You might not think you have time to lower your stress because you have too much to do. But even busy people, especially moms, deserve a few minutes off from their hectic schedule.
1. Get Outside for 10 Minutes
The first of these ways to lower stress with plants is right outside your door. You might have snow on the ground where you live but it’s still worth sharing a brief moment with nature. Sometimes when I let the dog out, I take a minute to inhale the fresh smell of wet soil. I see the bright cloudy sky. I feel the cool rain on my face. So if you need to let your dog outside, take a few minutes, to hang around. Better yet, go for a walk in your local park. Do the trees have any leaves yet? Are the branches waving in the wind? How do the clouds move? Are they hanging or breaking up for bits of blue sky? Remember to breathe it all in. Even 10 minutes in an open natural space will refresh you.
2. Bring Home Eucalyptus Stems
Eucalyptus smells so spicy and fresh. You can probably imagine the scent right now. Supermarkets commonly sell the branches in their floral department. They range from five to ten dollars, depending on the size of the bundle. But the best thing about choosing eucalyptus over other flowers or leaves is they last. For weeks and weeks. So if you can, splurge a bit and put them in a vase of water. Then, whenever you pass by the table, rub your fingers on the leaves and smell that lovely scent. (And if you’re allergic, of course eucalyptus isn’t the best choice. ) Eucalyptus is known for its medicinal uses and a quick jolt of its minty scent will revive you as well.
3. Plan a Springtime Activity
Studies show that planning a vacation makes us slightly happier than when we’re actually on a vacation so dream a little about the future. What will you grow this year? Where can you go to see daffodils and tulips? How about watching a hyacinth bloom in a bulb container? Is there a botanical garden not too far away? Are there vegetable seeds you can start? Beans and peas are always easy and fun to start with kids in the house. Whatever your taste, plan a bit of fun to look forward to.
You know how in summer you might notice a bee on a wildflower, collecting pollen and getting nectar? Usually the temperature’s warm and the sun’s out. The flower glows with color. You may hear a faint buzz, the song of birds. At that moment, you often feel a brief interlude of neutral relaxation. Calmness permeates the air. All is right in the world. Nature’s at work. It’s a peaceful time to cherish and a lovely slice of stress relief.
So in anticipation of this summer, I’m once again giving away wildflower seeds! Each packet contains coreopsis, coneflower, cosmos, black-eyed Susan, clover, marigolds, and more. All the flowers that bees like and keep their colonies thriving. If you’d like to get a free packet, sign up for my digest. Every month, I send a collection of interesting stuff to explore: ideas for books to read, plant news and gardening tips, music & film finds, my latest inspiration, advice on creativity, and more. Oh, and giveaways!
Speaking of which, if you’re already a subscriber and want seeds, watch for my next (March 7th) newsletter. In it, I’ll let you know the easy way to get the seeds. Until then, get your ground ready! Spring is coming and I have a feeling it’s going to be a happy growing season this year!
Spring is a time of change. Emerging leaves, melting snow, blooming flowers. So don’t be afraid to change, even in a tiny way. Step away from your desk, your counter, your indoor work space and go outside. Being outside changes your perspective. There’s a temperature you can’t control. A vista greets you, sometimes narrow or wide or small. And maybe sun, wind, maybe rain. An open freshness surrounding you. It always amazes me how a short walk beneath trees or a moment of staring at the sky can settle the spirit.
The composer Gustav Mahler knew this. He implies a restlessness, a fidgeting with life in winter, perhaps even a dissatisfaction. Whatever he meant, he captured how his angst disappears and settles down in spring.
This week I wish you a settled spirit.
“With the coming of spring, I am calm again.”– Gustav Mahler, composer