To write or to garden, that is the question

Anyone who reads this blog regularly will know that I am a passionate gardener, so my response to today’s Writing 101 prompt about what I do when not writing is easy.

The majority of my time is spent at a PC in my office at the University where I am an administrator so in fact I spend the majority of my time writing something or other at home or at work.

Gardening is my mechanism for de-stressing.  It allows me time to clear my mind either through day dreaming about wild and mad schemes for the garden or in complete contrast  focussing on something small and precise such as peering into a pot of compost convincing myself that that small green dot is in fact the sign that a seed is germinating.  At times of extreme stress I find that just 20 minutes pottering around the garden dead heading and watering calms and soothes and then I can come back to whatever it is that is troubling me with a clearer mind.

In recent years much as been made of how good gardening is for your health.  It is something that is beginning to be recognised as useful in the recovering of people who have experienced severe trauma.  But of course gardening is good for our physical well-being as well as our mental.  It is a good form of gentle exercise, gets you out in the fresh air and keeps you active.  It will never be a form of burning off lots of excess calories, well not unless you regularly dig over something like an allotment, but it keeps everything moving.  I am reminded that when I was visiting gardens in Ireland earlier this year we met a number of older gardeners, one who was 87 and had a huge garden, and each of them believed whole heartedly that it was their gardening passion which had contributed to their longevity.

But I am drifting off topic.  The specific question asked what I do to recharge, rebalance and clear my mind for writing.  Whilst gardening is key to this and so much else that is important to me I also embroider and read.  Reading means I encounter ideas that might inspire me and I experience writing styles which may influence my own writing.  Both gardening and sewing give me material for writing but they also give me the space between work and leisure time so my mind can readjust and find the voice I want for whatever I am writing.   So for me it is important to have a good balance in your life if you want to be able to write.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

13 Comments Add yours

  1. MyLovingWife says:

    I have to admit I’m a little envious. I can’t keep a plant to save my life and I’ve never been to good with a needle. I don’t have the patience I guess. Seems you have a wonderful way to balance things out. Nice reading you.

  2. jabrush1213 says:

    Wow, didn’t know that much about gardening until now.

  3. rusty duck says:

    Totally agree Helen. A garden is a great for de-stressing. And exercise. Aren’t we supposed to walk 15 minutes a day or something like that? Well we certainly achieve that. Do we get extra points for hills do you think?

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Jessica
      I think we get double points for hills especially carrying thugs of compost up and down as its too difficult for a wheelbarrow. But then I have to reward myself with some chocolate which probably reduces any healthy impact

  4. Brian Skeys says:

    Gardening is good for relaxing the mind, it certainly helped Mary as a young teenager to cope with bulling at school. Writing my blog helps to keep my brain/mind active and working to a degree!

  5. rogerbrook says:

    I agree with the Irish gardeners you quote about gardening contributing to longevity My take on it is the sunshine and vit d, the excercise some of it heavy, the exposure to soil keeping the immune system primed, fresh air and absence of household allergies, contentment and if you grow your own, healthy food.
    Liked your idea of carrying thugs but I suspect it was a typo 🙂

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi roger

      Yes it was meant to be trugs, but often a thuggish plant has been carried too!

    2. I am presently resting thanks to a broken ankle. I feel sluggish and tense and I know it is because I am not able to garden. I am itching to get back at it and fear I will be unable to work as well for a few weeks as I strive to regain strength and fitness. Yep to garden is key to good health for me.

    3. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Dorris
      Don’t rush back before you are ready or you will injure yourself.

  6. nanacathy2 says:

    Gardening is very therapeutic. When my husband was going through chemotherapy and radiography he nurtured a square yard of the vegetable garden and grew lettuces, he says it was the life saver. I did the rest of the garden!!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Cathy
      Getting a small allotment helped my parents when my sister died, it was a real escape for my mother. People under estimate the power of spending some time outside nurturing something

  7. My grandmother used gardening as par to her recovery following a difficult childbirth..
    Never underestimate the outdoors!

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s