Loneliness

Livin La Vida Lonely

“But you always look so happy,” I hear from across my vanilla latte at Starbucks. It’s a phrase I’ve heard a million times from a million different people; today, it’s coming from a friend at church.

“Just because I look happy doesn’t mean I am. And sometimes I am happy, but a lot of times, I’m lonely,” I reply; feeling vulnerable and a bit on the defensive.

Ah, the internal struggle of the introvert; needing time alone to recharge my batteries, but feeling terribly lonely at the same time.

This situation begs the question; “Can a person be happy and lonely at the same time?”

I consider myself a generally happy person. Not much in life gets me down. I am blessed to have a lot of good things in my life and I practice gratitude daily as a way to remind myself of all that I have.

But every now and then, the dark cloud of loneliness creeps in. It started this past week at work. I recently started a part-time job at a local card and gift shop. Hey, budding authors have to eat, you know!

One of my duties is to straighten up the cards at the end of the night. As I passed through aisle after aisle of birthday cards for husbands and wives, anniversary cards, retirement cards for good friends, and countless other cards for friends and family members, I could feel the loneliness bug creeping in.

As I was nearing the end of my shift, I thought about going home to my apartment, with no one there to greet me but my beloved three-legged rescue cat, Felix. Felix is good company, but he’s not a great conversationalist.

“But you look so happy,” popped into my head again as I walked the boardwalk on my way home, watching happy vacationers with their families. “I am happy,” I thought, “But I’m also lonely.”

Does this sound like you? Are you both happy and lonely at the same time? I don’t claim to know anything about psychology, but I can tell you what has helped me in those moments of loneliness.

1. Have a few good friends or family members that you can call or text when you’re feeling down.
2. Practice gratitude daily. Take the time to reflect on all the good things you have in life and all the things you have to be grateful for.
3. Learn when to force yourself to get out and interact with others, and when to retreat. Too much forcing can cause unnecessary discomfort; too much retreating can spiral into depression.
4. Avoid the triggers that can bring on loneliness; TV programs, magazines, etc. (or in my case, greeting cards) that cause you to feel lonely.
5. Find meaningful activities to fill your downtime. Volunteer, pick up a hobby, establish a workout routine, etc.
Loneliness isn’t fatal, but it sure isn’t fun either. If you’re feeling the pains of loneliness, I wish you well. And hey, if you don’t have anyone to call or text, feel free to email me at karen@thecaringcoachingcenter.com. Chances are, I’m home feeling lonely too!

Take care of yourself, be nice to yourself, and be well. And until next time – veg in, don’t veg out!

Karen

Karen Ann Kennedy’s commitment to wellness and service is at the heart of her life and career. As a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, a decorated United States Army veteran, and a longtime Human Resources Director, it is only natural that Karen would launch The Caring Coaching Center, to support others in reaching their health, fitness, and lifestyle goals. As the company’s President, CEO, and “Coach in Chief,” Karen provides individual, group, and corporate health and wellness coaching that is flexible, fun, and free of denial. As Karen likes to say: “Little changes. BIG results!”

Thanks to her studies at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the world’s largest nutrition school, Karen is well versed in the importance of nutrition and healthy living. Karen also has extensive experience in compassionately coaching and counseling others through her work in human resources and volunteer management, having worked in this industry for over 20 years.

Karen shares her knowledge and passion for healthy living as a regular contributor to The Huffington Post. Known for her bright smile, boundless energy, and approachability, Karen is an in-demand speaker who has presented training programs for many prestigious organizations and schools in the Philadelphia area, including The National Constitution Center, The Urban League of Philadelphia, Constitution High School, Planned Parenthood of New Jersey, The Penn Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, City Year of Greater Philadelphia, and the Upper Darby School District.

Karen is also a decorated veteran of the United States Army, serving her country for eight years including a tour of duty in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, and now residing in Ocean City, New Jersey, Karen offers Caring Coaching to clients nationwide. In addition to coaching, she loves cooking, marathon running, and writing her blog, Carrots Don’t Scream When You Boil Them.

