Gardening My Way to Self-Care

I aim to give myself a little self-care time each day, I do this by choosing to garden, every day. Gardening doesn’t require a huge amount of space. A small garden, or patio garden still needs care to thrive.. Stepping outside at least once a day to tend to and admire a garden can alleviate feelings of depression and anxiety; a simple path to self-care.  I also have indoor plants that I can enjoy and tend to on the days that going outside isn’t an option. I derive a really deep sense of satisfaction from gardening.

Due to ill health, I stopped gardening for a year or so. In that time I found, coincidentally?, a need to attend counselling and learned about Mindfulness Applying mindfulness practices not only helped me get back into my garden but applying mindfulness WHILE I’m gardening, helps me appreciate what I’m able to do, so much more.

Mindfulness; mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations, used a therapeutic technique. Source: Google dictionary.

Getting my hands dirty gives a unique feeling of connection to the land and nature. This can be called the practise of ‘Grounding’, and it brings a feeling of peace and gratitude. Even if only for that moment, you feel it. I’m sure the air smells sweeter when I garden, somehow easier to deeply inhale. The suburban sounds fade away, and the gentle sounds of birds and buzzing bees buzzing around me are that much clearer. That there is just the beginning! I’m transported to a more tranquil space, even if just for a moment.

It feels good.

It feels good watching something you have cared for and tended to grow and bloom. Colours abound; rich deep colours, natural colours of flowers, fruits, vegetables, and berries! A feast for all the senses. I had never been a fan of eating fruits and vegetables until I grew my own. My diet improved without me consciously trying! It feels good to eat something you’ve grown yourself… not to mention the taste of one’s own homegrown produce is just that much better than anything available to buy.

I share what I grow, and bringing a smile to someone’s face with a hand grown gift is priceless. It’s especially wonderful to see the joy of the children when they receive a living gift. It’s amazing the delight a child shows when receiving a plant as a gift. Or better still, creating a potted gift of living beauty to someone special in their lives; it’s a gift that keeps giving in so many ways. To “plant the seed” in the mind of a child on how to grow and tend to a plant that can even feed your body or your heart!

A bond is created through the sharing of this experience, and I say this from much experience. Gardening brings  memories  flooding back; of days in the garden with my parents and grandparents. My grandparents have passed but when I’m gardening I feel connected to them. We shared a bond and love of gardening and growing, if I have been able to pass that onto at least one child in my care, I’d call that a major win! I know my Grandma would be proud of me, my fondest memories growing up are being with my Grandma helping her at her Garden Centre. I’ve had children in my home who  have been completely disengaged until asked if they could “please water my plants?” …I let it flow from there and before long my home is filled with happy chitchat and busy laughter.

In my home gardening forges connection and self-care; we are bonded, happy, and healthy.

Becks (Rebecca Dunning) is a mum of 3 and step-mum of 1. She has provided in-home childcare/education for 20 years and specialises in family support. Her love of gardening and home organisation as a form of self-care, has inspired her to help others through my Facebook pages, seeds and eggs, and plant passion.