Friday, November 15, 2019

Journal Prompts to Ease Stress of Holiday Season

Coping with increased traffic, shopping in crowded stores, being bombarded with repetitive holiday music, and worrying about finding time for extra cooking, baking, cleaning, decorating, and entertaining can lead to a headache, tight shoulders, stomach upset, and STRESS. 

We may add to our discomfort by trying to please everyone. Maybe we project the worst case scenario of squabbles between family members, instead of focusing on the good times we can experience with those we enjoy. 

Some feel pressure of selecting meaningful gifts without going over budget. Others dip into savings or buy on credit and feel nervous about the payback.

If any things mentioned above affect you... it can result in jarred nerves. It shows up in deflated energy, physical symptoms, or emotional, spiritual, or monetary debt. 

As for me, I'm among the millions of people whose first reaction about facing the upcoming holiday season is anxiety, and even dread.

This year is the first year after my son's death. I am grieving and have a heavy heart. I wonder whether I'll have a difficult time getting through Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and New Year's. My son's birthday and his death date, both fall in this period as well.

I also mourn other losses and negative memories about people, incidents, and times from years gone by.

This post is intended to aid all those who want to make the season less stressful, yet still be able to honor our feelings.

It's not too late for us to reduce or eliminate tension and a gloomy mood. With some foresight and planning, this season can leave us up not down. 

Journal Prompts to Ease Stress of Holiday Season

Journal Prompt 1

Take stock of your feelings about each holiday by listing what you stress about. Then write down your emotional reaction to each. Number feelings according to the intensity; one being least intense and 10 greatest. Don't try to fix your anger, hurt, ambivalence, sadness, pain, jealousy, happiness, or other emotions. The purpose of this exercise is to acknowledge and record how you feel in this moment.

Journal Prompt 2

Jot down a holiday to-do list ASAP. The earlier you start, the better your chances of figuring out a plan that works for you. 

In fact, results of a study that appears online at the American Psychological Association shows that those who wrote out their to-do list right before bedtime, had an easier time falling asleep. 

Itemizing things helps you decide what needs to be done and in what order, and clears out the cobwebs in your mind as well. 

Are there things on the list that can be relegated to others or eliminated? Try to have a minimalist attitude around the holidays. Streamline activities and expectations of yourself and others. This is one of the best ways to prevent disappointments, resentments and burnout.

Then use colored pencils, crayons, or pens and circle each event or project on your to-do list in a color that indicates the intensity or strength of its importance to you. Take steps to advance the one that's most important to you. When you do what you can to complete this task, cross it off your list.

Look at those things still on your list again. Are some things there, because others want you to do it? If you are resistant to doing it, why not make this the year you let go of others' expectations of you?

Use the time to read, rest, and relax. Make your motto "fuss less." Instead of preparing and serving a big family dinner, (unless you love this part of the holiday) have a potluck or let someone else host. 

If you can't think of a way to simplify, use the color indigo to help you access your intuition, and use it to pick the solution that you sense is best for you.

Journal Prompt 3

Color research indicates certain colors influence mood, behavior, and stress level. When you learn to tune into your needs and consciously select an appropriate hue for the effect you desire, you feel more comfortable in your own skin and surroundings.  

Today write about those colors that soothe, comfort, inspire, or help you nurture yourself. Learn more about how to wear your colors and feel great about yourself.

Journal Prompt 4

What traditional holiday project are you reluctant to start, because you don’t have it within you to do it? Give yourself permission to switch course. 

Do something that's easy or brings you pleasure or serenity. Write about the feelings that come up when you think of giving yourself a break.

If you need ideas for colorful, fun activities see this or this.

Journal Prompt 5

Just because you've done certain things for the holiday every year, doesn't mean you're obligated to continue on the same path. 

Jot down ideas to create a new tradition or ritual that helps you focus on the beauty, joy, and important aspects of the holiday you wouldn't want to miss. 
This is a simple way to nix outmoded thinking and do something that pleases you.

Journal Prompt 6

At times, do you feel all you want to do is isolate and hibernate until the New Year? Write 2 or 3 healthy ways you use to restore your spirit. Then read Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for Coping from the Mayo Clinic.

Journal Prompt 7

Many people tend to let self-care slip during hectic times. It's more effective to be consistent with health and wellness routines. Include eating healthful food, getting adequate sleep and exercise, and balancing work and play.  More stress management tips here.

