My husband and I closed on our first house last October. Before we owned a house, I found that I would buy clothes and things for myself when I was out. Once we bought the house, I was so into doing things for the house. I had never gardened in my life, besides helping my mom when I was super little with watering the plants. I all of a sudden had pride in our new house and wanted to make it pretty. The problem was that I had no idea what I was doing. We went to a florist, and spent way too much money! We mistakenly went to a high end florist, instead of getting basics like at Home Depot. I picked flowers based on how pretty they were. That probably wasn’t the best idea considering we live in SC and it gets HOT! I should have considered how much sun the flowers/plants would be getting.
So how in the hell does gardening help my anxiety?
I found that nurturing the plants/flowers and helping them grow took my thoughts off of my own worries. I guess this is similar to how having a cat helps with my anxiety. It helps you focus on others, or in my case plants! It was also nice to have a Saturday project with my husband. It was rewarding once we finished and made the outside of the house look pretty.
We went away for a few weeks, and when we got back there were weeds EVERYWHERE in our beautiful garden. I wish I took a picture because words cannot do it justice. I figured pulling weeds wouldn’t be as much fun as planting flowers. However, it was quite satisfying. Every time I pulled one of the weeds from its roots, it felt good! I’m an English teacher, so I’m going to get all symbolic on you. I feel like gardening is similar to overcoming anxiety. You hit rock bottom and have to start from nothing, just ugly dirt on the ground. Then you put the first layer of mulch down. That’s your support system, family and friends. Life starts to feel a bit more manageable. Then you start to put down flowers and plants. These are the nonessentials, but they are what make life enjoyable. It’s the hobbies, interests, likes that you have that hopefully distract you from your anxiety/depression. You watering your flowers is the strategies you use to overcome your mental illness. Maybe it’s medication, therapy, exercise, yoga, etc. Anxiety never completely goes away. It creeps back up into your life and it’s ugly, just like those damn weeds. You use the strong relationships, interests, and strategies to get back to the beauty of your garden or life.
Maybe that was a bit cheesy, but I like it!