Worrying can be good if it motivates us to take actions and solve problems. But very often it isn’t like that.
We worry about things which we can’t do anything about. Or we worry too much about small things. “Is this enough?” “What shall I give them?” “What can I wear?” “Will they like the present?”
And when you worry too much, it becomes counterproductive. Chronic worry causes tension, sleepless nights, bad work, and may even lead to anxiety attacks.
Telling yourself to stop worrying is like trying not to think of the pink elephant. The harder you try, the worse it gets.
But how can we change – just a little bit?
1) Make a list of things you worry about. Just having it written down helps.
2) Cut back – should you really be doing all this? If something doesn’t get done, does it matter? Just say no – if others can say it, so can you.
3) Ask for help. You know, many people actually like it if you ask them for help, if you say you can’t cope alone. They might not do a job in the same way you do, but so what?
4) Learn to delegate. Try with small jobs first. Noone does tings perfectly, not even you!
5) Accept imperfection, especially in the small stuff.
6) If you really can’t help worrying, worry regularly. For the same period, like 15 minutes, every day, indulge in worrying as much as you like. When time is up, postpone all your worries until next day, same time.
7) Postpone your worry. If an anxious thought comes into your head during the day, make a brief note for later. Remind yourself that you’ll have time to think about it later, so there’s no need to worry about it right now.
7) Guided relaxation (1) and meditation (2) are a good idea, especially for the long term.
8) Move! Walking, outdoors, is ideal, for most people but any form of exercise is good. When you exercise, endorphins will trigger positive feelings in your body, similar to that of morphine.
9) Eat healthily. Worry sucks energy and increases production of pro-inflammatory chemicals. To counteract this, enjoy whole or minimally-processed anti-inflammatory foods, such as whole grains, dark leafy greens, nuts, garlic/onions, ginger, turmeric, olive oil, beetroot and berries.
Avoid stimulating foods like caffeine and sugar, also – especially! – in the form of corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, golden syrup, maltose, and sucrose. All of these increase anxiety, exacerbate insomnia and in the case of sugar, cause excessive blood sugar fluctuations. See (3).
broad beans, early carrots, early Brussels, parsnips, main crop peas, radish, spinach (or spinach beet, better value than proper spinach), chard, turnip, lettuce, early/summer cabbage, spring onions, early cauli, bulb onions, beet, celery (late March).
Plant: potatoes, onion sets, shallots, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes.
veg: purple sprouting broccoli, kale, cavolo nero, squash, cauli, spring greens, radishes, rhubarb, leeks, carrots, spring onions, salad leaves, parsnips, cabbage, chicory, sorrel, swede, beet, brussels, rocket, turnips, celeriac, Jerusalem artichokes, watercress.
fish: dab, red gurnard, grey mullet, mussels, oysters, clams, mackerel, herring, megrim, scallops.
meat: rabbit, turkey, wood pigeon, beef, mutton, pork, venison.
MASHED TURNIPS with SAGE
2 turnips and 2 floury potatoes, 3 tblsp butter, 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped tblsp sage, ab. 200ml milk, salt and freshly ground pepper
Peel and cube the turnips and potatoes; put in some cold salted water. Bring to a boil and simmer until soft and tender, about 20 mins. Sauté the onion with the sage until the onion is tender, the sage fragrant and the butter begins to brown. Season. Add the milk and let them simmer together for a while. Drain turnips and potatoes. Add the milk and roughly mash. If you prefer a smoother texture, use a blender. Taste, season if necessary.
If you fancy a different proportion of turnips and potatoes, that’s fine.
SPICED PEANUT PARSNIP SOUP for 2.
This is an unusual soup. You either like it, or you don’t. If you don’t, just use it as sauce on a rice-and-vegetable dish. But it’s better if your peanut butter doesn’t have sugar in it.
200g parsnips cut into chunks, 1 large onion, 2 garlic cloves, 2 cm fresh ginger root, 2 tblsp grated coconut, 2 tblsp peanut butter, 1 tsp ground cumin, 45g coriander leaves, plenty of chilli powder or cayenne, grated zest of 1 orange and some pumpkin seeds if you like.
Cut the parsnips, onion, ginger and garlic into chunks and roast in an 200C over for 20 minutes (or carefully saute on top). Put in a pan, add 720ml water and cook till all is soft.
Mix with the peanut butter, coconut, chili, cumin and coriander and blend, keeping some coriander for on top. Add more water if needed. Serve sprinkled with coriander (pumpkin seeds) and zest.
Chop kale and onion finely. Heat some fat, add both vegetables, stir, cover, and fry like that on a very low fire for a few minutes. Then add a little bit of water and cover again. Let cook till kale and onion are digestible, take off the cover and sautee some more till any water left has disappeared. Add seasalt or soy sauce, serve.
BREAM WITH BASIL BALSAMIC
Score sides of a whole bream and pack cuts with a roughly pounded mix of 3 tblsp balsamic vinegar, a clove garlic and handful of basil per fish. Roast for 20 mins or until flaking off the bone at 190ºC. Serve with peas.
650g celeriac, 150ml walnut halves, 120ml mayonnaise, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, lemon juice, 2 tblsp chopped (flatleaf) parsley, 2 tblsp minced shallot, 1 tblsp fresh chopped tarragon, julienned cooking apple, salt, pepper.
Combine mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, parsley, tarragon and shallot. Cut off one side of the celeriac to create a stable flat working surface and remove all brown knobby parts. Rougly grate celeriac and apple, mix with mayonnaise, adjust seasoning. Toast walnuts until fragrant and slightly browned, put on top.
PURPLE SPROUTING BROCCOLI with GARLIC and SESAME
450g broccoli, oil, soy sauce/tamari, 1 1/2 tblsp sesame seeds, 1 clove garlic.
Dry-roast sesame seeds. Cook broccoli for 3 mins. Saute garlic for 1 min., add drained broccoli. Keep stirring for 2-3 mins. Add soy and sesame, serve.
ROCKET SOUP with GOAT’S CHEESE
100g rocket, 75g soft goat’s cheese, 1 diced onion, olive oil, 1 diced potato, 800 ml water.
Fry onion gently in olive oil until it softens, add potato and water and bring to a simmer. Cook until the potato is soft. Season, but go easy on the salt, because the cheese will add plenty. Add chopped rocket, cook for 2 mins. Whizz in a blender. Pour into bowls and add a slice of goat’s cheese to each.
1/2 small pumpkin, olive oil.
Preheat oven to 150ºC. Cut pumpkin into 2-3 chunks, peel and seed each chunk and cut into slices about 2 mm thick. Dry the slices. Place in single layer on two lined baking trays. Brush with oil and sprinkle with a good pinch of sea salt. Let sit for 5 mins before placing in the oven. Bake for 25 mins, or until crisp and golden. Remove from oven to cool so they’ll crisp up. The crisps will stay fresh in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Next month: ……..!