Monday, 5 July 2010

Herbal therapy

lavender and honeysuckle by our back door

When I feel stressed, I turn to herbs - just a whiff of hot lavender as I brush past it by our back door is sufficient (usually) to bring me to my senses. It doesn't always work, so I have other strategies to calm myself. Working in the garden with hands in the soil inevitably slows my racing brain, as does writing  in my journal or diary, or 'composing' blank verse on scraps of paper. Frequently these snippets spring into being when I am preparing supper, but food is always a comfort; it depends on the level of stress - preparing food, not so much eating it. I have burned many a dish when I get carried away!

My third form of mental therapy is to create in fabric or paper;  which is regarded by my dear husband as play, so I sneak in odd moments but find this frustrating. From time to time I manage a complete day and have been revived this last weekend by a marvellous workshop I attended, which in itself involved herbs and my garden (see my account in one of my other blogs, Journaling the Journal); I hug to myself this stolen day of pure pleasure, for what I learned will sustain me through weeks to come.

This last six months has been particularly stressful for one reason and another. Working freelance is always hit and miss; you are either short of work and panic that you cannot meet the council tax or whatever, or are so overloaded that it is hard to fit in all there is to do; and then I worry about the state of the house and garden which never receives the attention from me that it - and Raymond - deserves.

Last week was one of recuperation: meeting friends in Oxford for lunch and a visit to the Ashmolean museum to look at the textiles gallery, the workshop on Saturday and tidying up of work odds and ends before the next six-month tranch of articles and canvassing for 2011. So my herbal therapy yesterday was calculated to satisfy both mind and body: I collected together many of my garden pots and filled them to overflowing with herbs, designed to attract bees and butterflies and other beneficial insects. By rights, this part of the post should be in my gardening blog, but that got off to a poor start, rushed into being just before Malvern, and has yet to achieve its potential! (If you like gardens, gardening and plants, do please take a peek; it will improve ....). My three blogs are deliberately intended to interlink; you never know what you will find on each one; that 'wild child' is wilful and will not be constrained!

some of the herbs awaiting positioning on pots around the garden

I played with herbal image transfers last night and am actually ready to put the pages of my 'Summer Days' fabric concertina book together now. My final strategy for the second half of this year is to so organise my workspace that I can work on various projects simultaneously, and to do a little of something every day, before stress levels build again. Right now I feel calm and collected, and for that I am so thankful. I am grateful, too, for blogger friends who keep me focussed and, although I may not comment as often as I would wish or should, what a wonderful way to keep in touch. Blogging is another form of therapy.