Summer of Self-Care: Gardening

In the realm of self-care, where the pursuit of balance and well-being takes center stage, it can be beneficial to find solace and peace in various activities like journaling, therapy, walking, meditation, or working out. 

Among these, gardening stands out as a profoundly nurturing and rewarding practice. Gardening takes an interesting take on self-care, as it encourages you to work inwards by working on something outside yourself. The transformative power of tending to nature’s wonders is about more than just aesthetics and being “one with nature.”

Spending time gardening has lasting benefits for mental and physical health, and it can serve as a reminder of what it takes to care for our minds and bodies when we take time to love and care for a plant. 

Connecting With The Inner-Child

Do you remember the days that you would spend playing outside in the dirt as a kid? You would squeeze your toes in the mud, spread your fingers through the grass, examine insects inch along a leaf, and maybe even make a mud pie or two. As a kid, you don’t have much to worry about. Still, if you did have any anxieties, the connection you built with the earth and soil around you reinforced your worries away and encouraged you to explore, be curious, and embrace the slow, carefree life that you are meant to live as a child. 

Whoever said that that carefree lifestyle had to go away? 

For whatever reason, we have been taught and subconsciously reinforced through societal norms that when childhood is over, so is playtime. When you merge into adulthood, there is no more time to connect with the world around you, and there are too many things going on to live carefree. We are taught that “wellness” only exists within the realms of working out and eating well when in reality, wellness is so much more than that. 

Wellness is not just physical health but the health of our minds. Wellness also means growing our mental resilience, being able to find balance within our lives, dealing with conflict in a productive way, and continuing to dream and be curious about things that we are passionate about. 

Engaging in activities, such as gardening, provides us with an opportunity to reconnect with the natural world and find solace in its beauty and rhythm. Not only that, but it also gives us an opportunity to connect with ourselves and our purpose. As we dig our hands into the earth, we forge a deep connection with the environment and with our bodies, which can foster a sense of mindfulness and presence. The sights, sounds, and scents of the garden transport us to a tranquil realm, relieving stress and promoting relaxation. It is in this harmonious space that we can find respite from the demands of daily life and cultivate a sense of inner peace. It is in these moments that we can care for ourselves and nurture our bodies and minds while we nurture another living thing. 

Cultivating Mental Resilience and Connection

Amidst the fast-paced, technology-driven world we often find ourselves in, gardening is a powerful antidote to the demands of adulthood. The act of nurturing and witnessing the growth of plants cultivates patience, resilience, and a deeper understanding of the cyclical nature of life. 

As we encounter challenges such as pests, weather fluctuations, or plant diseases, we develop problem-solving skills and adaptability. The mental focus required in gardening can serve as a form of meditation, promoting clarity, reducing anxiety, and improving overall mental well-being. 

Furthermore, gardening provides a gateway to fostering connections, both with oneself and with others. Taking time to tend to plants offers a moment of introspection, allowing us to cultivate a deeper connection with our own thoughts, emotions, and inner selves. It is a time to reflect, find clarity, and nurture personal growth. Additionally, gardens often become spaces for social interactions, as they invite friends, family, and neighbors to come together and share the joys of a bountiful harvest, as well as beautiful sights and sounds. The sense of community and belonging that arises from these interactions nurture our social well-being, fostering a support system that extends beyond the boundaries of our gardens.

Witnessing the growth and transformation of a garden also can bring immense joy and a sense of accomplishment. Planning, designing, and selecting plants engage our creativity and allow us to express ourselves through our garden’s unique aesthetics. As we witness the blooming of vibrant flowers or the ripening of fruits and vegetables we’ve cultivated, we experience a deep sense of satisfaction. Harvesting the literal fruits of our labor adds another layer of fulfillment as we nourish our bodies with fresh and wholesome produce straight from our own gardens. The connection between the act of gardening and the joy it brings serves as a reminder of the inherent beauty and abundance that life offers.

Take care of yourself this summer by letting gardening lead the way!