Make a list of at least 5 self-care activities you use to maintain balance. Check them off each day until Jan. 1, 2020. 

Be self-compassionate. Prevent overwhelm by practicing self-care. More ideas here and here.

Journal Prompt 8

Instead of writing in a journal today, use this time to reach out to a friend to schedule a walk or run, yoga class, bike ride, swim, or trip to the gym. Mark the date on your calendar and follow through. See Low Cost Colorful Ways to Create an Exercise Habit for 25 colorful ideas to reduce stress by putting more companion linked physical activity into daily living. 

Studies show when we combine exercise with a social connection, it reduces loneliness and improves fitness. For more read In a bad mood? Exercise can help. Here’s the best way to do it.


When I feel vulnerable or stressed as I do now, I refrain from comparing myself or my circumstance to anyone else's. 

I take a few moments to journal in Colors of Joy: A Woman's
 Guide for Self-Discovery, Balance, and Bliss.  Journal writing helps me vent my emotions, get out frustrations, and is a  dedicated place to express happy moments and simple joys in daily living. 

Do you yearn to reduce stress and thrive during the holiday season and beyond? A simple way to do it is to pick up your copy of Colors of Joy: A Woman's Guide for Self-Discovery, Balance, and Bliss.

Learn more here

Each color-themed journal writing activity can be done at your own pace. Let Colors of Joy's affirmations, visualizations, and reflective exercises heal you, support you, and make you feel vitally alive.

This is what one journal owner wrote about Colors of Joy...

"I loved Nancy Andres' deceptively simple but very practical guide to achieving a healthy body, mind and spirit. Most people have a hard time committing to personal growth, but the prompts she provides make it that much easier. Her book is in effect a 12 week course that uses color therapy, affirmations, and journaling to reach the goal. Each section offers techniques to grow into an authentic self able to adapt to change, savor the moment, let go of the past, and embrace the love and joy so abundant in the universe."

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Order it Now!

Avoid the stress of running here and there in search of colorful gifts for the women you care about. Shop online to pick up copies of this colorful interactive journal.

Additional ways to brighten the holiday season...

Run errands for a shut-in neighbor, relative, or friend.

Send a note or card to someone you need to forgive. This may help you lighten your baggage from the old year and not bring it into the new one.

Affirm that part of you that needs to be reminded to count your blessings. Discover tips to help you create a gratitude journal here. 

The law of attraction works. Any time we focus on goodness in our lives it multiplies. 

Please comment in the space provided. 

Which journal prompts sound like they would help you?

What colors remind you to relax and kick back? 

What exciting, spiritual, or fun things do you enjoy about the holidays? What colors symbolize that for you?

How do you pace yourself so you can do more of what makes you feel joy?

Happy Holidays Dear Readers. I'm grateful for you!

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Awesome Home and Garden Ideas for Fall

To add more cheer, coziness, and gratitude to daily living, I suggest you place colorful Fall colors or decor accents in your kitchen, home, apartment, or garden. Then take a spin around your neighborhood to look for signs and sights of Autumn in the air. 

The ideas in this blog post show you a selection of things I enjoy seeing, doing, or eating, as well as the awesome creations of the season from fellow bloggers near and far. 

Which ones appeal to you? Please let me know in the comments section below. 

How to Use Fall Colors to Awaken Your Senses

When you prepare, serve, and eat a colorful array of fall fruits and vegetables, you'll get important nutrients your body needs to work and play at an optimum level.

For Stunning Tablescape Ideas Drop by at Clearissa Coward's Command Center and see Seven Fall Tablescapes for Your Inspiration

Then travel over to  
Carol Chappell’s blog, Through My Front Porch for a Fall Home Tour. It highlights the lovely autumn touches in her farmhouse decor with traditional ideas too.

breakfast nook table and side board

Here's a link to Happy Fall Link Party for all Things Fall. The party was hosted by Beverly and Gloria at Across the Boulevard.

One of the bloggers at the party is Roseann at who offers you a chance to pick up free fall printables.

Free Fall & Halloween Printables from #fallprintables #free #Halloweenprintables

Next in line is a tip from me to envision the beautiful colors of autumn leaves.

Gold, rust, amber, scarlet, and browns of autumn leaves and soil remind us of transitions. These colors provide grounding energy  to center you and connect you to Mother Earth. 

Then, find more ideas at Improve Health Spend Quality Time in Nature.

What things are you grateful for this fall? Please share that with us in the comments section below. 

