Butterfly on verbena bonariensis

So we have just come to the end of January, a tough month for many people.  Whether it is dry January struggles, post Christmas anti-climax or simply the dreary weather; many people find getting through the long dark days of January a struggle.

From a personal perspective, I have had many battles with depression throughout my life and it is not unusual to find the black dog or dark clouds looming large at this time of year.

Being out in daylight, preferably in green space and ideally working in a garden is usually a godsend to me whenever I feel my mood coming under pressure.  But of course the period from late November – February is not an ideal one for this sort of activity and no amount of looking at seed catalogues is any compensation for the physical, mental and emotional lift that gardening gives me.  So I long for brighter, longer and sunnier days to literally chase away the clouds in my mind.

In the interim, what can I or anyone else similarly struggling do?  Two new things I have recently introduced into my armoury are firstly,  a ‘light box’ that is currently sat on my desk shining brightly at me, trying to trick my brain into thinking it is real sunlight.  Does it work?  Jury is out at the moment, but it seems to be lifting the edges of my mood, so I will keep the light shining on! Secondly, getting exercise out in the open – I can’t do the usual exercise regime of digging and weeding, so my replacement is now Nordic Walking.  Thanks to a lovely teacher (www.daftnessberkshire.co.uk) I get out in the open, get my heart rate up and feel the wind and hopefully sun on my face and it definitely helps.

Lastly, I get out into my garden and greenhousewhenever possible and look forward to longer days and more sunlight, when the healing powers of gardening lift my heart and soul!


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