Keeping Calm and Carrying On

We may be  practicing social distancing in the coming weeks, depending on the virus reaching Knysna.  We are all social creatures and many of us may find this self-imposed isolation difficult to cope with, yet you can do things to keep the mind sane! We gardeners are a resilient and positive lot, to quote Audrey Hepburn ‘To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow’.  We have to focus on tomorrow….


Find beauty in the mundane. Work in your garden, it is therapeutic and keeps one relatively fit. There are many chores you can do from hand watering to weeding or planting seedlings and bulbs for spring flowering. Digging your fingers in the soil of a potted plant can improve your mood and nourish your immune system.

Go for walks in nature. Nature’s abundance  heals the soul, listen to the birds and admire this wonderful place we call home.  There is something about being in nature – whether it’s the sound of the sea, the scent of a forest or an impressive countryside vista – it eases  stress and worry, and helps  to relax and think more clearly.

Exposure to nature works primarily by lowering stress – immune-cell function improves after walking in a forest for a few hours each day. Nature, it seems, is particularly good for strengthening our main virus-fighting cells and cancer-surveillance system. Aromatic substances called phytoncides from trees and plants bring about these amazing health benefits.

Knysna Heads | photo|Esther

Enjoy the sunshine. Sunshine is good for immunity and bad for viruses. One reason that flu is a winter problem is because the influenza virus is transmitted best at cooler temperatures and low humidity. But there are other reasons for seeking sunshine. Research suggests it makes disease-fighting cells in the skin move faster and work more efficiently. Sunlight also helps our bodies to make Vitamin D.

View from Featherbed Nature Reserve | photo | Esther

Get your home in order. It is cathartic tidying up drawers and getting rid of stuff that you haven’t used for the last eighteen months.   Get rid of excess, you won’t miss it.

Make your own hand sanitizer.  Hand sanitizers have been sold out for months. Keep your hands clean by using soap and water, but there may be a time when it is more convenient to use a sanitizer.

To make your own hand sanitizer you’ll need:

  • 1/3 cup aloe Vera gel (available at most pharmacies or health shops)
  • 2/3 cup 99% rubbing alcohol ((isopropyl alcohol)
  • Container with watertight lid
  • Small funnel (optional)
  • Essential oils (optional)

Note: If you can’t find 99% rubbing alcohol, you may need to adjust the ratio above to make sure the mixture contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

Follow These Steps:

  1. Stir together the Aloe vera gel and rubbing alcohol until fully incorporated.
  2. If you’d like, you can add a couple drops of essential oil, such as lavender, check first for skin sensitivity.
  3. Using a funnel, decant the mixture into a bottle or container with a secure lid. When you use the hand sanitizer, dispense it into the palm of one hand and rub all over the surface of both hands until completely dry. Keep the bottle out of reach of children.

Remember health is happiness and a short memory … this global pandemic  will all come to pass.