Wednesday, October 27, 2010
revisiting stress management
We're nearing the end of October... which means pretty fall foliage, but it also means mid-semester work, grading, planning, writing, etc etc etc....
So... I'm trying to be proactive and help myself.
Stress management #1:
Legs-up-the-wall pose. There's just nothing like it. I don't think I need to say more...
Reclining bound angle pose, or Supta Baddha Konasana. With lots of supportive props, as pictured here.
Stress management #2:
Read one of my favorite bedside books. This author just has an uncanny way of somehow "speaking" to me, giving me just what I need at any given time.
Stress management #3:
I've been so drawn towards bread baking lately.
There's something about the mixing and kneading and punching and rolling that provides much comfort in a time of stress.... then, after the therapeutic "kitchen bodywork" is done, what happens next is an exercise in patience, waiting for the dough to rise and take its time to develop gluten and all that great stuff that makes for wonderfully crusty, yet light and airy artisan-style bread. Then the act of popping the dough into the oven and waiting for it to continue its transformation, as the scents fill my (small) apartment... then finally, taking it out of the oven, waiting enough time for it to cool -- just enough for me not to burn my fingers...(it's hard to resist the idea of warm, fresh-from-the-oven bread!) then tearing off a piece to dip in some good quality, unfiltered extra virgin olive oil or some homemade herb butter. I can't think of anything better.
So in the last week or so, I've made:
- Indian roti (no-yeast flatbread)
- regular crusty artisan bread
- pizza dough
- garlic and herb foccacia
I'm still thinking of my next bread adventure. I'm under stress again this week anyway, so might as well bake something.
And by the way, most of my baking equipment is still in storage, so I don't have my rolling pin for making pizza dough and roti. So guess what I used in its place: a wine bottle! It worked out fine.
Stress management #4:
I have a small collection of essential oils which I use for a variety of purposes. Tea tree oil and peppermint (mixed with water and regular white vinegar) for general household cleaning, eucalyptus in my vaporizer for congestion, lavender and bergamot mixed with jojoba oil or sweet almond oil for calming, after-bath body oils. Tea tree and lavender for yoga mat spray.
I love this stuff.
It's amazing what essential oils can do - from personal care to household cleaning to insect control. Of course, I do not use it undiluted, and, if intended for the skin, I always use a carrier oil (a neutral nut or seed oil) as instructed by many books/websites on essential oils. I'm also trying to eliminate as many chemicals as I can, just through small steps. I understand that's not always possible, and if I even try to make it possible, I'll probably drive myself insane. Toxins are everywhere - from commercial personal care to BPA plastics to upholstery etc etc etc... it really CAN drive anyone insane to think about all this. But, if there are things that are within my control, then I'll do something about that.
But most of all, I really just like making things. And keeping my hands busy. It's stress relieving.
So I bought a new batch of sweet almond oil (as a carrier oil) after I recently ran out of my stash... and made pretty little bottles of body oil. Here's what I ended up with:
For a calming lavender mix:
120 ml sweet almond oil with 10 drops lavender essential oil
For a mild, citrusy, fresh-smelling mix:
50 ml sweet almond oil with 5 drops of bergamot essential oil
I think I might make a lavender-vanilla combination next. Mmmm.
What do you do for stress management? Do share -- I can only make so many breads and so many bottles of body oil at a time.