Over the last two years my mental health suffered as did so many peoples did during the pandemic.
The uncertainty, the lockdowns and fear grew in my mind as did the worry and stresses of life.
Looking back over this time and now coming slowly out of winter with the light beginning to return, I know what the one thing that kept me nourished in so many ways was my garden.
In the first lockdown I was unable to leave my house & garden. I had terrible fears of going outside and being in the world. At the worst time i didn’t even want to put my bins out.
But our garden gave me something to focus on, some connection to outdoors, to nature and hope.
I was amidst the panic buying that happened, even in our Infinity shop the shelves were stripped bare. It was terrifying and scary – for everyone.
The only panic buying I did was one large selection of organic seeds from our shop.
I thought it was a strange thing to do at the time, but in hindsight i must have had a gut feeling that it would help me through the times to come.
Those tiny seeds were the part of a journey of healing.
I was on furlough like so many people. Needing to care for a child and keep busy i started to look at my garden in a new light. it was the outside space i could be in and connect with nature. As i didn’t go out for so long i managed to really get to grips with it and learn so much.
March & April is a key time for gardening – although with climate change going though its own kind of breakdown, temperatures and weather is less predicable now. I wanted to grow some veg and had the seeds to make it happen.
I didn’t plan very well with so much going on, I was ambitious with what I planted. I grew courgettes, cucumbers (inside), tomatoes, chard, broccoli, strawberries, beetroot, salads of different varieties, beans and so many herbs. I also planted some flowers to encourage wildlife.
My windowsills were covered in seedlings – my new babies, I was delighted to see growing! I had planted them with not much hope and when to my utter surprise they came up as tiny little shoots of green, I was thrilled.
In fact I had so much success I had to part with quite a few. I swapped seedlings with friends and neighbours, giving me more variety of plants to grow. This was a way of connecting to people and community during such a hard time.
I could see we were all in it together, trying to make something grow, while finding hope in the darkness.
Now we are living with the virus in our daily lives and we have moved away from lockdowns. I am keep to keep spending time in my garden since it continues to help me.
Why gardening is good for your mental wellbeing – Thrive:
Reduce depression, anxiety and stress-related symptoms.
Alleviate the symptoms of dementia, such as aggressive behaviour. Increase the ability to concentrate and engage. Reduce reliance on medication, self-harming behaviour.(thrive.org.uk)
If you live in a flat with no garden or a shared house and no plantable space there are so many ways you can connect and get gardening.
Here is a link to more information in the Brighton and Hove area: