New Castle News

October 11, 2012

Lori Brothers: Overwhelmed? Chill out with herbal tea

Lori Brothers
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Let’s all start taking tea breaks as a part of our daily ritual for relaxation and good health.

It’s more than sipping tea you know.

We all know the feeling of not having enough time in the day. Pushing the envelope, not getting enough sleep, always one more project or one more person who needs you to get something done, can lead to exhaustion.

When we get hammered with the life’s demands, it may feel overwhelming. What’s interesting about being overwhelmed is that at least you are aware that you juggling a lot, you know this feels awful. Awareness can lead you to positive, powerful step toward making changes or at least getting some support.

The real danger comes when you are in an overwhelming phase of your life and don’t realize it, can’t admit it, or feel you can’t do anything about it. Especially in a crisis, this kind of dynamic can get you off balance. This can lead to mental fatigue, anxiety and depression, or physical illness. In the midst of the challenge you can lose yourself to “the battle.”

Prioritizing is important when it is essential to make more time for yourself. Crisis or not, if you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, it’s time to put the world down, just for 15 minutes, and take a break.

I like herbal teas for meeting this purpose. Taking some quiet time for sitting alone, with a hot cup of tea, is grounding and centering to the body, mind and emotions. Also, herbal tea doesn’t rev you up like coffee can. Iced herbal tea works great on hot summer days.

Making a ritual out of your cup of tea creates the grounding necessary to bring you into the moment. Present-moment experience can drop tension from your body and mind.

You can do this any time of the day, so decide ahead of time the kind of tea, the cup you like to sip from, and what you would like to do to make a comfortable space for yourself to relax. Perhaps lighting a candle or putting on soothing music will be part of the ritual you create. This is a worthy, 15-minute break that can calm your nerves, and lower your blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate.

Sweet Dreams or Sleepy Time Tea are both excellent to wind you down at night before bed. If you are worried about having to use the restroom in the middle of the night, drink your tea about 90 minutes before your bedtime. No worries.

Morning and afternoon tea is also effective to meeting yourself for centering and taking some time to come into the moment with yourself. As we know, the Brits are famous for their afternoon tea time. According to the United Kingdom Council, “Tea breaks are a tradition that have been with us for approximately 200 years.”

Several boxed sampler fruit and herbal teas can give you a variety to choose. Chamomile tea has been known as calming. However, if you have ragweed allergies, or a history of seasonal allergies, you may want to be cautious because chamomile is a relative of ragweed.

Once you decide on your hot tea ritual — the when, where, what — involve all of your senses. Feel the warmth of the cup in your hands. Sense the steam. Smell the aroma. Be mindful to take small deliberate sips intending to stay present to what you feel as the tea flows into your mouth and trickles warmth down your throat.

You may even have a warm sensation in your chest and belly. Breathe into the moment and let the experience soften you. Let your attitudes, thoughts, emotions and physical tension melt away.

Pumpkin Pancakes



Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg together in a medium bowl. Combine egg, oil, milk and pumpkin in a small bowl. Stir pumpkin mixture into dry ingredients. Leave to stand for five minutes.

For each pancake, scoop 1/4 cup of batter on to a hot griddle or nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray. Turn pancakes when bubbles appear and edges are cooked, after about 2 minutes. Cook for 1 1/2 minutes on second side.

Note:  You can also add 1/2 cup of raisins or chopped apples to this recipe.