Written by Cath Manuel

You know when you’re feeling frazzled, the kids are a little wild and it’s getting closer and closer to meal time and you’ve prepared nothing??

Yep…I know exactly this feeling, and I know most of my friends have felt this during our time as parents.

Pushing through these feelings and keeping up appearances for everyone else leads to overwhelm, stress, frustration and anger.

It’s when we’re in the midst of these feelings that the little thought comes to mind of running off to a quieter place where no one can find you…Yep I had those thoughts too!

For me my little quiet place was the garden, actually it still is.

Before gardening became my profession, it was my passion. For many years I’ve enjoyed quiet, peaceful times out in gardens, either my own or a public garden space.

I find the sounds, sights and smells of nature sooth me. They take away any frustration, stress or anxiety I may feel. They uplift me, calm me and help to quieten my mind.

I still head to the garden when I’m feeling overwhelmed with my business or personal life. For me it’s a natural remedy for anytime I feel emotionally out of balance.

The importance of connecting with nature…

Recently I watched a fabulous video on Eco Therapy. It’s very similar to the work I do with Garden Therapy, and accesses the healing power of nature to relieve many emotional and physical illnesses and imbalances.

This video described how many people these days have nature deficit disorders from spending too much time indoors and using technology.

The wonderful thing with eco/nature/garden therapy is that you only need about 20 minutes outdoors, a few days a week, to access the healing benefits of nature.

20 minutes…that’s it!!

But from that short amount of time, you will harvest a large amount of wellness and boost your health and vitality.

Here’s a few ways to improve your wellness and enjoy divine time for yourself…

  • If you’re feeling tired or worn out, just head outdoors. Find a comfortable seat, preferably somewhere where no one can find you, and just breath in the fresh air. Or walk around with feet bare and enjoy the earth under your toes. After a few minutes you’ll find your heartrate lower, breathing will slow down and you’ll become aware of the beautiful things around you. Start with 5 to 10 minutes if that’s all you can manage. You’ll enjoy it so much you will start to build up time each garden visit!
  • Water the garden. This doesn’t really sound like much of a relaxing activity, but there is actual research showing that watering a garden promotes calm and relaxation. The water is soothing, being outdoors is relaxing and walking around a garden and observing plants (which you do when watering) helps to reduce stress and anxiety. The best times to water in Winter are mornings, and Summer evenings, so schedule your ‘me’ time according to the season.
  • Pick fresh flowers or herbs. The delicious scent from flowers and herbs help to stimulate all our senses. They can be used indoors in a vase or herbs can be used in cooking or for medicinal purposes. To help with calming and relaxing try making a herbal tea. One of my favourites is Lemon Balm, which is a soothing tea. Try growing lemon Balm in a pot in a part sunny location and pick it fresh as needed for a calming brew.

*Have a read of my article on growing and enjoying Lemon Balm

  • Grow a few of your favourite leafy greens. Not only will you feel the health benefits from growing your own food, but you’ll have fresh veggies and herbs to access daily as needed. This alone will help to reduce stress at meal times as you always have something healthy on hand to feed your family! Boost your mind, body and soul by growing delicious foods, then harvest goodies to nourish and nurture your family.

One thing I have really found over the years as a parent is making time for myself, doing things that bring me joy makes it easier, and more enjoyable, to give myself to others.

I love helping and giving to everyone I know, but I can’t give out energy if I don’t have any myself.

The way I fuel up on energy is with Mother Nature. She knows just how to nurture me!

Enjoy!

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