Claire's Comments

Be kind, be caring and start with yourself...

Usually we include a snippet of wisdom from GROW HQ Head Grower Richard in our weekly missive but Richard, like most professional growers, is taking advantage of the season. he is in semi-hibernation beside the fire with a good book and a better whiskey. Comms manager Claire has taken up the mantel this week and she has some advice for those of us who find it hard to get into the Christmas spirit — don't.

As the Christmas hype reaches fever pitch, the ads on TV, radio and online become ever more forced and excessive glee seems to be the order of the day, don't be afraid to opt out. Christmas is a time that evokes complicated emotions in many of us, we may be thinking of a loved one who won't be here this year. We might have experienced a family break up, a bereavement, emigration or any number of other situations might be at play. We can be accused of being too bah humbug, or of not playing our role in the all too heightened expectations of the season. but that's ok. If you have a tough time celebrating Christmas, if the joy and warmth doesn't quite make it all the way through to your heart, don't be too tough on yourself. The manic present-buying, food-hoarding, fairy-lit festivities are not for everyone. Christmas can be whatever you make of it. Why not make it a time to take care of what matters most and forget the expectations and social norms?

The phrase self-care means undertaking any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. It is a vital human function and far too often overlooked. In GIY we undertake so many activities day to day that benefit our health in lots of ways. One or more of them might be just what you need to escape the revelry and indulge in something that suits you better. 

Growing something, putting in the time and effort and energy to produce something tangible, is a simple act of self-care. Read more about how growing can benefit our mental health here. Or choose to learn how to start growing at home by booking a Beginners guide to Growing course. 

Cooking is another primal and comforting act, nourishing yourself, and perhaps your family, with a meal you made yourself is a basic act of self-care that we all to often skip in the name of convenience or time saving. Look through our seasonal recipe archive here and check out our healthy cookery courses here

Wellbeing is a word we use so much it sometimes seems meaningless but it is so important to protect our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing and they are alllinked. Yoga is one way that we can balance the physical, mental and spiritual through breath, movement, balance and meditation. A yoga class with Martina in GROW HQ usually ends with a head and shoulder massage and participants leave feeling lighter, clearer and more relaxed. Find out more about wellness classes at GROW HQ here

Maybe we should all take Richard's lead, while the garden prepares for spring under an icy blanket curl up at the fire with a good book, a warming drink and the peace of mind to know that the world will all still be there for you when you are ready to emerge. 

This Christmas and New Year give yourself a little gift, ignore the marketing urging you to become a "new you", just look after the old you. 

Nollaig shona.