Many of us are dealing with a multitude of feelings during lockdown, and most of us find we have days where we feel a little bit “wobbly” emotionally. You may find that being at home more is making you feel more fatigued, even if you are doing less; or you may be juggling working from home and endless zoom meetings with home-schooling or entertaining small children.
Fortunately Mother Nature can provide us with some help in this respect – your kitchen or herb garden could offer a number of different resources to help boost both your mood and your mind.
Some of these will already be familiar to us, passed down as home remedies through the generations or making sense to our intuitive feeling of what is good for us. Now the science behind this is being understood and research helping to confirm how plants can help us.
Aromatherapy is designed to complement healthcare, never replace it – if you have any medical concerns please always consult a doctor. Essential oils themselves should only be used following consultation and under advice from a qualified aromatherapist, and should never be digested or used internally in any way – many are toxic. The examples below are designed to show how the qualities of certain oils can be found in a different, less distilled way in the original plant/fruit, or where already prepared in a way to be safely consumed (e.g. as a tea).
Your fruit bowl can be a great help in lifting your spirits.
If you need to brighten your mood, try turning to the orange coloured fruits – the orange itself is considered to bring joy and positive energy, a restoring “touch of sunshine”, whilst mandarin is known as a “happy oil”, calming and uplifting.
If you’re feeling a little sluggish, and need help tackling your to do list for the day, then you may want to try something a little sharper.
Grapefruit is refreshing and uplifiting, good for tackling fatigue or morning tiredness (those traditional breakfasts had something in them!) Lemon protects and stimulates. It has long been a popular cold remedy – try Lemon & Ginger tea to benefit from the qualities of both. It also helps concentration – try squeezing or grating lemon rind to give you a burst of freshness when you need to really focus.
Herbs & Spices
You can also turn to your spice cupboard for help and inspiration.
Ginger is warming, aiding circulation and good for the digestive system – an antispasmodic, it can help calm cramps, indigestion and IBS. It is often combined with lemon in cold remedies (see above), and also works well alongside the warming qualities of black pepper.
Herbs can also help – if you have access to fresh plants, maybe a few small pots on the kitchen windowsill, even better.
Basil is one of my favourites – it really helps lift your spirits and also clears the mind and encourages concentration – useful if you need help to get through your next zoom meeting or write an essay. Try rubbing a leaf to get a burst of the fresh smell. You could combine this with smelling a sprig of rosemary – “rosemary for remembrance” is a well-deserved phrase as it has been shown to help stimulate the mind, good for focusing in interviews or exams. It has even been used in care homes to help patients with their memory.
Maybe you are feeling that your nervous system needs calming rather than sharpening. In this case your herbal tea selection can be your friend.
Peppermint is cooling and refreshing – good for physical and mental tiredness or when you need to “cool” your temper and emotions. It is also good for calming the digestion.
You may already be familiar with the soothing qualities of chamomile tea. Comforting and relaxing, it is good for calming down both our emotions and also for physical issues such as irritable bowel syndrome. It also helps with insomnia, so makes a good bedtime drink.
Why not give one of these a try? And do let us know how you get on.