Garden Your Way to Well-Being
By Marg Peck
Looking after your health can be like tending a garden. You feed your garden the best food, weed it, and stake your plants. You could even play your tomatoes classical music. You wouldn’t pour toxic wastes from the local dump on your soil and you wouldn’t hold wild neighbourhood parties on your garden beds – and you shouldn’t do those things to your health either. Glowing health is largely about taking the responsibility for your wellbeing into your own hands. Your health is dynamic, a continually shifting balance between illness
and wellbeing. You need to get into the garden to keep it at its optimum – literally and metaphorically!
You need to tend to the biochemistry of your body, which is like looking after the soil in your garden. It’s a basic building block. Eat a well balanced diet with fresh food full of energy and vitality, grown without pesticides and chemicals, and in well balanced soil. Avoiding chemical stressors such as coffee, tea and alcohol and, of course, cigarettes.
Minimise your exposure to household chemicals such as harsh cleaning products, shampoos, deodorants and makeup, which can potentially affect the biochemistry of your body. Avoid eating food with preservatives, colours, flavours and refined sugars.
The Physical State of your Garden
You might take more care with your plants than you do with your body, staking them carefully, laying out the garden in neat orderly beds. You need to strike a balance between enough activity and rest and fitness, strength and flexibility.
Minimise duress through excessive screen time and look at the way you use your body. Balance, what type and how much exercise will be different for every person, and it’s a matter of learning to tune in and become more familiar with what works for you. For some people yoga might be great, for others tai chi or swimming, or perhaps a combination. Some may love to meditate, for others it’s bushwalking. Your aim should be to discover what suits you and works for your system, and this may vary at different stages and times of life.
The third corner of the triangle is the psycho-emotional – what keeps you well, what brings you joy, where do you find happiness, the work-play balance, communi
cation and relationships. Some may require support with a period of counselling, therapy, or join a meditation or discussion group.
Others may find just as much benefit by being part of a book club or a music group. What supports your healthy mental state? Minimising stress, expressing emotions and communicating feelings are all important aspects to consider.
Taking care of yourself is an ongoing process, just like caring for a garden. Nurture and patience are required, time and attentiveness and a notion of what is right in which season, when to plant or when to harvest.
Some tips to get you started
Drink plenty of water and eat foods in a variety of colours – green leafy vegetables, orange vegetables and fruit and the red of beetroot and berries.
Exercise in nature. Walk or stretch in the fresh air, ride a bike or go running.
Make a date with yourself. Recall what brings you joy, where your soul finds nourishment.
Best of all are patience, imagination and persistence.