Sometimes the world gets a little much. Sometimes coping mechanisms fail if they were ever there at all. And sometimes, life just gets you down. What do you do in those instances?
We’ve known for a long time that gardening is good for you. Grow some plants, eat them, enjoy naturally produced local food, jam-packed with nutrients, and you will thrive. But increasingly there is more thought that gardening is also great for your mental health.
Over the years, my own mental health hasn’t been the best. Sure, that’s not unusual with 1 in 4 people suffering from some kind of mental health issues in their lifetimes. And, although I’m not going to go into depth about it, one thing that can be said it isn’t a very nice situation to find yourself in.
Gardening is good because it allows you to reconnect with nature, to nurture something, to cultivate something and have physical, tangible results. By growing your own food, and improving your diet, you not only begin to think better, but you eat better too. And, with every misshapen carrot or skew-whiff courgette you are accepting that thinks aren’t always perfect, but they are okay, or better still, edible.
Gardening is physical (allowing us to vent anger and frustration), but it is also about control. It can be hard, endorphin-releasing graft, or simple, meditative repetition. Whatever you need, when you need it.
There is the amazing observation to be had; where there was once nothing, there is now, well, something, lots of things. In a garden, you grow both abstract ideas like hope and tangible entities like, well, beans. Few things in life can provide such soul-restoring diversity.
And, despite the fact that there is always an achievement to be had, gardening is never a job that is finished; there will always be the next crop, the next season, the next year. That’s what keeps me going.