Many of us garden because we want to grow our own fruits and vegetables. An attractive landscape or curb appeal may be the goal of others. Gardening, no matter what kind, can also be therapeutic. For many people, gardening relaxes the mind, body, and spirit. Actually, it is not gardening that’s relaxing but the way that we approach it. If gardening is seen as a chore, it’s stressful. If we view it as enjoyable, it can help relieve stress.
Focusing on your gardening task is the key to relieving stress. Digging, chopping, and hitting motions can relieve stress and tension. In some settings, people hit dummies, slam pillows, or hit into thin air but motions of gardening release stress. Strenuous activities also provide an outlet for pent up aggression. Strenuous activities are certainly not the only ways to relieve stress. Something as simple as a walk around the garden may be just what the doctor ordered. When you take your walk, be sure to absorb all the colors, fragrances, and designs in the garden. You can also admire your gardening skills and this is sure to reverse the stress into a state of well being.
Here are some pointers for your stress-free gardening:
Make a short “to do” list and stick to it. Don’t try to do everything in one afternoon, evening, or weekend because this is sure to manifest as stress. Attack garden chores with the same vigor as weight-lifting, running or swimming.
Stop and rest periodically reviving yourself with some stretching and plenty of fluids. Listening to music while gardening can add a pleasurable environment with the calming effect of your favorite tunes. Teach your children how to garden. Not only will they be learning a lifelong skill but will cherish the time spent with you.
Stress is at an all-time high in the society we live in today and is the root cause of many diseases and chronic illnesses. Learn how to quiet your mind and tune out the noise by having brief moments of internal silence. If you don’t have the yard or space to denote your own gardening skills, volunteer! There are many places that have horticultural therapy programs that are in need of volunteers. Schools, daycares, nursing homes and hospitals are great places to start looking to volunteer.
Gardening has many other advantages, too. Growing your own produce supplies you with fresh fruit and vegetables for your summer meals. This is always a great avenue to share the harvest with friends and family. What’s better than homegrown tomatoes from your own garden? Being out in the sun in limited amounts of time gardening also supplies you with vitamin D. Sunshine brightens your spirits and will give you that sun-kissed glow. Remember moderation is key when being out in the sun.
Gardening usually requires a lot of bending and lifting. Doing it the wrong way can put a lot of strain on your lower back so a good technique for planting or weeding is to squat. Put one knee on the ground rather than bending at the waist switching knees every few minutes. Kneel on a small pillow or purchase knee pads that you can buy at a department store, hardware store, or gardening shop. Also, use caution when lifting shrubs or bags of soil or waste. Try to keep your back straight and bend at your knees. Use your legs instead of your back to lift the weight. Be careful not to twist your body and if something is too heavy to lift then wait on help. Gardening is an excellent way to relieve stress for all ages but remember to do it safely and over time. Gardening can become not only a stress reliever but a fulfilling hobby to share with your friends and family.