For the last few months I have been contemplating this post, over and over again. Each moment it comes back to me, the urge to write this, fear takes over. It is that very emotion which stops many like me from saying what lies behind it…..Anxiety.

It stops even the most dedicated parent from going to their child’s recital or a student asking an important question close to exam time. It is an invisible illness that affects many of those we love.

I have been silently coping with my own Anxiety since I was in grade 6. It was only late last year that I finally accepted the reality of its effects on my life. Growing up we are expected to “get a hold” of our anxiety and carry on with life. This is not something that you can just get over, just like any other mental illness. To help others like myself, here are some ways to help you cope.

Anxiety affects all of us, for a select group it is more prevalent. Wherever you are with your own anxiety here are 4 ways that can help you get through it and live with it.

Meditation

It is no surprise that it helps with anxiety. Quieting the mind does wonders for the body overall. Anxiety can bring forth the inner voice of doubt and fear. When you sit in silence for meditation, focusing only on your breath, those inner voices quiet or die.

Journaling

Everyday we have many many thoughts, these can even continue even when we are turning in for sleep. Taking up the practice to let all your thoughts out onto the page, will help you sleep soundly. If you usually have to-do lists running through your mind, perhaps take up bullet journaling. This way you can have your mind clear ,and all your to-dos together.

Counselling

Talking to a third-party really helps us see more of the picture which makes up our lives. Certain scripts that have been running through our minds can be addressed through this way. Failure, guilt, overwhelm, fear etc can be boiled down to something so small where you can finally go about your day.

Exercise

Run, yoga, weights or cardio. Whatever your choice is get on it, turn on some tunes to get your in the grove (or just block out everything else). If you need to go at it alone then that is okay but over time try to go to group classes, or invite a friend to join you. Being around others for a class while working out is a great way to re-introduce yourself to being around others in a comfortable environment. Activities such as these have been proven to improve mood and sleep. Both of which can be affected by anxiety. Add this into your routine to combat anxiety head on.

When it comes to anxiety the more tools in your tool belt the better. None of us are alone with the global community which has been created by the internet.

Do you or someone you know have anxiety? Or have any other ways of coping ? Share your thoughts with the community in the comments below.

  I was contacted over the weekend by some lovely ladies about “TEAlightful“.  Their e-mail  touched me that all the proceeds go to both George Brown College Scholarships and the Nanny Angel Network.  I love it when people give back to those around them.

Irresistible Tea Fundraiser for George Brown College  and Nanny Angel Network on April 10 First of there are two sessions : 10am till 12:30pm  and 1:30pm till 4pm.  Attendees have a wide arrange of things to check out! There will be plenty of tea and food samples, but also some workshops, tea leaf readings, photo booth, live entertainment, raffle and more.

   You must be wondering what is planned during the event. First of there are two sessions : 10am till 12:30pm  and 1:30pm till 4pm.  Attendees have a wide arrange of things to check out! There will be plenty of tea and food samples, but also some workshops, tea leaf readings, photo booth, live entertainment, raffle and more.
   This group responsible for this fun filled are in their last year of the George Brown College Special Events Planning Program. Props to these lovely ladies and their selfless efforts to promote tea through their final project!
   I put together this post to promote their event as I believe in their cause and also wanted to support them as a George Brown College Alumni. Much love ladies and to all who attend this event.
       For more information check out their website TEAlightful , twitter or instagram.

While it may not feel like Spring, luckily we have small subtle clues to give us hope for the warmer weather. Perhaps you saw crocuses peeking out of a garden (or lawn) or just counting your blessings for no more snow. Noticing these small things can make a HUGE difference in your day by just noticing them however small. It is time to start thinking about what teas you will drink this season and which ones to stock up on.  Fresh Spring crops are on the way, let’s take a look at some main tea growing areas and what is going on over the next few months for Spring.

Spring Celebrations: Teas being made and festivals around the world | Every tea growing region is beginning to process their specialties. Japan and China are making green teas, Taiwan is making Oolongs and India is making Darjeeling. Different teas are processed throughout the seasons. Learn what ones are coming so you can get your favorite tea this Spring.

