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by Jennifer Erwin


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Samhain 2003, Vol 3-1
MatriFocus, a Cross-Quarterly Web Magazine for Goddess Women Near & Far
Autumn is the time of Mother Nature's withdrawal…

Flowers fade…
Leaves fall…
The days become shorter and shorter…

The natural rhythm of life makes us want to slow down and withdraw, too. However, our hectic lifestyles make this difficult for many women. So much happens during this time of year that keeps us busy. We have back-to-school, high school and college football, fall festivals, Thanksgiving, and plenty more all leading up to the big Yule season. It's no wonder we usually feel so out of sync this time of year. We have no time to surrender to nature's cycle! And so, we come to the topic of this season's column ~ how to stay calm and grounded.

My personal favorite way to calm and center is a nice hot bath, plenty of candles lit around the tub, and some wonderfully relaxing bath salts or herb bath. Both are very easy to make.

Bath salts are made by simply combining two parts Epsom salts, one part each table salt and sea salt, ½ part baking soda. Mix and add desired food coloring and essential oils. Add to a tub of warm water and enjoy. This also makes a great gift for the holidays! Simply put in jars, decorate, and they are ready to give as gifts.

Herb baths are also simple to make. For a nice relaxing bath you can use any combination of chamomile, linden flowers, lavender flowers, and lemon balm. Add a half cup of the mixture to a cheesecloth/muslin bag. Tie the bag, hold under the hot water faucet and let hot water flow through. When done filling tub, throw in bag and let it steep until the water cools enough for you to get in. For an extra special touch you can add some rose petals to the water. Add some nice music and candles and you have a great way to unwind after a long, stressful day!

Aromatherapy can also be very helpful in aiding you to relax. Some of the more helpful oils are lavender, chamomile, clary sage, Melissa, neroli, rose and jasmine. You can add 8-10 drops of any combination of the oils to a warm evening bath to help calm you, or you can mix 2-3 drops with 1 tsp/5ml sweet almond oil and massage into your hands and soles of your feet.

Homeopathy is effective for long-term stress relief. Argentum nitricum is designated for individuals who feel warm, thirst for cold drinks, feel better in open air, suffer from excess mental exertion, restlessness, hurriedness, impulsiveness, and who may crave candy even though it makes them feel ill.

Arsenicum album is best for individuals who feel better with heat, feel cold, thirst for cold drinks, are anxious, despairing, fussy, weak but restless, can't seem to get comfortable, are oversensitive, and may have thin mucus discharge.

Herbs can also be very helpful. Another of my favorite ways to relax is to curl up with a nice cup of hot tea. Not only do the herbs help you relax, but the simple act of taking the time out of your busy schedule to blend the herbs, brew the tea, and sit down to drink it can help you feel much more grounded. If you don't have the time or desire to blend your own teas you can drink plain chamomile tea or try Nighty Night blend by Traditional Medicinals (see their free samples page to order a sample and more information). If you do like to create your own blends, you can try either of the following:

  • This blend is by Mary Bove, LM, ND.
    Take ½ ounce of each: lavender, oats, linden flower, catnip, lemon balm.
    Use 4 Tablespoons of blend per quart boiling water. Steep 10 minutes. Drink a cup after each meal and up to 6 cups a day if necessary.
  • This is my own personal blend and is a big hit with my family and friends.
    3 parts chamomile
    2 parts lemon balm
    1 part each catnip and passionflower
    Just be aware, this will make you drowsy! Drink this only before going to bed. You can sweeten with a bit of stevia or honey.

Avoiding stimulants such as coffee, chocolate, alcohol, strong spices, sugar, and highly acidic foods will make it easier for you to stay calm. You can also take daily supplements to help deal with stress.

  • Vitamin B complex: 50 mg daily
  • Vitamin C plus mixed bioflavenoids: 500 mg daily
  • Calcium plus magnesium in 2:1 ratio daily

All of these methods help to relax you, but nothing is more effective than reducing stress and anxiety in the first place. Try not to take on too much. It is ok to say "no" every one in a while. The holidays are a time when so much is going on that you don't want to miss a thing, but remember that you will enjoy yourself so much more if you actually get to experience these things instead of just rushing through trying to cram as much as possible into as little time as possible. Only do the things that are truly important to you and be sure to leave plenty of time for yourself and for your family to be together.

Resources
+ Dannheisser, Ilana and Penny Edwards, 1998, Homeopathy: An Illustrated Guide, Element Books Limited: Boston MA.
+ Gottlieb, Bill (ed.), 1995, New Choices in Natural Healing, Rondale Press, Inc: Emmaus, Pennsylvania.
+ Lawless, Julia, 2001, Complete Illustrated Guide to Aromatherapy, Element Books Limited: Shaftesbury, Dorset, Great Britain.
+ Monte, Tom, 1997, The Complete Guide to Natural Healing, Perigee Books: New York, NY.

Disclaimer: The information contained herein is not intended to replace the services of trained health professionals. You are advised to consult with your health care professional with regard to matters relating to your health, and in particular regarding matters that may require diagnosis or medical attention.

Graphics Credits
+ Tea, courtesy of Microsoft Design Gallery Live.

Contributors retain the copyright to their work; please do not take art or words without permission. All other graphics and reference materials are used and attributed as per the Fair Use Provision of The Copyright Act and individual terms of use.
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