Feeling Burned Out? Try Gardening for Mental Health

Fresh air, sunshine, and taking care of plants! There's no doubt that gardening for mental health and exercise is a good use of our time.

If I didn’t already enjoy gardening, I would no doubt love the idea of gardening for mental health purposes. Let’s be honest, the past few years have been a challenge. We’ve somehow been busier than ever, and at the same time, more separated and isolated than ever.

We’re still running kids to play groups and appointments, going to the grocery store, trying to keep the house clean, and dealing with news story after news story about all sorts of things that result in anxiety and stress. That doesn’t even get into the many personal stories that so many of us are trying to figure out how to work through.

I don’t want to bum you out, but I also think it’s important to acknowledge that this world probably isn’t the best we think it can be right now. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years (and learned from those older and wiser than me), it’s that when we want a better world, when we want to feel like we’re making a difference, one sure way to do that is to get into the garden.

Author Richard Reinber writes in today’s piece that gardening “is a way of doing something immediate and effective to help realize our desire for a healthy, sane world for our children.” We might not be able to make big changes. But no one can deny the power of a yard full of sunflowers or the joy of watching seeds germinate and sprout. And sometimes, it’s those little moments that can have the biggest impact.

Enjoy More Gardening Stories About Gardening for Mental Health

This story comes from our archive that spans over 30 years and includes more than 130 magazine issues of GreenPrints. Pieces like these that turn gardening for mental health into everyday life lessons always brighten up my day, and I hope this story does for you as well. Enjoy!

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Yearning for a Better World

By Richard Reinber. From Tending the Earth, Mending the Spirit: The Healing Gifts of Gardening

We may talk to two dozen people in a given day by fax, email, or phone. Meanwhile, we may not have touched another human hand, much less heard a songbird, smelled a flower, or tasted a fresh radish. In the garden, we meet nature face-to-face, use all of our senses, all of our physical and spiritual muscles. We open ourselves to the unpredictable and make ourselves available to life.

Our deepest yearning is not only for a beautiful place for healing and meditation, but for a better world for the generations to come. Gardening can help with that. [It can] be a way of doing something immediate and effective to help realize our desire for a healthy, sane world for our children.

By Richard Reinber. From Tending the Earth, Mending the Spirit: The Healing Gifts of Gardening, published originally in 2017-18, in GreenPrints Issue #112. Illustrated by Christopher Reid

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Do you have any stories about how gardening has helped improve your mood or mental health? I’d love to read them in the comments.


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