Can Gardening Help Beat Depression?

I’m at the point in my recovery where I’m attempting to structure some sort of a daily routine which consists of essential self-care practices (a set wake up time, eating breakfast etc.) and trying out new activities (yoga, painting, writing) as a way of discovering what it is that I enjoy doing. However, this week I’ve been getting up late, not eating healthily, not exercising, not sleeping well and not doing much at all. It’s left me feeling frustrated and angry with myself as I feel like I’ve proved myself once again that I can’t consistently practice something. I do want to learn how to cope better so I have to remind myself that recovery is not linear; there will be highs and lows as such is in life. So despite the fact that I’ve been struggling this week, I can appreciate one positive which is the weather. The past couple of weeks have been gloriously sunny in London. Summer has certainly arrived and I pray that it’s here to stay. Most of my time lately has been spent outside in the garden, getting my vitamin D fix and observing my natural surroundings.

I’m the first to admit that I’m not your average twenty-something Londoner. I’ve never been one to spend my free time drinking, clubbing or doing other things that society dictates as cool. So it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that I have recently become very interested in gardening. Since last summer, Mum and I have been transforming our overgrown and neglected garden into a space that we can escape and retreat to and less than a year into the landscape project, we have literally been able to enjoy the fruits of our labour. I had always heard from keen gardeners that they find it very therapeutic but I still associated it as a hobby for pensioners and I was so wrong to make that judgement.Snapseed

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From my personal experience, gardening is a form of therapy, in fact, many refer to it as ecotherapy. It has the power to elevate your mood or decrease anxiety and stress. It gets you out in the fresh air and it’s a physical activity. You can work at your own pace, express your creativity and be mindful. I truly do get a huge sense of achievement from it. For those who still aren’t reassured, research has proven that gardening improves confidence, concentration and mood.

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I want to urge those who are wanting to improve their mental health to get outdoors and muck in. You can start with something small like sowing seeds, potting plants or get that initial inspiration by visiting garden centres and nurseries. I can guarantee you that ecotherapy will make you feel better about yourself.

I’d love to see your pictures of your planting creations.

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