I am one of those people who is always in a hurry. There is never enough time to stop and relax as I furiously work my way down a never-ending to do list. Forgetting to blink, stretch, stand and eat.
Today is one of THOSE days where I have way too many jobs to do and am feeling overwhelmed. All my actions and decisions are controlled by worry so I don’t have the time for a walk or the patience to mediate.
Anxiety feels terrible and it causes me serious distress. Normally I love my life and enjoy my work but today I am reeling out of control, driven by an overactive brain. Adrenalin and cortisol flood though my body causing my heart to beat faster, muscle tension in all the wrong places and profuse sweating. I am unable to calm myself.
Although I know that exercise can often reset my negative feelings, thoughts of a stretch class or gym work out are quickly discarded. At this point in time, I wished I had a personal trainer to call me out, loosen me up, set me straight and cheer me on. But instead, I let the tension rise up my back and my neck goes stiff like a broom stick. Yep it’s way too late for exercise and I couldn’t be bothered driving to the nearest Shopping centre for a Chinese massage.
“Nothing goes right on the outside when nothing goes right on the inside”
So, I know that relaxation and winding down are a must if you wish to restore yourself. When I think relaxation, I imagine myself walking through the Himalayas with backpack and air of detachment. The wisdom of walking to create a sense of connection between mind body and spirit has been a treasure beyond compare for me in the past. But the time demands a realistic alternative.
I shut my eyes and try hard to recall pleasant memories. Spending a day at the Peninsula hot springs with my girls makes me smile but I need comforting. Right now would love to take off to a day spa and put myself into the hands of skilled practitioners with clear skin, bright eyes, friendly smiles and positivity oozing from every pore.
New age music softly drifting through the open doors of a dimly lit wating room. Drinking freshly made herbal tea in a stimulus deprived room is blissful. I mentally book in my next luxurious facial with hand massage because body treatments for the worn out and weary are always relaxing.
Besides it’s fun trying the latest treatment for your skin, face or hair. Pampering yourself provides a pathway to unwind. Inhaling essential oils relaxes. Aromatherapy massage utterly euphoric. A little indulgence sounds wonderful but not the DIY quick fix I am looking for.
Relaxation is a spoonful away
What I need right this minute is for my blood pressure to drop so my tension headache can go away. Headaches are the classic symptom of Hypertension which is the result of stress. Prolonged stress is bad so calming my nervous system is now a matter of greater importance.
Time to test the Sacred Earth Medicine- Ceremonial Cacao dark chocolate given to me as a birthday present this week. Direct from Peru via Byron Bay I have in my hands the finest, purest and most organic cacao paste ever extracted from Criollo beans. Nothing added nothing taken away. Full of antioxidants and marketed as a powerful mood medicine.
Scientifically the cacao acts as a vasodilator, opening everything from my heart chakra to my blood vessels. Blood stagnating in tight muscles builds up pressure leading to hypertension and one cannot feel relaxed in this state! Interestingly there are many different types of vasodilators that act on smooth muscles which are pulling on the walls of veins arteries and capillaries. When blood flows more easily through the vessels you are in a state of rest and digest. The heart doesn’t have to pump as hard, reducing blood pressure so you feel relaxed.
Naturally occurring vasodilators that we are most familiar with are alcohol and chili. Yes, I worry less when I drink gin and tequila makes me happy! Then there are the illicit drugs such as Papaverine found in the opium poppy or THC the psychoactive constituent of cannabis which are exceptionally helpful when you need to chill out, so I am told.
Ever heard of Theobromine? Well, I discovered it is the principal alkaloid found in cocoa solids, like in this super expensive chocolate block I am holding.
Be Calm Eat Chocolate
I carefully unwrap the precious block from it’s gold foil wrapper, half expecting to see a ticket to Willy Wonka’s factory. I am told that the criollo bean is rare and prized making up less than 5% of the worlds cacao production which explains the expensive price tag. It’s many benefits include sustained energy and bringing about a deeper spiritual connection to myself. I am all about finding my calm existential state. I wonder how long it will take for the cocoa induced endorphins and feel-good hormones in my brain to kick so I can shift gears from worry and anxiety to peace and harmony.
Eating the cacao like Lindt dark chocolate was a mistake as it was rock hard and very bitter. The only option was to drink up this dark mood medicine as a cup of ceremonial cacao. I opted for the “creative dose” melting 25 grams of the solid block in 100 ml of water (yuk). Mixing in Almond milk tasted better but this drink definitely needed sweetening.
Although the packaging boasts that this cacao is “bringing heaven to earth” it most definitely was not heaven in a cup. A splash of sweet, sour and fruity Hibiscus simple syrup did the trick to to balance the bitter. To be perfectly honest I did consider swapping the bitter cacao drink for a sweet lavender martini or a hot hibiscus margarita but persisted with guidance from the Inca gods.
The day is done
So, if you have made it to the end of this story I am going to reveal a secret. While researching naturally occurring stress vasodilators I came upon a well know medical fact that the female hormone oestrogen reduces hypertension. OMG then I remembered that I had forgotten to put my Estradot patch on at the start of the week. Err Problem solved.
Tomorrow will be better 😊