They say charity begins at home. It’s not just charity. Hope begins at home. Education begins at home. Discipline begins at home. A quick survey of idioms tells us that a lot of good and important things begin at home.
That said, stress also begins at home. There are not very many axioms about that. But we have to be honest about the causes of stress before we can address the solutions. Stress often begins from the moment we wake up. We stumble into the kitchen to make poor dietary choices about how to start our day. We are confronted with a sink full of dirty dishes from the night before. And the first conflict with other household members often starts at the table.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. The kitchen should be a sanctuary of peace and domestic tranquility. And it can be. Here’s how:
Start with the Right Cookware
Few things are more frustrating than following a recipe to the letter, only to have the meal turn out badly because things stuck to the pan, or you had the wrong size vessel, or you couldn’t find a lid and had to improvise. A lot of money, time, and effort go into a meal that will never pay off without the right tools.
Publications like The Kitchn make it clear that using the right cookware can make all the difference in the joy you get from your kitchen. It does no good to spend tens of thousands of dollars remodeling your kitchen if you don’t spend a few hundred on the small tools it takes to make it all work.
Whether it be peppermint, chamomile, or a tulsi tea infusion, you can make tea time synonymous with stress relief. The Tulsi plant has spiritual overtones as it is believed by some to be the sacred plant of the gods. It comes in a variety of flavors and is caffeine-free. This is said to be a good tea for bringing down anxiety levels.
You don’t have to be spiritual or religious to appreciate the soothing effects of herbal teas. Starting the day with less sugar and no caffeine is never a bad thing. Cutting back on the stimulants never hurt anyone. There is also something in the practice of making and drinking tea. For some, the fussier the process, the better.
The process is a ritual that can help center the mind and prepare one for a meditative state. Sipping hot, minty tea is an exercise in patience and calm. The fact that it tastes great is a bonus. The time you set aside to enjoy your morning tea rather than sugary coffee is an opportunity to reflect on other healthy choices you can make that day.
You Are What You Read
One choice is to start your day with the reading list of the most successful people in the world. Or, you might make a different choice depending on what kind of person you want to be. Sure, you can become a powerful politician or a competition-crushing entrepreneur. But that requires starting your day with a lot of things that raise your blood pressure and lower your overall levels of tranquility.
Why not make a different choice and read things that are uplifting? Try a magazine rather than a newspaper. If the newspaper, try the comics rather than the op-ed. It is not that you want to bury your head in the sand with regard to current events. But there is always time to figure out what is wrong with the world. It is more about the mental hygiene with which you choose to start your day. Fill your brain with Sturm und Drang in the morning, and you will have a good predictor of how the rest of your day will go.
There is no full-proof way to relieve stress. But there are many things you can do to reduce it and keep it from dominating your day. Rather than putting $50,000 into granite countertops, put a few hundred into the right accessories. Instead of starting out with coffee that makes you jittery, start with calming tea. Instead of starting out with the news of the world, start with a relaxing massage for the mind.