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10 Tips on How to Turn Your Garden Into a Real Paradise

10 Tips on How to Turn Your Garden Into a Real Paradise

Gardeners are a special kind of dreamer — they never take today too lightly and always create for the future. Diligent and hopeful, they teach us to feel the simple joy of a growing flower. Take up their advice, and plant a tree in your backyard. With the soil losing its snow, it’ll take a couple of months for your home to become green, serene, and lively. And if you think a piece of paradise is impossible to have, here are some tips to reassure you.

1. Start a Gardening Diary

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    Whether you’re making those first steps or looking to freshen up your garden, building a scrapbook seems like a fun and practical idea. Keep tabs on each of your plants and follow their growth through the different seasons. Even before you make an addition to the garden, get familiar with the plant’s unique variety by researching it online — that way, you’ll know exactly how big they’ll get in time and, accordingly, in which part of your garden to plant them.

    Some of them, most perennials for instance, need to be around 18 inches apart in order to develop and grow freely. The same refers to height; to keep your garden tidy, make sure to plant the shorter sorts in front of tall ones, but also pay attention to the sun exposure and be careful not to block the natural light from the little ones.

    2. Understand Your Surrounding

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      Speaking of sun exposure, bear in mind that your garden is unconditionally tied to its surrounding, which is why you should get to know everything about the specific properties of your region. This is another gardening secret that demands thorough research — climate conditions, aforementioned sun exposure, pollution and even noise are all things to consider. It’s probably a handy trick to ask a local garden center for advice on your limits and possibilities. With enough knowledge, it’s less likely that your efforts will be in vain.

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      3. Get to Know Your Soil

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        The surroundings are just one of the precursors to be cautious about. The chemical composition of your garden’s soil is an equally important requirement for your vegetation to blossom. You’ll need to get a reading of pH and nutrient levels, acidity and texture. Each of those elements affect not only a choice of plant varieties, but also their further growth and continuance.

        Once again, you can consult with a local professional, or simply use some of the at-home testing kits available in gardening stores. A hard or clay-like soil might be more stubborn to farm. “It should be easily shoveled and crumble in your hands,” says Annette Gutierrez, owner of Potted in Los Angeles. “Add fresh soil, mulch, and compost, being careful to aerate as much and as deep an area as you can before planting.”

        4. Upgrade Your Gardening Kit

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          If you haven’t already, upgrade your gardening tools. Spray your shovel with silicone to make the soil slip right off, use a Dutch hoe to control the weed and invest in high-quality gardening gloves. For tweaking, don’t forget about the secateurs and hedging shears. You may think not all of these are essential for your landscaping, but the truth is they’ve been designed handy and light to ease your work and compensate for your lack of experience or strength.

          For the same reason, try not to settle for less — even though some of the gardening tools are pricey, they are easy to use and extremely durable, which definitely makes them worth a few extra bucks.

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          5. Dream Big; Start Small

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            To get experienced through practice, start your gardening season with vegetables. Most of them are low-maintenance, and the fact that they can be grown quickly allows you the freedom of making rookie mistakes. If feeling insecure about your gardening abilities, rest assured that even those least responsible can take care of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots.

            In case a flower garden is what you had in mind, begin your flourishing journey with sunflowers, sweet peas, pansies, and marigolds — their seeds are easy to handle, they grow quickly and are usually adaptable to various types of soil and weather conditions.

            6. Help It Grow

            Even a simplest garden is a paradise for those bursting with imagination. With such freedom of improvising arts and crafts projects, and all the potential for testing your creativity, it’s not so hard to invest your time and labor into a more fruitful tomorrow. Experiment with some of these tips:

            • Make your pots lighter — If your garden have grown into a pottery gallery, you know how hard managing heavy pots and planters may get. To keep it mobile and easy to lift, fill the pot one-third full of packing peanuts, separate it with a landscape fabric and top it off with a layer of potting soil.
            • Isolate an intrusive sprout — To prevent aggressive plants from suffocating their neighbors and spreading on, use a plastic container to channel their roots. You can plant it deeper to even it out with the surface and stay invisible, but remember to make a hole at the bottom for roots to reach the soil beneath.
            • Tuck in your bulbs — Use netting to keep the animals away from the flower bulbs; simply cover the bed of flowers with it and after some time, cut holes in it to allow plants to grow.

            7. Pick a Landscaping Theme

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              Once your plants have grown, you can foster them into an intricate labyrinth for you to get lost in, a floral walkway that will welcome you home or a simple manicured lawn for your children to play on. If planting a garden means believing in tomorrow, than landscaping means making tomorrow more fun. Search for ideas online or find them in your heart — this is a perfect opportunity for expressing your inner beauty and creating the most paradise-like hideaway.

