Monday, March 20, 2023 | Sha'ban 27, 1444 H
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Covid 19 recovery with plants: regaining mental strength

The world stopped when the Covid-19 pandemic struck. The restrictions were not only physical but also mental. The restriction on movement led to decreased social interactions and increased time spent on social media, further adding to the mental distress. Confinement, boredom, monotony, uncertainty, and financial crisis was just the beginning. Fear of infection led to Fear of Interaction, Increased attachment and emotional issues. Actual infection led to a whole range of other problems. Social exclusion from the society and the course of treatment and recovery takes an emotional toll on the person and their loved ones. Covid-19 Pandemic at best will become Endemic to few areas, it is not going to go away.

There has been a recent rise in diseases caused due to the indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources and destruction of animal habitats, resulting in animal stress, thereby making them vulnerable to being carriers of various diseases. The threat of diseases will continue lurking outside, threatening our mental state inside and the world will have to move on but how will we?

Protection and care of nature just might be the panacea of this conundrum. Taking care of the environment can not only reduce human and animal conflict but also reduce the level of stress on animals that is causing them to become carriers of contagious viruses. Taking care of nature, plants and animals, likewise has proved to be contribute to healing and growth.

Growing plants itself has the potential to improve mental health. When you add creativity to it, it reduces mental stress, relieves depression and gives a sense of peace. Personally, it helped me recover from a very traumatic phase amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. In my garden, I have recycled various discarded things to give new life to them while stimulating my creativity. Milk tin boxes, discarded car truck and cycle tyres, anything which helps me take the plants off the ground and onto the walls and accommodate more plants in less space, I tend to use it. Contrary to popular belief, plants need not be restricted to sunlight receiving areas of your house. I have spread out my plants from the lawn and the balcony to the living room and the kitchen according to their specific requirements. Another misconception about plants is that they need soil to grow. Soil is only one medium, plants can be grown in water (hydroponics) I tend to several hydroponics that sit on my kitchen, bed room windowsill and living room.

Plants sense the environment through its outer layer and respond according to the physical stress just like we do. Plants have a complex sensory system that responds to the danger and any environmental changes that occur in their immediate surrounding. Plants grow towards light, resist wind by changing shape, growing around rocky surfaces due to this sensory system. Plants sense the negative environment and respond accordingly. Plants started dying in my well established indoor and outdoor garden during the covid-19 infection phase. Everyday I woke up with less energy and felt sad about them. This may be due to my overlooking their routine nutrient check due to covid infection and recovery phase. But at the same time they showed immense ray of hope as a new bud emerged from almost dead plant. That's the time when I realized life is much more progressive and beautiful. I reestablished my well grown, lushly, bushy, indoor and outdoor garden filling it with life, hope and perseverance so I can resonate with it if I find myself dwindling again. Air purifying and carbon dioxide absorber plants like money plants, snakeplant, nerve plant, dracenas umbrella tree, along with the medicinal plants like mint, aloe, loban, coleus are the main the attractions of my garden. Everyday, when I wake up and see them grow, my hope of life and recovery of my mental strength grows with it.

A plant growing in the middle of a concrete pathway symbolizes as much hope as the one which is just recovering from not being watered for days because we were busy tending to the family members who got sick from Covid-19. Watching my dying plants recover gave me the strength to get a hold of myself and, for once, slow down and look within to find that I need to recover too. I hadn't watered myself in awhile too. By taking care of my plants, I gained some control back in life which was thrown into chaos by a virus. The Love and care that I gave to my plants was the love and care I gave to myself. Plants might as well be a part of my identity henceforth.

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