In the last few weeks I’ve really struggled to get up to the plot. Not because I don’t want to, but work has recently taken over. When I get home from work, the day has gone already and it’s dark. I’ve tried early in the mornings to get up there even just for half an hour. In the summer this worked perfectly (even if it did give me dirty fingernails for the rest of the day!) but now it’s dark in the mornings I’ve had to give this up.
Of course bills need to be paid, career ladders need to be climbed, but what if you see things through a different lens and crave a better quality of life, fulfilment, a sense of giving back what you take? No, I haven’t dropped an LSD tablet whilst seeking eternal peace as I braid daisy chains into my hair. But, over the last year or so I’ve been having an internal spring clean, getting rid of the things that don’t matter and focusing on the things that do.
The world is currently going through a scary time and stress levels on a day-to-day basis are at an all time high. So when we do find those oases of tranquility and stillness, we cling onto them dearly. For me, my fortress of solitude is horticulture and all the highs and lows it offers. So when this drug has to be reduced over a period of time due to the demands of work, I’m finding it has a negative effect on me. I want my hands to be in the soil, to experience Mother Nature firsthand and not safely behind a sterile office window with the air conditioning regulated and my pot bound plants regarded as a health and safety breach.
There is something in horticulture therapy. During my studies, I met several students who were hoping to take it up as a career. One person had told me that whilst volunteering in this field, she looked after an individual who was recovering from a motorbike accident. He was confined to his hospital bed for several months but would occasionally be wheeled out into the hospital garden. He treasured these moments and it clearly had a positive effect on his recovery.
Horticulture is not only beneficial for people recovering from accidents, it can help those with depression, emotional, physical, criminal and social issues. Whatever their age, whatever their background, gardening doesn’t judge a person, it draws out their positives.
I can offer very little advice in this field but can only express what I know: do what makes you happy. For me it’s gardening. If garden therapy is of interest to you, and you’re curious about the way it can change lives for the better, there are many charities and websites out there.
And if it gives you one stress-free day up on the plot, never be afraid to pull that work sickie! In the longterm, that one day off could do you wonders for your health and outlook. So when you do return to that daily toil, your spirits are up and you’re ready to face the work demon and all his challenges. As Freud once said:
“Flowers are restful to look at. The have neither emotions nor conflicts”
Maybe we need to spend more time among the flowers so we can learn to live like them.