We all experience ups and downs throughout life.

From physical impairments to forms of mental illness, we feel the impact of these in our day to day lives.

As gardeners we enjoy the health benefits of gardening.

Planting seedlings or new shrubs, pruning and tidying the garden, mulching, watering and all the things we love are a pleasure when we feel good.

But when we’re experiencing the lows or downs of life most people stop doing the things they enjoy, which can have an impact on our general wellbeing.

The World Health Organisation defines mental health as a state of wellbeing in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.

When we’re feeling good we can accomplish these things. When we’re feeling down, for any reason, the day to day stresses of life can be too much for us.

These are the times we need to keep gardening!

For mental health Beyond Blue suggests;

  • Take care of your physical health
  • Manage stress
  • Do things you enjoy

So how do we achieve wellbeing through gardening?

Get your body moving!

Keep up regular gardening activities. These can be adapted to suit your needs to ensure you continue to enjoy gardening and complete tasks with a positive outcome.

If you find gardening is becoming an effort, cut back on the time you spend in the garden or aim to complete one task at a time. This allows you to enjoy the garden without putting physical strain on your body.

Gardening activities can be easily adapted for anyone with physical impairment. Try growing in large pots or containers, try vertical gardens for easy reach or place hanging baskets on a pulley to lower down for watering and replanting.

If you would like more information on this please contact me HERE.

Nurture your emotional wellbeing

Reduce stress and anxiety naturally by spending time in your garden. In just 30 minutes you can restore balance to your mind and soul and complete many gardening tasks. Have a read of this article to find a list of activities to complete in 30 minutes.

Connect with the earth for some ‘grounding’ by walking on the grass or earth without shoes. Also getting your hands in the soil has the same effect.

Share with others to boost your own confidence and self-esteem by bringing joy to someone else’s day.

Share plants you have grown, fresh produce and flowers from your garden or share your time with others. This simple act increases our feel-good, happy hormones!

Social interaction is a must for enhancing your wellbeing. Social isolation and loneliness are a common cause of mental illness, so if you are feeling the effects of mental unease then phone a friend or spend time with people out in the garden to really boost your wellness.

Enjoy herbs for good health

Herbs have been used throughout history for healing and many pharmaceutic medications originated from plants.

Most herbs have more than one use, either culinary, medicinal or used for ornamental purposes. Many of the common herbs can be used for all three and it’s worth understanding the many ways they can be used fresh from your garden.

Try Rosemary for uplifting or Lemon Balm for calming. Tulsi, also known as Sacred Basil, reduces stress and restores balance and harmony. Lavender is for relaxing.

Look into the medicinal uses of your favourite herbs and enjoy them in a brewed tea straight from the garden.

Find out more about growing herbs HERE.

Do things you enjoy

Gardening is proven to be therapeutic, so by continuing to enjoy time in the garden you’ll enhance your physical and mental health while growing your favourite plants.

When we’re feeling unwell or a little down usually we stop doing the things we enjoy…but that’s the time to keep doing what we love!

If you enjoy harvesting and cooking fresh food, keep doing that as often as possible. Maybe it’s potting herbs or growing flowers, planting shrubs or just generally nurturing your garden, just don’t give them up all together.

These are the times to continue with your favourite gardening jobs. You’ll find that you will start to feel a little better afterwards which will encourage you to keep going.

These are just a few ways to boost your wellbeing. I suggest seeking professional help to assist with your health, but continue to enjoy gardening time as this will enhance your wellness on a day to day basis.

Please contact me HERE if you have any questions on therapeutic gardening.

Find more information on Gardening for Grief HERE.

Have a question about therapeutic gardening or your garden?

Join our Soil to Supper Facebook Club and post questions, comments and ideas each day!

Would you like to be a part of an online gardening community to gain a deeper understand of growing fresh food for your health?

Consider joining the Soil to Supper Community where you’ll access a monthly growing guide, information on what to do and extra support to help you grow a thriving garden in any setting, amongst a group of other passionate gardeners.

More information here soiltosupper.com/community/

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© cath manuel 20 july 2019

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