Soothe Your Soul - Improving Your Mental Health with Evergreens
I wrote much of this blog post long before Covid-19 was a part of our world, but I decided to go ahead and post it as scheduled, because I think much of this information is relevant, especially now.
Study after study that has been done comes back with the same result - our bodies are wired to be connected with nature. There is a term for this, which is "Biophilia", and it basically means that we have an innate urge or desire to connect with nature. THIS ARTICLE by National Geographic says even something as small as a houseplant can make us feel good. There are many reasons for this, including the presence of phytoncides, which are wood essential oils that is basically the "aroma of the forest".
During our "new normal" of social distancing, you can test this theory for yourself: take a walk outside, go for a hike in a forest, sit quietly by a babbling brook, plant a garden or take on another activity that allows you to spend time in nature. Then, note how you feel BEFORE and AFTER you do these things. Can you tell a difference in how you feel after spending time in and with nature?
Besides houseplants, another way to bring some of these natural outdoor benefits to your indoor environment is with the use of fresh evergreens during the holidays. Indoors these cuttings will dry faster than they do outdoors, but you can mist the greenery to help it last longer. Even a small amount of exposure is beneficial for the mind and body.
The holidays are typically a stress-filled crazy time for most people (although I think most of us would gladly trade the Covid-19 crazy for the holidays-level crazy right now....it's all about perspective, right?) When you can't escape to nature as easily, due to the weather, time constraints, or even a quarantine, having some of the outdoors brought inside to your environment can definitely help combat the stress of the season (or global pandemic).
Besides having fresh garlands, wreaths, mantel decor, table decor, real Christmas trees, etc...you can easily fill your home with an all-natural fragrance by simmering fresh elements on your stovetop. I found a recipe online for a yummy scented stove-top simmer that you can download. It uses fresh evergreens AND would make an excellent gift for someone to give them a positive "biophilia response". You can make this now, to allow the scent to remind you of happy times during the holidays (and before Covid-19)....or save the recipe and make it later in the fall and winter. No matter when you make it, the fragrance of fresh evergreens (and the other ingredients) will fill your home with a soul-soothing, uplifting aroma.