Lockdown Stress Relief

Sweet wormwood: Artimisia annua

This was published before I had completed the editing. I have been assured that the glitches in the system have been ironed out. My sense is that lockdown stress relief is going to be increasingly important as the uncertainty about the future takes its toll on your emotional reserves. What I will focus on today are five information tidbits that I found affirming of my own intuition. They are suitable for people who like to believe that having a handle on information that can be implemented is immensely empowering.

1. Potential Treatments for COVID-19

I have heard that some of our local wild artemisia is under threat of overharvesting. Even being destroyed by greedy, ignorant people. Artemisia afra is not the same as Artemisia annua which Madagascar is exporting, free of charge, to African countries. Punting either as a cure for COVID-19 isn’t particularly helpful to people who don’t have access to it. Or to people who think that potential treatments are an excuse to break the lockdown rules. Nor is there any need to forage for Artemisia afra when it is available in local indigenous plant nurseries and in many home gardens. I know it by its Afrikaans name: Wilde Als (Mhlonyane in Zulu; Umhlonyane in Xhosa; Lengana in Tswana and Zengana in Southern Sotho, African Wormwood in English). It is but one of a diversity of indigenous medicinal plants used to alleviate or treat colds, flu and other respiratory ailments.

My first African wormwood plant was bought to be used as a natural insecticide. It has many other benefits; it might even be a possible treatment for people with COVID-19 symptoms. I would be thrilled if either or both the Artemisias are scientifically proven to be effective. What a boost that would be for our confidence in indigenous knowledge systems. That it is readily available and affordable makes it additionally attractive.

Be aware that if you drink a tea made from the leaves of Artemisia afra it might ease your constipation but not the phlegm in your chest! Our indigenous medicinal plants in the wild need protection and carefully managed propagation. The people best placed to benefit from this process are the indigenous people who live in or close to ecologically sensitive wild spaces – patients and their traditional doctors. Registered traditional healers charge very reasonable consultation fees. With this in mind, I am not providing a recipe for part of an eco-social sustainable future is ensuring that fair energy exchange is promoted. Dr Dima (Mobile:082 401 9756) remains the expert traditional healer I consult; his knowledge of indigenous plants is extensive.

Nonetheless, we have to wait and see, for the scientific evidence isn’t yet available.The WHO, in answering the question of medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus, states: To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation, and will be tested through clinical trials. WHO is helping to accelerate research and development efforts with a range of partners.

I hope that Artemisia annua is amongst these. And Artemisia afra. 

It is no secret that everyone who cares for their well-being is doing everything they can to boost their immune systems. Such efforts are not to be confused with a cure. Nor should such efforts be condemned as though they play no part in maintaining physical, emotional and mental health. Our traditional medicines have a significant role to play in this process and there is no need to wait for permission from an outside authority to use them for known symptoms. Hopefully, it will reduce the number of people requiring hospitalisation.

However, the rules around prevention haven’t changed anywhere in the world: Stay home as much as possible. When venturing out on essential tasks wear a mask. And always keep a safe physical distance from other people. As far as I am concerned a both-and approach is more empowering and thus healthier than an either-or approach. If more South Africans could understand this, including our politicians and business leaders, I think there would be less arguing about how and when to ease the lockdown.

2. Zoom Blues Blown Away

I had no idea what Zoom was, let alone how to use it, until lockdown suddenly turned it into connection with significant groups I belong to. I enjoy being a participant in these social sessions. However, Zoom, as an alternative boardroom, classroom or office has brought added stresses to some people. I have heard how draining of energy it can be. This is particularly true for people who tune in to body language to sense the dynamics of what is happening within a group. Without these, and other face to face cues, greater reserves of energy are tapped into leaving employees, managers, facilitators, teachers, coaches and therapists exhausted. A traditional nine to five working day using Zoom becomes impossible.

The “Time to Think” methodology to have more effective online meetings during the COVID19 Lockdown and beyond offered by executive coach, Dina Cramer, provided me with an opportunity to measure my own energetic response in an interactive pilot session. Learning these Zoom-use skills left me pleasantly optimistic about my ability to retain my energy levels in therapy sessions.

