Staying Calm in Stressful Times
Feeling anxious about politics, the pandemic, wildfires, and just 2020 in general? There’s plenty to be concerned about but anxiety never helped get anything done, it makes it harder to think clearly and make good choices. So here is my advice to stay calm in the midst of chaos, aka “5 Tips to Chill the F out”.
1) Spend less time online, screen addiction makes everyone crazy. Turn off notifications on your phone and any app that throws news at you. Intentionally spend more time outdoors: go for a walk, put your garden to sleep for the winter, sit and meditate under a tree, go fishing, whatever it takes.
2) Nourish yourself and take good care of yourself. Drink water. I mean right now, just go take a sip of water. Or drink a nourishing tea like nettles and oatstraw if you have that available. Get enough rest, and remember to eat meals of real food when you can. You can’t do the good work if you’re depleted.
3) Have compassion for the ordinary people on the “other side.” Although I still hold politicians accountable for the choices they make that affect us all, I have compassion for the ordinary folks who make choices based on their beliefs and experiences. Everyone has a reason they choose something, and it might not be what you expect.
4) And now we finally get to start talking about herbs, but those first 3 tips are foundational. Start with adaptogens, which are herbs that help us stay grounded and energized in stressful times. Put a teaspoon of Ashwagandha in your smoothies, or take it as a tincture or tea to help energize and relax at the same time. Holy Basil or Tulsi can help relax our hearts and reduce the effects of stress on our bodies. I’ve been taking a lot of my TulsEase Elixir lately to take the edge off.
5) Nervines… LOVE me some nervines. These are herbs that help nourish and relax our nervous system. Think about herbs like Oat seed tincture if you’re feeling wired and tired, or Skullcap if you have anxiety with circular thinking or a peculiar eye twitch. Kava kava is a great one if you’re feeling really stressed out – Kava helps us stay detached from extreme emotions. One of the more potent anti-anxiety herbs out there. And if things get really bad then there’s Anemone, which should only ever be used 1-3 drops of tincture at a time because it is very powerful (and more than 5 drops will start to have an opposite effect) but is super helpful for anxiety attacks or when someone is feeling totally out of their body.
One final word – one thing I’ve learned from Buddhism is that the word “detachment” doesn’t mean total unemotional lack of attachment to anything, it means we shouldn’t get so wrapped up in the extremes of our emotions and thoughts that we forget to be present with reality. So remember the lesson of the turtle – slow and steady wins the race. The race being our long-term health, the health of our communities and our environment, and our ability to get up and fight another day for peace with justice.