Herbal Teas Give Me an Anxiety-Free Boost. Here Are My 5 Faves.

It’s easy for some people to write off herbal tea as a wimpy alternative to the caffeinated stuff. Of course, even caffeinated tea has been called a weak replacement for coffee, though we know that’s not at all the case. My point is: Herbal tea can be …

It’s easy for some people to write off herbal tea as a wimpy alternative to the caffeinated stuff. Of course, even caffeinated tea has been called a weak replacement for coffee, though we know that’s not at all the case. My point is: Herbal tea can be vitalizing in its own way.

I’m an anxious person in general, and have become even more so throughout the pandemic. While my morning caffeine is nonnegotiable, when I try to throw in an afternoon cup, my body reacts swiftly and unfavorably. Once I began incorporating herbal teas into my routine, I found that they gave me the boost I’d been looking for, albeit not a caffeinated one. I make a pot of smoothing chamomile tea with oat milk and honey as a sub for an afternoon cup of jitter-inducing coffee (the pastry on the side is, of course, nonnegotiable). A cup of peppermint tea after a meal has a similar invigorating quality as an espresso (without, of course, the caffeine hit), plus it has some amaro-like vibes, thanks to its vegetal notes woven with menthol and a bit of bitterness. Smoky-sweet rooibos tea is even being used by some nonalcoholic drink creators, like the Digesteaf cocktail in Julia Bainbridge’s Good Drinks, which features an "amaro" concentrate from Steven Smith Teamaker, a blend of dried roots, flowers, and rooibos tea leaves. “With almost every sip, it morphs from bitter to sweet and then back again,” writes Bainbridge of the brew.

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Want to Be a Minimalist? Here’s What No One Tells You.

Simply Living is a new column by Christine Platt, aka the Afrominimalist. Each month, Christine shares her refreshing approach to living with less, with clever tips for decluttering, making eco-friendly swaps, and creating a more mindful living space t…

Simply Living is a new column by Christine Platt, aka the Afrominimalist. Each month, Christine shares her refreshing approach to living with less, with clever tips for decluttering, making eco-friendly swaps, and creating a more mindful living space that's all you.


I remember the day I began my journey towards minimalism. I had considered the lifestyle for quite a while—each time I had the nagging feeling that I owned too much stuff. To prepare myself, I’d look for inspiration online, and although I was mesmerized by the beautiful, serene spaces I was seeing, I had real concerns about how I’d whittle down my belongings to a hundred items or less. Still, one day in June 2016, I decided the time had come for me to do more than just acknowledge my overconsumption, and actually do something about it.

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The Self-Care Practice That Helps Me Be Kinder to Myself

I’ve always been an active person. I can’t remember a time before last year when I wasn’t doing something. Tests, assignments, and projects took up my entire school year, and during holiday breaks, I worked on my blog. So when the pandemic hit, I found…

I’ve always been an active person. I can’t remember a time before last year when I wasn’t doing something. Tests, assignments, and projects took up my entire school year, and during holiday breaks, I worked on my blog. So when the pandemic hit, I found myself in an unusual position. I had loads of free time and no major obligations, since school was temporarily suspended. I could have started a workout routine, written a short novel, or learned a new skill (heck, probably a dozen).

But I just...couldn’t.

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10 Cold, Quick Noodle Salads for the Hungry, Hurried & Hot

If I could, I’d eat a bowl of cold noodle salad every noon and night till the fall winds cometh.

Noodles are the softest, squiggliest landing pads for a variety of summer vegetables (not to mention all sorts of cubed cheeses and salty fridge accessori…

If I could, I'd eat a bowl of cold noodle salad every noon and night till the fall winds cometh.

Noodles are the softest, squiggliest landing pads for a variety of summer vegetables (not to mention all sorts of cubed cheeses and salty fridge accessories, like capers, olives, and anchovies). Add a heap of noodles to July tomatoes slicked with olive oil and suddenly, you've got a meal, not a snack. (Add a spoonful of chili paste and suddenly, you're a little chef.)

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How Indigenous South African Foods Nourished My Mental Health

I recently received a bunch of kale as a gift. “A bouquet of greens, for your smoothies,” my best friend said, a mischievous smile on her face. As I pulled some of the leaves off their stalks to freeze (because nobody likes kale that’s gone yellow from…

I recently received a bunch of kale as a gift. "A bouquet of greens, for your smoothies," my best friend said, a mischievous smile on her face. As I pulled some of the leaves off their stalks to freeze (because nobody likes kale that’s gone yellow from fridge-burn), a memory pulled me back: I was sharing a kitchen with Delle, a chef with whom I had connected while living in the forest a few months prior.

