Trentham Falls Australia

Dream, Plan, Travel: Planning a Trip for Mental/Emotional Health

I’ve been paying close attention to the wellness wheel since the beginning of this year and trying to develop strategies to work toward a more balanced life. I’m not gonna lie, It’s been rough. The stress and uncertainty of the times have been unrelenting. I lost my mother 18 months ago and that devastation was quickly followed by this global pandemic. Not to mention the hatred and vitriol that we’ve all been subject to (at least here in the States) for the past 4 years. I’ve been feeling pretty hopeless. Let’s face it, we’re spending a lot more time at home, whether we like it or not, and sometimes it’s hard not to feel trapped. This lockdown phase of our existence doesn’t seem like it’s letting up any time soon, but that shouldn’t keep us from dreaming about and planning for our next adventure. In fact, that dreaming and planning could be just the thing that helps us get through these crazy times. Seriously, simply planning a trip can help to boost your mental/emotional health.

“… social isolation can undoubtedly impact our mental health, resulting in everything from anxiety, fear, and depression, to restlessness and an inability to focus. At a time when mental health is therefore particularly important, having a vacation to look forward to – even if it is months away – could be just what you need to lift your spirits.” -traveltowellness.com

As part of my work to achieve a balanced wellness wheel, I’ve started planning for an epic vacation. I don’t know if I ever told you this, but I have always, and I mean always, dreamed of traveling to Australia and New Zealand. When I was a kid, my mother bought me an Atlas, and for some reason, I stayed glued to the pages that held Australia and New Zealand. So, with my lifelong dream and my wellness wheel in mind, I have been actively planning my dream vacation to the land down under! Everything from travel expenses to fun excursions. I’m all in with this, and you know what? Since I started planning, I have been on cloud nine, and I’m not even joking.

Anyway, I was looking at places to stay in and around Melbourne, Australia, and I stumbled upon this beauty. I just had to share this with you guys. This bed and breakfast, The Estate at Trentham, is about an hour outside of Melbourne and it is gorgeous!!! Tell me you don’t get all the feels just looking at this spot! Added bonus: we’ll be stealing some design ideas from this space because what interior designer, Lynda Gardener, has done here is absolutely stunning. Check it out!

Black Bean Quesadilla Recipe

Black Bean & Veggie Quesadillas With Tomato & Avocado Salsa

I told you guys in a previous post how much I love Mealime. It has seriously revolutionized the way I think about meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking. The app has so many recipes to choose from, and they’re conveniently broken down into subcategories, making it super easy to find recipes based on food preferences. Even though I find myself with more time to cook, I still gravitate toward the quickest and easiest meals. That’s why I’m so in love with Mealime. I can eat healthy meals in about half an hour without worrying about food waste. Win, win, win! Anyway, this recipe has been on heavy rotation in my kitchen, because who doesn’t love a delicious quesadilla? Try this!

Black Bean & Veggie Quesadillas With Tomato & Avocado Salsa

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 2 avocados
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans
  • 1 (8 oz) block cheddar cheese
  • 1 small bunch cilantro
  • 2 jalapeño peppers
  • 4 large flour tortillas
  • 1 lime
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 4 tomatoes
  • black pepper
  • chili powder
  • ground cumin
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt

Preparation

  1. Wash and dry tomatoes, jalapeños, and cilantro.
  2. Medium dice and transfer tomatoes to a medium bowl. Seed, mince, and add ½ of the jalapeños to bowl (save the rest for the quesadilla filling). Halve and pit avocados; scoop out the flesh, medium dice, and add to bowl. Shave the cilantro leaves off the stems, mince the leaves, and add ½ to bowl (save the rest for the quesadilla filling). Peel, small dice onion, and add ½ to bowl (save the rest for the quesadilla filling).
  3. Drizzle ingredients in bowl with olive oil and lime juice; season with salt and pepper. Mix to combine and set aside.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Wash, seed, and small dice bell peppers.
  5. Coat bottom of skillet with oil. Add remaining onion, jalapeño, and bell pepper. Stirring frequently, cook until vegetables have softened, 3-4 minutes.
  6. Drain and rinse beans.
  7. Add beans and remaining cilantro to skillet. Then season with chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Stir and cook until beans are warmed through, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
  8. Grate 2 cups of cheddar.
  9. Wash and dry skillet. Heat over medium heat.
  10. Place tortillas on a flat surface. Layer on half of each tortilla with an eighth of the cheese, a quarter of the bean mixture, and another eighth of the cheese. Fold tortillas over to close.
  11. Coat skillet with oil. Place 2 of the quessadillas in the skillet, straight edges next to each other. Cook until golden brown on both sides and cheese is melted, 2-3 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining 2 quesadillas.
  12. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into wedges.
  13. To serve, place quesadilla on a plate and serve with salsa.

