As mental health awareness month comes to a close we have created a guide to the remedies.
This guide is for those in need of restoring balance to their lives during and after the pandemic.
We hope this guide can continue to help those this month and beyond, as we should always maintain a healthy mind.
To all our Bach Centre friends
Our wishes go out to everyone around the world during this uncertain and unfortunate time. Here at the Bach Centre we know how something like this can seriously affect not only our physical health but our mental health too. This is why we have put together a guide to the remedies for during and after the pandemic for those who are suffering from a variety of mental states during this time.
Although many countries are now beginning to emerge from lockdown, the effects that Covid-19 has had on individuals throughout the world can be long-lasting, but there are positives too, and much we can learn from the experience that will improve our way of life, and the health of our planet. However equally, the aftermath has left many people feeling angry, heartbroken, anxious and exhausted.
The Bach flower remedies can help to calm the emotional aspects of what this current pandemic can bring. Here are some suggestions:
This remedy is for those who are finding it difficult to say no to others during lockdown. You may find that your friends want to see you or a loved one who is at high risk might want to visit. Centaury will help you to feel assertive and able to politely decline.
We may feel we’re losing control of our normal routine, particularly as the virus spreads. Cherry Plum may be useful for those who, for example, have been in isolation for a while, maybe working from home and, at the same time, taking care of young children who cannot return to school or nursery. In such circumstances, some may feel they are trapped and losing their mind. Cherry Plum is for this feeling and for anyone who fears the effect of uncontrollable, escalating thoughts.
This remedy is for those who suffer with a sense of contamination or uncleanliness. During a time when we’re constantly told to wash our hands regularly, this may act as a trigger for the surfacing of feelings that have lain dormant, or to arise for the first time. Whilst it is important, especially during this crisis, to remember that hand-washing is one of the key practices in keeping ourselves safe, Crab Apple is helpful when sensible awareness becomes a tormenting obsession.
Elm is for those who are usually capable and able, but who lose confidence in their ability to cope with certain situations that they would otherwise manage. Therefore this may be an important remedy for key workers around the world, particularly hospital staff, front-line doctors, nurses and carers, if they become overwhelmed or feel crushed by the weight of responsibility.
Gentian may be a much needed remedy during this time of uncertainty. As changes in advice and policy take place daily, life might start to feel as though we are constantly being set back, which can then make it hard to pick ourselves back up again. This discouragement can hinder our enjoyment of life, and Gentian helps us to see the good in a bad situation.
Gorse is for those who have given up belief or hope in life. This is different to a Gentian state as although it may be the result of a set back, the Gorse mindset gives up hope of feeling better. In a Gorse state one doesn’t consider a way out, instead it is a negative succumbing to the negativity. For example, someone who has lost their job – or been made redundant and loses hope of a positive future. In a Gorse state we may want to stay in bed and give up on the day, unable or unwilling to change how we feel. We just accept defeat.
The Gorse remedy helps us restore our faith in finding a way forward, and our hope of a positive outcome.
The remedy Heather helps feelings of loneliness if we are unable to see our family and friends due to lockdown or while self isolating. Heather’s a good remedy for those feeling an intense need for company and someone to talk to about their feelings. Please remember that loneliness can accompany many other emotions and so make sure to check the other remedies that we have mentioned. You can also find the full list of the 38 Bach flower remedies on our website at www.bachcentre.com.
Honeysuckle is another important remedy to think about using at the moment. A lot of us naturally yearn for our old lives back, we want to be able to go back to work, for our children to go back to school, to be able to meet with friends for a coffee in town again, to hug someone other than who you live with and to be able to do all these things and much more without fear or criticism. The Honeysuckle remedy won’t take your fear away – see our other remedies for types of fear – but it will help you to be more present in the now, to embrace today, even with all its restrictions. Honeysuckle helps to lift us out of our nostalgia and think ahead, be present, and be comfortable in the moment.
It can be easy for us to lose our mojo during these difficult times, and lack our sense of ‘umph’. Hornbeam is a good remedy for those who feel they have lost their drive. During lockdown life can seem like it’s on pause, and then it is all too easy to lose our will to do even the simplest things. In a Hornbeam state we can’t be bothered; the thought of an activity exhausts us. If you’re finding yourself getting out of bed only to sit on the couch, unable to muster the energy to do anything, even though you know there is a pile of jobs that you should do, then the Hornbeam remedy will help you. However don’t confuse this with the Olive state, as Olive is used for those who are mentally and physically exhausted after doing a lot. This is opposed to Hornbeam where someone feels tired of the very thought of doing something. In a Hornbeam state once an effort is made to get started the weariness fades, which indicates that the tiredness is wholly ‘in the mind’ and can’t be traced to actual events in the real world.
