A picture in a magazine of an orange studded with a design made from whole clove spikes caught my eye this week and reminded me of making these for Christmas gifts as a child. A wise Girl Scout leader kept our rambunctious spirits engaged in this project for most of a meeting as we chatted and stuck in the cloves. She advised us to cover our entire oranges, a pleasant but time consuming task!
The article attached to the picture cited a study from the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago. The findings were that mood-steadying brain receptors are stimulated by aromas of sweet citrus. (And what better way to experience a burst of citrus relieving stress than by methodically punching sharp little cloves into an orange.)
These days between the holidays can be the source of more stress than usual. Extra demands on our time when we are already tired from coughing from the last virus, making travel arrangements with the possibilities of inclement weather, finding the best buys for our gift lists, and facing upcoming property tax bills are just a few of the stressors that can threaten to steal our joy during this time of the year. Every year we promise ourselves that next year will be different, that we will start a Christmas Club account at the credit union, but for many of us, it feels like a re-run.
Meditation, breathing, mindfulness, yoga, and even just drinking more water are some standard stress relievers. But, just in case you haven’t already gotten these remedies in place, consider the orange intervention! Simple, repetitive tasks, especially ones that please our senses, are basic self soothers that do not harm us more than help us in negotiating stress and managing our moods.