Gardening is my best weapon against Lyme Disease
I love to garden, but it's not for the reasons you might think. Gardening helps me to fight Lyme Disease, improves my mental health, and helps me to feel like I'm contributing to helping the planet and my community.
Let’s be honest, I hate mornings, and I really struggle to get out of bed early. Sometimes it is physically painful to get up and move, and I want to lie there and take it slow. And yes, there are days when I do. And that’s okay, I forgive myself for being angry about the pain and frustrated that my body doesn’t work the way I want it to.
However, I love gardening more than I hate not feeling well. Gardening forces my body to work, distracts me from the pain, and getting some sunshine and time in the dirt is actually healthy! Not to mention gardening actually lowers cortisol levels and reduces stress!
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Gardening is a great workout
There is something magical about being out in the garden early in the morning. I love the sound of the birds singing, digging my toes in the mud as I tend to the plants and pick the morning fruit. This is my time, and I love it when I’m finished being able to stand back and see all that I’ve been able to do.
I used to go to expensive yoga classes, try to follow along as nimble 20 somethings twisted and turned into impossible pretzels. And then I’d suffer for the rest of the day and even into the next because my fibromyalgia would flare up and I’d be in pain until it would settle back down.
Then I discovered therapeutic gardening, meaning taking gentle movements and appreciating them for what they are, and pushing myself just a little bit to feel my body working as well and working the garden at the same time.
Sometimes it’s moving heavy bags of mulch or soil, bending down low to plant or pull weeds, even a nice long stretch as I pull the hose from place to place is how I feel like my morning routine works for my physical health.
Gardening can lower your BMI
I love this house, this yard, this garden that is coming together day by day. I’ve always been a gardener, sometimes waking up before the little ones would stir so I could steal a few minutes out of the day for myself and my sanity.
Gardening has actually been shown to lower your BMI. Studies have found that women community gardeners had an average BMI 1.84 lower than their neighbors, which translates to an 11-pound weight difference for a woman 5 feet 5 inches tall. For men, the BMI was lower by 2.36 for gardeners — a difference of 16 pounds for a man 5 feet 10 inches tall — compared to the neighborhood cohort. Gardeners were also less likely to be overweight or obese; 46 percent less for women gardeners, and 62 percent less for men gardeners.
Even NASA suggests gardening!
I read this article recently about the “Gardening Glow” which basically means that working with plants provides positive sensory stimulation and NASA has done studies on this to help their astronauts sane and happy in space. Because planting and caring for seeds and plants has such a powerful impact on your mental health. That scene in The Martian is a real thing!
Do what you can!
I get tired easily, need to sit, and take breaks. I know that I need to be careful about overdoing it. My heart issues are worse now that I’m older and cardio is out. Gardening is hard sometimes, and it can’t be ignored for long.
I’ve learned to take my CBD vape out to the garden with me, along with a cold drink, a broad hat, and recently my husband got me a little fan that you can wear around your neck.
I’ve overdone it a couple of times this week. But thankfully it wasn’t terrible. I took some time to go sink into the tub with a muscle-relaxing bath bomb and mentally let go of the pain. That’s usually the hard part for me, letting go of the fear and frustration of pain.
Getting over the pain and seeing the flowers is the reward for the hard work.
After a long winter, I was so excited to get out into the garden and get started. The house took a lot longer to finish than we had expected, so my garden got started pretty late. So I pushed myself like crazy to try to get the grass to take root and get some flowers in the empty beds.
I think I’ve got most of the front finished now, and I’m really happy now when we go out to sit on the front porch, and I can see all of the flowers are blooming and everything seems so happy.
Gardening is my way of reducing stress and fighting Lyme Disease. I do it for my family and for myself.
If you garden, we would love to see your photos on Instagram or Facebook! Tag us and let's see what you are growing!