April’s a big month for events, with April Fool’s Day and Easter taking place in quick succession along with all the garden tasks that can be started now the weather’s warming up. With all that going on, it’s no wonder that it’s also Stress Awareness Month, a chance to increase public awareness about the causes and solutions to the stresses of the modern world.
This past year we’ve spent more time inside and cooped up than most of us have in our entire lives, and stress has been on the rise in these unprecedented times. We’re starting to move away from lockdown and being forced to stay indoors, but as life is likely to continue within your four walls, there are still things you can to do improve your indoor space to make sure it’s the most zen and relaxing place it can be.
Look after your plants
Taking care of plants can have a calming effect, regardless of the kind of plant you’re looking after. Take a few minutes each day to look them over and forget everything else that’s going in your life, watering and trimming where needed to take a break from the world for a spell. It can give you a chance to arrange your thoughts, as well as ensure that an upsetting wilting is out of the question. If you get yourself some smelly plants like lavender or chamomile you can also de-stress by taking a good sniff whenever you need a moment.
Don’t let it become a chore, just take it easy and keep your plants in easy view so they aren’t forgotten. If you’re going to put a plant on a high-ish shelf, make sure it’s a dangler so it catches your eye and you can enjoy the greenery.
Clear the air
We don’t mean getting into arguments with the people you live with about peeves and irritations, but rather improving your air quality indoors. Temporary stress can cause you to breathe more shallowly as you tense up in the moment, slightly lowering the oxygen in your bloodstream which your brain sees as more stress, compounding the problem. When just opening a window isn’t an option, a broad-leafed indoor plant with good access to sunshine can really increase the O2 and help you breathe easier when life gets you down, stopping those temporary moments from getting out of control.
Water feature white noise
You’ll have heard that silence is golden, but just as good is a bit of constant, hushed sound for focussing the mind. White noise has been proven to help (the second sentence of that article is a belter), and to get some without getting a single-purpose noise box you can hark back to ancient Japanese tradition with a water feature for water-based sound-making. Though admittedly in that tradition they weren’t powered with electricity, and they were for scaring deer first before meditation and zen.
The sound of running water can help you relax, likely speaking to that animal part of our brains that knows you need water to live. Unfounded claims suggest it can also help reduce blood pressure, but we just think it’s nice to sit and listen to.
However you prefer to keep the stresses of the world at bay, April’s the month to take stock of all those things that get you down to see where they can be overcome. The Stress Management Society has lots of tips and advice to help wherever you may be struggling, so check them out if you’d like more information on stress – its causes, effects, and how to help deal with it all.