I'm thankful for the cooler weather here in Tucson, and happy to be getting outdoors more often.

I'm so grateful for my eyesight, hearing, sense of smell, touch, and taste. 

One day at a time, I'm thankful I follow through on self-care practices that keep my body, mind, and spirit fit. 

As we age, being consistent with self-care is such an important thing we can do for ourselves. 

Another biggy is to appreciate what we have, and give thanks for our blessings. An attitude of gratitude and willingness to learn new things goes a long way in promoting good health, serenity, and happiness. 💓 GIVE THANKS!

Fall can be a time to look inward, and re-evaluate your priorities. Do you feel the need to do that? Please share your thoughts on that as well.

Wishing you a Happy, Safe Halloween and Awesome Fall. Before you go, share the love on social media and don't forget to ...
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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Ways to Use Colors to Improve Work-Life Balance

There are many ways colors can help you improve your work-life balance. This post suggests colorful ideas to help you set priorities, follow through on things that are really important to you, and reduce the stress of juggling work, play, family, social, and personal needs.

Try them on for size. Notice which healthy lifestyle tips make you feel a sense of purpose or enjoyment, allows you to organize your environment and time to participate in activities you love, and attracts more of what you want in your life.

Colors work to help you let go of energy blocks. Certain hues help you focus on positive thinking, and the people, places, and things that are healthy for you.

For example, this is what a balanced day looks like for me:

When I wake, if I feel unsettled, I envision RED, the color of the root chakra. Meditating on RED helps me feel centered, provides energy and motivation to get on with my day, and reminds me of my strengths. I may also say affirmations aloud or chant a mantra. If I still need to find my center, I get into the yoga pose, the mountain.

I observe the subtle energy in my mind, body, and spirit and appreciate when I feel aligned. My mood is upbeat, and I'm alert and healthy.  

As I set goals for the day, I’m not conflicted about missing activities that are not priorities for me.  

I may wear clothing and accessories in calming blue, nurturing pink, refreshing green, sunny golden yellow, or bright red. My selection depends on which color energies I need in that moment.

As the day progresses, I'm usually able to easily let go of minor annoyances including what others say they want or expect from me, and make my own time management choices. 

I resist the temptation to be pulled off-course by distractions. I feel calm, grounded, clear-headed, and motivated to make progress.

I curtail checking email, text messages, and social media until after I engage in meaningful career, social, and community activities. 

When something happens to trouble me, I journal about it, share it with a friend, or do some inspirational reading.    

I don't wait until I am thoroughly drained to give myself permission to take time to walk or stretch, sip tea or water, be with people I love, or phone others who live far away, to have direct contact with them. 

I am consistent with self-care and relaxation practices. I eat nourishing whole foods, exercise most days of the week, get adequate sleep, and have enrgy and willingness to be there for others. 

In the past, I overextended myself both at work and in personal ways. I learned the hard way, I have more to give if I take care of my own needs before helping someone else. 

Work-life balance does not mean the same thing to everyone. Some of us are introverts, others are extroverts or a combination of both. Some of us are high energy dynamos and others have subtle or sensitive energy levels.

Some of us are CEO's or entrepreneurs; some have careers outside the home; some are stay-at-home parents and/or work from home; some are retired, and some are students. Colors can help all of us. 

Ways to Use Colors to Improve Work-Life Balance

1. Consider the color ideas that follow. See which ones resonate for you and your stage of life. 

Just be aware, colors work at the sensory level and bypass thinking. No need to stress over choosing the right color. Be mindful, and you will be intuitively drawn to those colors you need. 

2. GOLDEN YELLOW. Tune into your mood at various times during the day. If you face a challenge, doubt your abilities, are sad or anxious, or have low energy visualize or place a golden yellow object in your home or workspace. 

Gaze at golden yellow to help you accomplish goals more easily. Yellow is the color associated with the third chakra/solar plexus and using it cheers and empowers you. 

This color energy can invigorate and transform you. To radiate self-confidence and act from your seat of power, use golden yellow.

3. BLUE. Sea blue, aqua, and sapphire are stress-buster colors. Colors of the sky and water are soothing, calming colors

Eating a piece of blue fruit is good for your body and mind. Most are loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that help you on a physical and emotional level. Blueberries, blackberries, elderberries, and Damson plums reduce free radical damage and helps calm your mind and enables you to detach from things that are beyond your control.

