Soothing Summer Popsicles
For some the summer season alleviates symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, but for others the longer days and shorter nights, busier schedules, and suffocating humidity can lead to stress and over-excitement of the nervous system. In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy the concept of mindfulness helps to ground us in the present moment; however, sometimes when we are overwhelmed or feel our nervous system escalating too quickly it can be hard to stay present and remember grounding into our mindfulness practice. A great technique is the “ice cube trick” – in moments of intense overwhelm reach for an ice cube and hold it in the palms of the hands or under the tongue, spend as long as possible noticing the physical sensations that come up as you feel the cold and damp surface of the ice cube, and try to come back to the present moment and naturally allow the nervous system to start to deescalate.
While this trick alone is a great therapeutic support, adding in the benefit of herbal supplements can help strengthen the calming and soothing effects of ice. As a member of the Rose family, Raspberry works medicinally to help calm the heart and heated tissue states. When our nervous system gets escalated and our body goes into protection mode it sends us into a “excited” state that can feel intensely overwhelming. Lemon Balm has been shown to help alleviate stress as it works on calming the nervous system and digestive tract, and supports cognitive functioning. Both Raspberry and Lemon Balm are classified as “cooling” herbs as they help to soothe different aspects of the mind and body. When mixed together these two herbs can be a powerful combination to support the mind and body when dealing with stress.
A powerful variation on the ice cube trick is to combine it with herbal support! Raspberry-Lemon Balm popsicles are an easy treat to make that combine the utility of a grounding technique in a tasty snack that adds a subtle boost of herbal medicine.
- 2 cups of fresh raspberries
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon balm (finely chopped)
- 1 ice cube tray or silicone popsicle mold
Puree the raspberries and lemon balm together in a blender or food processors until you get a liquid consistency. Divide and pour the puree into an ice cube tray (or popsicle mold if desired). Set in the freezer and allow to chill overnight. Once made these ice cubes can stay in the freezer and be used as often as you like!
When you notice stress, anxiety, or big and overwhelming emotions starting to rise taking a moment to step away and ground yourself can help regain a sense of calm. Utilizing herbs that are cooling in times of stress (and in record breaking heat waves!) is a mindful way to help support your body’s natural attempts at regulating itself and offer subtle support for our emotional regulation.