Impatiens may be needed during this time if you find yourself getting extremely impatient with your new slow pace of life. Maybe you are starting to feel restless and want to leave the house and get back to work. You might feel annoyed with the government or scientific experts, as you feel you could resolve the issue quicker. Impatiens will help you to embrace the extra time that you now have and allow you to be patient while you acknowledge the hard work that the experts are putting in to handle this new, evolving and uncertain situation.
However, you may also want to consider the remedy Beech if your annoyance is less to do with the (slow) speed of progress, and more to do with an intolerance of the way in which things are done. Both remedies can help you feel more at ease and to let go of things outside your control.
With so much unknown about Covid-19 and its effects, there is much fear surrounding it. Fear of the virus, of becoming unwell, fear of the life changes that it causes, fear of job-loss, fear of financial difficulties – these are all common fears that we can identify, and as Mimulus is the remedy for known fears, it can be particularly helpful at this time. But if your fear escalates to terror, then look at Rock Rose; or if you are scared of the virus affecting loved ones, then you may want to consider Red Chestnut too.
If you are experiencing unclear depressive thoughts and can’t seem to pick yourself back up, then you may need the remedy Mustard. With daily reminders of our current circumstances being highlighted in the news, we can begin to feel an overpowering cloud of gloom, without being able to pinpoint why. While those in many parts of the world can enjoy the sunshine, a depressed state is often worsened during the winter due to a lack of Vitamin D, and this may be a factor during lockdown when we’re unable to go outside as much as we would like. Do remember that getting daily sunlight and exercise is still important for a healthy mind and body.
Oak is a remedy that could be helpful for those who are working on our NHS frontline, or in hospitals around the world and for all the key workers who are relentlessly and bravely working through this crisis. This remedy is for those who usually keep striving through their problems and who continues to get on with what life throws at them. In an Oak state we are strong, dependable and will keep marching on whatever the weather.
However sometimes, we have worked so hard that physically we feel we cannot go on. We have worked until we are drained of everything we have left to give and are in need of revival. In this instance taking the Oak remedy helps us to recover our strength and fight another day.
Olive, briefly mentioned in our section about Hornbeam, is the remedy for those who are tired or exhausted after tough physical or mental effort. For example Olive is a good remedy for those working in hospitals, who have worked hard that day and have come home physically or mentally drained. However Olive is not to be confused with Oak in which one is inclined to keep on working despite their exhaustion, continuing on and on until they crash. With Olive we recognise exhaustion and have to stop. The remedy helps us to rest and regain our energy.
Pine is for those experiencing guilt. We can feel guilty for various reasons during these times and so Pine is an important remedy for those who just can’t shake the feeling off.
Mum-guilt in particular can make us feel terrible. As parents we may feel guilty while schools are closed, worrying whether we are teaching our children well enough. Because of social-distancing rules we may be concerned that our children are missing out on important social skills. We may feel guilty for keeping them home for safety; guilty for sending them to school in case they become infected.
There are so many things we may end up blaming ourselves for, but Pine can help us to see sense, gain perspective and relieve us of the guilt that can so easily get us down.
Red Chestnut is for those worrying deeply about a loved one or loved ones. We may feel deeply worried about an elderly family member or a friend working on the frontline. Therefore we may want to cradle them and protect them from harm. This can cause those around us to feel anxious, which may in turn interfere with their happiness and peace. Red Chestnut helps us to feel calmer so that our loved ones appreciate that we care and that we’ll be supportive.
Rock Rose and Mimulus both address known fears but the scale of the fear is different. With Mimulus you are anxious but can still go about your day relatively normally, but with Rock Rose you’re terrified. Your fear may be so great that you feel you can’t leave the house in case you contract the virus. This can obviously be debilitating as it may prevent you from shopping or taking exercise. It may even stop you from enjoying the garden, terrified of being too close to a neighbour. And for those who become ill with the virus, the real or imagined consequences become terrifying. If this escalates uncontrollably you might also want to add Cherry Plum to help combat feelings of panic.
