I consider myself to be a social animal, so you can imagine how difficult surviving lockdown could have been for me, had I not been into my garden. I have always enjoyed gardening, it tends to be my happy place. I consider myself lucky for being able to enjoy my garden, and having grown up in a house with a front and back garden. Both my parents were passionate gardeners but in different ways, the back garden was my father’s territory where he grew fruit and vegetables, and the front belonged to my mother which she adorned with flowers.
I have never ventured into growing fruit and vegetables, this might be because as a child I was not a great fan of eating vegetables and they were always on the dinner table in abundance. I remember discretely nudging visitors to ask for fresh vegetables to take home – this always flattered my father and it meant there would be less vegetables on the dinner table for me to eat. Now, as an adult, I would give almost anything for those garden to table vegetables to be served on my table.
For me, gardening is a healthy option for dealing with lockdown. Whilst tending to my plants, I find it easier to live in the moment when I forget myself and what is going on elsewhere – by becoming totally absorbed in nature. All worries and other problems just disappear as if a magic wand has been waved.
During lockdown it is very easy to spend more time indoors, in activities such as watching more television. Gardening can get you outside, which I find very uplifting particularly when the sun is shining. I also feel my senses are being nourished when I take in the fragrance of Jasmin’s, look at the pink roses blossoming, feel the texture of leaves, and hear the birds singing. This is more than what any television programme can do for me. My friends and colleagues will tell you I am a great fan of Idris Alba and enjoy watching him on screen, but when I am gardening I even forget to watch him!
Most of us have to make a conscious effort to keep physically active during the current climate, I find a garden can help you keep fit. I like the fact I can pace myself whilst gardening: If I do things more quickly I can feel my heart and breathing becoming faster; when I am stretching and bending I can feel my muscles being worked. There is a sense of achievement when you see the results of your exertion, it can be something as simple as weeding. So as you can see my garden has been instrumental to me surviving lockdown.
I have not come to the stage where I am talking to my plants, but who knows what the future holds!
If you would like to assess your mental wellbeing try the Mind Plan tool on our Every Mind Matters page.