The depressing lyrics and dirge-like tune of “In the bleak midwinter” just about sums up the mood for many people at this time of year. I also used to struggle with the winter months and would sink into a state of low motivation until mid-March, when the garden would magically awaken, along with my mood. These days I don’t seem too badly afflicted by what is often referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I strongly believe that my winter mood has been transformed by spending much more time outside.
The relationship between our mood and time spent in the natural environment has become of interest to the NHS. The government is calling for more “green prescribing” which includes therapies such as gardening and exercise in natural settings. Evidence is stacking up to show that outdoor activities can be an effective way to deal with moderate mental health conditions, loneliness and isolation.
The weather is currently mild and the ground is surprisingly workable, so if you are feeling down in the dumps, why not get your gardening gloves on and step outside for an hour or so?
Jobs that can be tackled in January include:
- Clearing away collapsed and soggy foliage
- Sweeping up debris from paths and patios
- Clearing leaves from borders
- Cleaning bird tables
- Moving deciduous shrubs and perennials to preferred locations
- Pruning roses, fruit bushes and apple trees
- Thinning out the stems of over grown deciduous shrubs
And… believe it or not, if conditions remain dry, and you set your mowers blades high, you can even mow the lawn!! I did last Sunday and my shaggy lawn suddenly looked transformed, as was my grumpy mood!
To find out more about health and the great outdoors