The Hobart

Charting A Course For Calm Amidst The Silly Season

by Laura Cini
Charting A Course For Calm Amidst The Silly Season

Hello readers. How are you? No, not the usual “how are you?” question that’s met with the usual “fine thanks” response. How are you really?

Are you feeling relaxed and calm? Or are you in the hurry/worry/money zone, feeling wired, restless or tense? Are you affected by the general ‘world-stress’ that saturates the media? Or do you, like many, find the silly season and the approaching end of the year just too busy?

Whether it’s anxiety or just finding it hard to relax, here’s three simple tips to help you navigate your day with steadiness and calm.

Eat regularly and enough. Unstable blood sugar with daily peaks and troughs triggers the body’s stress response and adrenaline release. Prioritise nourishing, filling and even warm foods like the soup recipe on this page. Try not to skip meals or undereat, especially if you’re stressed, unwell or sleeping badly.

Breathe! Many of us are shallow breath­ers, breathing largely in the upper part of the chest. When you breathe deeply from your belly, it switches on the rest/digest/ calm part of your nervous system and is incredibly calming. Babies are born knowing how to do this; their whole belly expands on the in breath, but many of us become shallow breathers as we grow up.

Schedule in mini breathing breaks across your day where you stop and take three deep, slow breaths. Put a few breathing reminders where you’ll see them (e.g. on the bathroom mirror, in the car etc). You will be surprised at the calm this can bring to your day.

Give your brain (and your eyes) a break from screens. Yes, I know I won’t win the popular vote with this advice, but tough love people! I’m not suggesting you ban all screens and live in a cave, but the constant stream of information and stimulus from screens is not relaxing.

The body is not designed to always be in the stress zone. It’s draining and can leave you flat and cranky with poor sleep. Try the above ideas, but also know there’s excellent evidence-based nutritional and herbal medicine options available too for calm and sleep. So, if needed, seek help from an experienced practitioner.

Laura Cini is an expert nutritionist, herb­alist and naturopath with over 20 years’ experience. Visit or connect @lauraciniwellness

Spicy Tomato Soup


1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

3 large cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp cumin

1 x 425g can chopped tomatoes

1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained

3 cups salt-reduced vegetable stock

2 tsp balsamic vinegar


On a stove top, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, cook until soft. Add garlic, paprika and cumin, stir in and cook for 1 minute. Then add tomato, chickpeas and stock. Stir and heat through for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Blend until smooth. Stir in vinegar to taste. Warm through and serve.

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February 2024

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