A lot of Americans are thrilled that the country is reopening. They are going back into their favorite stores, eating at restaurants and meeting up with friends. However, for people with a higher risk for COVID-19, the reopening doesn’t mean much. People with heart concerns are being urged to keep their distance and stay away. That can be disheartening, boring and lonely. That’s why we want to find fulfilling ways to spend our time that will be both productive and enjoyable.
Herb gardens are excellent. Gardening raises happiness and mental health as much as going to a restaurant, walking or cycling. (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-8312395/Gardening-improves-happiness-emotional-wellbeing-physical-exercise.html) Flower beds and vegetable gardens, while beautiful and useful, can be a lot of work for people who don’t habitually garden. A great way to start is to grow your own herbs. (https://www.ledgertranscript.com/heRuthClark-ml-060220_-34500390)
Lots of recipes call for fresh herbs. While our social media team loves to cook, we usually resort to the dried stuff. But, fresh herbs pack more of a flavor punch and can be more nutritious than dried ones. And, using herbs frequently allows you to cut down on sugar and salt in a recipe. (https://www.ledgertranscript.com/heRuthClark-ml-060220_-34500390) You can buy little plants or seeds from your supermarket and talk to the florist about what grows best in your area.
Read up on the herbs you choose. A member of our team tried to grow mint, a notoriously hardy herb that grows like crazy and can take over a garden. She thought it was foolproof. Then she killed it with too much water. You can always get a little help from Google, or talk to your friends, many people are surprised to find that their friends are actually skilled gardeners. It can be a great way to reconnect with a friend over the phone while learning.
Gardening is an excellent form of exercise that’s good for the heart. (https://blog.neulivenhealth.com/post/even-gentle-exercise-may-reduce-heart-risks-in-women) It’s gentle but a wonderful way to get moving. But, even more than exercise, it’s a great way to relax. You can do a little each day, spending time outside and then you “reap” the rewards of your labor. Yes, we completely leaned into that pun.
Finally, one of the best things about starting a herb garden this year is that it can be a socially distanced activity. You can have a friend or some family over to help you in your garden, or just enjoy a drink six feet apart in your growing space. It makes a lovely space to relax outdoors and let you spend time together without being too close.