Sometimes gardening helps but it didn't today. I was weeding down in the native tree bed. The mindless, repetitive nature of pulling weeds can be calm and soothing, the sun on my back, almost like a meditation. But today all that mindless repetition just seemed to allow me to run round and round in my mindless nagging worry. I tried all the stuff about mindfulness, concentrating on the moment, feeling the sun, seeing the colour of the nepeta against the shocking pink of a hardy geranium, but it didn't work. Whatever the self help books tell you, it doesn't always! I decided to weed hard for an hour or so. Then at the very least I would have achieved something while my mind went round and round.
Yoga helps when you can get at it. When I started I was so bad at yoga that the very idea that it could have any calming or relaxing effect was laughable. Now that I have been going for about three years I remain resolutely unbendy in some areas, pleasingly flexible in others and always come home from a class feeling mentally and physically ironed out. No yoga this week though as I am away tomorrow and will miss my usual class.
So this afternoon's calming, feelgood arsenal consisted of:
one Solero icecream, eaten on the bench in the sun,
half an hour of quite difficult knitting, needing enough concentration to absorb my mind but providing the rhythmical physical satisfaction of handling the needles,
half an hour with a cup of tea watching the chickens scratch and then watering the scented leaf geraniums,
half an hour planting out euphorbia oblongata seedlings in the cutting garden.
So there you are: tea, chickens, knitting, walking, yoga, planting things out in the sunshine. I also find that
talking to those I love and walking and playing with dogs are great calmers and cheerers.
What works for you?