selective focus photography of red petaled flower

How plants & nature can help us when grieving

Read time: 2 minutes

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow” Audrey Hepburn.

This blog post brings me to combine my work with loss and my interest and experience in plants & nature, because we all have an inner connection to living things. 

I happily live with a number of house plants and know the benefits they bring to me both physically and mentally…

Nature and tending to plants can provide us with solace in times of grief. We can form bonds with new places in nature, take walks, immerse ourselves in woodlands, or look after a new plant. These bonds can help us to find a sense of identity again and connection when we have felt loss.

Nurturing another living being, be this planting some seeds and watching with excitement as they start to emerge or looking after a new house plant can bring us a sense of purpose, enjoyment, routine and focus when we are feeling lost & isolated. It can be a great source of self-care, plus plants don’t talk back or argue, they just accept you as you are.

Knowing that you have something to tend to and care for can help to give you motivation to get back to creating goals and looking to see a future again, something that can feel so difficult when we have felt loss. We become more aware of the cycles of seasons and the changing needs, planning ahead to what we may wish to do or to grow next week or next year. Loss can remind us of the uncertainty of so many things, but you can create some certainty in knowing that you can grow something, tend to something alive and create a routine for yourself and have at least some control over something. 

Gardening and nature may be something you used to find so much benefit from before loss or change. Looking to return to something which used to bring us joy and excitement may feel different now, but it’s worth exploring to see if some of those old feelings can be rejuvenated and restored.

Both plants and us humans share in common the continuous cycles of life and death. Therefore, a closer connection to nature brings our awareness closer to our own cycles of rejuvenation, growth, struggle and deterioration. It may even help us to accept this process more so.

“Being in nature one becomes aware of the infinite circle of life. There is evidence of decay, destruction and death; there are also examples of rejuvenation, restoration, and renewal. The never-ending cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth can put life and death into perspective and impart a sense of constancy after experiencing a life changing loss or a death.” Kristi A. Dyer

These are just a few ideas. Whether its a walk in the park, a houseplant on the windowsill or growing some veg there are loads of ways building our relationship with nature can bring us benefit.