(Originally posted 6th July 2015.)
My natural response to feeling depressed is to go to bed and sleep but this isn’t always the best course of action. I believe that ‘like follows like’ so staying in bed feeling sorry for myself will bring me further staying in bed feeling sorry for myself. This knowledge isn’t always enough to get me up and moving though. When I’m depressed I lack motivation and crave the comfort of sleep. If I can’t motivate myself to move (and sometimes I can’t), I need an external motivator.
The allotment gives me that motivation. It’s a simple case of cause and effect. If I put in the work, I’ll get food at the end of the process. I can’t live without food and therefore must put in the work. Yes, I could buy what I need from the supermarket but I’d rather spend my money elsewhere. I’d rather eat home-grown produce. I’d rather put in the work.
When I do get out of bed and put in the work, I start to feel better. There’s something about working outside, doing something I believe in that is healing for me. Maybe all I can do is water the tomatoes and then make coffee and watch the birds but that’s OK. I’ve put in the effort and am rewarded by feelings of peace and well-being. And one day there will be tomatoes to eat.
Another motivation comes from making an investment. When I’m well I’ve invested time and energy in the garden. I have seedlings growing and maybe they’re ready to put in the ground. If I then become ill and don’t do the work of planting them the seedlings will die and I’ll have lost the investment I’ve made.
Motivation can be hard to find. But when I remember that I need food to live and that I’ve spent time and effort growing it I’m more likely to get out of bed, catch the bus and do some weeding.