• How are you keeping?

    natural secrets • Mar 9th, 2020

    My hands are dry from handwashing and I’m getting used to more solitary time and space, feeling ok for the moment but cabin fever could strike by the end of the month. Thinking about keeping well steers a lot of choices like exercising in the garden rather than going to the pool at the leisure centre, using stretches of time to do or make things I’ve had at the bottom of my list for a time: painting things big and small, keeping a wildflower diary with pressed flowers from walks around the village as well as getting out to the hives whenever it’s not raining, just sitting and observing.

    I’ve used herbs to support wellness for a long time and have a few ideas for you which don’t require study or deep pockets and are easy to achieve:

    My go-to always is an infusion of leaves, lemon balm is just sprouting in my garden, those tender leaves are amazing in hot water with a spoonful of honey. I love black tea but herbs from the garden, melissa, verveine, mint, or grated ginger and a thick slice of lemon are my favourites. The pot of Assam is a morning thing.

    The fruit syrups made in the autumn are part of our breakfast menu: elderberry, blackberry and sloe are great for extra vitamins too. I thought I had too many bottles of the elderberry but obviously the plant world had insider knowledge and encouraged me to pick colanders full of berries. This year I might make some rosehip syrup which you can buy in the shops too. There are some war time recipes for this, a little research for later.

    Eucalyptus oil is great multitasker, probably the best known essential oil along with lavender; I use it to clean my wooden floors, scent the air using an oil burner and add to bath water. Coming in to the dining room where I am mostly in the winter months is like walking into a medicine lodge. A scented space makes you feel so much better. I’m experimenting with blends, a hint of pine or cedar at the moment and will post some recipes soon.

    I’m trying to keep well with exercise and diet too, cutting down on beige food and doing yoga every day. My new thing is a two minute burst of cold water in the shower recommended by my daughter, so energising. I’m working towards a cold bath. It all makes a difference and I certainly breathe easier when I avoid chocolate, cheese and regular milk. We’re enjoying vegan dishes from The Green Roasting Tin, having fun eating our way through all Rukmina’s recipes apart from the ones with aubergines. So far five have made the hall of fame.

    I’m not suggesting that any of this will stop me getting a cold or the coronavirus but my levels of energy and vitality are much higher and I feel stronger. Our response may be an overreaction but the figures suggest the risk is serious especially for more vulnerable people. I’m keeping hopeful and going with sensible choices.

    I’ve been reading a lovely journal here about soap making, oil blends and growing flowers, do hop over for instant inspiration.

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