The pace of everyday life these days can sometimes feel overwhelming. Working takes a lot of time out of our days, and in the evenings we are in a rush to get dinner made and eaten by an acceptable time. All of this so that we can snatch an hour or two in the evening to watch a bit of TV and chat with our loved ones. Then it’s to bed, sleep, wake up and repeat. It’s no wonder that stress affects so many people.
When we feel stressed out, the usual “helpful” advice is never in short supply – “you need to relax”, as if it was that easy. The very reason we’re stressed is because we can’t relax. Where would we even find the time? But, as difficult as it can be, we need to find a way to get some time to ourselves and let ourselves breathe. Even if it is only for five or ten minutes at a time, it’s essential to get outside our own heads.
Finding a way to relax and take life easier can be the difference between being ill and being well. Stress has been demonstrated to be a major cause of, and aggravating factor in, numerous illnesses. What you will find is that, even if you just take that little time, you will be better able to get a handle on any issues.
You could just spend it in front of the TV or reading a book. But for a lot of people that’s too passive and makes them feel like they should be doing something. So it’s worth finding an active use of your time that doesn’t involve noise, bustle and pressure. And for many of us, the best way to get this is in the garden.
Why Take Up Gardening?
The first thing that we can say in favour of gardening is that it is peaceful and quiet. Of course, there are some aspects of it that are less quiet than others. Anyone who has ever turned over an overgrown lawn can attest to this. But once you’ve laid the groundwork most of what you will do is tending and planting. There is a definite de-stressing feeling that comes from this part of the process.
Some people will look at what gardening entails and think “I couldn’t ever feel relaxed if I had soil all over me”. The first thing to note there is that, unless you’re really doing it wrong, soil won’t be all over you. The second thing is that, if you get your hands in the soil, you’d be stunned how relaxing it actually is. Many studies are showing that getting your hands dirty in this way is positively healthy.
I Don’t Have A Big Garden, How Much Can I Do?
The simple truth is that, if you have space for a couple of planters, you have space for a garden of sorts. And even if you have plenty of space but not the greatest practical sense, there’s still a lot you can do in a smaller area. You may not have confidence in your ability to tame a flower bed – it’s not as easy as some make it look. But a few small areas cordoned off with some plants in them, a rockery or a few hanging baskets, can be more than enough.
Some of us prefer to keep the garden itself as a play area or somewhere to have barbecues and garden parties. But you can separate off a strip for a greenhouse and grow a lot in there. Because of the conditions that it creates you can grow things that wouldn’t survive out in the main garden. And if you’re worried about it sticking out like a sore thumb, there are options. There are plenty of good sources for natural-looking wooden greenhouses.
It’s Not Just Good For You
Keeping a garden well-maintained and growing things is good for you. As already mentioned, working in the soil can be highly beneficial for your health. You can also plant fruit and veg that will allow you the opportunity to eat healthy food at its very freshest. But as well as that, it’s good for others too. Not just your family, but for nature; something worth considering in the present day.
Although to some people it may sound odd, we are currently experiencing a decline in the bee population UK-wide. And there are two reactions a lot of people have to this. The first is, simply: “So what, they’re just bees”. The second, even less charitable, is that we’re better off without insects flying around that can sting you at a moment’s notice. Both of these reactions are misguided.
Not to put too fine a point on it, bees are a key provider of support to the agriculture industry in this and other countries. Without their pollination, food crops wouldn’t grow as plentifully as they do. Their existence is essential to food chains, which keep plants, animals and ourselves going. They create jobs, food and a more pleasant landscape in which to live. So getting in your garden, planting and even putting up bee hotels can make a big difference.
One of the primary advantages of gardening as a stress relief method is that it allows you to feel a part of nature. It is a thoroughly grounding pastime and is endlessly varied. Even if you’re reticent about it at first, start small and before long you’ll have the bug. From there, you’ll find numerous ways in which it enriches your life.
Perhaps above all, a thriving garden is a wonderful place to go out into and enjoy a drink, a bite to eat or even just the quiet hum of nature. Make your garden a refuge from the stresses of everyday life and it will reward you time and again. As a side benefit, you will learn something new every day, as well as seeing nature happen all around you. So if it’s something you’ve thought of doing, start today. And if it isn’t, give it some thought. You’ll be glad you did.