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              Plant lavender, rosemary, irises and fruit trees for a wine country garden or use your carefully tweaked boxwood hedges to devise a dreamy winding path. For a charming reading corner, let the clematis and jasmine climb a brick wall or create a romantic pergola framed with roses. With Blushing Bride hydrangeas and coral honeysuckles, your garden will turn into serene dreamland in no time.

              8. Get Creative With Décor

              With DIY art blooming all over the internet, simple and budget-friendly garden décor ideas are only a click away. These unique little projects will allow you to unwind and feel the joy of creating while making your backyard even lovelier. Refurbish an old wood pallet or a used-up ladder and turn it into a display case for your favorite pot flowers or spices.

              If lucky enough to have your garden planted with taller trees, hang a hammock and decorate branches with Christmas lights. Instead of the not-so-original torches, reuse empty wine bottles to set a romantic mood. Play around with wind chimes and lanterns made from old buckets and mason jars and create a grapevine lighting balls.

              Include your kids and make a bird feeder or turn a bigger lantern into a terrarium. Add an antique bench and you’re ready for a lazy afternoon in the outdoors.

              9. Keep Nurturing

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                Especially if your garden hasn’t flourished yet, take a moment out of the each day to give your plants the care they deserve. Continual maintenance is important in the gentle art of gardening, so don’t forget to check on your sprouts even when there’s not much to be done around the place. Observe their growth and pay attention to the possible changes during the colder months.

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                Be generous when watering and do it as often as you can, if possible in the early morning before the day gets really hot — the main trick here is to allow the water to penetrate the soil! Look for stunted growth and if you find it, carefully examine the roots and help it sprout.

                10. All You Need Is a Little Patience

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                  If this is your first time gardening, getting a promised reward might be a little harder, but don’t get disappointed quickly. A garden needs time and nurture, and it might take a while until you perfect your skills. And if you think taking care of something so delicate is a great responsibility, we encourage you to experience it as a healing process — a day spent in the quiet, tucked in paradise of your own backyard will definitely be worth of occasional weeding and pruning.

                  Return to your gardening portfolio to keep track of your seasonal attainments and make notes on possible mistakes you’ve been making. In time, you’ll get experienced enough to spend less time tidying up and more time enjoying the results.

                  Start creating your own piece of heaven in early spring, when the sun is gentle and the soil fertile. Keep fertilizing all the way through summer, and wait for the August heat to abate to begin pruning. Just before the first frost turns your garden into a snow-land, remember to cut your roses and woody plants. Come next spring, your garden will be ready for you to relax and relish in.

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                  Published on November 14, 2018

                  Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                  Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                  With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                  For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                  In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                  Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                  Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                  It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                  For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                  Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                  Symptoms of Fatigue

                  Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                  • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                  • mental blocks
                  • lack of motivation
                  • headache
                  • dizziness
                  • muscle weakness
                  • slowed reflexes and responses
                  • impaired decision-making and judgement
                  • moodiness, such as irritability
                  • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                  • reduced immune system function
                  • blurry vision
                  • short-term memory problems
                  • poor concentration
                  • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                  Causes of Fatigue

                  The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                  • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                  • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                  • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                  • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                  Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                  Medical Causes of Fatigue

                  If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                  Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                  Anemia

                  Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                  Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                  There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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                  This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                  Diabetes

                  Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                  Sleep Apnea

                  Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                  Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                  Thyroid disease

                  An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                  Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                  • Lack of sleep
                  • Too much sleep 
                  • Alcohol and drugs 
                  • Sleep disturbances 
                  • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                  • Poor diet 

                  Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                  • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                  • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                  • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                  • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                  Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                  Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                  • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                  • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                  • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                  How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                  Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                  1. Tell The Truth

                  Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                  To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                  Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                  The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                  One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                  • How you feel
                  • What time of day it is
                  • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                  • How your mind and body reacts

                  This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                  2. Reduce Your Commitments

                  When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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                  If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                  When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                  Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                  3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                  If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                  Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                  If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                  Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                  Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                  4. Express More Gratitude

                  Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                  It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                  Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                  5. Focus On Yourself

                  Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                  There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                  But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                  We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                  6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                  Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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                  Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                  The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                  Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                  7. Take a Power Nap

                  When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                  Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                  This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                  8. Take More Exercise

                  The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                  Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                  The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                  You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                  9. Get More Quality Sleep

                  To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                  Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                  My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                  10. Improve Your Diet

                  Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                  Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                  On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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                  To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                  Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                  Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                  11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                  Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                  When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                  Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                  My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                  12. Get Hydrated

                  Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                  Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                  If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                  The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                  The Bottom Line

                  These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                  If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                  Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                  Reference

                  [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                  [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                  [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                  [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                  [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                  [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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