the calm during the storm: principles for physical and mental health during the pandemic

“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.” Helen Keller

Hello everyone,

As a community herbalist, I want to share a resource that has benefited myself, my family and my entire community (both local and very distant!) during this time of uncertainty and fear. I run a social learning group full of phenomenally experienced herbalists and bright students called Growing Your Community Apothecary on Facebook.These same people have been posting cold, flu, and coronavirus information and protocols since December 2019–there is a wealth of combined knowledge and experience among them. We can do so much together and I strongly encourage you to band together in hope and in creativity to face our current and upcoming public health challenges. Below are some of the “guiding principles” that I shared to the group earlier today as our country enters a state of emergency:

  1. Make sure your home is prepped medicinally, herbally, and nutritionally for the self quarantine times in your respective areas.
  2. Define the scope of your community. Create an emergency contact list of people you need to watch – even remote and online relationships that need a daily check-in.
  3. Check on extended family and offer assistance.
  4. If you are blessed with children, talk to them during these uncertain times. Review the way they receive news. Review their daily schedule. Make sure they get some fresh air. Set some goals for them to make the time more meaningful. Reconnect.
  5. Check on neighbors and offer assistance. Get to know your neighbors. Find out the strengths of each family. Set up a group text or email chain.
  6. Check on people you know that do not handle stressful situations well. Be there.
  7. Partner with the medical community if asked or the opportunity presents itself.
  8. Identify aid organizations in your community that can be assessed in time of need. Get that information to your contact list.
  9. Review and revise your nutritional habits. Learn to cook differently – learn to cook different foods. Bring the family together and enjoy cooking. Create your own “stone soup.” Double your servings and share them with someone in need.
  10. Initiate preventative herbal & hygiene measures. Make sure you have your “flu kit,” “emergency kit,” and “first aid kit” ready to go.
  11. Take a good long look at the state of your “peace.” Turn off the news. Turn off social media. Pray. Meditate. Increase/improve your sleep regimen. Drink herbal nervine/sedative teas. Get outside and breathe fresh air. Marvel at nature’s beauty. Enjoy your inner circle. Read some good books. Watch old movies and old comedies.
  12. Sit back and reflect on the “gaps in your apothecary system and inventory” that have presented themselves in the last couple of weeks. What could have been done differently? What needed to be in stock? What did you have to buy – but, could have made? What did you feel less than confident making – and bought instead? Where did you feel uncertain about giving advice? Did you have some issues actually finding your inventory? What herbs became “superstars” during this pandemic? Can they be grown next year? Is there a local substitute?
  13. Look at what nature is beginning to provide for herbal medicine. Chickweed, bittercress, mushrooms, dock, etc. Start harvesting and making appropriate medicine – especially concoctions that will help with stress & sleep, mineral-rich greens, recuperation & convalescence, and tonic detoxification.
  14. If you garden, garden. Seed start. Plant. Weed. Prep beds. Harvest. Prune. Propagate. Clean tools. Pot up seedlings.
  15. Take this time to complete your strains of macerations. Breakdown your tinctures, syrups, vinegars and herbs – into shareable portions for potential future needs.

And, most of all:

Be loving to all.

Think before speaking.

Do unto others.

Be hopeful. Don’t judge. Be patient.

Lead others.

✨ Be a light.

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