We’re asked to pay attention to a lot in our day-to-day lives. With so much to focus on, it’s easy to get worn out, a phenomenon psychologists call directed attention fatigue (DAF). You might recognize the symptoms, which include feeling distracted, forgetful, impatient, or irritable.
The most effective way to rest and restore is to shift our attention to something that engages us without requiring sustained focus. The natural world offers an ideal fix, stimulating our senses—rustling leaves, birds in flight, clouds drifting overhead — without demanding heavy concentration.
If you’re looking for something more active than simply soaking in the great outdoors, try gardening. Here are some tips to help you get started.
If you don’t have much gardening experience, start with just five to seven plants. Choose a few you’re excited about; you can always add more next season.
Find a Sunny Spot
Kathleen Frith, president of the sustainable agriculture organization Glynwood, recommends selecting a spot that gets at least six hours of sunlight a day and using a raised garden bed, which gives you control over your ratio of soil and nutrients.
If you take time to clear your plot of pesky weeds before you start planting, you’ll save yourself the headache later and ensure that your plants have the best chance to grow and thrive.
Label Your Plants
It’s easy to forget which plants are which, or where exactly you buried those seeds. As you’re planting, set labels in the soil. You can use the ones that come with store-bought plants or make your own with markers and popsicle sticks.
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