to take a walk, relax in a hot bath or call a friend to talk things over. That’s what we’ll be talking about here—a 3-minute trick for handling stressful situations in the moment.
Minute 1: Stay Grounded
Here are some simple ideas to keep you grounded when something (or someone) pushes your buttons and your feelings start to spiral out of control:
• Take a few deep breaths. (You can also count to 10, if that helps.) If the stressful situation involves someone else, take a timeout and agree to continue the discussion in a few minutes.
• Remind yourself where you are. Take a look around, noticing and naming the colors and shapes in the space around you.
• Notice the physical sensations you are experiencing. Whether it’s a sinking feeling, turmoil in your stomach, tension in your hands or jaw, restricted breathing, or heat on the back of your neck, try to name the feelings that go with the sensation. Is that sinking feeling fear, or dread? Is the heat a symptom of anger?
The idea here is to stay in your body and in the moment—with what’s real—instead of going inside your mind where all those unreal scenarios are just waiting to get spun out-of-control.
Minute 2: Reality Check
Once you’re calm enough to start thinking productively, put all those thoughts that are clamoring for attention inside your head through a quick reality check. Here are several very common thought patterns that have no place in reality. Do any of these apply to you?
• All or nothing thinking
Example: You go over your calorie limit or eat something on your “forbidden” list, and then decide to keep eating because you’ve already “blown it” for today. Reality: Weight loss is not a one-day event. If you stop overeating now, you’ll gain less and have less to re-lose later. That’s something to feel good about!
• Reading your own thoughts into someone else’s words
Example: Someone made a mildly critical or unsupportive remark to you, and you feel completely devastated. Reality: The more bothered you are by such remarks, the more likely it is that you are being overly critical of yourself. When you treat yourself with respect, what others say won’t matter nearly so much.
• Either-Or thinking
Example: You make a mistake or have a bad day and feel like a complete and hopeless failure. Reality: No one does well all the time. Mistakes are a necessary and valuable opportunity to learn—if you don’t waste them by getting down on yourself.
• Taking care of other people’s business
Example: Something is going badly for someone you care about, and you feel responsible, or pressured to fix it. Reality: People need to learn from their own problems. You aren’t doing anyone a favor by trying to fix things just to make yourself feel better.
Minute 3: Putting Things in Perspective
Most common problems that you face in everyday life are much easier to handle when you keep them in perspective and avoid making mountains out of molehills. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to make sure you aren’t in the mountain-making business:
• How big a deal is this, anyway? If I knew I was going to die in a week, would this be something I would want to spend this minute of my remaining time on?
• Will any bad things happen if I postpone thinking about this until I have more time to figure things out?
• Do I have all the information I need to decide how to respond to this? Do I really know what’s going on here, or am I making assumptions? Am I worrying about things that might not even happen? What do I need to check out before taking action?
• Is there anything I can do right now that will change or help this situation?
• Am I trying to control something I can’t, like what other people think, say, or do?
• Have I really thought through this problem, and broken it down into manageable pieces I can handle one-at-a-time?
Use this approach whenever your thoughts or situations begin to feel overwhelming, and you’ll quickly find that the mountains that seem impossible at first can quickly morph into what they really are—manageable hills that you DO have the ability to climb. All it takes is three little minutes of your time.

Fun in the Mud

When my daughter Isabella asked me to do the Warrior Dash, I had no idea what I was getting myself in for!  We had so much fun and it was definitely more challenging than I expected!

I had not been running in 3 weeks, but still thought my base fitness level would enable me to blow through this fun run.  Little did I know that keeping up with my 15 year old would have me huffing and puffing like a steam engine!  I have been running for 5 years, and my teenager was giving me instructions on how to breathe more efficiently – in through my nose out through my mouth.  I don’t know if its true, but for a die hard mouth breather like me, it was hard to change my pattern!

