The Pressure is ON

photosmoothieSelling a house can be a high stress proposition.

Add in Mercury Retrograde, real estate agents who feel that texting is the best form of communication, a home that is over a hundred years old, and first time homebuyers, and you have a recipe for high octane anxiety.

I had yet another text-a-thon with my agent before walking into an appointment with my gynecologist.

We chatted for a few minutes before she pulled out the blood pressure cuff.

Let’s just say I realized, in that moment, that the stress had gone to my head and was making its way to my heart.

I have been letting my brain bully my body into full-fight mode.

I hate to say it, but it’s time for a cold shower.

Cold water constricts the blood vessels. When you follow this with warm water, which expands the vessels, and then go back to cold, you create a pumping action. This is called hydrotherapy.

If you start with warm for 2 minutes, then go to cold for 30 seconds, it’s not nearly as medieval as it sounds. Repeat a few times for optimal effect.

Next step: A Hot-Head Lassi. 

Hot-Head Lassi

3/4 cup plain organic yogurt

1/2 cup coconut water

1/2 tsp. cardamom seed powder

1/2 tsp. linden flower powder

1-2 tsp. raw honey (to taste)

A few chunks of watermelon (which can be frozen beforehand if you want)



Yum. Seriously yum.

While sitting with my lassi, I rubbed peppermint oil on my temples, being careful not to get it in my eyes (done that — kind of cold and mentholly — not painful, but not fun) and rubbed some ylang ylang oil on my feet.

I’ve repeated this a few times in the last couple of days.

Still, when I went to pilates today (after yet more texting), I was wound up again.

Luckily, my pilates instructor had a nifty exercise to reset a crazed system.

 How to Reset a Crazed System

* Relax and breathe in and out for a few breaths.

* Then inhale and exhale ‘til the air is gone from your lungs.

* Be with the emptiness for a bit… for me, that’s about 40 seconds (she seemed surprised that I was starting that high and said not to go beyond 60 seconds).

* Inhale.

* Breathe regularly a few times.

* Repeat for a total of 3 holds.


Even my voice relaxed and dropped into a lower range after doing this exercise!

Of course, a few hours and a few texts later, I was back to needing a Hot Head Lassi.

Lather, rinse, repeat. This too shall pass.

How do you take the pressure off? Share with us below!


  1. says

    I was recently diagnosed with borderline high blood pressure (135/89) at age 60. I eat very little meat, with mostly a grain, vegetable and fruit diet. My last resort other than trying the above is exercise. I walk 40 minutes a day everyday. I am still in this experimental stage, but I am determined to lower this without medication. Also some health websites say that as we age our BP and our cholesterol naturally rise and that there should be guidelines according to age. One noted Dr. says that the culprit for high BP and cholesterol is too much fructose (fruit and sugar) and grains in our diets.

    • says

      Sounds like you are on the right track, Jan. We are all so different – and what drives our BP up differs as well. A little experimentation will hopefully lead you to your right solution. Let me know how it goes!

  2. says

    Hi Maia! Thank you for this lovely post. I have an odd question that’s kind of out of the blue. (And I hope you don’t mind me asking!) In the beginning of the article, you mention your gyno. By chance, I’m currently searching for a gyno in the Philly area who is more attuned to (or at least open minded) about natural remedies and more sensitive to women’s issues overall. I’ve never been able to find the right doctor for me (and believe me I can share some horror stories o_0). In any case, I was wondering if you had any recommendations about gynos in the Philly area. Feel free to email me directly if you prefer to keep the information between us girls. Thanks!

    • says

      I am so happy to be public with a recommendation, Rachel. I think Iris Wolfson in Mt. Airy is fabulous and I love that there is nothing clinical about her office. She is warm and comfy and so is her space– a welcome change! You can find her here.

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