Blue is an excellent color to use in your bedroom. Pale blue sheets or accent pieces, make your room feel more spacious. 

In Feng Shui, the color blue is associated with the water element and the color blue. Both bring an overall sense of relaxation and healing.

Decorate your bedroom with a blue wall hanging, photo, or drawing. Paint the northern wall blue in any room. This color encourage calmness and clarity both in career communication areas and  prepares you for restful sleep.

4. PINK. Pink helps you love unconditionally and care for your mind, body, and spirit. It's a color associated with warm feelings, self-love, and gentleness. 

Pink is a mix of red and white combined, and provides a helpful balance of male and female energies that can reduce stress.

Wear Pink to lighten up your complexion, warm your heart, and nurture yourself. 

Pink is the color most often associated with breast cancer awareness, and October is the official month to acknowledge it. For ways to improve your breast health, tips on doing a breast self-exam, and other important information read Think Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness. 

5. GREEN. Green has uplifting color vibes to elevate mood and make you feel refreshed and invigorated. Green energy often suggests growth, change, and nature.

Bright green has been adopted by environmentalists to symbolize the planet’s essential need to protect, recycle, grow, and reuse (transform) natural resources. 

Keep a green plant in your apartment or office to cleanse the air and as a sign to get outdoors to exercise and commune with nature. 

Green veggies provide fuel to work and play at peak efficiency. Eat at least one green salad a day , and include a total of 5-9 servings of fresh colorful veggies, legumes, beans, and whole grains each day for optimal health.

Forest green/dark green is often associated with money, prosperity, and ambition. This shade of green works to help you concentrate and suggests prestige, power, and substance. For more read Tips to Help You Keep a Success Journal.

COLORS and YOU are the stars of the interactive journalColors of Joy: A Woman’s Guide for Self-Discovery, Balance, and BlissIts journal exercises, color-coded activities, and affirmations help you use a myriad of colors to center and empower yourself and find more joy in daily living.

Colors of Joy is affordable, provides hours of entertainment and discovery, and is a healthful way to be good to yourself. In fact, it makes an eye-catching holiday or birthday gift for all the women you care about.

To feel centered, balanced, energized, and serene envision, wear, affirm, meditate, decorate, or journal about those colors that help you stay on-course, motivated, or relaxed. 

Then, recognize you're enough just the way you are, and are a wonderful part of the human race. 

Please comment below.

Which colors are you attracted to?

How does each make you feel?

Do you often feel out of balance or centered during the day or night? 

What helps you focus better at work or enjoy play more?

What helps you remember to take "me time?" 

I read each and every one of your comments, but do not publish those with links in them.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Hearty, Healthy Vegan Mushroom Recipe Roundup

Combine You Favorite Veggies and Mushrooms for a Colorful Dish

This is an ode to the edible mushroom, one that reveals powerful health benefits and delicious whole food plant based mushroom recipes that are shared below. 

It's a fun way to celebrate National Mushroom Day on Oct 15th and encourage you to learn how simple it is to plan for and eat more mushrooms throughout the year.

Mushrooms are a favorite in my house, because they are: 

1. easy to prepare
2. scrumptious
3. adaptable and can replace unhealthy ingredients in a conventional recipe
4. low in calories
5. low in carbohydrates
6. low fat
7. low sodium
8. a healthy source of plant protein
9. cholesterol and gluten free
10. a whole food and vegan
11. healing and have disease prevention properties 

We love button, shiitake, baby bellas, cremini, and porcini mushrooms, and have discovered even a single Portobello mushroom contains more potassium than a banana.

Mushrooms provide other important nutrients, including selenium. This antioxidant protects cells from damage that might lead to chronic diseases and strengthens the immune system. 

Mushrooms are a good source of riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D, proteins, copper, and fiber. See more health benefits here and here.

Mushrooms are neither fruit nor vegetable, but are botanically classified as a fungi and considered a vegetable for nutrition. 

The textures and tastes are pleasing to the palate. Mushrooms can replace meat or other animal products in any recipe you choose. 

When put to the test, this study shows that mushrooms are as filling and satisfying as meat.

Season and roast mushrooms covered, and they stay juicy (they are made up of 90% water). 

Even though mushrooms are commonly white or brown, these colors are a healthy exception to the rule to eat the colors of the rainbow. 

Edible mushrooms grow into many shapes, size, and flavors. Each  of the 200 or so edible mushroom varieties packs a powerful nutritional punch.  

