I move my potted seedlings (which are now rather large and leafy) out to the patio to harden them. I won’t plant them in the ground for a few more weeks. To “harden” a plant means you’re preparing it to transition from a safe, mild indoor environment (my window sill) to the outdoors (my garden). Plants you start indoors need to spend a few hours outside in the bright, hot sun, the wind, and the cooler air. The hours of stress prepare them for the transition to the outdoor garden bed.
Every year, I think of the work of hardening or strengthening that signals a transitional state to a season of growth and fruitfulness. You might feel like you’re in a stressful spot, but when you see it as your “hardening” for the bountiful times ahead, it helps give you joy and perspective.