Plant a Summer Garden & Boost Self Esteem

gardenPart three of our #GirlUBeWell blog series to provide you with an off-screen, self esteem boosting activity is planting a garden.  If you start this weekend, you will be rewarded all summer long. Doing an activity outside gets you “back to nature” and an easy garden provides a soul satisfying experience of playing with dirt and nurturing a plant’s growth.

Even if your only outdoor space is technically a sunny kitchen window, or a balcony, you have enough space for a garden.  But even with acres of land, if you are a newbie, your best bang for the buck is to start off growing herbs.  They thrive in pots or in a small plot of land.

A trip to your local Home Depot, or Lowes, or hometown nursery will provide everything you need…the planters, soil and small plants of herbs.  Here is what we think will make the perfect starter herb garden!

Basil – Grows like a weed as long as it has good sunlight and regular watering.  Since is grows abundantly, pinch off leaves for a caprese salad, bruschetta or a quick pesto sauce.

Mint – Also a hardy plant that grows quickly!  If you put it in the ground, give it room to spread.  Mint is perfect for Mojitos and for infusing water.  Mix in chopped mint with lemon juice and Greek yogurt and you have a great topping for grilled food.

Thyme – Excellent all around flavor and easy to dry for winter use.  Thyme is great for a lemon chicken dish or in pasta sauce.

Marjoram & Oregano – Do you have a spice bottle of “Italian Seasoning?” These two herbs are staples in sauces.

Tarragon – Adds a rich, woodsy flavor to mushroom risotto or a chicken dish.

Rosemary – Excellent on roasted vegetables or potatoes and it smells heavenly in creamy sauces.

Sage – Another woodsy herb that grows quickly and the leaves are soft and fuzzy and a pale green that looks so pretty in the garden.

Chives - A subtle onion flavor and a welcome addition in salad dressing and on baked potatoes with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream.

This is a satisfying way to spend a few minutes every day and there are plenty of other herbs to consider!  Fussing over the plants, either watering or picking some herbs, becomes a daily habit.  Your finger tips will be fragrant with whichever herb you pick and it feels good to grow some of the food you eat. You might find yourself looking for easy recipes using tarragon or sage if you have a bumper crop, or taking a bunch of basil in a mason jar filled with water to a friend’s house to share.  Who knows, growing herbs might entice you to try growing tomatoes or zucchini next summer.

Monthly Cycle + Low Self Esteem

148027218The monthly clash of hormones can lower your self esteem in an instant.  As hormonal acne sends a blossom of zits across your T-zone and PMS bloating has the zipper of your jeans digging into your stomach, it is easy to feel horrible about the way you look!   The bloating and acne is never as exaggerated or as apparent to other people, but those PMS days can serve as a blow to your ego.

Wellness encompasses all aspects of our lives, like sleep, nutrition, friends, family and fitness.  What happens to us when we have negative feelings due to added water weight or acne?  I’ll insert another “ask” here for you to help us with our research by taking our survey on how PMS affects us at work because we wonder if low self esteem also plays a role in a woman’s reluctance to negotiate for a higher salary or not taking credit for her work.

Plus, as stated in this Huffington Post article, women are prone to dwell on the negative and ruminate, even on stupid things like thinking that everyone is talking about the pimple on your chin or that your skirt is a little snug.  And when you are busy mulling all of your perceived shortcomings, coupled with looking at people’s perfectly curated lives on social media…well, the self loathing can get worse!

Here are a few quick self esteem activities to boost your confidence:

Get outside.  Take a walk and be mindful of the sun on your face, the budding trees and the daffodils sprouting after a long winter.  Natural settings improve mood.

Avoid emotional eating.  This is the time when sticking to a healthy diet is truly difficult because you might want to stuff your face with donuts or ice cream or potato chips for that quick fix, but that junk food won’t help in the long run.

Take a nap.  Can you put your head down on your desk for 20 minutes?  Sometimes just a little rest will make you feel like yourself again.

Sweat. Take it all out on the elliptical or on the treadmill.  Feel good endorphin's will help you bust through your personal pity party.

Take a screen break.  Seriously.  For the next few weeks we will be writing about some analog pursuits!  Our #GirlUBeWell campaign will explore ways to spend an hour or two offline.  We are hoping this will spark your creativity and give you even more ideas for some positive self esteem activities!

Check back soon or look for #GirlUBeWell on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!