Garden or Wellness Plan: Principles for Both

In Wednesday’s post, we talked about ways gardening can benefit our wellness. As I mentioned then, this time of year I just can’t wait to get my hands in the dirt, and I’m always excited about the potential of a healthy, productive garden. Planting and watching things grow is exciting, but the growing only happens if we prepare ahead of time. The same is true when it comes to our health/wellness goals. If we don’t have some sort of plan, we may find ourselves just muddling through without a clear way forward.

Foreground of golden grass with mountains in the background, overlaid with quote: "If you don't know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else." ~Lawrence J. Peter

Making our wellness plan can be a lot like making garden plans though. What seems perfect on paper doesn’t always work out perfectly once we start to implement it. That’s okay though – our plans don’t have to be set in stone. We can update them as we need to.

And once we have our plan, we may not always be able to stick to it. Again, that’s okay. Just having one gives us direction.

When we’re making our wellness plans, it can be helpful to apply a few of the same principles that I use when planning my garden.  Here are some principles that can apply to both our gardens and our wellness plans:

Start with good soil.

Good soil is the foundation for a bountiful garden. Gardeners spend a lot of time and effort trying to get their soil just how they want it. There’s a reason for that – if you don’t have the kind of soil your plants need, they won’t grow, or if they do grow, they won’t produce very much. Starting out with the proper foundation is critical.

The same is true of our wellness plan. We have to make sure we have a good foundation. This means spending a little time to figure out what we really need and our motivations for wanting to engage in healthy behaviors. In addition, we need to start with some realistic and achievable goals.

Doing these things will help us build up the ‘soil’ we need to thrive.

Rotate your crops.

When I’m planning the garden, one of the first considerations is what I planted in each box last year. Crop rotation is vitally important, because it keeps you from depleting the soil of all the same nutrients year after year. It also prevents pests from populating areas of your garden because they know they can expect to find their food source there.

If we apply the rotation principle to our wellness plan, one way to do that would be to add variety to our diets. Eating a variety of foods ensures we get the benefits of the unique nutrients/combinations of nutrients each food contains.

It also means switching up our exercise routines from time to time. One thing that we want to avoid is training the same bodily systems and the same movement patterns all the time. Changing things up can be a little harder if we have issues with chronic pain or illness, but having some variety in the way we exercise can help us train more systems in our bodies and better prepare us for the demands of daily life.

It may also involve trying new things. Sometimes what worked for us last year just isn’t working anymore. We may need to try something we haven’t tried before in order to find something that helps us continue to make progress.

Use companion planting.

Another consideration is a principle called companion planting. There are certain plants that seem to do better together than they do separately. Planting these together will help your garden to thrive.

When its comes to wellness, the most obvious benefit of the companion principle is surrounding ourselves with people who can understand and support us. It’s hard to stick to even the most well-thought-out wellness plan if the people around you don’t support your efforts – or even worse, sabotage them.

It’s important that we choose our companions carefully – you know that old saying about becoming like the five people we spend the most time with. Having people who have some of the same goals we do in our inner circle can help us be more successful because they’ll make it easier for us to choose healthy behaviors.

In addition to having people around us who support our healthy behaviors, we want to surround ourselves with positive people. I’m not talking about ‘rainbows and unicorn’ types of people. I’m talking about people who simply have a more positive outlook. They can pick us up when we’re down, and give us the opportunity to do the same for them on their bad days.

Be flexible.

The key, whether we’re planning a garden or constructing our wellness plan, is flexibility. Sometimes our best-thought-out plans just don’t work for us. Rather than becoming discouraged and giving up, we need to be willing to adjust. Being flexible and making adjustments as needed can help us move forward in our quest to thrive.

What are some of the principles you use when constructing your self-care plan? Please share!


Want some help with designing your wellness plan?

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  1. I found this post to be quite interesting Terri. Since my parents are older, I was tasked with taking care of their yard. Granted it doesn’t have a lot of plants, just a couple here and there, a big yard of grass and mango tree. I think I would find it relaxing if there weren’t all those damn weeds that I have to take care of. So I guess my perspective is more of just frustration of how to stop them from appearing. But I do watch my in-laws and how they take care of their orchids. They are so calm and relaxed that I’m jealous. Guess I just need to find that right plant that will put me in that zen state.

    1. Ugh….Weeds can certainly ruin your enjoyment of gardening. Weeding is just one of those chores I hate. We grow our food in raised beds, so weeds aren’t much of a problem, but they’re a never-ending nuisance in our flower beds, no matter how much weed-stop material we use. Orchids are so beautiful – I’ll bet they give your in-laws lots of joy. Hope you have a wonderful week my friend!

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