We live in a culture where wellness is an ‘industry.’ Well, hands up, Bloombox Club is a part of that industry, and we don’t think there’s anything wrong with making people happy. But that doesn’t mean that mental wellness can be reached with the touch of a contactless card. In the same way purchasing a gym subscription won’t give you that Love Island body, making the decision to focus on your mental health, stress levels or self-esteem will not transform you overnight.
Prioritising our wellbeing can make it seem like another chore to fulfil, and happiness like an achievement, or a box to be ticked; leading to feelings of failure, frustration and self-reproach. The road to wellbeing is a journey without a definite end. As the writer Jeanette Winterson says in her memoir Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal:
‘Happy times are great, but happy times pass – they have to – because time passes.
The pursuit of happiness is more elusive; it is life-long and it is not goal centred.’
We are trained to measure happiness extrinsically, through achievements, material wealth and standards set by advertisers, taste-makers, mortgage brokers, insurance companies, universities, personal trainers etc.. Winterson’s assertion that happiness is not goal centred flies in the face of all of this: it is re-positioned as something experiential and attitudinal, as opposed to quantifiable.
Winterson’s thoughts on happiness are particularly prescient this week as mental health is put front and centre. Certainly, you cannot think your way out of severe mental illness, but re-centring your mind on the present can be a powerful way of de-escalating anxious feelings and negative thoughts. At Bloombox Club, we encourage developing a practice that includes plants, with a view of developing more accepting way of thinking; one that is firmly present-tense.
This need not be extravagant or time consuming. It could be as simple as re-arranging your plant collection according to where the best sunlight is.
The following activity can be a great way of de-stressing during difficult or busy periods:
Begin by finding a plant rich with foliage, and in need of a good dusting. Take each leaf in turn, and wipe them with a cloth, slowly and carefully. With each leaf you clean, consider something that has been worrying you, or getting you down, and imagine it being wiped away, as you clean.
Of course we need to address the responsibilities, and genuine trials in our lives, but we also need to learn how to switch off and live in the present. We hope that active plant care will help you do this.