Gardening and sustainability – its not just for the planet, gardening and sustainability are good for the soul in a variety of ways. Let me explain, and you might find you want to try it in an effort to create a sustainable you.

Mental Well-being

In general hobbies are good for improving your mental well-being. Over the years, researchers have documented numerous benefits of hobbies such as:

  • Reduced stress
  • Less depression and low mood
  • Increased happiness and relaxation
  • Improved communication
  • Enhanced relationships

There is more to life than work and sleep. If you are in a relationship, having hobbies on your own can offer a chance for you to break away to learn something new, then be excited to come home to tell your partner about the experience. Participating in hobbies with your partner can also be a different option to just vegging out on the couch. 

Gardening and Sustainability

Bixby at a recent cooking class we took together. It was great to change routine, learn knife skills from a professional chef, and eat the delicious creations we made in class.

But wait! There is more. Let’s peel another layer off of this onion.

Specifically My Mental Well-being

One of my hobbies is gardening. I have others, but I want to drill down into this one. I am not a great gardener, but I just love to get my hands in the dirt. I feel so accomplished when I leave an overgrown spot with a bin full of weeds and an open garden space with only what I love left in the dirt. 
This is not just a placebo effect or vitamin D benefits. Turns out there are microbes in the soil that have a similar impact to your brain as do anti-depressants. There is scientific evidence that microbes in dirt boost serotonin in your blood system. Seratonin is a mood elevating hormone. 
So while gardening is good exercise and creates a beautiful environment, it also has been scientifically proven to enhance your mental well-being. What a hobby! But there is more, let’s keep digging (pun intended). 
In project management we have a tool called the 5 Why’s. Don’t just look on the surface then move on assuming you covered it all. Let’s go one step more in this example about gardening and sustainability. 

Specifically Healing My Mental Well-being

As I write this I am at my dad’s house in Indiana helping him recover from a total knee replacement surgery. The last time I was here was when my mom died in January. Because of grief and a pesky pandemic, none of her stuff has been cleared out. It is like she went to the store and will be right back.
Including her gardens. My mom was a Gold-Level Master Gardener and honestly, a wizard with plants. It has been healing to putter around in her natural world pulling a weed here, staking a plant there. I talk to her out there. This is sustainability for me – more than just saving the planet. Saving my soul.
Gardening and sustainability

Scene from my mom’s garden. 

That is the power of habits. They can be as simple as a small hobby that gets you out of the house and boosts your mood or it can be a generational gift that supports your grief. What hobby do you have? Is there something you have been meaning to try or pick up that would be a good distraction for you?