Stopping to Smell the RosesApr 29, 2020 07:03PM ● By J Garnett
Most people are probably pretty sick of reading, watching or hearing about COVID-19. Who wouldn’t be; it’s everywhere and it’s been the central focus of the media for months now. People are frustrated, scared, uncertain and angry. It’s to be expected, so being kinder and gentler with these emotions is best.
According to Psychology Today, stress weakens the body’s immune system and has a negative effect on every major organ in the body. Obviously during trying times, stress can creep in and be counterproductive to the challenge of remaining healthy, strong and safe, both physically and mentally. There are countless natural methods that help lessen or eliminate stress, and during this time when most people are honoring and giving gifts to their mothers, it’s Mother Earth who is honoring and giving her inhabitants everything that’s needed to banish stress, remain calm, happy, strong and healthy.
Tens of millions of people have been out of work, and not only are they feeling trapped inside, but are also uncertain about the future. That’s stressful! Routines have been altered and many are at a loss for what to do with themselves. People who’ve worked 20, 30, 40 or more hours each week are finding it difficult to stay busy. Reading, watching movies, cooking, designing fun activities for children or napping can get old rather quickly.
In this geographic area, where the climate is moderate, people can get outside for long walks, bike rides, tending their gardens and jumping into projects in order to stay busy. Many are finding out, however, that it’s more difficult to fill the time in a productive way, day after day and week after week. Being outside and remaining active can certainly help lessen stress levels, but everyone could benefit from a good dose of Mother Nature to help the cause.
According to NASA’s Earth Observatory, 30 percent of the earth’s surface is covered with plant life. Whether eaten for nutrition, smelled, viewed, picked or planted, plants have been shown to reduce stress. Now may be a good time to get to know our plants better, and to give them some extra attention. Take a look around the yard. Notice the plants that grow along a walk or bike path. Search out the splashes of color from one of the many blooms that are budding now in the desert.
Are there plants inside the house? Outside? It doesn’t matter. Next time the plants need watering, take a moment to thank them, talk to them—and try doing it out loud. There’s a connection that takes place that can be soothing and comforting. Spring brings new growth and life, so prune off any of the old and welcome the new. Admire and acknowledge the beauty and the life force that the plant has within it. It’s almost impossible to remain stressed or negative while doing any of these activities, plus it will help pass the time in a most productive manner.
When the news of the pandemic spread, there was a rush to stock up on supplies that are needed in the home. Some of the first products that flew off the shelves were disinfectants, hand sanitizers, protective surgical masks, soaps, bleach and humidifiers. As most people know by now, the coronavirus attacks the respiratory system. As with symptoms of the common cold, flu and allergies, the lungs are targeted. So what is there to do in order to keep the lungs strong, happy and healthy? Some experts have declared that masks are necessary, though other experts have claimed that a face mask doesn’t protect as well as people originally thought. In order to stay healthy, people are being told to do this, don’t do that, try this and stay away from that. With so much conflicting information circulating around the world, it’s reassuring, to a degree, that people can look toward Mother Earth for some answers. It’s the most opportune time to stop and smell the roses—and all flowers, for that matter.
Some people have been innovative with their time, finding ways to stay happy and healthy using plant medicine. There is now time in the day to investigate the aloe plant and how to make homemade hand sanitizer. People are learning which plants are the best air-purifiers. Spider plants, palms, ferns and lilies are some of the more effective species. Herbal teas are being used for medicinal purposes. Some teas are physically calming like chamomile or peppermint, while others can offer an energy boost—green tea and ginseng, for example. Licorice root and peppermint teas have also been shown to support the respiratory system.
There are countless plant remedies to help strengthen the lungs and respiratory system. No matter the cause of the problem, it’s a good idea to help maintain healthy lungs, and Mother Nature has provided everything that’s needed to do so. Granted, many people do not have some of these specific plants or teas at home that could be useful right now, but knowledge is key and the common cold, flu and allergy seasons seem to be present all the time. Being aware of the magic of plants can help keep the medicine cabinet and pantry well stocked for when the remedies are needed again in the future and to help feel a little more prepared for future health events both small and large.
In a society that’s normally running at double-speed, it’s awkward to have so much down time. Many people have been reading, knitting or planning virtual happy hours and digital get-togethers. But even after coming up with lots of activities, it seems there’s still time on people’s hands. It’s an ideal time to do some of the footwork that’s needed when contemplating the change from pharmaceutical medications to a more healthy and beneficial plant medicine route. Knowing the medicinal benefits of nature’s inventory can only help in preparedness for the unknown. Beating illness, disease and stress doesn’t have to be as difficult when armed with knowledge.
J. Garnet, M.Ed. is a writer, teacher, speaker and healer. Garnet’s passion is helping the public see that nature is medicine. Connect at 520-437-8855 or [email protected]