This time of year can be hard on a lot of us. The increased volume of social engagements, the pressure to buy a bunch of stuff, the seeming lack of quiet in public spaces, the disappearing daylight, and the tendency to slip into less healthy modes of living because everything and everyone is just so busy. As we dive into the season of parties, the fastest of paces, and outright exhaustion in some cases, I want to empower some of you to say no or to pull back and really think about how a certain convention or line of thought makes you feel. I don’t want you to think that I dread this time of year or anything. I just think that almost anyone, at any level of mindfulness/wellbeing, could do with a bit more introspection these days–even if it’s just for 5 minutes.
“What you dream, what you feel, and what you really are, will all be manifested through the word.”
-Don Miguel Ruiz in The Four Agreements
How you treat yourself in this wild and wonderful season directly relates to how you communicate and gather with others. If I don’t acknowledge my stress or lack of sleep and do something about it, I’m probably going to fill up on wine and sweets at a holiday party, and then I’ll proceed to say something regrettable or worse, I’ll shut down completely. I know myself well enough to recognize this tendency. If I take that preventative step and have the nap, draw the bath with the Insight Timer pumping through the headphones, or just calmly sit with a cup of tea, my dog and no screens in my line of sight–I know that I’ll enjoy the gathering more, and that my friends and family will only get my very best in that moment, which is what they deserve!
So with all of this in mind, I present to you a lovely bedtime/chill time sip along with a bunch of links that might help you calm the eff down as this season ramps up. A double strength chamomile and lavender latte is extra soothing on its own, but if you make it with almond or pumpkin seed milk, you’ll have the added calming benefit of more magnesium in the mix, too. Also, if valerian root tea doesn’t give you weird dreams (I can’t drink it for this reason), feel free to infuse some of that in here as well.
An oldie, but a goodie. Maybe you’ve read this one before? The Disease of Being Busy.
I’m signing up for Rachel W. Cole’s Savor email subscription to take me right up to New Year’s Eve. Every day you get a meditation or mental exercise on treating yourself well, loving up the people in your life a lot better, being grateful for the now, and putting insecurities at bay. Thanks to Michelle for this suggestion! ;)
If you haven’t seen it already, The New York Times has a great series on the meditation of everyday moments.
The root chakra ties you to your daily necessities like food, water, and sleep, but it also points to what you may need to feel whole as an emotional being. An imbalance or blockage here can lead to stress. Some tips for keeping your whole self optimized from this perspective can be found here and here.
I keep reaching for this Tranquility Balancing Mist from Saje Wellness lately. I put out a good spritz and inhale deep.
An Ayurvedic Guide to Stress Management. “If like increases like, opposites balance, and the stress response is unequivocally reducing, lightening, and catabolic in nature, then the antidote to excess stress is to offer our systems an abundance of the entire group of building, nourishing qualities—through our diets, our lifestyle, our practices, our relationships—basically, anywhere that we can get them.”
If Arianna Huffington is taking mid-day naps to recharge and optimize her workflow, you might want to take note.
Like Renee, I’m also an emotional sponge and find it veeerrrrrryyy easy to slip into a state of over-stimulation. Lots of good tips on building up your own stress-response toolbox in this post.
INSTANT CALM TEA LATTE RECIPE
Print the recipe here!
NOTES: Like I mentioned above, if valerian root tea doesn’t give you messed up dreams, feel free to incorporate it here. I’ve also tried steeping the tea with a pinch of fennel seeds and it’s quite good if you like that mellow anise flavour.
3/4 cup filtered water
2 chamomile tea bags OR 2 teaspoons loose chamomile tea
1/2 teaspoon dried lavender buds
3/4 cup almond or other non-dairy milk
pinch of vanilla powder OR splash of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon virgin coconut oil
stevia, maple syrup or honey, to taste
In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Place the chamomile tea and lavender buds into a tea strainer in a mug. Pour the boiling water over the tea and steep for at least 4 minutes.
Pour the almond milk into the saucepan and gently bring it up to a simmer. Carefully transfer the warm milk to an upright blender along with the vanilla, coconut oil, and sweetener of choice. Blend the warm milk mixture on high for 20 seconds. Pour the frothed milk into the cup with the tea. Enjoy immediately.