5 ways to boost your wellbeing through gardening this Spring
8 minutes to read
You may have read about the benefits of gardening and food growing for health and wellbeing, well documented that they are. But life can be busy and often the thought of gardening for wellness seems overwhelming and unachievable when you lead a jam packed life.
This article will introduce 5 ways of gardening for mindfulness that you can do this Spring to help you relieve stress and anxiety and improve your wellbeing in the short pockets of time you have available.
1. “Notice” – 5 minutes
Before you start this activity, notice how you are feeling on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is low energy, stressed and anxious and 10 is energised and calm.
Once you have completed the exercise, check in with where you are on the scale again.
When you live your life at 100 miles per hour it can be hard to really notice nature all around you. This simple exercise will help you to take a breath, calm your nervous system and re-energise you on even the busiest of days.
Head out into your garden or any green space if you are at work and notice:
- 5 things you can see
- 4 things you can hear
- 3 things you can touch
- 2 things you can smell
- 1 thing you can eat (If safe to do so)
As you notice each thing, name it out loud and really try to connect with it before allowing your brain to look for the next thing.
You might want to reach out and touch the plants, what do they feel like?
Or close your eyes as you breathe in the scent of freshly mown grass.
This simple exercise helps you tune in to your senses, get out of your whirring brain and start to slow down.
2. Spring clean your shed – 60 minutes
This is an exercise in clearing and altering thoughts and feelings which are no longer serving you, as well as getting your shed and equipment ready for the growing season ahead.
We all have challenging situations to face in life, and sometimes these situations require us to look at our lives and behaviours and ask whether these behaviours and thoughts are actually keeping us stuck.
As you sweep, dust and scrub your shed, your plant pots and tools allow your feelings around the situation to circulate in your mind. If you feel called to, speak your feelings out loud as you clean. Notice any sensations that come up in your body and name them, for example ‘my stomach feels tight’ or ‘my heart feels hot’.
Tell yourself that you are safe and it is ok to feel what you are feeling.
By allowing these thoughts, feelings and sensations to move through our body and our minds we can begin to heal from them. Visualise any thoughts or feelings that you want to release and project them from your body and mind into the dirt you are scrubbing from your pots or sweeping up from the floor. As you clean the dirt away, release them from your energy.
Once you have finished your Spring clean, sit in your space and set your intentions around behaviours and reactions you’d like to exhibit next time you find yourself in a similar situation.
By bringing our awareness to our reactions we can begin to react and respond in a way that feels better even when faced with a challenging situation.
3. Sow some seeds – 20 minutes
Seed sowing is one of the most hopeful acts the mindful gardener can undertake. Being able to look towards the future with hope and excitement of what those seeds will become raises our wellbeing levels.
Take a handful of compost and closing your eyes bring it up to your nose taking a big deep inhale. What can you smell? What does the smell remind you of? As you add the compost to your chosen pot, allow it to fall between your fingers into the base of the container. What can you feel? Is the compost smooth or lumpy?
Leaving a gap of 1 or 2 cm between the top of the compost and the rim of the pot, tap the base of the pot gently against a hard surface to knock some of the air out of it.
Take your packet of seeds and before you open the packet gently shake it. Engaging your hearing, try and imagine what the seeds might look like. Will they be round, flat, small, large? Gently tip a few out onto your hand and really look at them. Were your guesses correct? Do they all look the same? What are the differences?
Taking one seed between your fingers at a time, place the seed on the surface of the compost and press gently down so it makes contact with the soil.
With some more compost in your hands cover the seed if required and place the pot in a tray of water to soak up the water from below. This prevents small seeds from being dislodged in the watering process.
Notice the colour change in the compost from grey/brown to brown/black as it soaks up the water.
4. Feed the roses – 5 minutes
This one is for all the rose lovers! In order to get the best blooms, your roses will need a feed in Spring just as they are starting to put on growth.
If using a granular feed, take a handful of feed and sprinkle it on the soil around the base of the plant. As you sprinkle the feed, notice the feeling between your fingers and the way it falls onto the soil.
Using a trowel, mix the feed into the soil and water it in. Close your eyes and focus on the sound of the water and the smell of damp earth for maximum relaxation.
5. Dig trenches for asparagus – 60 minutes
Freshly picked asparagus is one of life’s greatest pleasures. But it is a lesson in patience when growing your own as it’s best to wait 2 years after planting the crowns before harvesting them. But it’s so worth it.
Using a spade dig a trench 20cm deep and 30 cm wide. As you cut through the soil focus on the sound of the blade cutting through the soil and contacting with inclusions in the soil. Try and guess what those inclusions might be from the sounds you can hear?
Using your spade again, fill the base of the trench with compost or well-rotted manure to provide a food source for the crowns throughout the season. Then use the soil you dug out to create a ridge down the centre of the trench for the crowns to sit on.
Place the crowns 45cm apart in the trench and tease the roots out to lay down the slope. Backfill the trench with the remainder of your soil and then water using a watering can with a rose. Close your eyes as you water and focus on the sound of the water contacting the soil and the smell of the damp earth rising up to meet your nostrils.
For more mindful gardening activities to do this spring download Your Spring Mindful Gardening Guide here.
About the author
Kendall Platt is The Mindful Gardening Coach. She helps exhausted women to replenish their energy levels through gardening & floristry for wellbeing.
She does this through her 6-week individual coaching programme How To Create a Mindful Garden, helping women to create their green haven, garden their way to calm and banish their anxiety in just 5 minutes a day.
She is the founder of The Mindful Gardening Club, the UK’s only online gardening and floristry for wellbeing course and community for women who want to learn to grow their own flowers and food and feel fabulous! She is also the creator of The Mindful Gardening Planner, an A5 diary designed to give you a simple month by month plan to get you gardening for your wellbeing without adding to the mental load.
She has been featured on This Morning and BBC Radio and in multiple publications such as The Independent, The Telegraph’s Stella Magazine and Happiful magazine.
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