The sun is (kind of) shining and days are growing longer. Come on, spring! Outside, the blankets of snow are melting (fingers crossed!) and you’re cringing because now you see all the ugly it’s been hiding. It’s a dreaded sight, a colorless reminder of the work ahead. On the other hand, when we think like that, it becomes what we call it: work. What if I told you the Spring cleanup in your garden does more than make your yard pretty? Before you put it off again and close your blinds to that part of the yard, you might want to rethink the way you look at that Saturday chore.
Good for the environment:
Your green thumb also creates greener living. Aside from the obvious like planting seeds and growing your own food, your garden has a positive impact on the entire planet. It seems big. I know. But without gardens, there would be an increase in pollution, global warming, and pests.
- We learned about photosynthesis in elementary school: Plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. The result is cleaner air and a healthy climate. So, yes, your beautiful gardens in your yard aren’t just for looks—they’re doing Mother Nature a solid.
- Most bugs are good bugs! Scream, freak out a little, but do not kill them. Gardens create habitats for smaller life forms like toads, worms, bees and other species that thrive and reproduce in the ecosystem. We need them because they eat the pests, keep the soil healthy, and help your garden stay bountiful. So, when they surprise you on your spring cleanup, let them live!
Good for the body:
I have a fear of short-sleeves and shorts during the winter to spring transition. It’s like showing your bare toes with chipped traces of last October’s pedicure. Yikes! We want to fix that, so what do we do? We head into the salon and polish those babies up. Well, there’s a fix for those shy bare arms and legs, too, and it doesn’t involve the gym.
- Hello, cardio! Get your heart pumping while you’re in the yard. If you really want to go for it, do a light jog when you’re on the move. If this is an all-day job, just walk. Don’t burn yourself out—you might want to have a dinner party later to showcase your work.
- Take note of the whole-body action in everything you do, from digging to planting. Use every muscle: root your body with your legs; lean with your abs and obliques and pull with your biceps and triceps.
- While pulling weeds and spreading mulch, use your glutes and thighs to get down and push yourself up. If you are able get off your knees and try to do a squat. Feel the burn!
- Remember to be aware of every movement. If it doesn’t feel right, STOP. Every time you bend, squat, lift, and pull, tighten your abs and glutes to protect your back. Drink lots of water and listen to your body.
Good for the soul:
I don’t know about you, but late winter tends to bum me out. I need sunshine. I need a chorus of birds, colors, and a warm breeze spreading the scent of lavender. Gardening is the best pick-me-up for crawling out of hibernation.
- Getting your hands dirty is therapeutic. Even I love to sink my fingers into the earth. Get in touch with your inner hippy! Put your bare feet in the grass, dirt, and mud. “Earthing” or “Grounding” allows us a direct connection to the earth’s magnetic field. Nothing releases the body’s feel-good endorphins like absorbing the earth’s much needed positive energy.
- There’s a sense of achievement and pride in a beautiful garden, especially when you get to be creative. I love pulling into my driveway and looking over my beautiful yard after I’ve put in the work. I’m so proud of myself that I just sigh with the warm fuzzies. Isn’t it pretty? I don’t know if my husband looks, but he always says yes.
I love me some Michigan, but especially this time of year. I come alive with nature and nothing connects me more than a good spring cleanup. So get out there, Michigan. Give your life a boost, nature, body, and soul. Walk barefoot into summer, arm and arm with Mother Nature!
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