When I wake in the morning and my first thoughts seem daunting instead of happy, when my days feel overwhelming instead of joyous, and the hours pass slowly and tirelessly, when they normally seem to fly by never leaving quite enough time to do everything I want to do, these are the signs that my mind and body need me to slow down and take care of me. My days are typically days of happiness that seem to pass so quickly, only leaving flashes of pure excitement and fond memories, and the typically happy days make it easy for me to recognize when my positivity starts to slip, and life begins to feel heavy. When I notice my lack of enthusiasm start to creep in, I go on the offensive and fight back against the dark days. This is how I’ve learned to overcome depression, anxiety and to stay healthy, happy and true to the real me.
At the first sign of trouble, I look to my passions, my hobbies and the activities I love the most, to help me find my center again. I then take action; I plan a day with myself, a day to relax, recoup and reflect. I usually pick a day when my husband and friends are busy elsewhere, so I have no feeling of being needed or expected somewhere else. Typically these days are just spent by myself, a sort of calm within the storm you could say, a time for quiet, peace, and only taking care of me. There are times when I like to include others in my healing days, like taking a hike down a local trail with friends, then heading home for some quiet time with a book or tending to my garden. Other days I just need solitude, curled up in a blanket with my pen and paper writing while sitting in the grass clearing behind my house. Other days I need to blow off some steam and I focus my strength on an hour long yoga routine, or I grab my dog Ruby and we head out for a hike down the river in the forest behind our house. It’s free of trails and the perfect place to reconnect with the real me and burn some energy. Then there are days like today, days where I wake up early and enjoy a slow start to the day.
After a very difficult week, a week of dealing with the loss of my grandmother, nightmares and mix ups involving work trips I was supposed to be taking, work issues, coming down with a terrible flu, as well as the typical stressors like budgeting and endless errands, it was no surprise that I began to feel overwhelmed, and ultimately a little low. I knew it was time to put life on hold and take care of me. When I woke up this morning, I did just that, I crawled out of bed and began my nice slow and relaxing “happy morning” routine. I put on my comfy clothes, made a hot cup of coffee and headed to the porch to just enjoy the morning sun on my skin, the sounds of the birds chirping and to take in the green grass, the flowers and the perfect country landscape. These slow, yet beautiful mornings remind me of how lucky I am to live where I live, and to be surrounded by such beauty day in and day out. My mornings like these start my day on a footing of positivity and feeling thankful for life’s gifts. This is how I love to start my “me days”.
After my rejuvenating start, I head to gardeners heaven, Walters Greenhouse. This nursery is my floral paradise and my absolute favourite place to be inspired for future landscaping projects. There are thousands of flowers, shrubs and trees, aisles upon aisles of beautiful violet, yellow, red and fuchsia blooms and many more, the selection is beyond great, its never-ending. I often walk in and almost feel more in awe than anything, never knowing where to begin, or how so many colours, plant varieties, and people can all be in one place. It’s a hive of activity from the moment I step foot through the gates, and I immediately join the swarm of customers and workers, flowing down the aisles, bringing their creativity to life. I find beauty in these moments, seeing a variety of people, young and old, eagerly picking out beautiful flowers, their favourite vegetable plants and herbs, selecting shrubs or trees for distinct purposes instead of for aesthetics. I’m always inspired by the unique selections in the carts of the people that pass, everyones idea of beauty is different, their needs are different, their creativity blossoms in a purely individual manner. Here not only do I get to explore freely and let my creative juices flow, I am shown how unique, how interesting and different we all are, and this is a one of the most stunning and humbling reminders of all. After quite literally hours of selecting the perfect plants, soil, fertilizers, pots and trees, I pay, pack up my car and head home. That drive is one of bliss, the sun shining, music playing, windows down and the wind blowing through my hair. I feel fulfilled, having spent the morning surrounded by beauty and successfully designing and improved garden within my mind.
After I arrive home, I make myself a healthy lunch filled with countless vegetables, something I can’t get away with when cooking for my husband and I. Then I get dressed in my grubby gardening clothes, throw on my “go to” baseball cap and head back into the sun. My gardening attire is almost as typical as my gardening routine, it’s relaxed and comfortable, it’s purely for purpose, not pretty, and it’s just what I need. Then I take all my spectacular finds and spread them out so I can see them all clearly. Here I begin planning and adding beautiful pops of colour and interesting foliage to my current garden. I arrange my new purchases in my garden, placing them where I want to plant them, rearranging them, shifting them until everything is exactly how I want it. Then I move on to my pots, filling them halfway with potting soil and arranging the plants until they are planned perfectly as well. During this creation and planning process my mind is free from worry and solely focussed on the artistic task at hand. I can’t possibly be unhappy in these moments, because I’m just free to be me and let my mind create.
After the planning is complete I begin to plant, I dig, I clip, I fill, and ultimately I nurture. Gardening combines two of my greatest strengths, my artistic ability and my need to nurture. This explains why when I feel overwhelmed, I typically head to my garden for the entire day or at least a portion of it. After everything has been planted to my liking, I thoroughly water all my new plants, then move onto tending to my garden. I weed the garden, edge it so it curves and flows as smoothly as a snake, I trim my shrubs, turn over the soil, and clean away old debris from the long winter. Once it’s complete, and I’m thoroughly covered in dirt head to toe, a sign I’ve worked hard all day, I sit back and enjoy my work. I re-water to give my new babies a good start, and look forward to watering and tending to those new plants daily to ensure they take root and thrive for years to come. My garden, although just beginning to come back to life after the recently ended winter, brings me so much joy and peace. It’s time-consuming, and requires a great deal of patience, perseverance, and effort. It challenges me daily, and is a constant project, a project of love and one I am excited to take part in. Just like my life, my garden is constantly growing, changing, and evolving. New blooms come to life, return year to year, others only remain for a short time before they are lost. The evolution of my garden, the circle of life, and the quiet strength of growth is a constant reminder of the beauty in my own life. Here I find peace with myself, with my life and the strength to step forward in a positive light.
As the day comes to a close, and my husband returns home, I proudly show him the efforts of my day, the beautiful sanctuary I have created, and my confidence and hope beams. When this is my reaction at the end of my day, I know I have been successful in my fight against the sadness. I naturally exude confidence, I feel proud of my work, I feel inspired and realize my creative abilities are a true strength, mostly I’m so incredibly happy to have my husband home to relax and share in the beauty of our garden sanctuary. After my “me day” is complete, my center, being myself and my garden, shifts to my husband and myself, and in that moment I feel strong, safe and home.
Taking time for yourself is crucial to your health and your happiness. You cannot only take care of those around you and expect to stay strong. Like anything important, there needs to be a balance in life. Whatever makes you happy, whether it’s something as simple as reading, or as athletic as running, take time for you and enjoy your favourite activities. Whether it’s a couple of hours, or an entire day, just take a moment to slow down and smell the roses. There is beauty in the life you are living, you just have to take the time to see it. If you’re always rushing it’s easy to lose sight of the happiness that surrounds you.
I hope that your tomorrows are filled with moments that inspire you. That you find time for the hobbies that make you stronger, happier and healthier than the day before. Please take care of you mind and body, and be sure to spend ample time tending to your needs, you will be more able to help and enjoy those around you if you do.
Wishing you peace, positivity and inspiration in all the days to come.
Please enjoy pictures of a small section of my garden, my planters and my adventures of the day. It’s just now starting to come to life, and I can wait for the rest of my flowers to push their way through the soil, and for the others to grow to full height and begin to bloom. I hope my day for me will inspire you to have your own special day, and that you will feel happier, stronger and more positive because of it.