Digging myself sane


If you have the misfortune to follow me on twitter, instagram or facebook, you will no doubt be sick of the sight of posts tracking my efforts at digging my not small garden areas.

Feel free to ignore them. They are not there because I want likes, or because I want to show off how much I dig in a day (although, I’m not going to lie – that’s a nice bonus) they are there because it is my way of tracking my health. Both physical and mental.

The world is full of crap right now. The news is depressing, my feeds are full of rage and as the cartoon I saw recently so eloquently put it, my desire to stay well informed is currently at odds with my desire to stay sane.

I’m a news and politics junkie, I work a full time job, I’m renovating a house and trying to grow a veg business, I sit on the local community council, look after a range of creatures and I have a mental health condition. Now, all of the things I do and work at, I do and work at because they keep me active. A bored Rhoda is never a good thing. I need to be busy, so I take on lots of things. Sometimes, that implodes. Sometimes I just can’t do it all. But that doesn’t change the fact that I need it in my life. I need to know that I am being productive, or I get seriously morose.

The garden got the better of me last year. I got the big part of the house renovated. I worked. But I didn’t keep on top of the weeds or my weight. Both things drag me down. I put on weight easily thanks to my medication, and when I’m depressed, a packet of bacon and a loaf look much nicer than a bowl of salad, however hard I work to grow it. When a plot with in excess of 300sqm of planting space gets out of control, getting that back is almost impossible mid-season – by the winter it looks like it has never been touched by a spade, nature gets the upper hand very quickly.

I never know when I will hit a bad patch, that’s the bugger of brain chemistry. What I do know is that if I keep fit and active, and set myself targets – with realistic, incremental steps – I can achieve most things. I lost 3.5 stone 2 years ago. I can lose this stone. I kept on top of the plot in year one, I can do it again in year 3.

Running was something I loved and hated equally. I hated doing it, but it was good for me – it worked out my tension and gave me space to think. Sadly I hurt my heel and haven’t been able to run since the summer. I missed it badly.

Sometimes, the obvious is staring you in the face. I needed to exercise for my own mental well being and weight, and I needed to get on top of the plot before the season started. And so I started digging. One bit at a time. It is a huge area, but I reckon I can do it. Not just can do it, need to do it.

I am structuring my day carefully. Working in the morning til 12, 12-3 out on the plot doing chores and digging, and 3 onwards working again. My digging time (which as the season wears on will become hoeing and weeding time) gives me breathing space. I chat to myself, listen to the birds, swear at the wind/rain/nettles/cat/dog*. By the end of my digging session, I feel better. I’m physically tired, and my brain is ready to work again. It’s working. So far, so good.

This wasn’t the post I meant to write. I have no idea what post I intended to write. Anyways, if you’re struggling to find a way through right now, find your “digging session”. Take something that scares you or that feels insurmountable and work at it, one step at a time.

*delete as applicable


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