If lockdown has impacted your anxiety level and you’ve been finding it hard to restore a sense of inner calm, flowers are here to help. It’s that time of year where we are currently blessed with an abundance of natural floral delights, gifting us with many opportunities to uplift our mood and ease stress.
Here’s five simple things you can do with flowers to counteract anxiety, with alternative ideas for those who suffer with hay fever so nobody misses out:
1. Use a flower as a focus for gratitude
When things are getting on top of you, take one full minute out, away from the immediate task in hand (be it feeling overloaded after yet another conference call, the home-schooling maths problems that just make no sense, or fear at the current state of the world). Using a flower as a focal point to look at, spend one full minute mentally running through a gratitude list of as many people and things that you’re grateful for and see how many come to mind. Giving gratitude instantly shifts perspective into a more positive headspace. Looking at a flower as you do this helps focus the mind and stay fully present.
For hay fever sufferers, either looking at an image of a flower or using a fake flower will have exactly the same effect in terms of helping find focus.
2. Take a lunchtime flower walk
Working from home runs the danger of being cooped up indoors for days on end and not venturing outside. This in turn can cause anxiety to spiral and makes it difficult to switch off once the working day is done. Schedule your lunch hour into your calendar as a set appointment with yourself. When that notification comes up reminding you to take a break, use some of your lunchtime to go outside.
For those with anxiety, going outside can bring feelings of fear so having a flower focus for your outdoor time is the ideal solution. Take a walk around your neighbourhood and see how many flowers you can spot. If you’re in a built-up urban setting, trees, plants, leaves, and flowers in people’s windows all count!
For friends with hay fever, outdoor time can be problematic but it is essential to give yourself a proper break from your work. A multitude of virtual flower, garden and forest tours can be found on YouTube and Vimeo, offering a natural change of scenery without the pollen exposure.
3. Create flower photo art to share with a friend
While on your lunchtime flower walks, every time you come across a particularly beautiful flower, take a photo. If it is positioned in a place you can safely get right up close, capture as much detail as possible of the colour tones on the petals. Really appreciate these flowers with the wonder and joy that a child would. Over the course of a week, choose your favourite flower captures and use them to make a photo montage using an app like PicCollage. When you’ve made your artwork, send it to a friend to let them know you’re thinking of them even though you can’t visit them at this time. They will appreciate your thoughtfulness and you will have created art with purpose.
Those with hay fever can still create a flower montage choosing images from free stock photo banks like Unsplash and Pixabay.
4. Gift flowers to yourself
Many of us wait for someone else to give us flowers and can often be waiting a long time! Buying flowers for yourself is an act of self-love and a message to yourself that you deserve to be treated.
Having fresh flowers in your home filters the air, boosts your mood, brightens your living space and reminds you that you matter. Yes YOU! You matter! When you’re choosing your flowers, select a bunch that actually brings joy to your heart – not the bunch in the bargain discount bucket that has seen better days. They needn’t be expensive to be beautiful.
If you have allergies to pollen, although fake flowers do not have the same benefits of natural flowers, they can still brighten a room and bring happiness. While leisurely perusing home stores isn’t possible during lockdown, any food store with a home section will have fake flower arrangements to choose from, suitable for varying budgets.
5. Use floral essential oils on your pulse points
Rollerball essential oil blends have become common place in chemists, health stores and some supermarkets. If you haven’t tried them before they can be a game changer for instantly instilling calm and elevating mood.
Different blends are designed to create different moods but in terms of suitable floral oils, bergamot, chamomile, lavender, neroli and ylang ylang are some of the most common to help ease anxiety.
Alternatively, using mood lifting oils in a diffuser is also highly beneficial if you don’t wish to put them directly on your skin.
For anyone with an allergy to essential oils, an alternative suggestion of something easy that you can do to give yourself a few moments of care and attention is to apply a hand cream that you know doesn’t react with your skin. Although this will not have the same effect as using essential oils, pausing to focus on your body as you apply hand cream is a little act of self-love. It will also help soothe hands that have taken a beating from all the antiseptic gel and relentless hand washing regime.
So that’s five easy steps for harnessing the power of flowers.
If you have any other ways of using flowers to help reduce anxiety, feel free to share in the comments.