Think back to before the pandemic. How do you feel in social settings now versus then?
Many friends and acquaintances have told me they feel like they don't know how to converse any more. They have trouble with flowing smoothly and overthink about what they say. That carrying on a conversation brings on anxiety.
For me, as I work through my digestive challenges and addressing the stress that I hold in my stomach, I've come to the realization that there has always been an undercurrent of social anxiety. It's a bit surprising, actually, because if you met me at a party, you could consider me outgoing, personable and conversational. While all those things are true, under the surface I am concerned about saying the wrong thing, rehashing a joke I made that I'm worried didn't land properly or that I was too honest or forward. My stomach is in knots and tension builds in my body.
I've long wanted to create a blend to take to events, helping to keep the mind calm and the body loose. As life continues to shift back to pre-pandemic days, we may need support as we transition from being more inward and home oriented back to outward, social based lifestyles.
Let's look at the herbs to include in a blend tailored to your needs, helping you be more social butterfly than worrywart. Or at the very least more comfortable when interacting with others.
Tulsi is a nervine adaptogen that is said to decrease cortisol. It is a calming plant that helps to build emotional resilience. Supporting anxiety and depression, Tulsi renews a sense of vitality and vigor. It helps lift mental fog and enhance awareness, helping to be more present in the moment. It is a universal herb that is gentle and a great base for any anxiety blend you choose.
Passionflower is a nervine used to aid in breaking the cycle of repetitive overthinking when you can't seem to let go of a thought or worry. This plant can be an ally if your circular thinking keeps you from being able to sleep at night.
Kava kava helps ease stress by offering deep body relaxation and perhaps even a slightly altered state of mind. Just a pinch is used here given the potency and sedative qualities of this plant. Kava should not be used when pregnant, on a daily basis, in combination with alcohol, if there is concern of the health of the liver or in high doses when operating a car or machinery. Read up on this plant before using it! Blue Vervain helps with those perfectionist views that can get in the way of a good time. It helps let go when perhaps you weren't your best self or things didn't go the way you intended. Relax those shoulders and free yourself of those high standards. Catnip is the plant to calm those butterflies in your stomach. It has nervine and mild sedative properties and is especially helpful for children in irritable states and when a tummy ache or headache is a manifestation from their anxiety.
Chamomile eases tension of the body and mind. Consider using it when muscles stiffen from stress, tension headaches develop or when the digestive system is upended from worry. Motherwort can steady a fluttering heart, both physically and emotionally. If you find your heart beat increasing or palpating due to fear in a social setting, this plant may ease the intensity and relax the heavy feeling in your chest.
These herbs are just some of the many you could choose from. Look into nervine and adaptogen herbs if this list doesn't quite meet your needs. Also, I'd like to add that I think social anxiety doesn't only emerge when we are in a physical setting. Do you become worried after hitting "post" on social media? I know I sure will after publishing this blog. ;) Again, a tincture of supportive herbs can help for virtual situations when the same symptoms surface.
M A K E
4 tsp tulsi
3 tsp passion flower
2 tsp blue vervain
2 tsp catnip
1 tsp kava kava root
4oz canning jar
Pour herbs into jar. Fill the jar with vodka.
Use a chopstick or knife to thoroughly mix ingredients. Cover with a lid.
Steep for 4 weeks, shaking every few days.
Strain and bottle.
For educational purposes only. Not intended for medical advice. Always consult your physician, especially if pregnant or breastfeeding. Be sure to understand any herbal contradictions.