Long Life and Health
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Gardening for Stress Relief

We could all use something to calm our nerves and help us relax.

 One of the best activities I find to ease anxiety is gardening. It’s inexpensive, you can do it pretty much anywhere, it doesn’t create pollution, and it can produce food.

My neighbor (let’s call her Amber) started gardening about two months ago when stress about the state of the world started to have a really negative impact on her mental health.

When I approached Amber to compliment the explosion of sunflowers and watermelon plants in her front yard, she told me that gardening helped her feel more in control of her life during this time of uncertainty.

“It’s something that I have 100% control of, so it makes me feel a little more in control of my life. The whole world is literally burning down, but my garden is going to thrive if I put the time and effort into it; but if I let it fail, it will fail,” she said. “It’s something to focus on when everything around you is negative and putting out negative energy, your plants and flowers are growing and thriving because you put in the effort. It just makes you feel good.”

Amber told me that she started with a window garden, but after her cats started eating her plants, she moved to outdoor pots and eventually started planting in the ground. She has bell peppers, tomatoes, and jalapeños growing in her backyard and sunflowers and watermelons in her front yard. She hasn’t grown anything edible yet, but the jalapeños look like they are almost ready.

“Gardening is definitely a learning experience if you’ve never done it before,” said Amber. “But it’s definitely worth it. My biggest mistakes were growing too many plants in the same area and not having enough dirt when I started.”

Last weekend, she had to move 11 plants to a new location after the melons “started taking over.” She’s also struggling with sunflower plants expected to grow to 8 feet tall (she thought the package said 8 inches).

If you’re interested in starting a garden to help ease anxiety, I suggest growing a few herbs you can use to make immune-boosting tea. Some of my favorites are:

Lemon balm

Elderberry

Echinacea

Marshmallow

Linden tree

Do you have a backyard or window garden? Do you have any tips for people interested in starting a garden? Share your thoughts and comments below!

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