If you would like assistance in learning to use Zoom more effectively, I recommend you get in touch with Dina: http://www.ignitesq.com/contact-us.html

3. Mental Health Support

This is a tough one. I have no idea how I would have coped a few years ago without being able to walk in forested areas. Fortunately, mental health practices and hospitals are open. Yet for people whose mental health challenges includes a distrust of psychiatrists and fear of psychiatric hospitals there are alternative options. Or complimentary health options:

Dr Colinda Linda, a cognitive behavioural psychologist, treats people over eighteen. Online therapy sessions are available: https://colindalinde.com/

Dr Dvori Blumenau, a psychologist specializing in interpersonal relationships, is offering affirmative skills training to children and teens. (And parents.): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-9XKgziu2s

Dr Ram, an Ayurvedic doctor, specializing in personalized health and well-being: https://ayurvedaram.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI1dXlyZy96QIVTLDtCh1OagFlEAAYASAAEgJDvfD_BwE

 4. Four Post-Covid19 Future Scenarios to choose from

Conspiracy theories are important, for they speak to our fears and our sense of powerlessness. They also make us aware of our levels of trust in those who hold rule over us…The danger is that conspiracy theories, besides being exaggerated or false, might distract us from doing what we can to create futures that align with eco-social sustainability.

I used to speak about sustainability as though the concept is crystal clear. It isn’t, for ‘sustainability’ is an easily misconstrued word. For some it means that the earth’s resources belong to them and their cronies. From this perspective, sustainability means personal sustainability regardless of the cost to others: humans and natural ecosystems. To distinguish myself from such a narrow understanding I began to speak of earth sustainability. Without the earth and her biomes being protected, sustainability is impossible for humans and for natural ecosystems. However, there are those for whom humans are outside of nature. People deemed destructive of animals and plants, and of nature in general, are considered unworthy of life. I do not belong within this category of environmentalist. Which brings me to the term eco-social sustainability. For me it means that the earth belongs to everyone and everything on it. No group of people has more rights than any other. And, collectively, humans do not have more rights than the earth that sustains us…

This brings me to an alternative to conspiracy theories. What might the world look like post-COVID19? In this interview with Prof Sohail Inayatullah, four future scenarios are sketched. I was relieved to find that my own transformative perspective features in it as scenario three. If it wasn’t, I would have dismissed him!

5. Ethical use of new technologies

A historian and philosopher with a positive view of life, including life after COVID-19, is Yuval Noah Harari. I don’t share his comfort levels with the technological innovations he sees as merely the next stage in our human evolution.

After viewing the following video, I found my copy of his book, Homo Deus: A brief History of Tomorrow and started reading it. In truth, I dislike views that are inclusive of intrusive technology and tend to want to dismiss them. Lockdown is thus also a time to face potentially bitter realities, all the better to direct one’s energy into mitigating nasty potentialities. Obviously, if it does not accord with what you want to live with.

I remember crying for days when I realised that in piercing my ears my mother had violated the integrity of my body! That I was three years old and the deed had been done shortly after I was born did not ease the sense of indignation and violation. Now imagine me agreeing to being ‘chipped’. That Harari believes we can accept this technological advancement by insisting on ethical applications is a huge relief. It suggests that there is still room for a firm, “No”. The post-lockdown world will still have room for freedom of choice. This then is what I shall continue to put my energy into. I choose a world that flattens the poverty curve. Including the poverty caused by unsustainable use of natural resources. I hope you will join me, for freedom of choice is a wonderful ‘invention’ I trust you too don’t want to let go of…

 

In conclusion, I don’t benefit financially from any of the people I recommend on my blogs. My recommendations are based on my positive experience of their work. If you choose to consult with any of them, and are dissatisfied with the service you receive, please follow the usual channels to resolve this.

Sources and Resources

http://pza.sanbi.org/artemisia-afra

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI2OLYyIDF6QIVxu7tCh3LowYDEAAYASACEgJbkfD_BwE

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