A belated “happy new year!” to you and yours! It’s been a week since 2012 began and I finally bring myself to say hello!
In my last post of 2011, I spent a significant amount of timing reflecting on what I had not accomplished and found inspiration to kick well-seasoned mojo back in my sauce! I can’t have it any other way. And, neither should you. We do this because we love it. Because we’re passionate. Because we have something to say.
With all eagerness to share our words with stranger and do everything we dream of, comes stress. At least for me. The last two years of my life have been spent fighting stress. The effects have stifled me, kept me in bed and caused some serious back pain. Not to mention the constant pressure of getting posts and recipes up by certain dates. Those are things I’ve vowed to get better about. In fact, my list of what’s going to change in my approach to life is long. And, I’m looking forward to it.
Topping the list is reducing with the goal of eliminating stress. No, really. There is a way to make it happen. I remember being in an Aveda store once, and the young lady checking me out told me she said a prayer, committed to leave all of her stresses behind, threw it to to the wind and literally let it all go. She stood there, with her bright red hair, bearing the biggest grain a happy woman could. She said something poignant: Stressing isn’t going to change anything.
That conversation happened almost 3 years ago. And here I am still uttering those same words and throwing as much as I can behind my shoulder.
To start my process, looked at simple yet powerful things that could instantly relax me. There are few known tangibles that have “relaxing” properties. Among them, chamomile “tea”. Every time I text my Dr. sister and complain about a tension headache or a back spasm, her response is always the same: “Drink some chamomile every night before you go to bed and pray. Allow yourself to relax.”
Long before my sister’s suggestions, mami has always kept manzanilla stored in the cupboards as much as she has white rice and dry black beans. It’s a staple in our kitchen. Not so much for the sedative and relaxing benefits, rather to squash any one our stomach issues. Papi enjoys it the most and I go for it every time I’m cramping. Mami boils some blossoms or bags and lets it steep for 10 minutes.
So here I am, sipping chamomile away…I drink it at night to help me sleep more calmly and sip some in the morning (after my double shot of espresso, of course) as a tactic to getting my day started with minimized tension.
With all its stress-reducing, sleep-enhancing and stomach ailment relieving— another wonderful benefit– properties, chamomile is not really a tea. In fact, according to the “The Tea Enthusiasts Handbook” (my new bible for all things tea!), chamomile is commonly mislabeled as tea and should be referred to as “herbal, infusion or tisans.” So much so, authors Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss omit touching on it (as well as lavender and mint “teas”.)
Chamomile in its organic form is a plant found mostly in Europe and buds pretty yellow blossom. As an herbal mix, it’s infused with other blossom plants, dried fruits and is just that, and not a product of the tea bush.
So, while not an authentic tea hailing from an Asian tea bush, it definitely has a place in great beverage options for many reasons. They say if it walks like a duck, then it is a duck. I serve my chamomile hot, sweetened a bit with honey or raw sugar, just like the real deal tea. Other ways of fancying the lovely flower is to chill it and serve in Ball jars…. makes for a perfect afternoon drink…add some fresh buds to it for garnish.
It’s not like I’m epiphanizing an enjoyment or new stress reliever. It’s a matter of reminding us there is something we can all do to make our daily lives better. Starting the new year on the right foot, eating the rights things (a pending post), taking care of my body attacking my stress without abandon, is my priority. Something as simple, easy and inexpense as sipping un poco de té de manzanilla is perfect and doesn’t require too much thought — I need to reserve those for my growing calendar!
How do you reduce stress? Is there anything you drink, eat, do to minimize factors that cause discord and inefficiency?