Sunday, September 28, 2008

Paradise in Illinois

This summer, my cousin, who has a strange obsession with tropical plants, decided to go out and buy a banana tree, a pineapple plant, and a palm tree. I thought he was crazy. If we lived in Hawaii or California, I would totally be fine with it, because those plants are all over the place there. But when it snows for half the year where you live, tropical plants aren't exactly the most common garden plant. We live in the temperate deciduous forest biome, where when it gets colder, leaves start to lose their color and fall off. So how would a plant that generally lives in warm weather be able to survive these harsh winters? 

They need to have the right amount of light intensity, duration and quality. You can control this by a mixture of an artificial UV light and natural light. Tropical plants still need the same amount of sunlight to photosynthesize inside in the winter, as they do outside during the summer to survive. So light is a very important factor. Temperature is also an important factor. The plants will grow best between 70 and 80 degrees. And it is better if the the temperature is lowered at night, a lower temperature lets the flower recover from too much water lose, intensifies flower color, and makes the flower's life longer The plant also needs to be in a humidified area. Ways to achieve this are having humidifiers near by the plant. You can also put various plants near each other to boost humidity.
Caring for a tropical plant takes a lot of TLC. The perfect balance of nature must be simulated in your own home. But in the end, I guess it is worth it in the end. You can make an escape to a tropical paradise when everyone else is stuck out in the cold.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Stressing Out!

So in health class, we are learning about stress and stress management. I think its a smart topic to talk about because as high school students, we stress out a lot. We have to juggle our precious time between homework, sports, dance, work, and whatever else that we have. Sometimes we put too much on our plate than we can actually handle. Learning about how to cope with stress is important because it not only makes you mentally stressed, it also takes a toll on your physical health. If someone is too stressed, they may experience sleep problems, trouble eating, headaches, muscle tension and become very irritable. Now all of these things make it that much harder to focus on schooling and work. So here are somethings you can do to cope with your stress:
-Make a to-do list and manage your time. Don't procrastinate.
-Go for a run, or do some kind of physical activity. When you do physical activity, your body releases endorphins that will make you feel better.
-Stay positive. Negative thinking will only make you feel worse.
-Talk about how you feel to someone. Don't bottle up your emotions.
Different people have their own ways of coping with stress. Some people might relieve their stress by taking a nap, reading, blasting music, and doing anything that they enjoy. Personally, when I feel stressed out, I like to just let loose and just sing as loudly and obnoxiously as I can, at the top of my lungs. Singing really helps me get out all the emotion and frustration that is built up inside me. Its my version of writing in a diary, or confiding in a friend. So basically, stress is around everyday of our lives, like a little brother who just will not leave us alone. But all we have to do is stay positive and be happy!