A true sense of zen washes over me as I sit in my backyard having a cold drink after spending the last two days picking, pruning, planting, fertilizing and weeding – lots of weeding. We have a small yard but we have filled it with planters, hanging baskets, trees, and raised garden beds. The yield is not likely worth the effort; however, we go through the process every year. An orthopaedic colleague of mine once asked me how much I spent at the garden shop each spring. He took great pleasure in reminding me how many vegetables I could purchase with those same funds.
And yet simply sitting among the green leaves and pink, purple, yellow and white flower blossoms erases all that cynicism. The birds appreciate the effort, particularly the feeders placed around the periphery, the squirrels appreciate the seeds spilled from the feeders, and the raccoons, well they appreciate enjoying their share of the crop every year.
In our busy clinical work and ever increasing screen time, “outside time” can be lost. Last year Psychology Today posted an article highlighting why connecting with nature elevates our mental health. I believe this to my core. By connecting with nature, and truly all things outside of ourselves, we become more grounded and learn to live more in the moment. Life just seems better. I know my time spent hiking, camping, and gardening truly rekindles my spirit and strengthens my ability to cope with my daily stressors.
Summer is short. I encourage everyone to step outside and truly connect with nature in any way possible. To quote Games of Thrones, “Winter is coming.”
- Dr Kathleen Ross