Let’s be honest, it’s been a tough year. Natural disasters, political strife, and violence in the news have taken a toll and many of us are tired, angry, and walking around with semi-permanent frowns. Now would be a good time to step away from the negativity on social media and the news and find something that will reduce stress and put a smile on our faces. Getting out in our gardens and landscapes is an obvious choice, but as the season winds down there might not be much left to do there. Here are some other great suggestions:
• Do some service at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. This helps remind us how lucky we are and that not everyone has had the breaks we enjoy.
• Go help a neighbor in their garden. Nothing like dirty hands and a front row seat in nature to put a smile on your face and make you feel relaxed.
• Have a vegetable swap in your neighborhood. Yeah, a lot of us are growing the same things, but everyone has their favorite oddball vegetable and even a specialty or two. While you are at it you can have a swap of the seeds you collected from the same vegetables you are sharing or wildflowers you are growing. There is no reason not to combine the two at the same time later in the year.
• Involve yourself in a hobby that creates something useful by hand. There is nothing better than making something useful and productive for yourself or another person to make you know that you have a valuable position in the world.
• Give something you made by hand to someone that can clearly use it. This is especially meaningful if it provides for a basic need like food, shelter, or clothing.
• Adopt a senior citizen and share your garden produce with them. You may find they have a lot to teach you about your favorite hobby, gardening. And they may also introduce you to a new hobby or activity that you have never heard of before.
• Go out and take a walk in a natural area, botanical garden, or a special garden in your community. You will find some amazing things that reaffirm what a great world we live in.
• Go to a historical museum, historical event, or reenactment. The time period you are looking at and trying to experience will have its own share of drama and frustration, but it is more distant and has been resolved to some extent. I recommend anything before 1860 as being terribly fascinating. These events are particularly common during the summer, but if you do a little checking there is a good chance you will find something happening on or around any holiday though the whole year.
There you go for a few starters. I am sure you have some great ideas of your own that I would love to add to the list, but this will have to do for now. Just remember it does you no good to get away from the messes of the world if you insist on bringing them with you. So be willing to set aside the modern world and let go of all the pressure. Yes, at some point you will have to come back and deal with it, but after your break it will be much easier.