Homeostasis

 

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This past month a lesson in my herbalism class dealt with homeostasis—a process by which the body maintains stability that is optimal for survival by adjusting to conditions. Just as the body physically processes food we eat, converts it to energy, and stores it for later use, this balance also applies to other aspects of life.

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This concept was particularly helpful the past month when work was relentlessly stressful. At the end of a ten-hour day I couldn’t handle being in front of a computer any longer and I immediately headed outside to my garden, freed from hours of spreadsheets. 

 

Fresh air and harvesting fruits and vegetables restored my mental and spiritual homeostasis. However, my writing time suffered as a result. While I wasn’t writing as much, I did indulge in more reading.

Rather than feel guilty about what I wasn’t doing, I recognized  that the cognitive change resembled the ebb and flow of tides. Instead of words and thoughts flowing out, the tide had changed, providing a much needed mental balance.

An article in Everyday Health describes a balanced life as embracing work, health, and emotional well-being. Responsibilities drain our batteries and we need the activities that recharge us. For me, recharging meant unplugging from obligations long enough to breatheinhale calm, exhale stress.

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A friend posted a video earlier this week covering the importance of honoring our rhythms and rest. She compared
summer, a season of productivity, to winter, a time of rest. Like me, she stressed over not creating but recognized the stillness as a time for sowing one's thoughts so they can blossom.

 

As a gardener, I'm well aware of the rhythms of plants and the seasons. I now realize my life needs these seasons, too. Homeostasis, balance, ebb and flow. The rhythms of life.

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