Japan

    In all the various tea growing regions are gearing up for the first harvest of the year as their plants slowly wake up form their winter hibernation. From now to May we can expect all the first flushes to begin to become available, while others there is a little wait on. 
Currently, the Japanese Cherry Blossoms are beginning to bloom. Many are waiting eagerly as we wait for the best time to view the blossoms  in Japan (and across the world).  In Japanese this  time is called Hanami. The word means Flower viewing, “hana” meaning flower and “mi” meaning to watch or see.  Of course this is exactly what brings people together to admire the blossoms at all times of the day with a packed meal (bento) and sake, or tea.  

China

Leading up to  the Qingming Festival (Typically April 4 or 5) is when all those extra fresh young leaves are plucked for teas ranging from white to green. During this time, before the festival, the most sought after teas are processed.

   The festival is a time for families to clean out their family tombs and grave sites. Together as a family the cleaning is done which ends with a family tea and , of course, some tea. 

Taiwan

 The big difference between the mainland and Taiwan is that delicious Oolongs are being processed (#yumm)! Most of the greener Oolongs are on their way, such as Four Springs, Ali shan and Bao Zhong.  The first flushes are all processed from March to April, with time for family in between. Being so close to China it is no surprise that Taiwan also observed “Tomb Sweeping Day” which is known as Qingming Festival.  

India

The Holi Festival is long over and first flushes are almost finished. These teas were picked from around mid-March until about the second week of May. These leaves are typically used for Darjeeling, which is known for its light body that is often compared to champagne and Taiwanese Oolongs. 

With so many teas to choose from pick out an old favorite from your stash to celebrate the spring season (and fresh teas to come).  In the comments below share which Spring harvested tea your are eager for.

Throughout October we are going to focus on being present by unplugging. “Unplugged” is going to help you find things to do when you just want to disconnect. It can be 10 minutes or a whole day. Take a chance and join us. All unplugged posts can be found here.

Do you remember the first time you created a social media account? Perhaps it was facebook to connect with friends and family. Or even Instagram or twitter. My first account was Facebook back in 2007. At the time it was handy to catch up with friends from High School or even plan outings. But since then there has been an increasing amount of studies that connect it to depression, anxiety or worse. But this is when you spend hours (or a whole day) on it. It takes dedication , control and some tricks to take control of this consumption.

     While writing this I have got notifications from Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. I am just as guilty of being on Social Media too much. My “poison” is Instagram, but I avoid Facebook.  This is because I feel the social pressure to get married, have kids etc. On the other side is the negativity that is just constant for some that I just can not bring myself to unfriend, I care about them so much. My choice is to choose when I look at these platforms and also monitor the time I spend (less than 5 min on Facebook is my record low).  But it I had to use a few little things to help me get there and I hope they help you. Use the following tips to take control of your social media habits

Leave Priority Mode On

    My favorite trick, which my phone left on one day. I got work done and when I truly had a bit of time to update I could. No sounds go off which means no calls for attention from any platform.

Put it on Airplane Mode

   Take advantage of this built in feature of your devices. Turn it on when you have work to do or out with family. Being present is better than letting others look at back of your phone.

  Use a “Self Control” App

An App like this (such as Productivity Owl) will allow you to set times or days that you can look at social media. But it blocks them until then. And if you need a bit of info (maybe an event address) you can go to the page but once the timer is up, the window will be closed on you.

Log Out

This will make you think before you check messages or updates as you are completely logged out of all your platforms of choice. While it may come off extreme, it works.

How do you feel about how social media has developed over the years? Share your opinion, negative or positive, in the comments below.

Learning from a master: New read from Sen Genshitsu Urasenke Grand Master XV || A few years ago I was fortunate enough to stumble upon " Tea Life, Tea Mind" which was written by the former Urasenke Grand Master. It inspired my life with tea at that time.

  A few years ago I was fortunate enough to stumble upon ” Tea Life, Tea Mind” which was written by the former Urasenke Grand Master. It inspired my life with tea at that time. Growing up in western culture it is hard at times to grasp other cultures. It was the words from Sen Genshitsu, his perspective, that changed how I viewed tea.
    What changed was how he explained everything in a simple way that anyone could understand. This week I received his other book “The Enjoyment of Tea”. I am looking forward to learning more about his life with tea and his view on everything that is related. Most of all I look forward to how it will inspire me to create posts to share with all of you. So I hope you have the kettle on, because I can not wait to share things from this book with you.

Is there someone who inspires your tea? A master? Fellow student? Tell me about them in the comments below. I look forward to hearing about who you admire.