Distractions – good or bad?

Distractions are not always a negative thing, you can turn them to your advantage.

What do I mean by that? Well, I am sure you have heard of the term “a welcome distraction”, when something happens that takes your mind off something else less pleasant? That’s exactly it.

When does distraction work?

Right now I am writing this post in the middle of the night as a way of trying to distract myself from my painful dislocated rib! If I just lay there in bed all I will do is think about it, the pain feels worse, it becomes harder to switch off. This just results in a vicious circle that seems impossible to get out of. Unless of course, you distract yourself.

This can work in many situations, for example if you feel sleepy mid-afternoon, you can do something else, make a drink, get a few minutes fresh air, go for a walk. Simple thing like this can easily perk you up and help you resist having that unproductive nap.

What else can it do?

The same goes for anxiety. I found my distraction in gardening. I wasn’t searching for any particular distraction, it just sort of crept up on me. I noticed that when in the garden, my mind was clear. The spiral of worry, overthinking, low mood, it just all seemed to stop when I was in the garden.

It doesn’t take away the anxiety altogether, but it does mitigate it and brings me into the moment. Focusing on nurturing my vegetables, fruit and flowers stops me focusing on negative thoughts.

However, I have found that the more time I spend in the garden increases my well-being overall and has helped me to manage the anxiety better, along with other coping techniques and medication.

One thing I try and do is not to over do it in the garden. If I work so much that I become exhausted (or worse, aggravate my rib) there is a danger. That danger is being put off by that negative feeling you had when you overdid it. I always like to stop when at the point of still feeling like I want to do more. This way I retain the enthusiasm to get back out there as soon as I can. Aiming to do about 50% of what you think you could do in any one session is a good place to start.

The answer is….

It is so pleasing that gardening is now being recognised, and being taken seriously, as a therapy in itself. As I have always suspected and I will say again, for every problem in nature there is an answer in nature.

Ah, my rib is starting to feel better already.

Do you have a distraction that is a winner? Share it in the comments below, I would love to hear it!

Yoga – an introduction

Like many, I thought yoga was just a load of silly poses.

I did not know how wrong I was until I tried it. Last year I attended my very first yoga class. Previously, I had bought a second hand DVD from eBay. However after a couple of weeks the novelty wore off and so did the motivation. The DVD sat gathering dust and ended up being donated to charity.

I’m not really sure what made me go to a class, but I will say this. I felt absolutely AMAZING afterwards.

For me, paying for a class is far more motivating than staying at home and finding a reason not to do it. Some of you may not be able to stretch to paid classes, or prefer the privacy of home. You can find many instructional videos on YouTube like this one which I really liked.

What’s yoga got to do with it?

You may ask, what has this got to do with gardening? Well, you would be right, there isn’t a direct correlation. However, I found this, along with gardening, to play a major part of improving my overall well being. It has so many benefits, it will warrant another post about it soon.

As a sufferer of anxiety, part of my own self help was to try things and see if they worked for me. I can say that for me, yoga was an unexpected find. I don’t feel like I am exercising (and I hate exercising), and I feel so relaxed yet energised afterwards.

My teacher is brilliant, never pushes you to do more than your own limits. She always gives you options depending on your ability, flexibility, or if you have any illnesses or injury. I found this most refreshing, and actually makes we want to try those difficult poses even more.

So, have you found something that helps to alleviate stress, anxiety or depression? Has yoga done this for you?

Take care of yourself. Namaste.

Feeling meh….

It’s inevitable, the good spirits wear off. Usually when the weather is overcast, dark and miserable, like today.

When I feel less than great, I try and remember to do three things:

-something I need to do

-something I have to do

-something I want to do

Feeling meh

Need

Things you need to do are things that, when not done, have negative consequences. Such as not paying a bill for instance. Today, my “need to do” was sending my proof of no claims bonus to my new car insurance company. The consequences of not doing this would be an increased premium. None of us want to pay more for insurance than we should!

I felt a bit better having done that, knowing it is off my “to-do” list, and one less worry on my mind.

Have

Have to do things are the daily chores of life. For example doing the laundry, or washing up. Or maybe even making tomorrows lunches. The sort of things that keep life running a bit more smoothly. My “have to do” today was to put away some clean clothes and put another load of washing in the machine. I know now that there wont be a backlog of clean clothes followed by a backlog of dirty ones! And the bedroom looks tidier, that’s a bonus!

Want

I think this is fairly self-explanatory. Do something every day that you enjoy, you want to do. Watching a film or your favourite TV programme, an hour in the garden, weather permitting, are some examples. Whatever makes you feel good, lifts your spirits, it is all good.

