GAR­DEN THER­APY

Berkshire Life - - Gardening News -

As we go to press, the head­lines are full of the news that GPs in Scot­land are go­ing to pre­scribe ‘na­ture’ as a treat­ment for ailments such as high blood pres­sure and anx­i­ety. And this has got me think­ing. On the one hand, it is a bril­liant idea – how could sun­shine, fresh air, gen­tle ex­er­cise and con­tact with na­ture not be ben­e­fi­cial? I know that at dif­fi­cult times I have of­ten found so­lace in the gar­den.

On the other hand, I have seen so­cial me­dia get­ting over-ex­cited. And I rather feel that we should be care­ful about global panaceas. Gar­den­ing can take peo­ple away from crowds and stress­ful sit­u­a­tions, but by the same to­ken, as a job, it can be quite iso­lated and phys­i­cally de­mand­ing. What is sauce for the goose may not be sauce for the gan­der, if, for ex­am­ple, one is a stressed-out and seden­tary of­fice worker and the other is a self-em­ployed ru­ral plants­man.

And it is a dou­ble-edged sword in other ways. Out­door jobs like gar­den­ing are pleas­ant and cre­ative, yet these very fac­tors are re­gret­tably fre­quently used to jus­tify poor pay in skilled peo­ple. As if a nice job some­how com­pen­sates for not be­ing able to cover the bills. Ad­ding a generic ‘good for your health’ may not be that con­struc­tive – you can’t ac­tu­ally eat all that lovely fresh air.

So let us take the head­lines in our stride and aim to be suf­fi­ciently self-aware to do what is best for our­selves. It may be dark and cold but if we feel low then a good gar­den­ing ses­sion or brisk walk is prob­a­bly just what the doc­tor or­dered. At the very least, it gives me­di­a­tion time and per­spec­tive. And that is not to be sneezed at.

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