On Stress and Herbal Tea

Yesterday I had a bad day.

That reminds me of kindergarten, when I had regular clashes with my teacher over her inability to understand me and my particular quirks. I had a calendar that I marked every day with a happy face or a sad face. The sad faces were for days when I inappropriately burst into tears at school or in public, and the happy faces were for most other days. Most of the happy faces occurred on non-school days.
Yesterday was a sad face day. The stress of grad school, coupled with a clash with a coworker, sent me into a tailspin of bad feelings, self-doubt, and a lot of tears. I ended up leaving the lab suddenly, over an hour before I meant to, and going home to a dark room, a fuzzy blanket, and a snuggle-buddy (actually two: dog and husband).
And amidst all this was herbal tea.
Looking back on it, I probably should have seen the stress building when I reached for the oatstraw to make my infusion a couple days ago, after days of nettles for my allergies. Oatstraw is supposed to be an excellent calmative, a remedy for jangled nerves and chronic anxiety. But yesterday, I reached for my more potent ally: sage. I didn’t even put honey in it, just a teaspoon in a muslin bag, steeped in boiling water until it was cool enough to drink. As I sipped, I felt the stress melt out, and felt my body relax. I should probably start bringing sage to work with me.

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