Dear Awesome Woman,
Passover is coming and for many of us it can feel quite overwhelming. A lot of cleaning to do, food preparations and guests.
The question is how do we not get burnt out during this time? How can we be kind to ourselves in the process so that we don’t feel resentful towards the holiday and our loved ones?
It’s not a one shot deal – it’s weeks in coming and then lasts many days. Big task to ask of us busy women.
After 20 years of observing this holiday, I think I’ve finally got it. The key word here is SIMPLIFY.
I have found that this is the kindest thing that I can do for myself. And if it’s kind to me and I feel less stress, more relief then I’ll be kinder to those around me.
So, I’m here to share with you what has worked for me in terms of making Passover simple. Take what resonates with you and leave behind what doesn’t because I certainly don’t want you to feel more stress.
First things first – how you speak to yourself. Here are some language tools that have helped me so that when I catch myself putting pressure on me, I can grab these immediately and change the direction of my thinking. Science says that it only takes 17 seconds for your mind to spiral negatively, so we gotta be quick.
- No ‘shoulds’ only ‘coulds’ – if you catch yourself saying “‘I should be doing this faster, I should be doing it like my neighbor, I should be a better cook, mother, etc”
STOP! BREATH DEEPLY IN AND OUT AND CHOOSE:
“I’m doing what I can and that’s good enough”
“There is nothing that I need to do differently than what I’m doing now”
“I could be doing it like my neighbor and I’m not because I’m not my neighbor’
“It doesn’t need to be perfect”
Feel in your body how these statements feel. My hunch? They feel much better than that slave driver word ‘should.’
A deep breath (or two) helps put your body in the parasympathetic ( Peaceful) state of the nervous system rather than the fight, flight and freeze (deer in headlights) state of being (sympathetic state of nervous system). This will help you get things done in a kinder and healthier state of mind and body.
2) “There is nothing different to do than what I am doing right now.” This keeps you in the present moment rather than whirling in your head everything else that needs to get done. G-d did not make you an octopus and therefore you can realistically do only one thing at a time.
3) “Hashem (G-d) makes it easy for me” – I love the word easy! And since G-d is infinite, I choose to believe that my tasks can get done in an easy manner.
Get help and take breaks often. That slave driver mentality will have you working from morning to night. Instead notice how long you can cook/clean before you start feeling tense. For me, it’s about two hours max. If I push myself past that amount of time I’ll find myself getting irritated, my neck and shoulders feeling tense. I stop and do something different. It doesn’t have to be a long break – fifteen minutes or so can really help. Perhaps sit outside with nothing to do for a ½ hour or take a few moments to pull some weeds from your yard. A 10 minute exercise break may make the difference from inner slavedriver to kind calmness. That short healthy break allows for self kindness.
What other things can you do to nip that inner slave driver in the bud?
Ask yourself honestly what REALLY is necessary to get done before Pesach. It’s not Spring cleaning – you have a whole year to do Spring cleaning. This is Passover and the only thing we don’t want around is chometz. I cover and sell whatever I don’t want to clean and this does save time.
I used to try to make all kinds of side dishes, desserts etc. that took all kinds of time and didn’t necessarily turn out as good as my neighbor’s (compare and despair).
Now for main dishes, it’s just chicken, chicken cutlets, fish, hamburgers, and maybe a roast. I’ll have fried onions that I froze and placed in little bags to take out as needed and put on the meat when I cook it.
For side dishes – it’s a cucumber, tomato and onion salad, an avocado salad, some freshly cut up cucumbers, a carrot salad and cabbage salad. Voila! Side dishes! And how healthy and kid friendly is that!
For dessert, it’s simple almond cookies and fruit. If I’m up to it, I’ll prepare some applesauce as well.
Some Chol Hamoed (weekday) easy meals are yogurt banana shakes for breakfast, eggs and mashed potatoes for lunch and crockpot chicken for dinner. I’ll also make ratoutoulle with cheese and some of my kids love that.
The kinds of food that people choose for the holiday are very individual and yet you can simplify your mind, your cleaning and your food so that Passover can be done in a kinder, healthier -to -you way!
Remember we left the slave drivers behind in Egypt.
3 cups white almond flour (you could also use just plain ground almonds)
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 egg whites
Chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350. Put everything in food processor. If sticky, just wet hands a little when making cookie shape. Put spoon sized cookie dough on parchment lined aluminum tray. Bake for 15 minutes at 350.
Chocolate Avocado Pudding:
2 ripe avocados
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup almond milk
Use food processor or blender.
Cabbage Salad with Almonds:
Cut up or slivered almonds
¼ cup oil
6 tbls. sugar
½ tsp. salt
6 tbls. wine vinegar (Kedem makes for Passover)
Mix together and serve.
Crock Pot Chicken:
Throw some chicken, fried onions, salt and wine in a crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours.