The University of California’s Riverside Botanic Gardens offer a healing garden setting for those in recovery from an addiction. Located on the east side of the UC Riverside campus, the Gardens cover 40 acres of hilly land crisscrossed by scenic trails. Here’s how spending time at the Botanic Gardens can help you stay sober in early recovery.
Spending time in nature fosters healing.
An article published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology highlights the benefits of spending time in nature. Close proximity to green spaces is associated with lower stress levels and reduced depression and anxiety. Interacting with nature improves cognitive functioning, especially in terms of restoring attention and reducing mental fatigue. A healing garden setting is a great place to have a picnic, read a book, study for an exam or engage in artistic activities like drawing or photography.
Exercise promotes good physical and mental health.
Four miles of healing garden trails at Riverside Botanic Gardens offers an easy way to get in some daily exercise, which can be central to ongoing sobriety. According to Harvard Medical School, exercise works as well as medication for reducing depression in some people. Exercise has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety as well, and it improves overall health to keep you strong and motivated in early recovery.
Relaxation and reflection are key to successful recovery.
A healing garden setting is ideal for relaxing and reflecting in nature. Spending time in mindful self-reflection is important in recovery, especially in the early weeks and months. Reflection helps you stay in touch with thoughts, emotions and physical sensations like hunger and fatigue so that you can take the appropriate steps to reduce negative emotions and take care of your essential needs before they lead to a slip-up. Plenty of benches are scattered along the trails for relaxation and reflection near the healing garden of your choice.
Spend Time in UC’s Healing Garden Setting
The UC Riverside Botanical Gardens feature numerous native and exotic plants and an abundance of wildlife, including migrating birds, lizards, coyotes and bobcats. Special events include daytime and twilight tours, photography groups, pruning demonstrations, art events and bird-watching excursions.
The Gardens are open daily from 8 am to 5 pm, except for major holidays and campus holidays. Admission is free, although donations are accepted.