Karen is also the author of Your Best Year Yet! 365 Days of Little Changes that Add Up to Big Results! Available on http://www.amazon.com.

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recipes, stir fry, vegan

Easy Tempeh and Broccoli Stir Fry

I love me some tempeh; a fermented soy product that serves as a great meat substitute for all us vegans and vegetarians out there. I like that tempeh tends to be less processed than some of the other soy products, and, because it’s a fermented food, it’s good for your gut health.

I love this recipe because it meets my three criteria:

1. It’s cheap to make
2. It’s easy to make
3. It tastes great

You can whip this up in a matter of minutes so it’s great to make on a busy weeknight. Since I live alone when I make a batch, I can eat off it for at least half the week and that means less cooking for me – hooray!

It occurs to me as I sit here typing this recipe while the cat is “helping” (and by helping I mean trying to lay on the keyboard while I work) that he’s probably lamenting the fact that of all the people he could have gotten hooked up with, he got hooked up with the vegan chick. I wonder if he dreams of dancing chicken legs, sizzling pork chops, or salmon swimming into his mouth.

But I digress…

Here’s the recipe – Enjoy!

Tempeh and Broccoli Stir Fry

1 pound of broccoli crowns cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 small red bell pepper
1 small green bell pepper
1 small yellow bell pepper
1 small red onion, sliced thin
1 eight-ounce package of tempeh, cut into cubes
1 teaspoon of hot sauce
3 cloves of garlic
1 cup of scallions, chopped
Soy sauce to taste

1. Steam broccoli until bright green and still a little crisp, about 5 minutes
2. While broccoli is cooking, heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat, add peppers, onion, garlic, and tempeh, and sauté about 5 minutes
3. Add broccoli to skillet and mix with other ingredients. Cook an additional 1 – 2 minutes
4. Remove from heat and stir in hot sauce and soy sauce
5. Top with scallions
6. Serve over brown rice, if desired

There you have it. If you try this recipe at home, drop me a comment and let me know how it turned out.
Take care of yourself, be nice to yourself, and be well. And until next time – veg in, don’t veg out!

Karen

Haven’t gotten your free health consultation yet? What are you waiting for? Jump over to www.thecaringcoachingcenter.com to get on the path to your best you!
Karen Ann Kennedy’s commitment to wellness and service is at the heart of her life and career. As a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, a decorated United States Army veteran, and a longtime Human Resources Director, it is only natural that Karen would launch The Caring Coaching Center, to support others in reaching their health, fitness, and lifestyle goals. As the company’s President, CEO, and “Coach in Chief,” Karen provides individual, group, and corporate health and wellness coaching that is flexible, fun, and free of denial. As Karen likes to say: “Little changes. BIG results!”

Thanks to her studies at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the world’s largest nutrition school, Karen is well versed in the importance of nutrition and healthy living. Karen also has extensive experience in compassionately coaching and counseling others through her work in human resources and volunteer management, having worked in this industry for over 20 years.

Karen shares her knowledge and passion for healthy living as a regular contributor to The Huffington Post. Known for her bright smile, boundless energy, and approachability, Karen is an in-demand speaker who has presented training programs for many prestigious organizations and schools in the Philadelphia area, including The National Constitution Center, The Urban League of Philadelphia, Constitution High School, Planned Parenthood of New Jersey, The Penn Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, City Year of Greater Philadelphia, and the Upper Darby School District.

Karen is also a decorated veteran of the United States Army, serving her country for eight years including a tour of duty in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, and now residing in Ocean City, New Jersey, Karen offers Caring Coaching to clients nationwide. In addition to coaching, she loves cooking, marathon running, and writing her blog, Carrots Don’t Scream When You Boil Them.

