Tending Your Garden

The disposition of self-care

Your self-care is much like a garden, it is something that requires monitoring, attention, and diligence but the rewards are fruitful. After reading an article about the basics of gardening (Vegetable Garden Maintenance) it occurred to me that many of these principles could be applied to self-care. The focus of this article is to give you another perspective of how to define self-care, less of the leisure activities, and more of the work.

Watering Your Plants

It seems obvious that watering your garden is a natural chore that comes with the territory of the responsible gardener. For self-care, lets say that watering is your access to resources and basic needs such as: food, water, sex, relationships, finances etc. There are days where you might feel abundant in these resources (thanks for the rain!), and other days where you are going to have to supplement your resources (have to get your sprinkler out). Keep in mind that different flowers in your garden of life will need more resources than others- you have to drink water every day, you do not have to contact every person you know every day. In your life, what does it mean to water your plants?

Weeding Your Garden

Those pesky weeds that manage to just pop up out of nowhere, take resources from your target garden and must be removed (even if they can be just as pretty as some flowers you may be cultivating). For self-care, lets say that weeds are negative cognitions, those nasty little thoughts that just seem to come from nowhere and ruin your party. It is important to be observant of your cognitions, not all negative cognitions are so obvious and might be tangled well within the arbor of your self-care. Pay attention to how these invaders are taking resources from other areas and how they are slowly suffocating the very thing that is sustaining them. What are some weeds that are common in your garden?

Mulching Your Garden

Apparently, mulch is important in gardens as it suppresses weeds and helps to conserve resources in your garden. For self-care lets define mulching as surrounding yourself with the support, the people, events and experiences that encourage you to have a healthy self-care process. There are many ways in which we are supported, but like mulching in gardening you should be sure to surround your plants not smother them. It is up to you in how you would like to define support, find support, and keep it in line as to not smother yourself. What kind of support do you have in your life? What support do you need more/less of? How can you cultivate your support system?

Feeding Your Plants

Feeding is important to your garden, it brings out the best in your plants and you can do it different ways, like introduce it to your soil or introduce it to the water you use in your garden. For self-care I would like to define feeding your plants as your experiences, the new, re reoccurring, and the unexpected experience that bring out the vibrancy of life. Your experiences will be different than someone else’s and it often times depends on resources you have available to you. It could be something as simple as going to a park or as exciting as jumping out of a plane. Everyday you have an opportunity for new experiences, or at the very least an opportunity to work towards them. What are experiences you need to have to feel like you are being the best version of yourself?

Pick The Fruit

An important part of a garden is to pick the fruit of your labor or it will start to rot. For self-care, I would like to define picking the fruit as celebration and pride in accomplishments. Accomplishments do not have to be extraordinarily large or flashy, they can be as simple as getting out of bed in the morning. It is important to recognize that even small accomplishments are deserved of celebration, especially because these small accomplishments might be one of the largest struggles in your day or life. You can choose how you celebrate, you can keep it for yourself, share it with others or use it as an ingredient for something bigger. When was the last time you felt proud?

Try and take a moment in your life to reflect on all of the tending you have done in your garden, observe where you could use a little more care and enjoy the pride that comes with a day of hard labor. It is important to also acknowledge other people’s gardens and help when you can. With enough time and support you will have a garden that will allow you to have a feast with others and to also keep you fed through those harsh winter months. As with gardens, self-care is a daily practice, some of it is your control and sometimes mother nature takes over, but be persistent and creative and use your life's harsh weather to your advantage.