The Wellness Wheel- A Beginner’s Guide

One of my sisters recently reintroduced me to the concept of the Wellness Wheel. The Wellness Wheel is a visual model that illustrates the seven key dimensions of our lives. These seven dimensions are: emotional/mental, intellectual, physical, social, environmental, financial/occupational, and spiritual. All are interconnected and vital to a well-rounded and balanced lifestyle. That’s a mouthful, I know, but hear me out.

Remember how back before the Covid lockdowns started, you’d tell yourself, “if only I had more time at home I would…”? Well, here you are. This is not what you had in mind when you yearned for more time at home, for sure. It’s not what any of us had in mind. But when life hands you lemons, you can either squirt them in people’s eyes, or you can look at them as being half full… or something like that. The point is, we can think positively about this increased time at home. Seriously, it’s the perfect opportunity to start the hard work of balancing our wellness wheel.

What Is The Wellness Wheel? Here's How It Can Help You Lead A Plentiful, Balanced Life | AllWork.Space

So how do we know which dimensions of our wellness wheel are off-balance?

  • take a self-assessment quiz. This quiz from Princeton University is a quick and easy starting point.
  • develop an action plan. The possibilities are endless, but here’s what it might look like:

Sample Action Plan

Physical

  • exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • maintain personal hygiene (skin care, hair care)

Intellectual

  • watch an interesting documentary
  • read at least one book/month
  • listen to podcasts

Spiritual

  • truly think about ethical and religious beliefs
  • read religious texts
  • meditate

Environment

  • declutter living space
  • be mindful of recycling and sustainability
  • redesign living space for beauty and function

Social

  • connect with friends and family at least once a week
  • reach out to old friends

Financial/Occupational

  • create a budget and stick to it
  • be selective about shopping choices

Emotional/Mental

  • keep a gratitude journal
  • sleep regularly
  • seek counseling and professional help

There are so many approaches that you can take! This is definitely not an exhaustive list. In the meantime, check out these past posts on wellness rituals:

Happy New Year! Here’s What to Expect From Arsenic & Old Place This Year

Happy New Year, you guys! Just like everybody, I’m super excited that 2020 finally came to an end, and I’m even more excited about what the future holds. Coronavirus has truly rocked our lives and turned the world as we know it upside down. That being said, I’m always looking for a silver lining. Even though our lives have changed so drastically, there are definitely a few things that remain the same. Not only are these things the same, but they’ve become more important than ever. Wellness, self-care, nutrition, gratitude, physical, and emotional fitness are all going to play a major role in our journey through 2021.

As always, I will continue to share with you all of my favorite recipes, tips for self-care, and of course, the best in interior design inspiration. I’ve been cooking up a storm in the kitchen, testing out different self-care options, as well as home fitness solutions, and redesigning spaces to function for all the things. Seriously, we have so much to talk about! If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we have the opportunity and the tools to think differently about the ways in which we maintain our health and wellness, the ways in which our immediate environments work for (or against us), and the ways that our choices affect our community and the world. Let’s go, 2021!

Try This—5 Vegetarian Recipes to Make While Self-Isolating

We have a lot of time on our hands. Self-isolating can be a drag, but fortunately, there are a ton of recipes we still haven’t tried. You remember, right? Remember all those recipes that you pinned to your Pinterest boards? The ones that you swore you’d try if only you had the time? Well, here we are! While scrolling through my own Pinterest boards, I found some yummy recipes that I just had to share with you. You must try this!

SPICY HONEY-GARLIC ROASTED CAULIFLOWER

COPY CAT CHEESECAKE FACTORY AVOCADO EGGROLLS

Tofu Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich

GARLIC ROASTED TOMATO NAAN PIZZA

FRENCH ONION SOUP