At the end of a busy gardening day, you are likely tired and sore. Taking care of the gardener (yes, you!) is the last important task of the day.
Sometimes you just get in the groove. You start out gardening, thinking you’ll just be out for an hour or two and before you know it, the whole day has gone by and you are dead tired from all the work you managed to accomplish.
We tend to overdo it, despite what our bodies tell us. It is similar to sports where athletes push themselves to the point of exhaustion.
But it is a good exhaustion. You can look back at what you were able to do in your quest for a more tranquil garden and have that sense of accomplishment.
Here are some ways you can pamper yourself and take care of the gardener after taking care of the garden.
Time for reflection
This is more of a mental, feel-good practice. While you probably are eager to put away the tools (make sure to clean them!) and hang up your gloves, spending some time reflecting on what you have accomplished feels great!
Once you have put down your tools, just stand and have a look at your garden. If your garden is large or you have worked in various areas, do a quick walk around. Resist the temptation to do more work though!
Look at how everything is in harmony. In the warmer months bees, butterflies and birds are likely moving around the garden. The colours and textures mix together in a cohesive manner. You have the smells of flowers, herbs, fruit and yes, even the soil. And the promise of future food harvests beckons.
A shower or bath and clean clothes
When you feel like you brought in a wheelbarrow of dirt in your clothes and in your hair, then you know the first thing you should do is strip and have a hot shower.
Not only will this make you feel like new, but the people around you will also benefit from you not smelling like the 2 yards of compost you were shoveling onto your garden beds or the fish fertilizer you managed to spill on yourself.
Some shower heads also have a massage setting, so use this to help loosen up some of those tense muscles especially in the back.
Or relax in a luxurious bath if that’s more your liking. Even better is if you have an air or jet tub that can help your sore muscles. Also use epson salts in the water and some essential oils to help you relax.
And then step into your most comfortable clothes, matched to the weather and season.
A meal of homegrown vegetables with a fresh fruit dessert
Now the last thing you probably will want to do is stand in the kitchen for an hour or more, cooking. Hopefully this is where the rest of the family will pitch in and cook for you. Or worst case order something in.
A restorative meal is one of your own homegrown vegetables with a simple side of protein if you wish. And to top it off a nice dessert made with fresh fruit if available.
And a beverage of your choice. Hopefully you will have had something while you were gardening as I mentioned in 5 Useful Items To Bring When You Work In The Garden. But now you can have something special.
This is where a helpful spouse or partner can acknowledge and say “thank you” for having worked so hard in the garden. Even just a simple shoulder massage to loosen up the stiffness will help, but ideally a full body massage is the best.
If you both were working in the garden, you might have to reciprocate and give each other massages!
If you are still stiff you might also consider booking an appointment with a massage therapist for whenever you can get an appointment.
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Now that you have pampered your physical self, you again should turn to your mental self for that final “task” before you head off to bed to restore and rejuvenate.
Consider buying a gratitude journal and start writing in it.
Write down 5 to 10 things you are grateful for right now. Preface each with “I am grateful for…” or something similar that speaks to how thankful you are.
- I am truly grateful for the nice dinner I had with vegetables from the garden.
- I am so grateful now for the serious weeding I got done on that neglected section of the garden.
- Thank you for the time I spent with my child(ren) in the garden, showing them how to grow their own food.
- I give thanks for the sun that provides heat and light so that my plants can grow and feed our family.
Secondly write down a list of your gratitude intentions. These are things that you want to work towards and have happen in the future. Write these though in the present tense as if they are already happening.
- I am truly grateful for the abundant harvest of tomatoes to make tomato sauce with to feed us all winter.
- I am so grateful now for the rain that is ending the drought we have had for the last few months.
- Thank you for the time I spent relaxing in the garden, catching up on reading the stack of books and magazines I had set aside.
- I give thanks for the beneficial insects that help to keep pest populations down naturally.
At the end of this practice remember to say thank you again as you close your gratitude journal.
And now you can go to bed, satisfied that you have taken care of yourself after taking care of your garden all day.
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Tranquil Garden Urban Homestead, Victoria, BC