Gardening + Mental Health | Interview with Donna Letier

Donna Letier - Gardenuity

Gardening is a practice that provides immeasurable balance and substance to your daily life. Spending time in the garden hones in on discipline and routine, while also giving you the opportunity to decompress, reconnect, and celebrate success throughout your day. Not to mention, gardening gives us the chance to take a deep breath after a hard day.

This week, we sat down and talked with Gardenuity Co-Founder, Donna Letier, about how gardening affects our mental health. She also shared with us how working in the garden teaches us lessons in leadership, and how we can look to our gardens for inspiration and guidance in terms of placing wellness first. Take a look to learn more.

Relieving Stress in the Garden

Your garden is the perfect place for you to go to seek solace after a long and trying day. Even spending just ten minutes to yourself and tending to your plants will provide you with a new peace of mind. According to wellness expert, Quentin Vinnie, gardening is a great way to practice groundedness in your life, while also connecting with your roots.

“Spending time in my garden, it relieves tension; it makes me feel more optimistic. It gives me a few minutes to figure out what is really important – what’s essential to my day, and what’s not so significant,” says Donna. 

“Take a moment to be present – put your phone down, and witness growth and nature. You’re around something good.”

Donna Letier

Gardening revolves around a mindset of growing, which Psychologist, Dr. Anne Miller Morris, confirms in an interview we did last May. When you’re focused on moving forward, and simultaneously enjoying the beautiful growth and life that’s happening around you, it instills a feeling of calm; a feeling of gratitude. 

Gardening as a Meditative Practice

The practice of meditation does not have to involve sitting alone in a dark and silent space – although, if that works for you, that is fantastic. We like to believe that meditation can take its form in a variety of practices; any task or thought process that one can partake in to clear the mind and reconnect is so valuable.

“Gardening is like a source of energy and peacefulness for your day,” Donna explains, “It serves as a sort of personal mantra as a repetitive and calming practice. It encourages awareness of the present.”

“After a tough day, spending a bit of time in my garden is a way to declutter my mind.”

Donna Letier

Remember that you deserve a moment of peacefulness. At the end of the day, it will make you more available to understand yourself, as well as more available to be supportive of those who are around you.

What does Gardening Give to Us?

Our gardens are full of lessons to teach us; all we need to do is take a moment to truly pay attention to what they are offering. Gardening also rewards us for our time and labor, by providing us with the most beautiful harvest that serves as a direct result of patience, diligence, listening and nurturing. 

“You get inspired when you see things grow.”

Donna Letier

“I actually think that gardens cultivate emotional intelligence,” Donna shares, “It feels good to look at physical space, and know that you’re helping something grow; you’re nurturing something. Gardening teaches you to embrace the challenge, to learn from failures, and to pursue solutions.”

Lessons of Leadership from the Garden

Now, more than ever, the idea of what it means to be a good leader in the workplace is perpetually shifting. The one thing that remains constant is that a caring leader always places the wellbeing of their team first. In order to grow a healthy, productive and trusting work environment, you have to truly make an effort to understand how to best serve the needs of your team. 

“Gardening helps foster a growth mindset and a growth mindset helps you understand the importance of persistence and determination. “

Donna Letier

“As a leader, you’re always weeding out obstacles for your team, so they can do their best work. We do the same thing for our plants,” explains Donna, “If you have a weed in your tomato’s way, you’re going to get rid of it, and you’ll feel good doing that. One of the most important jobs of leaders today is to help others grow.”

Our gardens share with us how to be an admirable leader, day in and day out. Take a look at this article to dive deeper into Lessons of Leadership in the Garden

Get Outside

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or glum, never fear – your garden is here to keep you grounded, and remind you of all that there is to be grateful for. Get started with your gardening journey today – you won’t regret it.