Queen of Sleep

Living with narcolepsy: a personal journey

Gardening = Emotional Wellbeing

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Dahlia

Dahlia

There are many benefits to reap from being a gardener. Spending time outdoors maximizing vitamin D absorbtion = sunshine is important to help regulate the circadian cycle (sleep wake cycle). It also makes you feel great, more optimistic and alert. I have also noticed that food tastes better if you spend the day outdoors rather than indoors. If you spend many hours outside do remember to wear a sunscreen to protect your skin.

Digging flowerbeds, getting your fingers dirty, preparing the soil for planting is a very grounding experience. It could be physically demanding – like my flowerbeds that mainly consists of clay – and makes for good exercise.

Gardening stimulates creativity and decision-making. Planning what plants to grow from seed and what plants to buy. What would you like to grow? and how would you like to design your garden? There are natural boundaries that need to be adhered to for example: How the sun hits your garden. Is it east, west, south, north facing? What about your soil? acidic, alkaline? Is it dominated by sand, clay etc ? Drainage? Any trees?

I have recently started to garden – using all that latent knowledge inherited by watching my mother and grandmother garden in challenging conditions every summer throughout my childhood. I must say I am surprised how much I learnt just by watching – mildly paying attention whilst they weeded and pruned impressive flowerbeds.

My garden is apparently the most challenging – north-east facing –  which means that I can only plant plants that can grow in partially sunny/shady and shady conditions. I have planted a Primula, heuchera, chives, parsley, grass, perennial geraniums, clematis and mint. I want to grow bamboo and ferns too, to cover the shady areas. I have recently been watching BBC’s Grow your own drugs, so I would like to grow more medicinal plants. I going to search for roseroot and aloe.

Spending time in nature is incredibly de-stressing. Being in nature, breathing becoming one with nature is becoming one with ourselves – a grounding and healing experience. Before I got diagnosed I used to laugh at tree huggers – today I understand and respect the knowledge and power of trees better. I will blog about trees later.

Thrive, a charity dedicated to improve the quality of life for those in need through gardening gives 5 reasons why gardening is so good for you. 1. Gardening is great physical exercise and gets you out in the fresh air. 2. You can work at your own pace and get a sense of achievement from the results. 3. Regular gardening can bring a new structure to your life. 4. Joining a gardening club helps you meet new people. 5. Gardening is fun and allows you to express your creativity.

You don’t need have an outdoor space to do gardening. You can grow plants in pots and create a beautiful garden on your balcony. You can also grow many herbs indoors at this time of year, get an allotment or join a gardening club or charity.

Remember that one of the long-term side effects of narcolepsy is an increasingly sedentary lifestyle – get out now and get your fingers dirty!

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Written by Queen of Sleep

April 6, 2010 at 11:20 pm

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