Playing with fire is one of the best ways (especially for parents*) to cleanse the mind after a stressful day.

Fire on its own is already a great way to literally burn away stress: the warmth, the concentration on lighting the fire/coals. You can add to that effect by tossing herbs on the fire/coals — either instead of regular BBQ or after you’re done with the food.

Different spices/herbs/resins have different properties.

via Flickr. "Burning Coals" by HereStanding, Creative Commons

via Flickr. “Burning Coals” by HereStanding, Creative Commons

* Why is this a good idea for parents?

Fire is one of the few areas that are off-limits for kids. When you tinker with a BBQ or a fireplace, they need to keep their distance. Which instantly promotes that feeling of “I’m finally doing something grown-up here” after a summer-day spent running after toddlers. ;-) And way better for the figure than that other “I’m a grown-up”-action, drinking a glass of wine.

via Flickr. "Untitled" by A Pillow of Winds, Creative Commons

via Flickr. “Untitled” by A Pillow of Winds, Creative Commons

Ingredients for cleansing smoke

What you need you probably already have in the kitchen.

How about tossing on

  • a stick of cinnamon bark
  • rosemary, peppermint or thyme sprigs
  • dried sage leaves
  • dried juniper berries
  • dried camomile blossoms (the kind you can buy for tea)

You can also use mixes and resins on the BBQ which are especially sold to be used for incense burning, e.g.

  • myrrh
  • a mix of sweetgrass/juniper/white sage
  • pine resin

All of these have been used for ages in burning incense, each chosen for their different properties.

  •  Sage (on its own or in mixes) is ideal for promoting a clear head and relaxation
  • Cinnamon is perfect when you’re feeling hassled – no wonder we scarf down cinnamon rolls when we’re feeling stressed ;-)
  • Thyme helps fight feelings of fear
  • Pine resin when you’re feeling exhausted and can’t find the energy to do anything.
  • Peppermint when you’re feeling restless.
  • Camomile induces a feeling of relaxation and release.

If thinking about any deeper effects feels too esoteric for you, just enjoy the scents. :-)

How to

Simply toss a sprig/ pinch of one or two ingredients on the hot coals at a time. Don’t mix too many or you’ll run for cover ;-)

via Flickr. "Coals on Fire" by Areeb Anwer, Creative Commons

via Flickr. “Coals on Fire” by Areeb Anwer, Creative Commons

In case you’re wondering: This blogpost came about while researching relaxation techniques for my new book “Mama macht mal Pause!” (“Mom’s taking a break”). Since the book is in German, I thought I’d share some of it with you over the next weeks. :-)


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brida_anderson_photo_babs_huber_thumb Brida Anderson’s novel, Hedge Games, released in December. You can find her at, Facebook, and Twitter. She and her family currently live in the Middle East with the newest addition to their household, a fae-cat called Robin.