Stress blog

Make time to tend your garden

By Edward T. Creagan, M.D. September 2, 2010

Need more help?

If the stress in your life is more than you can cope with, get help right away.

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Go to the nearest hospital or emergency room
  • Call your physician, health provider or clergy
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness
    1-800-950-NAMI (6264)

"My basil was looking puny." This was the opening sentence from a beloved leader in our community when I ran into her at the farmers market. We've been acquaintances for years, and it was wonderful to reconnect with her. I was rather puzzled by her comment, but I simply kept quiet and listened.

My colleague was in the midst of some important and high-level negotiations with tremendous economic and political significance for our organization. She facetiously commented that she was working 42 hours a day. Failure was not an option, and she was clearly under enormous personal and professional pressures.

So what did the basil plant have to do with any of this? As an avid cook, my friend prides herself on her gardening and kitchen skills. Because she was too busy to care for her garden, her herbs withered and died. As a result, her recipes were not quite up to par, and she felt very frustrated.

This casual meeting with an old friend at a Saturday morning market reminded me of the importance of taking care of yourself by:

  • Nurturing what renews your spirit. If you don't cultivate these gifts, they will wither and die.
  • Not losing sight of your own needs. You cannot give what you do not have. Everyone needs time to regenerate.
  • Knowing where to draw the line. If you aren't careful, your vocation can devour your life.


Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

Follow on Twitter: @EdwardCreagan

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9 Comments Posted

Sep. 02, 2010