Gardening as Self Care

Everyone knows that gardening can provide your body with great health benefits from all the exercise and nutrition, but what you may not realize is how beneficial gardening can be to your mind. One of the ways the brain heals itself from stress is by entering a sort of zen state of self hypnosis. 

By doing activities that get you in “the zone”, your mind can unlearn anxious habits and recover from especially stressful days. Our mental health depends on sustaining a practice in self care. For some, this could mean going to the gym, taking a bubble bath, playing a game, or even binge watching a whole series in a weekend. 

For me, gardening has become my favorite form of self care. I  have a “petting garden” where I grow soft, fluffy plants that have a tactile sensation, like mosses, lamb’s ear, and silver mound. I grow cucumbers, not just for pickles and salad, but also for a sugar coffee scrub or to cover my eyes with thin slices. I like to have hot peppers on hand for those moments of frustration when my brain needs to be shocked back to attention or if I need a distraction from picking at my fingernails. I grow aloe to keep my skin soft and pliable after a long day in the sun. 

It’s not just about the plants I grow either. The simple act of coming into contact with soil provides a nutritive benefit through the skin as minerals are absorbed. Any hippie will tell you how powerful “grounding” or “earthing” can be… just the act of walking barefoot on the earth can help you feel more connected to the world around you. I probably do more barefoot farming than is safe, but at the risk of stubbing a toe, I am finding my peace of mind. Try it!

This blog was written by agriculture Education AmeriCorps VISTA, Della McGuire.