Healing Green: Can Gardening Help You Maintain Your Sobriety?
Learning to relax and increasing your general mental health and well-being may play a role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Furthermore, it might keep you away from alcohol or drugs. Horticulture is becoming more popular as an additional therapy in treating addiction, but it does not have to be part of a formal program to be effective.
Numerous studies show that gardening may improve mental health and well-being while boosting physical health. Developing a new activity can also assist recovering addicts in directing their energy in more favorable areas. It gives a welcome distraction from cravings and bad thoughts. Even light gardening can aid in the continuous process of addiction treatment. So let us see precisely how gardening can help you maintain your sobriety.
Gardening Keeps You Out of the House
In recent years, we started spending more and more time indoors. We work from home, we relax at home, and we entertain ourselves at home. However, spending so much time indoors is unhealthy for our minds or bodies. First, the quality of the air inside our homes is not ideal. For instance, our homes are full of dust, pollen, pet hair, mold, bacteria, and many other pollutants. These pollutants can cause allergies and tiredness and increase the risk of respiratory infections.
At the same time, sitting inside for a long time keeps us from receiving enough sunshine. Therefore, we have a vitamin D deficit that can cause many issues. For instance, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and weak bones can all result from a lack of vitamin D.
Furthermore, people with a history of substance abuse have a higher predisposition to these illnesses. The pain and inflammation caused by these illnesses can cause depression and anxiety, thus raising the chances of substance abuse. Gardening can help prevent all that by keeping you out of the house.
You will be occupied with your little plants, so you will spend enough time outdoors in the sun and away from temptations. So if you have even the smallest patch of ground or you moved to a house with a yard, plan to make a garden for your mental and physical health.
What if you live in an apartment?
Unfortunately, only some are lucky enough to have a patch of land they can use for gardening. However, you can still use gardening to help you maintain your sobriety. For instance, you can participate in horticultural therapy programs that will provide you with everything you need.
Furthermore, you can grow plants in hanging boxes, window boxes, or indoor pots. That way, you can grow your favorite spices or indoor plants even if you have a small space. At the same time, you could help your community and take care of the plants and trees on your street.
Moreover, note that it is always wise to make a long-term plan for your addiction recovery after rehab and maintain your sobriety. Therefore, involving yourself in gardening activities in your community or making a small garden in your home can only benefit you in the long run.
Gardening can Become a Healthy Routine
To grow flowers or vegetables, you must dedicate a part of every day to them. Therefore, gardening will help you have a routine. You will need to set aside time each day, 15 minutes to an hour, to tend to your plants. You must water your plants, trim them when needed, and pluck the weeds as they appear. Also, you may need to build a fence to protect your plants from pests and animals. That will keep your mind and hands occupied so there won’t be any time for bad thoughts.
Gardening Can Be a Form of Exercise
Regular exercise can only benefit your recovery. In reality, studies showed that regular mild exercising, such as gardening, can improve your well-being. For instance, it lowers the risk of anxiety and depression, increases your mobility, and keeps you away from cardiovascular diseases. At the same time, exercising can help your brain by improving your memory, increasing self-control, and helping your focus. Therefore, gardening can only benefit you whether you are healthy or recovering after addiction.
Gardening Promotes Healthy Eating
As a person recovering from substance abuse, it’s critical to eat healthy and nutritious meals that refill you with the vitamins and minerals your body lost while you were addicted. So after you plant the seeds and tend to your garden, you can enjoy the rewards. Furthermore, the food you cultivate will be higher in nutrients than the one you buy at the supermarket.
That is because you need to harvest fruits and vegetables grown in a garden when they are nutrient-dense. Therefore, when you grow a garden, you will get much more than a hobby or an activity that keeps you busy. You get a reward for your work and commitment, which is how gardening can help you maintain your sobriety.
You Can Use Your Garden for Meditation
Like other focus activities such as drawing, painting, or playing music, gardening requires you to empty your mind and focus on the activity. Therefore, gardening is a meditative activity. Many gardeners discover that they enter a calm state when caring for their plants and are entirely immersed in the action. That can help you switch off your mind that is set on cravings and focus on the beauty of life.
At the same time, you can use your gorgeous garden for meditation. Mindfulness meditation is a common practice in addiction recovery, so it can only benefit you. As a result, you can improvise a meditation corner in a small part of your garden, where you have only flowers and grass. You can also install a small water fountain or build a rockery that will make your meditation corner more beautiful and pristine. Then, you can bring out your mat and meditate in your favorite spot whenever you need it.
As you can see, gardening can help you maintain your sobriety. Boredom and too much free time on your hands can cause you to relapse. So instead of engaging in harmful activities, you could fill your day with caring for your plants. It will give you a sense of responsibility and many tasty and healthy rewards.