How To Ease Money Stress

How to Ease Money Stress | Whisper & Howl

OMG have I been stressing out about money. Some unexpected expenses have come up this month on top of my new car payment. Long story short, always file your state taxes or they will take a major chunk out of your ass in oh, 6 years time. Like a surprise $1000 chunk out of your ass. Like, your entire savings. It might also happen on the day that the security deposit is due on the house you want to rent. I’m just saying, it could turn out that way. That would probably be pretty stressful. If that happened to you, you might find yourself spiraling into anxieties about having no Emergency Fund where mere days ago there was a nice $1000 balance, or how you were definitely going to have enough money saved to not use your credit card for the big trip you have planned for the fall, or how it might take years to pay off your credit debt. Your brain might jump ahead to next year, when the landlord of your new house will probably raise the rent because they “don’t do” 2-year leases, and you’ll have to move again or spend even more money on rent, money that won’t be saved up for a down payment on a house, and you won’t be able to afford to live anywhere you want anyway because gentrification. Also, you might hate all your clothes and want to buy new ones and also be thinking about needing new furniture and why didn’t you include moving expenses in your very optimistic savings plan in the first place?!

If this happens to you, there is one tactic I know of that can calm the financial fear monster. No, it’s not budgeting, because planning in this scenario sometimes leads to severely overthinking, nay, obsessing (although yes, you should be budgeting).

I’m talking about gratitude.

There’s something about making lists of things for which I am grateful that is very soothing. Maybe it’s the list-making. Maybe it’s the realization that I have everything I need at this moment, that I’m safe and comfortable and free and surrounded by good things. Maybe it’s the reassurance of the Law of Abundance, that the universe provides, that all will be well. Maybe it’s just a distraction.

I don’t know. It just works.

My recommendation, should you find yourself in this situation, is to find a quiet moment in a cozy place. Take deep breaths. Light a candle. Make it a ritual. Focus your energy on gratitude. Give thanks to the goddess, the universe, God, light, the source, your own wits and talents and strength–whatever makes you happy. Grab a beautiful journal if you’d like. I write on scraps of paper and stash the lists in my God box (a great idea from Tosha Silver).

Sometimes it’s a stretch. I start with easy things and move on from there. Sometimes they are simple things, sometimes complex. Often, they’re related to things I’m stressed about. I remember all that I have and forget all that I don’t have, or can’t see that I have; the things I think will make me happy, the things for which I’m grasping; the things I’m afraid of losing or am afraid I will never have. I keep listing things until I feel better. That’s it. It’s not a cure, but it helps.

  • I am grateful for my family.
  • I am grateful for Devo!
  • I am grateful that my hair is finally long, even though it was kind of greasy today. High ponytails make a great swish when I jog.
  • I’m grateful for the park where I jog. Or, let’s be honest, speed-walk. I’m grateful I can speed-walk.
  • I’m grateful for kombucha and to the friend who brought me SCOBYs from his restaurant even though he was studying and has a small child. That was extra generous.
  • I’m grateful that I have a job that I LOVE.
  • I’m grateful for my cute little car that doesn’t feel as though it will break down at any minute. Driving is fun again!
  • I’m grateful for the Maximum Fun podcast network, especially Jordan, Jesse, Go, which makes me laugh my ass off.
  • I am grateful that the manager at the GAP let me exchange those jeans with the broken zipper for a new pair, even though I bought them a year ago, and to the customer service person who emailed me back and told me to bring them in. The new ones are better than the old ones.
  • I am grateful for the bugs making sweet music outside my apartment.
  • I’m grateful for my teachers, even the ones who make shit really hard, like Saturn.
  • I’m grateful for this really fun book, The Name of the Wind, that I’m totally enjoying (and for the friends who lent it to me).
  • I am grateful that I am incredibly wealthy in love, friendship, and support.

See? Not so hard. I feel better already.

My Favorite Smoothies

From the Nutribullet cookbook

I’ve really stepped up my smoothie game since I got a NutriBullet for Christmas. Not only is it the best thing since sliced gluten free vegan bread, it comes with a cookbook packed with delicious smoothie recipes. They’re not paying me to write this, I just love it a lot. (If they’re reading this and want to pay me, I’m on board.)

The cookbook is hilarious. It’s full of photos of smiling, active, elderly, white, straight couples enjoying life. It’s divided into sections based on medical or health conditions, with recipes designed to be nutritive and healing. My favorites are the anti-inflammation, digestion and detox sections, since I am plagued by tummy troubles and inflammation (damn you, leaky gut syndrome!).

Below are recipes for 3 of my favorite smoothies (or “blasts,” as NutriBullet calls them). Just add all the ingredients to your blending machine of choice and pulverize them into delicious health food beverages. I didn’t include amounts of liquid. If you want thicker smoothies, use less liquid, and vice versa. I usually drink mine in the car on the way to work and prefer them to be less viscous, so I add max liquid. Enjoy!

Pink Detox Blast, My Favorite Smoothies | Whisper & HowlPink Detox Blast

Beets and celery are great for a gently detoxing the digestive system, the avocado adds healthy fats and creaminess, and coconut oil is great for your gut. The apple gives you a nice dose of fiber and strawberries are healthy and delicious. This drink’s gorgeous pink color puts a smile on my face, making this my current favorite smoothie. 

1/4 Medium Avocado

1 Stalk Celery

1/2 Strawberries (Cherries are also great)

1/2 Beet

2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

1 teaspoon Coconut Oil

1/2 Apple (Granny Smith is my favorite)

3 Ice Cubes

Coconut Water (I often use water instead)

Belly Bloat Blast, My Favorite Smoothies | Whisper & Howl

Belly Bloat Blast

The bromelain in pineapple and curcumin in turmeric help to fight inflammation, while the celery and ginger aid in digestion. This “blast” is light and bright and wakes me right up. 

