How to Counter Chronic and Traumatic Stress Every Day (& What Indian Chai Has Got to Do With It)
Your spirit may call you to go on adventures and as vital as the exploration of new bits and pieces of yourself and the world that surrounds you is, your body loves the opposite. Your body feels safe and protected, relaxed, enabled to rest and digest well, when it experiences structure and routine.
During periods of chronic or traumatic stress, your body is on high alert. Finding your equilibrium again is a process that takes time. The good news though: You can help by creating rituals for yourself and make them part of your every day. Treat yourself like something holy - your body is your temple, after all.
Have you ever observed what calms you down? Is it a walk first thing in the morning? A five minute meditation in the morning before taking a shower? 10 minutes of yoga before having breakfast? Do you enjoy writing and journaling before going to bed? There are so many small things you can do to bring yourself back to the present moment. Choose one. Repeat it daily. Every day will add to your healing from chronic or traumatic stress.
One of my favorite rituals is the slow preparation of my morning tea. I often drink Indian Chai for breakfast. Indian Chai is not just black tea, but black tea infused with warming aromatic spices. Each sip takes me back to some of my favorite memories: mornings in India when I backpacked through the country and afternoons in Vancouver, Canada, with one of my best friends from India, who showed me how to make the delicious chai from scratch. I love smelling the spices in my kitchen. Store-bought chai is often not just a spice blend, but a blend of tea infused with man-made flavors. This chai though is full of anti-inflammatory, soothing, warming spices that have traditionally been part of the Ayurvedic kitchen for ages. Inflammation is often increased when we experience chronic or traumatic stress and consequently linked with mental health issues. This makes Indian Chai a good choice and replacement for coffee.
1 Slice of fresh ginger
3 Cardamon pods
8 Black peppercorns (Or less, depending on your taste. You can also use a bit of ground black pepper instead)
A piece of cinnamon bark (You can also use 1/2 Tsp of ground cinnamon instead)
1 Tsp Loose black tea
1 mug or cup of water (use the mug or cup you’ll use to measure the right amount of water)
ca. 75ml milk of your choice (I use light coconut milk or homemade cashew mylk)
1 Tsp Raw honey or coconut blossom sugar (optional)
Give water into a small pot. Put on high heat on the stove.
Cut off a thin slice of ginger. Crush the remaining spices in a mortar.
Give all the spices into the small pot. Once the water boils, reduce the heat and close the lit. Leave the spices in there for a couple of minutes.
Turn off the stove and add black tea to the spice infusion. You can immediately add milk as well. Stir the mix a little, leave it in there as long as you wish (depending on how strong you like your tea - I usually only leave it in there for a few seconds) and finally pour your tea through a strainer into your mug. You can sweeten it with raw honey or coconut blossom sugar.
*Note that black tea contains caffeine which may have a stimulating effect.