From personal experience, I know how hard it can be to lift yourself out of the fog and into the light. So even on the darkest days both mentally and meteorologically, just three things can made the difference.

My “want to do” today is watching the snooker on the TV, while painting around the fireplace. I find painting quite therapeutic and love snooker, so that works well for me.

What three things can you do today?

Potatoes, potatoes

I grow potatoes, I have done for about three years now. This time of year is perfect for deciding which ones to grow. I just love potatoes fresh out of the earth!

There are many varieties out there, and it can be confusing to say the least. It doesn’t have to be, with just a little knowledge.

What do I need?

Having said that, potatoes are really, really easy to grow. If you are short on space you can grow them in a bucket, or an empty compost bag. As long as your chosen container has drainage holes, they will grow.

All you need apart from the container is fresh multipurpose compost. Then you need a fertiliser such as fish, blood and bone or chicken manure pellets. And water, and of course time.

What variety to buy?

There are a couple of things to bear in mind. First of all decide whether you want to grow salad, otherwise known as early potatoes. Some examples are Charlotte, or Swift. Alternatively try main crop, which are the ones you would buy for perfect roast potatoes. Popular varieties are Rooster, King Edward, Desiree, etc. etc.

Early potatoes are waxy and good for boiling and salads, as a general rule. Main crop are floury and are best for roasting and baking.

However there are varying degrees of each and some start waxy and become floury if left to grow on for example.

There are many reputable companies selling seed potatoes. Here are some I have used myself:

https://www.jbaseedpotatoes.co.uk/

https://www.thompson-morgan.com/vegetables/potatoes

https://www.vanmeuwen.com/fruit-and-vegetables/vegetables/potatoes

https://www.suttons.co.uk/Gardening/Potatoes+Onions+Garlic/Seed+Potatoes/

What next?

Browse the potatoes and see what will work for you. Try to choose varieties with good overall disease resistance. I am sure that you want to enjoy the growing process, rather than worry about constantly protecting your crop.

After that, wait for the next instalment. I will cover what to do with your potatoes when you receive them.

Here is my very small but perfectly formed first harvest!

Small potatoes!

Are you new to growing potatoes? What questions do you have?

Garden update Monday 14 January

A knock on the door rudely awoke me early this morning. It was a delivery, I was confused. I had no idea what it could be, had I been sleep shopping?

Luckily, sleep shopping it was not. It turned out to be a bulk delivery of bird food. I had bought 25 kilos of sunflower hearts, 150 net free fat balls and 3 kilos of meal worm flavour suet pellets, yum!

Later in the morning, the delivery was taken down to my little shed, where all my bird food supplies are kept. Then, I realised just how pleasant it was outside today, a balmy 9 Centigrade (48 Fahrenheit in old money).

When suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I see a little glint of orange in the pale winter sun. What on earth could be so bright at this time of the year? Well, it was this:

A beautiful, perfect calendula, in January! What a delight nature is sometimes.

And so to the jobs

Back to the real reason for the post, a garden update. Not a lot to report, however the onions and garlic are still growing well. Slow growth would be the norm, but they are well on their way. The mild winter, so far, has helped. I am growing white onions and soft neck garlic, autumn plantings for both.

rhdr

I’ve had to put a piece of old fencing over the raised bed to stop the local cats and other wildlife using the bed for a toilet/digging patch. I used just a few clothes pegs and sticks to keep it in place.

It was so nice, just for a few minutes, to feel the sun on my face. I also tidied up some pots, removing all the dead foliage. It is amazing how doing just a few minutes on a small project can made you feel better.

How do you find little lifts in your day?

Happy New Year! Happy New Blog!

Happy New Year

So, having thought about this for rather more time that I will admit to, I decided to finally put fingers to keyboard. It all started, just a couple of years ago. I found that gardening was more than just bunging a few bedding plants in pots. A bit more than watering them when I remembered. I realised that it actually helped me in so, so many ways. For example, from growing some potatoes in pots as an experiment, to designing and building a fully fledged mini garden allotment. Also, and very importantly, to giving time for my poor overworked brain to rest and recuperate after a series of highly stressful life events.

You can imagine that this came as a bit of a shock to me, and my family. Having been pretty much a lifetime snubber of anything remotely green and leafy, it was a real about turn. And it came at the right time, really really at the right time. Just when I needed something else, to calm the stressed mind. To focus on something different, to nurture, and to reap the rewards of my efforts.

So, I’d like to share the journey with you, both what has gone before and what is to come. Gentle gardening and a little crafting, for the body and mind!

Glad to have you as company 🙂