Everyone feels the pace escalate around this time of year. The grocery lists are longer, the money spent is greater, and the time needed to pull it all together is increased.

If you’re in education, this week is typically survivor week. Schools typically have parent -teacher conferences and report cards scheduled right before the Thanksgiving break. The week-end before Thanksgiving is usually spent at a kitchen table hunched over endless student portfolios determining grades, while at the same time writing a grocery list, and stirring something on the stove. Burn another batch of cookies? Go easy on yourself, remember the multi -tasking research? There is no such thing as multi-tasking, instead we task switch. Interrupted task switching is switching from one task to another before the task is complete; described by the American Psychological Association as the “mother of all-time sucks.”

Although shared before in my book Practicing Presence, this seems like an appropriate time to repeat the research on the benefit of the Pomodoro Technique. I’m currently using this approach to get through grading.

Choose a task you want to get done; choose something that could be completed in approximately 25 minutes. If your project requires more time, divide it into increments. This process will also help you more accurately approximate how long tasks actually take. Next, set your time for 25 minutes and do not allow yourself to be interrupted while you completely focus on the task during this time. To set yourself up for success, shut off all notifications, email alerts, and turn off the ringer on your phone. When the timer goes off, give yourself a five-minute break to do something you enjoy, preferably something that gets you up and moving. When the break is over, repeat the 30-minute process. Once four pomodoros are completed, treat yourself to a longer break of 10 to 20 minutes. *I use an app on my computer called Focus at Will, you can try it for a week free.

In the midst of all this business, we tend to not nourish ourselves- either emotionally or physically. What’s really needed is some comfort food. The recipe below can be made in your crock pot right before you go bed, it takes about 5 minutes to prepare, and you wake up to the smells of apples and cinnamon. The left overs can be reheated all week long.

Slow Cooker Apple Pie Steel-Cut Oatmeal

1 cup Steel Cut Oats
4 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 medium apples peeled and chopped (I splash lemon juice over them before I add to the pot)
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
2 table spoons Maple Syrup

Add all ingredient to your slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Add anything you like to the finished product- walnuts, raisins, apples, peanut butter. To reheat all week just add a splash of almond milk and heat up in the microwave. * You can also do this on the stove top- just follow directions on the steel cut oats container.

For more ways to nourish yourself in winter, there are still spots left for the Wellness in Winter Retreat.

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