“Just make it part of your body,” Mr. Hughes said. “Don’t hold it out in front of you.”
And then there is his prescription for something we all suffer from: overdoing it. Think of your to-do list as the choice of rides at a county fair, he said, and don’t spend the whole day on one ride: “Go around from one ride to the next. Do one task for 30 minutes or so, then stop. Do another for the same period, and whether you are done or not, stop and do something else.”
Eventually, you can have another go at that first task, but by rotating, he said, “you didn’t push anything to the point where it wears out.”
Once, Ms. Hooper might have resisted this advice, she said, but now the county fair is her favored approach.
“This one is a real mental habit,” Mr. Hughes said. “Once you’ve done it a few times, your brain will say, ‘Hey, I have a great idea — let’s county-fair it today.’”
It has been months since they finished filming, but Ms. Hooper is still receiving follow-up calls from guests, with progress reports on how much better they feel since integrating their new habits. And not just in the garden, either.
“Now a lot of them are using their bodies that way when they clean the house or do anything else,” she said. “They really get it.”
Margaret Roach is the creator of the website and podcast A Way to Garden, and a book of the same name.
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