A week after my father was buried in January of last year, I went on a monthlong retreat in the milkwood forest of the South African Fynbos. I’d previously scheduled the trip, but as I prepared to leave, I was grateful for the timing of it all—it offered the space and respite that I needed during a difficult time for my mental health. I was already severely burned-out (after years of training and working as a psychotherapist), and now I was navigating the particularly complicated process of grief.

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Craving Better Sleep? These Home Set-Up Tips Will Help.

A Full Plate is a column about family life and the home by contributing writer Laura Fenton, who explores the intersection of sustainable living and home design through a mother’s eyes.

As a parent, I’ve had my fair share of sleepless nights, but it…

A Full Plate is a column about family life and the home by contributing writer Laura Fenton, who explores the intersection of sustainable living and home design through a mother’s eyes.


As a parent, I’ve had my fair share of sleepless nights, but it wasn’t until this past year that I experienced actual bouts of insomnia (thanks, COVID). I suspect I’m not alone in this struggle. But we all know that a lack of sleep can negatively impact just about everything, so I want to share a few things that are helping me sleep better: Chief among them, I have found that my physical surroundings can make a real and positive difference in how well I rest.

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Actionable Ways to Avoid Diet Culture this Year

Each January brings the arrival of resolutions: “New year, new you” is peppered into media cycles, social networks, and our brains, like tea slowly steeping. Much of this dialogue can be characterized as an example of “diet culture,” a set of customs, …

Each January brings the arrival of resolutions: “New year, new you” is peppered into media cycles, social networks, and our brains, like tea slowly steeping. Much of this dialogue can be characterized as an example of “diet culture,” a set of customs, rules, and values—some of which contradict each other—that equate body shape or size with moral value and health. Often, this is done by promoting weight loss, vilifying certain foods while exalting others, and stigmatizing those who don’t match its suggested image of what "healthy" looks like.

Diet culture is bolstered by the health and wellness industry, which in the U.S. alone is an annual business of $707 billion. Yet evidence that most diets are unsuccessful—in fact, they are the leading determinants of weight gain—highlights that aiming for a certain body size is an inaccurate prescription for improved health. (Research supports that tracking BMI, a measure of body fat based on height and weight, is another faulty model of determining physical condition.) What’s more, these external rules usually come at the expense of disassociating from internal cues, like hunger, food preferences, and energy levels. And for all of the aims taken at specifying or promoting an “optimal” path to health, the term itself is innately vague: highly individual and subjectively definable by environment, income and lived experience, to name a few.

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Upcycling Old Jars for Self-Care

An object is often worth more than its material form. It can bring with it cultural echoes, family history, and personal memory. In The Things We Treasure, writers tell us about their most priceless possessions—and the irreplaceable stories behind them…

An object is often worth more than its material form. It can bring with it cultural echoes, family history, and personal memory. In The Things We Treasure, writers tell us about their most priceless possessions—and the irreplaceable stories behind them.


2020 was a year of acquired hobbies. We baked sourdough, made puzzles, poured candles, pressed flowers, and knitted sweaters. The bread, we ate, the candles, we burned, the rest, we kept and wove into the fabric of our homes. Like trinkets that remind us of travels past, the objects that kept us busy have become tangible memories of a year past. It is now 2021, and our homes have become museums of our lives on lockdown.

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The Quarantine Hobby That Got Me Through the Year

I don’t think I’m alone when I say 2020 has been hard.

As someone diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, my thoughts are prone to excessive worry even in typical, pandemic-free years. So when I lost my job due to COVID-19, watched case numbers r…

I don’t think I’m alone when I say 2020 has been hard.

As someone diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, my thoughts are prone to excessive worry even in typical, pandemic-free years. So when I lost my job due to COVID-19, watched case numbers rise, and compulsively followed every development of the election, this year served me a layer-cake of anxiety on a silver platter.

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Why I Ditched a WFH Desk for the…Floor

While working from home undoubtedly has its perks—easy access to snacks and an all-sweats uniform are top contenders—there are some disadvantages that come with the territory, too: for one, my studio apartment isn’t the most spacious, so I’ve put off b…

While working from home undoubtedly has its perks—easy access to snacks and an all-sweats uniform are top contenders—there are some disadvantages that come with the territory, too: for one, my studio apartment isn't the most spacious, so I've put off buying a desk. To make do, I've been working from the couch, which, too often, leads to the feeling that I should be relaxing instead of working. Besides, a day on the couch leaves my back feeling hunched and tight.

A few weeks ago, I made some changes. In an effort to feel like more of an upright worker, I decided to have my low coffee table stand in for a desk, and ditch the idea of a chair completely. I’ve never been happier to get to work: Sitting cross-legged on the rug, I feel less sluggish, more aware of my posture, and much more comfortable than I would if I had to unfold myself from whatever half-horizontal position I used to be in on the couch.

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