Gathering Bliss from Nature

Experiencing one of those days when you feel completely overwhelmed and have a mental tennis match going on? It has been a long and arduous winter this year with health concerns and lock down. Sometimes an escape into the woods to forget the digital (and mental) information overload is necessary.

This quick dose of ecotherapy does not take much time or effort. There are aromatic plants in many of our backyards, windowsills and neighborhoods just waiting to be utilized. For us, a trip around the block revealed some Pine needles (from the trees) and a handful of Rosemary. The simple action of gathering and connecting to nature can already have a calming effect on an overworked central nervous system.
Next, add your plants to some water in a pan, along with any other aromatics you enjoy and let it boil and simmer on your stove top. The delightful fragrance and steamy water will beckon you to dwell and inhale the aromatic, fragrant goodness, transporting you to the woods on a sunny day. Interestingly, our brains do not know the difference between imagining something and doing something, and your body will have an influx of feel-good neurotransmitters that will most definitely center you and boost your mood.
Here are some suggested aromatic plants most people may have access to, which can be fresh or dried:
Pine needle, Juniper berry, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Fennel, Peppermint, Lavender, Thyme, Orange peel, Cinnamon, Clove, All-Spice, Cardamom, Vanilla extract, Anise. You can also add a few drops of essential oil if you desire.
Note: Be very careful not to get too close when inhaling the hot steam. Your nose will help guide you. Never leave a pan on the stove unattended for long.