5 Stress-Reducing Tips from Campus Urban Garden Experts

5 Stress-Reducing Tips from Campus Urban Garden Experts

Midterm exams have been known to induce stress. But you don’t have to resort to expensive or unhealthy tactics to reign in test-related anxiety.

From left, Lexa Keane and Kelsea Sears.

From left, Lexa Keane and Kelsea Sears.

The Student Garden at the Political Science Center, located at Wentworth and Coming streets, is lush with plants that contain all sorts of stress-reducing and health-boosting properties.

You can learn about some of these homeopathic solutions at the Herbal Remedy Stress Reliever Workshop from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 15, 2014, at the Office of Sustainability, 284 King St.

Please RSVP for the workshop using this Google form.

A joint collaboration between the Office of Sustainability and the College’s Grounds Department, the hands-on workshop is part of the Office of Sustainability Res Life Workshop Series. Attendees will learn how to harvest organic herbs from the garden and integrate them into personalized herbal remedies that can help relieve stress.

Until then, here are 5 stress-reducing tips from the workshop’s instructors – Lexa Keane ‘14, Urban Garden and Compost Coordinator with the Grounds Department, and Kelsea Sears, a biology major and Garden and Apprenticeship Coordinator for the Office of Sustainability:

1. Relax Gingerly.

This root has a plethora of health benefits and reduces stress by relaxing the gastrointestinal system, boosting the immune system and functioning as a great anti-inflammatory, Keane says.

“A lot of times when people get stressed their digestive system gets out of whack,” Keane says. “Ginger is known to help calm the digestive system.”

2. Pace Yourself.

Students who fill-up on caffeine and sugar to study and take exams are setting themselves up for a big crash later on. Keane suggests lemon ginger honey tea as a natural pick-me-up that also provides a boost to your body’s immune system.

“Have it first thing in the morning when you wake up and you’ll get your day off to a great start,” she says.

Garden-1-embed3. Basil Calms Your Nasal.

Basil contains antioxidants and has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties in addition to its high levels of Vitamin K. One of the College’s urban gardens grows grow African Blue basil, lemon basil and Genovese basil.

If nothing else, just take a walk by the urban garden and the distinct aroma wafting from the basil plants will help calm your nerves.

4. Eat Right.

Nothing will sap your energy more than eating poorly or not eating enough. Fuel yourself with a good mix of protein and carbohydrates ahead of a long exam.

The urban garden grows corn, beans and squash, which Keane says provide a “perfect trifecta” of nutrition.

The trio of plants is an example of “companion planting,” a technique used by some Native American tribes in which crops are intentionally planted together to provide mutual benefit as well as a proper flow of nutrients as they grow.

The garden is so rich with vegetables and herbs like peppers, carrots, eggplant, beets, sweet potatoes, jalapenos, Thai peppers, tarragon and other delights that Keane and Sears are considering a future workshop focused on cooking with items from the garden.

urban garden pol5. Gardening Soothes the Soul.

Getting your hands dirty and communing with nature can provide tremendous mental health benefits.

The Office of Sustainability’s Garden Apprenticeship Program is a place for students to gain experience and knowledge in urban agriculture. Apprentices learn about different gardening techniques through campus workshops as well as with other urban gardens in the Charleston community. The apprentices meet every Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. to take care of the plants at the Political Science Student Garden.

“At the end of a hard week of my head in the books, heading out to the Garden is the best way to clear my head,” Sears says. “It’s a natural way to refresh your system.”

Members of the campus community who wish to harvest from the urban garden are encouraged to contact the Office of Sustainability or the Grounds Department.