Be Well Butte Educators; Mar. 2021
A Monthly Wellness Newsletter for Butte County's Educators
The Benefits of Nature
March Action Calendar
U.S. National Park Service
Why We're Drawn to Nature
Guided Imagery - Walk Through Forest
Health Benefits of Gardening
Each month Matt Reddam, BCOE School & Community Wellness Advisor, tries out a new wellness activity and reports back on his experience. This month, Matt tries Gardening.
I looked outside the other day and realized that it is Spring. It may not be officially spring, but the blanket of weeds in the yard tells me it certainly is Spring. Like most things that involve the childhood feeling of a “chore” (think dishes, cleaning your room, folding clothes, cat box cleaning) gardening has always been something I avoid. That is hard for me to say. It seems like if you live in Chico, you at some point loved Dave Matthews Band and you probably have a summer garden which you talk about A LOT. Truthfully I have always been jealous of people who can actually grow something from the dirt, but even still, I avoided it. It was with my newfound joy in home projects that I decided to head outside on Saturday and do some gardening!
According to research, gardening has a ton of positive impacts on wellness. Some of those benefits include:
· Helps fight disease
· Builds strength
· Improves memory
· Boosts mood
· Reduces stress
· Helps addiction recovery
· Fosters human connections
· Heals and empowers
What I have learned is that gardening is a true art and a true science. To grow a certain type of plant or flower can often involve research, experimentation, observing, and adjusting. Fortunately I have a partner in crime who enjoys all of those aspects of gardening, and has created a front yard that is not only drought resistant, but also beautiful. I knew that this would leave me with only one gardening option…….weeding and adding soil to pots! I have to say that for the first time in recent memory I was thrilled to dig my hands in the dirt.
So few things seem to make any sense lately, so any time I can remind my body of the things that do make sense, the things that haven’t changed, I am thrilled to do it. It turns out that weeds and soil have remained the same. Soil still smells and feels like soil, and weeds still seem to replace themselves as soon as they are pulled up. Life is back in order. I dug, shoveled, laughed, smelled, smiled, and groaned my way through 4 hours of work that seemed nothing like work. The most memorable aspects of my afternoon included spending time with family outside, laughing, getting some actual exercise, and most importantly getting to do something that had a tangible result. Our lives right now are filled with so many things that we don’t get to see the result of, it was wonderful to have something that I could engage in, look, and see that I had made a difference. That alone was worth every minute of those 4 hours. I highly recommend gardening, even if all you are doing is making someone else’s effort look wonderful.
If you have suggestions for things for Matt to try in the future, you can submit them HERE.