Sabbatical: January

The story where I forgot my skirt at home

This is the story where I forgot my skirt at home. Yes, today a long shirt and leggings might be okay, but in 2013, a few weeks after the birth of my third child, the skirt was definitely an important part of my outfit. 

We were supposed to be at occupational therapy at eight o'clock and I woke the kids, made breakfast, dressed the two-year-old, interrupted the older one in his daydreams and reminded him to get dressed. For me it was breakfast on the go. With baby in my arms, I wiped the crumbled table and cleaned the sticky jam off the floor before it could become spread all over the apartment. I had promised my mother-in-law that I would go shopping for her and oh well, I would be able to buy a present for the birthday party right away. Something with dinosaurs maybe. Oh god, the birthday party the big one was so looking forward to so much was on Saturday and there was scheduled the all-day training for work! How could I have forgotten that and who could take the big one to the party?

We came to occupational therapy on time, the children were clean and well dressed and fed, only my skirt was still at home. A hundred things that needed to be done were circling in my head. I was tired. So for lunch I had quick instant noodles and some chocolate for the mood. A few days later I tried to pay for some rolls at the bakery with the toy money from the children's shop. The saleswoman asked me sternly if I wanted to make fun of her. That's when I realized how exhausted I am. Do you know that, too?

I had to gather strength again. I wanted a reset. I would have liked to be as carefree as if I were a child myself. Lying in a hammock in the garden... The garden! Yes that was the idea! Back to the roots! This year parental leave would be my gardening time! And so my idea for the garden year sabbatical was born. I didn't have much time for myself and the garden. But with 30 minutes a day, five days a week, a lot can be achieved over a year!

These are my jokers for January. 

These tips don't have much to do with gardening, but they lay an important foundation for enjoying nature.

How do I give my body strength and a good mood in the dark season?

Sometimes it's small changes in a habit that make a big difference: One of my friends is a doctor with a keen interest in healthy eating. She gave me the book "Ran an das Fett" by Dr.  Anne Fleck and strongly advised me to have linseed oil quark for breakfast in the morning. The protein-rich quark with the sulfur-containing amino acids and the high-quality oils provide the brain, muscles, bones and organs with important nutrients. I usually add a handful of nuts (three Brazil nuts, because of the selenium, some almonds and walnuts). I mix and vary with the oils. I also use wheat germ oil with its important antioxidants, and fruits containing vitamin C or a dash of fresh lemon juice. There are also great high-quality flavored linseed oil preparations, some with DHA from algae. 

The mixing is done in two minutes! I also have a coffee with a teaspoon of coconut oil and a bit of cinnamon or non-oiled raw cocoa, or sometimes turmeric powder. Drinking the coffee with the coconut oil was very unusual and strange for me at first. But I was entertained with it more often. And now I don't want to do without it and I like the coconut note! And he's just fine! The high-quality virgin coconut oil and the omega-3 oils and the DHA are also metabolized in the brain. This meal gives you strength, keeps you full for a long time and after just one week I notice a positive effect on my concentration and mood. Quark is currently my breakfast four days a week, the other days I have fresh bread or wholemeal rolls. If you're feeling exhausted and irritable or feeling down, I highly recommend doing this breakfast for a week. I absolutely love it. Try it tomorrow!

How do I reset myself?

After the Christmas holidays, when we feast, I reset my metabolism. If I've eaten a lot of sweets, my normal feeling of satiety doesn't really work, I often have cravings. But following the advice of my nutritionist friend, I now know how easy it is to break cravings. Two days are enough, during which I avoid sugary dishes (and of course drinks). If you want to be consistent, you should also avoid carbohydrates during these days. For example, linseed oil quark for breakfast, lentil coconut soup with ginger for lunch and stir-fried vegetables with feta for dinner. For me, the reset also works with few carbohydrates such as potatoes and even with apple slices. Only sugar must not be included (not even in organic fruit yoghurt).

How to refresh body and mind:

Nothing is as refreshing as clear water. Drink at least two liters a day.

How do the circling thoughts disappear?

Mindfulness is the magic word. In January I meditate for five minutes every morning in front of a daylight lamp. Currently, I relax after the kids are out of the house before I go to work. I used to do this before waking the kids. With my eyes open, I sit cross-legged and concentrate on breathing and try to let all other thoughts slip by. This works sometimes more sometimes less. But those five minutes of rest and relaxation for me make a big difference in my happiness and resilience throughout the day. Especially when the sun rises so late in winter, the daylight lamp invigorates me, makes me fit and alert, and the artificial daylight lifts my spirits in the long run and improves my attitude towards life. The daylight lamp demonstrably increases the production of serotonin, a messenger substance that is responsible for a good mood and improves the ability to concentrate.

A good lamp is important. Be sure to keep the prescribed distance, and the five minutes are enough for me! Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions! If the lamp is fixed from too close for a long time, the retina of the eye can be affected. Good lamps are not expensive and can be ordered on the Internet. A small lamp is sufficient. Mine is about 20 by 30 centimeters tall. However, UV light is filtered out by the glass pane. Anyone who does not get sunlight in winter (e.g. due to work) can talk to their doctor about vitamin D administration during the dark season. I recommend daylight lamp only moregns and in the morning! In the evening it would reduce melatonin production and possibly make it harder to fall asleep. However, when used correctly, the daylight lamp is a miracle weapon that combats light winter blues and pleasantly invigorates and gives you strength!

Dream of summer! You too can test the mood-enhancing effects of a daylight lamp.

A tiny garden project: sprouts are growing on the windowsill

Cress seeds, radish seeds and kohlrabi seeds can be grown in a soup plate with a little kitchen towel. The kitchen towel (3 layers) is moistened, but the seeds should not "swim" and to increase the moisture, the soup plate is covered with a flat plate for three days. Then the seedlings need light and have to go to the window. Now the fresh green can be harvested in the next few days. There are also ready-made ceramic bowls with which you can achieve very nice results. If you don't mind a little more effort, you can buy a seed jar and the associated seed mixture. Here the seedlings have to be washed every day, which I sometimes forgot, then they dry up and once with a little too much moisture there was mold. Every January, however, fresh greenery grows in my practical, recyclable ceramic bowls.

Try the recipe Gierschmaultaschen with fresh sprouts at the weekend!

A little evening walk

A good habit I would like to recommend to you:

A little evening walk. It doesn't have to be far at all, but once around the blog, experience the twilight and darkness, that rhythmic walking, step by step. Breathe some fresh air. All of these are things that help to relieve the stress of the day and to calm down and also help to be able to sleep well later on. Switch laptops, mobile phones and other electronic devices to night mode from 6 or 7 p.m. at the latest. The bluish light of the technical devices and some LED light bulbs reduces the release of the hormone melatonin and prevents tiredness and makes it difficult to fall asleep.

Here's a recap of all my little January projects that make a big difference in the long run:

1. Recharge your batteries and enjoy filling linseed oil quark with nuts for breakfast and learn to love coconut coffee.

2. Reset the metabolism with two sugar-free days or two carbohydrate-free days

3. Refresh your body and mind with at least two liters of clean water

4. Quiet circling thoughts with five minutes of breathing meditation in the morning

5. Bring vitamin-rich sprouts to life on the windowsill and ignite the energy turbo

6. Get some fresh air with a tiny evening walk and end the day


Six small steps that will permanently increase your energy level. I promise these small changes will be worth it! Also: Be sure to admire the snowdrops in January, which dare to come out of the ground despite the freezing cold. In February, the garden project really begins. Who wants to grow their own potato varieties? We talk about multitasking and then you can enjoy the daylight outside again...