We all know that being outdoors is good for us, but often we get bogged down with the idea that we have to be somewhere else or go for a walk to reap those benefits. Whilst of course it’s great to get away and enjoy time out in nature, if you are lucky enough to have your very own garden then there is so much you can do to help yourself and your family enjoy the space you have.
From nurturing your own body by growing your own vegetables and herbs to getting muddy and involved in what type of soil you have and what’s best to grow in it. The wonders of eating your home grown fruit veg packed with fresh nutrients is always going to be better than any shop bought product. Even if its just a few herbs in a pot, the satisfaction of knowing you grew it yourself makes you feel good. If you have kids your garden can become a whole educational experience and help keep them grounded and connected to the all-important earth, giving them time out from the pressures they face growing up in a digital world. Creating a wildlife haven for the birds, bees and butterflies, or just sitting out there come rain or shine and having some time out can be wonderfully restorative for us all.
‘Green’ therapy is becoming a well researched topic with more backing and support form medical professionals and mental health and wellbeing advocates. As a form of rehabilitation therapy some gardening tasks can be used to help with exercise and often people with depression or anxiety are encouraged to join a local gardening group in order to develop a connection within the local community.
Being outdoors and working gently but in a physical manner brings you closer to nature and back to your roots whilst helping to increase the heart rate and improve fitness. There are always wonderful local gardening groups looking for volunteers. ‘Grow Wild’ is a brilliant initiative set up by The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, to impact and reach out to as many people as possible bringing them together through nature, learning invaluable skills about our native plants and wildlife.
Check out their website and join in the mission here : https://www.growwilduk.com/why-grow-wild/our-mission-and-impact
We know exercise releases endorphins, which in turn triggers a positive feeling in our brains so getting out in your garden and working for an hour can have a wonderful impact on your mental health. An hour of turning a border, raking some leaves and mowing the lawn will also burn 250 calories! (That’s why your gardeneers are so healthy!)
The art of being in the ‘present’, is also a wonderful side effect of gardening, enabling you to forget about the stresses of life and simply focus on the task in hand whilst allowing your senses to be overwhelmed with the sights, sounds, smells and touch of the earth and plants as you work with it.
Gardening can teach us patience. One has to patiently wait for the fruits to ripen or the crops to be ready to harvest. But also when mistakes are made which is often the best way to learn, we have to try again or learn a new method or process in order to succeed. This teaches us resilience too as well as patience. We have to adapt the environment to suit the plant which in turn can help us to reevaluate our own lives and think about how we too can adapt our own environment in order to thrive or become healthier and happier.
Plants, like people, can be so vulnerable and need time, care and attention to help them grow. We can learn so much about ourselves through our gardens or those gardens around us that we can visit. If you haven’t for a while then go and just sit and watch your garden. See which creatures you have visiting and when and just re connect with the beauty and wonder of nature.