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This week we've taken this week's theme from the compelling book, The Well Gardened Mind, by Sue Stuart-Smith. In her book, Stuart-Smith makes beautiful parallels between the tasks of tending a garden and how these can lead to restorative and even rehabilitative benefits for the mind and body.
Tending to your mind, the way you would tend to a garden is a wonderful metaphor for taking care of your mental health. It is a practice that we often let lapse in our day to day lives. Think about what would happen if you didn't care for a garden- overgrown bushes and weeds, plants unwatered and no chance for seeds of new life to be sown- similarly, it is easy to see how valuable consistent care for our minds is to our overall well being.
From this juncture, we have the following suggestions to keep your mind well tended:
Keep a Journal
Journaling is one of the best ways to address the stresses of your day. Similar to having a confidante, you have an outlet to express feelings and emotions that you may not be comfortable speaking out loud. By writing down your troubles, you can create space for yourself to gain perspective and process thoughts that might crowd your mind and create stress and anxiety. Alternatively, some people like to journal about the good things that happen in their day. A Gratitude Journal is a perfect example of this. Commit to paper each day a few things that you are grateful for in life and watch over time if these things, whether big or small, do not make you feel more enriched.
Express your creativity
We are not just limited to writing to express ourselves. Many people draw, paint, do crafts, tend the garden, write poetry, play an instrument or take photographs as a form of creativity. This is so good for expanding the bounds of your creativity and developing your confidence in your own abilities, learning more about yourself and spending time in pleasant pursuits.
Making the time to meditate can really help to cultivate a moment of calm and peace in your daily life. The fast pace of life does not allow many moments to pause and reflect and instead the mind rushes from task to task and it can become noisy in the mind. Having a meditation practice to go back to- whatever that looks like to you- allows people to slow down, mimicking the pace of a plant steadily budding and growing.
After over a year of navigating a pandemic, some of us may still find ourselves facing lockdowns, while others may be starting to re-emerge into society. It is a good time to nurture positive mindsets to best handle whatever the future holds. We hope the suggestions above are helpful and highly recommend a read of Stuart-Smith's book. Get out this Spring/Summer and tend to your garden and let us know if you notice a benefit in mind, body and your interaction with the world around you. Have a lovely weekend!