The first obstacle caught me by surprise, it was a double mound of sticky mud that dropped into quicksand mud, and then into a mud pool.  Everyone was helping each other up the slippery hill, one guy pulling us up, another pushing us from below, which was good, otherwise I never would have gotten my slimy self over that second hump!  Just as I reached the top, victorious, I took a tumble down into the mud pool and ended up totally covered in muddiness.

My son Nick got one of his shoes stuck in the quick-mud, and while attempting to dig it out, lost the other one as well.  In true Studly Nick fashion, he said “leave them” and ran the rest of the 3 mile course barefoot!  All along the run I could hear people saying in awe “Wow!  Look at that guy he’s running it barefoot!”  My inner proud mama was thinking, “Thats right, thats my boy!”

After that first mud bath, I fell back and let my daughter and son take the lead.  My friend and I, “the Moms”, kept up pretty good and I would say inspired those youngsters that even “the moms” have the stuff!  Very fun and will definitely do it again next year!

Real Food at Denica’s

If you have never worked in a restaurant, you might be surprised at how many of your favorite foods at other restaurants are actually processed foods that are just reheated or deep fried.  Not at Denica’s.

Our potatoes are raw and fresh when they arrive, and we prepare them fresh daily for our breakfast.  Our salad dressings are made from scratch with real, raw ingredients, no mix or package.  Our cookies are hand mixed and formed in small batches, as are our muffins, with no “mix” in the house.  That’s why our pancakes and waffles get rave reviews, that are why our food is so good.

We cook at our café only what we would feed our family.  We make everything the best we possibly can.  We are constantly brainstorming and recipe testing looking to make your dining experience at our café that much more special.  Those bigger plates?  For your pleasure.  Food should look good and taste good, that’s why we use real plates and silverware.

We are constantly coaching our staff to ensure that they understand that Denica’s is all about YOU.  This restaurant is you, our neighborhood, our city, and our customers.  Thank you for eating with us and for letting us cook for you.  Without you, we wouldn’t be open today.  I don’t even want to think about what we would be.  We celebrate because of you!


Surefire Way to find True Love

Adopt a pet.  Research shows that pet owners live longer, happier lives than non-pet owners.  Up to 8 million pets enter shelters each year, so find puppy love pronto.

The Benefits:

  • Live longer. A study by the US Dept. of Health found that 28% of heart patients with pets survived serious heart attacks, compared to 6% of patients without pets.
  • Reduce the uncared for pet population.  For every person born in theUS, 15 puppies and 45 kittens are born.
  • Unconditional Love.  When the world lets you down, a cuddle from an animal is a great pick me up.

Wanna Try?

  • Alameda County Shelter right here in Dublin
  • SPCA across the street from the shelter, hit them both in one day!

Recipe of the Month: Pecan Cranberry Salad

The holidays were never complete when I was a kid without some kind of Jello mold…although that seems dated and retro, I can’t seem to break that tradition! This one is my son Nick’s favorite-it’s perfect for Thanksgiving!

Pecan Cranberry Salad

1 (15 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained, 1 cup pineapple juice reserved

1 cup water

1 (3 oz) package orange gelatin

1 (3 0z) package cherry gelatin

1 (16 oz) can whole berry cranberry sauce

1 (6 oz) can frozen orange juice concentrate

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Spray a 6 cup mold with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine reserved pineapple juice and water and bring to a boil.  Pour hot juice mixture into a large bowl, add gelatins, and stir until dissolved.  Add drained pineapple, cranberry sauce, orange juice concentrate, and nuts.  Mix well.  Pour into mold and refrigerate until firm.

Easy, Edible Centerpiece Idea for your Holiday Table

Flowers are beautiful, but a sleek glass vase filled with fresh produce can look just as lovely.  For a smaller display, fill pretty, small glass vessels with shallots, grape tomatoes, or fresh cranberries.  In a larger vase or footed glass bowl, pile in some mixed citrus or apples.