Planting out
Thrive Ambassador Annabelle Padwick explores how gardening can change our lives for the better in 2020.

1. Build confidence

Learning new skills can be daunting, but the achievement and new understanding are truly fantastic for your confidence. You don’t need to set out to re-design your whole garden or grow every plant from seed. Start simple by planting a few plug plants purchased from your local garden centre, or sow just a few of your favourite flower and vegetable varieties. As they grow, so can you, progressing over time to new plant varieties and more complex gardening tasks.

2. Slow down

2020 is unfortunately designed by companies and society to be fast paced, just like most recent years too. We receive everything super-fast and have come to expect it that way. We are tuned to think we need everything immediately in order to keep up with demands, whether from ourselves, work, children, family or pets. But it is impossible to keep up. Don’t you agree? No matter how hard you try, something slips. Well guess what, that is ok! We aren’t designed for this chaos and in order to cope mentally and physically, we need to take time out. Whether you choose to read a book, knit, run or get out in the garden; we all need to take time to slow down. Gardening is the perfect slow down groove for me, I get lost in the actions, the colours, the smells, the tastes. My thoughts disappear, but I’m still physically moving, at my own pace.

3. Meet new people

Perhaps one of your 2020 goals is to start trying to talk to new people and make friends. But, without an already known shared interest, how do you start a conversation? I struggle with this all time and like most people, resort to mentioning the weather, then get too nervous and walk off. Gardening is great to do on your own, but sometimes it can be even better in a group. Many towns now have community gardens or allotment sites which you can join or become a volunteer. These outlets give you an automatic common interest to start the conversation and there isn’t pressure to keep talking. You can get lost in the gardening, say a few words about the plants, get back to the soil, then build the conversation up as you feel comfortable. Goodbye awkward silences!

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4. Get active

We all want to be physically fitter, whether that’s so we can chase after the kids, swim 100m, run a half marathon or simply be able to walk to the corner shop. But we aren’t all gym lovers, living room DVD workout superstars or keen to start doing star jumps in the middle of the local park. Just walking around in your own garden will get your body moving, then build it up with a few squats without realising when your weeding and a few bicep curls when your lifting plants or spreading manure. All of sudden your heart rate will start rising, your metabolism will speed up and gradually the muscles will awaken. Hello toned physique and beautiful garden!

5. Reduce waste and air miles

Have you said you want to try do your bit for the planet? Whether you’ve chosen to eat less meat, recycle more, travel less or buy no plastic wrapped veg from the supermarket, they are all great places to start. Growing your own vegetables and cut flowers can be a fantastic contribution to you, your family and the world! Depending on your appetite and space, you can grow as many edible delights as you wish. All straight from the plant and on to your plate, without any travel, wrapping or exaggerated costs. No more cut flowers flown around the world either, grow the varieties you truly love and only need to pop out in to the garden to pick a beautiful bouquet.

6. Eat healthier

Are you a snack eater within a hectic life? Do you do what I do and reach for the nearest cupboard when your stomach starts grumbling? Try switching the cupboard, for the nearest container! I love running outside to the containers full of vegetables in the summer months and snacking on the nearest pea or tomato, the taste is divine. On the move, pop some in a sealed tub, throw it in your bag and get going.