Surviving Pandemic Burnout by Plants

Stress, worry, and a plate piled high with deadlines are no fun. A sustained period of stress also has negative effects on our physical and mental health. So stay away from the slippery slope that leads to burnout — with the benefits of plants, of course.

Everyone may feel this way from time to time. But physicians, scientific research, social media, and even some workplaces are recognizing the importance of taking care of our mental health – just as much as our physical health. 

The problem arises when exhaustion and stress become the rule and not the exception. According to the World Health Organization, feeling chronically worn out and stressed is called “burnout syndrome,” and it mainly affects the working population.

People who experience burnout might feel like no one can relate to what they are going through. The more we take care of our mental health, after all, the better we’ll feel, inside and out.

Treating your plants means treating yourself

So take a moment today to check in with your green guests. Give them water and some food. Remove dead leaves and faded flowers. Take the dust off of leaves and watch the shine return to the greenery. With your plant, but also with yourself. 

Introducing passiflora

Passiflora (Passiflora incarnata), or passionflower, is a climbing plant recognizable by its beautiful, pure-colored flowers.

Its name comes from the fact that it was used by Jesuit missionaries in South America to explain the Passion of Christ to indigenous populations. The shape of the flower is said to resemble the crown of thorns or even the crucifixion nails.

Passiflora is rich in alkaloids, flavonoids, and cyanogenic heterosides. This medicinal plant is known to induce a state of calmness by helping to reduce psychomotor agitation. It also helps boost the body’s resistance to stress.

To benefit from the properties of passionflower, take a supplement with extract of passiflora (the synergistic formulation Stress Relief Formula, for example, contains extracts of passiflora, magnolia, jujube, and Schisandra, a plant that also helps increase the body’s ability to adapt to stress).

Why do plants really make people feel better

While the study does not establish why plants were associated with improved mental health during the pandemic, mental health experts say there are science-backed explanations for this trend.

Houseplants can also remind us of the positive experiences we’ve had in public green spaces that may be less easy for people to access safely during the pandemic, thus boosting your mood.

The benefits come from more than just looking at plants, though—they also stem from watering, pruning, and caring for the vegetation, as well.

Caffeine-free energy with L-theanine

This amino acid from green tea is known to induce calming effects while simultaneously helping to improve alertness.

It may also assist in reducing stress and anxiety in people exposed to stressful conditions. Preclinical studies indicate that L-theanine may promote anxiety-easing effects by blocking the effects of the excitatory neurotransmitter called glutamate.

Tone down with lemon balm

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a member of the mint family that has been shown in research to help alleviate stress, depression, and anxiety scores, as well as sleep disturbances. 

These benefits come from lemon balm’s ability to inhibit the breakdown of an important calming neurotransmitter in the brain, GABA, as demonstrated in preclinical studies.

By supporting GABA, lemon balm may promote a sense of calmness and relaxation, which is much needed for the anxious person who is not getting adequate sleep and is suffering from burnout.

Key takeaway

The pandemic has made a profound impact on many people’s mental health. This study shows that bringing plants into your home may offer some much-needed emotional benefits while we’re still stuck at home. 

If you live in a home with little to no natural light (or you just don’t have a green thumb), you may be able to get similar benefits through artificial plants, spending time in parks, or even looking at images of nature. The key to getting a mood boost from plants and nature is to engage with them mindfully.