Karen is also the author of Your Best Year Yet! 365 Days of Little Changes that Add Up to Big Results! Available on www.amazon.com.

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recipes, Tofu, vegan

“Cheesy” Scrambled Tofu

As a vegan, I’ve found that one of the harder meals to navigate is breakfast.

Sure, there’s always a bagel, a smoothie, or some fruit, but sometimes, I want a savory dish for breakfast and I’ll get some vegan sausage, make some potatoes, etc.

But scrambled tofu has quickly become one of my favorite breakfast treats.

When you make your scrambled tofu, it comes out looking like scrambled eggs. I put turmeric in mine (I put turmeric in just about everything) and that also helps give the tofu that “eggy” look.

Recently, I kicked my tofu up a notch and added some vegan cheese. It was wonderful, so I thought I’d share the recipe with you. Enjoy!

“Cheesy” Scrambled Tofu

1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 package of mushrooms, any kind
2 – 3 cloves of garlic
1 pound of extra-firm tofu, drained
1 package of vegan cheese, diced (I recently used Daiya cheddar cheese style)
½ cup of water

Mix up the following blend of spices:
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of paprika
½ teaspoon of turmeric
½ teaspoon of parsley
1 teaspoon of salt
1/8 teaspoon of pepper

1. First, you have to drain your tofu. I take the tofu out of the pack and put it on a clean plate, then, I put another plate on top of the tofu. Then, to create pressure, I fill up my Brita pitcher and sit it on top of the top plate. About 15 minutes is all you need to squeeze out all the extra juice.
2. Mix your spice blend and set aside.
3. Heat the oil in a skillet and add the onions and garlic; cook for 3 minutes.
4. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes.
5. Add the spice blend and mix well.
6. Add ½ cup of water and scrape the bottom of the pan to get up all the spices
7. Crumble the tofu into the pan. You don’t want to mush it all up; just crumble it into pieces.
8. Cook for 10 minutes.
9. Add the vegan cheese and cook another 5 minutes. If the tofu starts to stick to the pan, just add more water

Enjoy!

If you make this recipe, comment below and let me know how you liked it. And if you want more recipes like this, hop on over to http://www.thecaringcoachingcenter.com While you’re there, sign up for your free health consultation too!

Take care of yourself, be nice to yourself, and be well. And until next time – veg in, don’t veg out.

Karen

Karen Ann Kennedy’s commitment to wellness and service is at the heart of her life and career. As a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, a decorated United States Army veteran, and a longtime Human Resources Director, it is only natural that Karen would launch The Caring Coaching Center, to support others in reaching their health, fitness, and lifestyle goals. As the company’s President, CEO, and “Coach in Chief,” Karen provides individual, group, and corporate health and wellness coaching that is flexible, fun, and free of denial. As Karen likes to say: “Little changes. BIG results!”

Thanks to her studies at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the world’s largest nutrition school, Karen is well versed in the importance of nutrition and healthy living. Karen also has extensive experience in compassionately coaching and counseling others through her work in human resources and volunteer management, having worked in this industry for over 20 years.

Karen shares her knowledge and passion for healthy living as a regular contributor to The Huffington Post. Known for her bright smile, boundless energy, and approachability, Karen is an in-demand speaker who has presented training programs for many prestigious organizations and schools in the Philadelphia area, including The National Constitution Center, The Urban League of Philadelphia, Constitution High School, Planned Parenthood of New Jersey, The Penn Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, City Year of Greater Philadelphia, and the Upper Darby School District.

Karen is also a decorated veteran of the United States Army, serving her country for eight years including a tour of duty in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, and now residing in Ocean City, New Jersey, Karen offers Caring Coaching to clients nationwide. In addition to coaching, she loves cooking, marathon running, and writing her blog, Carrots Don’t Scream When You Boil Them.

Karen is also the author of Your Best Year Yet! 365 Days of Little Changes that Add Up to Big Results! Available on http://www.amazon.com.

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