Planting A Garden To Relieve Stress
It’s spring! The trees, grass and flowers are in full bloom! The bursts of colour, new fragrances in the air, the sounds of birds chirping, and the longer days activates the senses and energizes the body becoming active and feeling alive!
Naturally, we begin to feel more relaxed and let go of stressors that confine us throughout the year.
Bringing a gentle, patient, and kind-hearted awareness to your automatic patterns of reacting to stress can transform your coping mechanisms. Stress is an ongoing part of our lives and how we relate to it can offer us choices to how we want to respond. Stress doesn’t go away, it’s always around.
Connecting with your body sensations is a clue to know how you are feeling. Connecting to your breath helps center your thoughts and body sensations.
Bringing this attention into the present moment, centering and observing the sensations and thoughts coming and going, releases that automatic stress response to react. As humans we are wired to react from danger to protect ourselves, the fight or flight response. Its the chronic stress that we live with unknowingly that cahllenges us.
With mindful awareness you become aware of your reactivity, thus creating a safe space with moments of observation before reacting occurs. This awareness can help you make more skillful choices in your experiences and relationships.
Connecting with nature and a planting a garden is a great way to begin a mindful practice.
Now, it’s a perfect time to plant a garden of herbs and vegetables because there’s nothing like eating fresh food that you pick right from your garden to the plate.
Plant a variety of herbs like parsley, chives, basil, rosemary, and thyme. Add a variety of lettuces, kales, chards, peppers and tomatoes. You can plant in a pot or in the ground depending on the space you have.
Here are a few to consider:
- Parsley is good for combating bad breath, high in calcium, and relieves digestive upsets. Parsley can go in almost every dish you cook. Flat-leaf parsley is preferred for cooking, can stand high heat and adds more flavor, while curly parsley is used more for garnishing.
Add lemon or orange zest to it and you have Gremolata garnish!
- Mint also beneficial for digestion. It relieves headaches and treats respiratory ailments. It is delicious in fruit and vegetable salads. Though there are many varieties, spearmint is preferred for cooking. You can add it to lamb, peas, carrots, ice cream, tea, mint juleps, and mojitos.
There is a chocolate mint plant that smells amazing!
- Basil is delicious with many foods and contains anti-microbial properties for healing infections and an anti-inflammatory protector. It goes well with sliced tomatoes and bocconcini cheese with a drip of balsamic vinegar. My favourite dish is pesto where I also add some kale, or spinach, sunflower seeds and garlic. Adding a good cold pressed olive oil gives it richness. It’s also a great way to get your greens in meals. I always have a batch on hand even throughout the year. Basil is also good in tomato sauces, on salads and with cheeses.
- Oregano is an aromatic spice that is known for Italian foods like pizza and tomato sauce. The oil of oregano is popular for healing colds and infections as an effective anti-microbial agent, loaded with phytonutrients with beneficial antioxidants. It is a good source of vitamin K, manganese, iron and calcium. Oregano as a fresh herb is great rubbed on meats or sprinkled in sauces.
- Cilantro also known as coriander as a dried spice is popular around the world. In parts of Europe, coriander is used as an “anti-diabetic” plant. In parts of India, it is used for its anti-inflammatory properties. and in America, for its cholesterol-lowering effects. It is also used for fighting Salmonella, a frequent and sometimes deadly cause of foodborne illness. Cilantro can be roughly chopped and used in sauces, as a garnish in soups and so many dishes. I use fresh cilantro in almost everything. Its so fresh and tasty. You either love the taste or hate it!
Treat your herbs like a bouquet of flowers. Place in a glass or vase of water and store in the fridge!
Rani Glick is a Mindful Nutrition Specialist bringing awareness about body and brain health for those living with stress or chronic illness. The mindfulness based stress reduction eight-week program is also available for the workplace. To book a consultation or find out more about Rani.