Star of Bethlehem
Star of Bethlehem is the remedy for shock, and is indicated if we are shaken by an event or distressing news, particularly news which affects our own or a loved one’s health. Many lives have been lost to this pandemic and it is devastating for all the families who have been bereaved. Dr. Bach described Star of Bethlehem as a comforter in times of sorrow, and although it cannot change things, it can help to bring us some solace and ease the bewilderment of grief.
The Sweet Chestnut state is when you’ve reached the end of your limits – all has been tried and tested but all has failed.
Dr. Bach described the Sweet Chestnut state as ‘the dark night of the soul’ and this may be apparent if treatment is failing and the condition is getting worse. You may feel utterly helpless and despite everything you cannot find a way out.
In this extreme state, the remedy helps us remain masters of our lives, and renews our hope that light at the end of what seems to be a long dark tunnel, exists.
Be careful not to confuse Sweet Chestnut with those in a Gorse state. People in a Gorse state decide to give up when possible solutions may still exist, but the person in a Sweet Chestnut state is genuinely at the end of the line: theirs is an appalling, final despair.
White Chestnut is the remedy for those struggling with constant mental thoughts and arguments. This remedy is key in times like this when our mind may be full of worrying thoughts. Worrying about catching Coronavirus is only natural, but sometimes the worry of this, and other aspects of this disease, can dominate our thought processes. We may then torture ourselves with mental arguments about how things might have been different.
All these things and more can cause us to become locked inside our heads thinking and arguing without being able to concentrate on whatever task is at hand. White Chestnut can help to relieve these repetitive thoughts and help us to think clearly.
If all these worries and the emotions that go with them remain hidden, and you find yourself donning a mask of cheerfulness for the sake of others, then take a look at Agrimony too.
The current spread of the virus is happening all over the world and is affecting so many lives. With so many people affected it’s easy to have a viewpoint on the spread of the virus and its handling. Vervain people will want to share their feelings and try to convert people to their way of thinking, perhaps taking their arguments online in the hope that they can persuade others to feel as passionately as they do. Vervain people can be positive crusaders, but their energy can also become extreme and stressful, It is then that the remedy can help them to be more accepting and take a calmer – and more effective – approach.
However don’t confuse this remedy with Vine. In this scenario Vine people would be more inclined to use their strength of character to control and dominate, rather than be concerned with persuading. Vervain people, on the other hand, enjoy the satisfaction of converting through a convincing argument.
The Vervain enthusiasm can be infectious, but at the extreme, they are in danger of becoming fanatics, unable to listen to alternative points of view, and they may put themselves under a great deal of stress because they find it so hard to switch off and relax. The remedy helps them find the wisdom to enjoy life and the passage of time.
Dr. Bach describes Walnut as the remedy to help us maintain constancy and protect us from outside influences. These can include the upheaval of change and so Walnut helps us to adjust to our new surroundings. Walnut is therefore a good remedy during this pandemic as almost everything has changed. The remedy can help us to embrace the differences in our lives and find a positive in the ‘new normal’.
On a deeper level, those who have suffered a bereavement may find Walnut helpful as they begin to come to terms with their loss. In this instance Walnut can be taken with other remedies to help ease the avalanche of emotions that surround grief.
Wild Rose is the remedy for those who have accepted all that life has thrown at them and have given in to the struggle for fulfilment. Many of us may be stuck in this state during the pandemic as we may lose our thirst for life. It isn’t that we necessarily feel sad or depressed, but may not feel happy either. Instead, it’s an acceptance of inevitability; the virus is here and that’s life. The remedy is there to help lift the emotional flatness so that while we acknowledge there is no quick fix, we can still embrace what we do have, and enjoy life.
The importance of our overall health
Above is a guide to the remedies for during and after the pandemic but there are more remedies in the Dr Bach’s complete flower system which may suit you better, so be sure to read about all the 38 remedies before selecting.
Please also be aware that exercise along with a healthy diet are two key components to helping you have a happy and healthy mind and body. We can all exercise even at home and it helps to boost our body’s natural endorphins – our happy hormone! Combining a healthy lifestyle with the remedies is key to our overall mental and physical health.
The remedies above are some suggestions, but by no means exhaustive. We are all individuals with feelings and mindsets personal to us, so have a look at other remedies too. It is a difficult and worrying time for us all but let’s remember all that we do have including, but not limited to, love, laughter, friendship and family! The remedies can bring balance to our mental health and will always be there to help those who need them. We are all in this together.