1 Handful Kale (or Spinach)

1 Cup Pineapple

1/2 Inch Ginger

1/2 Stalk Celery

1/2 Lemon, juiced

1/2 Inch Turmeric (dried also works but fresh tastes better!)

Coconut Water (again, I almost always use water)

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Blast, My Favorite Smoothies | Whisper & Howl

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries (or Cherries) Blast

This one is delicious and feels like having dessert for breakfast. Instead of the protein blend in the recipe, I use Orgain Chocolate Protein Powder. 

1 Handful Spinach

6 Strawberries (or cherries)

2 teaspoons Raw Cacao Powder (or nibs)

1/4 Beet

1 Tablespoon SuperFood Protein Blend

1 1/2 Cups Unsweetened Almond Milk

 

You can find a ton of recipes on the NutriLiving website…or wait for me to pare it down for you. 😉

 

 

All gunked up

Whisper & Howl

I realized something important about my body last week.

It’s whack.  Wacky.  Out of whack.  Whacked?

The alignment is all off.  There’s no balance.  Not that it has been balanced in years anyway.  I’ve been dealing with poor health for years: low energy, congestion, GI issues, back pain, occasional fatigue…just feeling kind of crappy all of the time.  I’m so, so tired of it.

I remember 2 years ago, my Birthday Resolution was “Health.”  I knew that was pretty broad so I tried to break it up into segments like Spiritual, Mental, Physical, because that makes it so much easier (hahahahaaaahhhhhhhsigh).  After the year was up I certainly didn’t feel that I’d accomplished that goal.  I was in grad school, dealing with a lot of anxiety, stress and loneliness.  I was fatigued and bloated all of the time, and I’d totally let my asana practice go.  But you know, I got by.  I got through that.   I also realized that year that gluten was causing a lot of my fatigue issues, so I cut that out.

Actually, looking back, I did totally start something that year.  I set the intention to improve my health and while I didn’t find the cure and solve all my problems, I started on the path to feeling awesome.  I guess that’s what intentions do.  Ah hah!

Since then, I have put a lot of energy into healing my digestive system.  Again, as a sign of my natural impatience, I was focusing on immediate results and not thinking about the long-term effects that this would have.  Focusing on the immediate made it easier to slip up and eat things that cause a reaction.  For instance, it’s really hard to not eat cheese.

Cheese is like, the best thing.  It’s delicious, fatty and salty and interesting, and it’s packed full of chemicals that make us feel amazing.  When I’m in situations where I’m literally touching it, like cutting pizza for kids or slicing a chunk of Jarslberg for a gallery opening, it is almost impossible for me not to put it in my mouth.  Lots of it.  Even though it upsets my tummy.  Even though I’ll wake up with a sinus headache that could definitely turn into a sinus infection.  Even though I am basically one big snot monster.  It’s just SO GOOD.

What I didn’t realize before is that I have done a pretty good job of healing my gut, and that has allowed me to see other problems that still exist.   I have connected some dots and now know that I’ve got a lot of inflammation in my body, which is causing congestion and back pain.  Now that my gut is better and that’s not the focus of all of my healing energy, I can move on to a new phase of healing.

My impression is that I need to cleanse now, to get the leftover junk, the junk that’s built up in my body for all the years when I was eating the wrong foods or whatever caused all these things, to flush all that shit out.  We’re in Cancer Sun time, a time for healing, and Capricorn Moon time, a time for setting routines and putting systems into place. Perfect timing, right?!It’s like Phase 2!  (Or really, like Phase One Zillion.) I have to maintain my diet.  I have to FIGHT THE CHEESE (or as my acupuncturist said, “Don’t feed the monster”).  I can’t put gunk in my body if I want to get gunk OUT of it!

You won’t see my on a juice cleanse–first because I think it’s super unhealthy and second, because I think it’s stupid and I don’t want to, harumph–or any other fad detox diets.  Here are some things I am going to do, and I’m putting them here on the internet to officially set my intention and challenge myself to commit:

  1. SMOOTHIE CHALLENGE!!!  I’ve been really bad about having a daily smoothie and I feel better when I do have them.  They increase my fruit and veggie intake and are easy to digest, good for an irritated gut.  I have already started and will continue to have 1 Smoothie each day in July and hopefully will keep doing it in future months.
  2. Acupuncture and treatments: I started acupuncture on Tuesday and have made appointments for the next month, every other week.  I’m also doing what my specialist tells me to do, which at the moment is Castor Oil Packs over my liver each evening and Wet Sock Treatment for 3 nights in a row.  Yes, it’s weird, and yes, I love it.
  3. Sticking to my diet: Absolutely, 100%, no excuses, doing this.  I WILL DO THIS!!!  THIS IS HAPPENING!
  4. Immune-boosting, dosha-balancing, cleansing foods and herbs: Turmeric and ginger in my smoothies.  Hot water and lemon. Apple cider vinegar.  Triphala and Neem.  Bitter, pungent, fresh, spicy foods.  Immune-boosting soup.  Fresh fruits and veggies.  You get the idea.

And the MOST IMPORTANT THING:

Have PATIENCE.  Oh this is so hard for me!  Once I have identified a problem, I feel like I should be able to fix it immediately and when I don’t see results right away, I get frustrated.  I have to let go of my Virgoan perfectionism, breathe deeply, drink my smoothie and remember that good things take time.  Monsters can be tamed.  Small steps.

If you are dealing with something similar, or have gone through this and come out the other side, monster-free, I’ll take any tips you’ve got!