By Marian Connor

I was thinking…

There’s many an adage and wise word we grew up with which we didn’t really understand. We did not think to analyse their meanings or know if there was any real truth behind them. They were just there, part of the fabric of our lives.

One such saying was “It don’t go in your boots.” Admittedly grammatically challenging but nevertheless throughout my childhood proffered by the women in my family on many occasion. Usually with a very knowing look to suggest this wasn’t just another saying, it was a fact. This saying was used when referring to events that had happened, to let you know the result of which, would not be taken lightly, tucked down into the deepest recesses of the recipients footwear, no, this would show itself somehow in the person affected by the event. It would manifest within them. Disease, trauma, disaster, all aspects of life that would not be found loitering in your footwear but made real and tangible within your being.

As a child this was just a very silly saying, what were they talking about? None of them even wore boots. I knew they weren’t being light hearted, their serious demeanour and tone told me so, it was as if they could feel the spectre of ‘it’ as they spoke.

Many years ago I began to study Anatomy and Physiology and whilst doing so this saying kept returning to my consciousness.

I learnt how stress affects us. Events that we perceive to be stressful do not just evaporate into the air; they have a nasty habit of showing themselves, creeping into our mind, body and spirit.

When we feel we are experiencing stress our central nervous and endocrine systems are directly affected. This results in certain hormones being produced in varying quantities which will have an effect on our systems. They will affect blood pressure, heart rate and can undermine our immune system and speed up the ageing process. In fact every cell in our body can be affected. This short film may elucidate more:

With this knowledge I can now say I agree, “It doesn’t go in your boots.” We need to develop strategies to prepare us for life’s problems and equip ourselves with tools that will help deflect its negative effects.

How we go about this is personal to each of us but learning how to breathe well, how to be still, creating a nurturing environment through nutrition, how we care for ourselves and our surroundings will help us to be in a stronger more prepared position when we are exposed to stressors, as we frequently are.

A few more practical pearls of wisdom I grew up with are now also scientifically proven to be true.

Chicken Soup for a cold – Yep, has anti inflammatory properties that can help relieve respiratory infections. It contains cysteine an amino acid which helps eliminate mucus from the chest.

Cloves for toothache – Clove oil has sedative properties which can help numb a tooth that is misbehaving but make sure you keep it off the gum as it can burn the tissue.

Eucalyptus inhalation for colds – All that time spent with a towel over your head, inhaling eucalyptus steam vapour from a bowl, seems to have been a good idea. Eucalyptus oil is full of anties, anti viral, anti bacterial, anti inflammatory, all of which can help with winter lurgies and the elimination of gunge from the upper respiratory tract.

Other ideas have not stood up to scrutiny such as:

Reading by dim light will ruin your eyes – Apparently not, they will get tired and you won’t see very well, particularly if you already need visual assistance but it doesn’t seems to ruin your eyesight.

Just as there is no confirmation that Chocolate gives you spots, no it doesn’t, I think this was propagated by folk who wished to keep the cocoa confectionery to themselves. Chocolate can contain a high percentage of fat and sugar which is not nutritionally great but the fats in chocolate cannot transmogrify into the type of fat that will create an environment for a dodgy dermis.

Finally I would like to mention some remedies I found in a book, Old Wives Tales, which are unusual to say the least and will probably not be put to the test anytime soon.

Fits – Get a live mole. Cut off its nose, Let 9 drops of blood onto a lump of sugar and give to patient.

Nerves – To strengthen eat a diet of pea meal and treacle.

Scrofula – TB of lymph nodes of the neck – The touch of the Monarch will cure the complaint.

Fortunately Scrofula isn’t rife at the moment otherwise Elizabeth wouldn’t have enough time for her other duties.

I do hope you find wonderful ways to enhance your life. Here is article about a Grandmother’s wisdom reworked by her granddaughter which I thought was worth sharing.  12 Things My Grandmother Told Me Before She Died.


Image Tile/Header – 75yr old Foofie by Frank Fournier/Contact Press Images.

YouTube Clip – Stress Management Strategies: Ways to Unwind

Old Wives Tales by Mary Chamberlain, The History Press, 2010

On the topic of managing stress you might like to look at two of my previous blogs, Twister and Screaming Chihuahua.

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