These past few weeks have upended our lives in unimaginable ways. Things like social distancing, shelter in and massive job loses have brought life as we know it to a screeching halt. My old Occupational Therapy training and 20 plus years of gardening experience tell me meaningful daily activities will help me manage these times. My old OT colleague from Alaska, who is incredibly wise about mind and body balancing, calls these activities “anchors”. She recommends you ramp up activities that enhance your emotional and physical well-being. She explains these as small routines that make you feel emotionally balanced and grounded. Check out her inspiring newsletters. http://www.wiseatwork.net
So in addition to helping out others, spending time with family (board games are making a comeback), daily exercise and meditation, may I suggest you get outdoors and start planning for a new garden season? Make this a new “anchor” to balance your mind and body during this trying time. Being outdoors can help you get the sunlight and fresh air that will clear the lungs and absorb the vitamin D we lack during the dreary winter months. Lifting, carrying, digging and raking stimulate the joints and nervous system to send out chemicals that will help us both stimulate our alertness and calm our anxiety or emotional upheaval. Been thinking about digging and dividing plants? Now is a great time of year to do so. The physical and emotional benefits are rewarding. Pay it forward! Share plants with family and friends! Caring and giving is good for mental health!
Planning out your garden is a great mind activity. Measuring, applying basic design, selecting plants and colors that are pleasing to you provide goal oriented activity during down time and isolation. If you want to attract more pollinators this year, plan and plant it! Plenty of plant companies are offering bare root deliveries this time of year. Visiting pollinators will give you hours of garden joy this year. You will be rewarded knowing you have made a backyard contribution to the sustainability of our ecosystem.
Looking for a kid friendly activity at home? There are many seeds that can be started indoors. Kids can get their hands dirty and monitor growth. Read the seed package and have the kids mark the calendar for germination days. Give the kids the responsibility for care. Post an outline of “weekly seed chores” to keep your seeds viable. It is a great learning experience to measure plant size as growth begins, transplant to larger containers and research frost free dates for planting in our area. Once outdoors the kids can watch the growth and production. The bounty of the harvest is incredibly rewarding for kids! I have had great success with Renee’s Garden seeds. http://www.reneesgarden.com Their success rate is tremendous and they have varieties for large and small space gardening. My granddaughter loved the tricolor beans last year. It provided opportunities for learning new motor skills and visual discrimination as a prerequisite for reading. And yes, tasting along the way was a real treat!
Balance these trying times with gardening. Your mind and body will be grateful! Check out my previous blog how-to on seed starting, planting for pollinators and planning/planting your garden! As always “keeping common sense and sustainability at the core of all my garden practices”
Check out my website for more gardening ideas and activities http://www.gardengoddesssenseandsustainability.com