Warning: Don't forage for or eat wild mushrooms, unless they have been examined by a mushroom expert. Some varieties of wild mushrooms are poisonous. Better to be safe than sorry.

Mushrooms have a long history as a food source with healing capacities. Research posted on Medical News Today indicates incorporating mushrooms into your meals, even in small portions (three quarters of a cup cooked and served twice a week), appears to have lowered the risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in the sixty+ year olds who were studied. MCI is a condition which often precedes Alzheimer's disease. 

Another study suggests various compounds in mushrooms helps reduce inflammation and prevent and fight breast cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, uterine cervix cancer, pancreatic cancer, gastric cancer, and acute leukemia. 

This food when combined with a healthy diet and active lifestyle can help prevent diabetes and cardiovascular disease too.

Presenting the Hearty, Healthy Vegan Mushroom Recipe Roundup

To start the recipe ball rolling... this recipe comes from the Minimalist Baker #Minimalist Baker. It's for Caramelized Shiitake Mushroom Risotto.  You can make this creamy, rich, and delicious dish without the guilt, because it has such nutritious ingredients. 

Plate of delicious Vegan Caramelized Shitake Mushroom Risotto topped with fresh parsley

Next on the lineup is Vegan Green Bean Casserole, perfect for a side dish at an autumn or winter holiday feast or as the star of a simple mid-week meal. It's from Diane Smith at #plantbasedcooking.

Green Bean Casserole

Here's a wonderful recipe from Sarah at Making Thyme for Health. Vegan Porcini Mushroom Gravy is a yummy recipe that's pictured with mashed potatoes. It's vegan, gluten free, grain free, nut free, and soy free, and appeals to everyone, including those who don't eat or are allergic to these ingredients.

Vegan Porcini Mushroom Gravy- dried porcini mushrooms give this gravy tons of umami flavor that's sure to highlight any dish you serve! (gluten-free)

See this fabulous recipe for Mushroom Bisque from Judee Algazi, the blogger at Gluten Free A-Z Blog . This soup cooks up fast, tastes rich and delicious, yet it's vegan and gluten free. 

Broccoli and Mushroom Stir Fry comes from the recipe designers at Skinny Ms.  It looks and tastes great, and uses many nutritious, delicious ingredients for a one pot meal.

Next is a roundup post from this blog that first appeared on May 15, 2019. Recipes for Remarkable Vegan Meatballs has three mouthwatering recipes that include mushrooms.

Last but not least is my recipe for Marinated Mushroom and Red Pepper Sandwich at Colors 4 Health.


1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon Maple syrup
1 teaspoon fresh parsley or 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Other ingredients:
8 oz. of any type mushroom you have on hand (I used baby bellas)  cleaned and chopped
1 red pepper cleaned and chopped

Sandwich Fixings:
4 slices any variety of bread or 2 rolls (I used gluten free vegan)
Lettuce leaf
Sliced tomato
Sliced red onion
optional: guacamole, sprouts, shredded carrot, and hummus

How to Make It:

1. Sauté chopped garlic in one Tablespoon of oil until lightly browned. Then whisk all marinade ingredients together, until they are thoroughly blended.

2. Place items marked "other ingredients" in a glass or stainless casserole or baking dish. Toss in the marinade and mix well. 

3. Cover casserole dish and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Please note the longer you leave ingredients in marinade, the more tasty it becomes (up to one day).

4. When you're ready to cook, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cook dish covered for 30-45 minutes. If mushrooms and peppers are fork tender they are ready. If not, cook another 15 minutes and test again.

5. Scoop out portions with a slotted spoon and use the sandwich fixings to make up your sandwiches. This recipe will serve 2 people. The picture above shows it being served with a side of fresh organic corn. Double the recipe amounts to serve four people. 

Another way to eat vegan marinated mushroom and red peppers is to place the mixture including the cooked marinade on a bed of brown rice (pictured with fresh asparagus), or on wheat berries, lentils, or quinoa.

Wishing you bon appetite and much inspiration as you create many luscious, healthy mushroom dishes throughout the year.

Do you enjoy eating mushrooms?  Please comment below. I appreciate every comment, but do not publish those that have links in them. Thanks for understanding.

Which variety of mushrooms do you like best and why?

What recipes mentioned above will you try?

Do you have any recipe tips you'd be willing to share? Please include them in your comment as well.

If you like what you see, please reshare on social media and link back to this post.

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