While in recovery from substance use disorder, your mood may fluctuate often. Sometimes things are fine, and other times it can be hard to find motivation. Certain activities such as therapy, hobbies, and spending time with loved ones can help uplift you and strengthen your resolve.
One such activity can include growing plants. Whether it is growing tomatoes in the garden or caring for a potted plant indoors, raising plants can benefit our mental health in a surprising number of ways.
Taking care of a life other than your own can have a therapeutic effect on your mind. Seeing something which you cared for thriving and growing can be beautiful and can also act as a symbol for your growth.
Many people who care for animals or raise children have come to understand these emotions. Thankfully, plants are much cheaper and require less time and energy, so more people can include them in their lives. Even if you live in a small apartment, there are potted plants that can fit almost anywhere. This is especially important for those in recovery because it gives them the ability to participate in this form of therapy while still having plenty of time and energy to care for themselves.
Caring for another life in this way can be a form of therapy because it helps you realize your self-worth, as this living thing relies on you. Like any other hobby, growing plants is a skill that you can hone as well. As you see yourself improve at growing over time, this can give you a confidence boost when you try to learn other skills in life.
Growing food like tomatoes, for example, can also be shared with others in your life to bring them some joy as well. Through nurturing the lives of plants you can realize the importance of helping yourself. This can help to provide healing from trauma that can often damage your self-image.
Plants, Mindfulness and Nature
Recovery can be a stressful time it is important to find ways to manage that stress. Studies have shown that people who cultivate plants have less stress in their lives and this could be for a few reasons.
First of all, the work that comes with caring for plants creates an outlet for you to vent your stress. Through working on something and seeing your effort become a living thing that gives you joy, you can transform stress into positive emotions. You may be stressed when you feel a lack of control or when you have trouble focusing on positivity in your life. Caring for plants offers something to put your energy towards that you have complete control over and that rewards your effort.
Another way that plants can reduce stress is through a form of mindfulness. Mindfulness is the act of living in the present moment and focusing on your body or surroundings rather than letting your thoughts and emotions control your actions. This practice can be a valuable tool both in recovery and treatment as these times can be turbulent for our minds. There are many mindfulness techniques, including going on walks, breathing exercises, and meditation.
Gardening can become a form of mindfulness as well, as you focus on your work and the plants whose lives you are nurturing. Spending time around the plants that you raised can remind you of your work and positive emotions, helping you to get out of negative thought patterns. Holistic activities that help soothe your mind can be valuable for anyone in recovery. Another activity that can provide a positive distraction is yoga.
Consistency and Routine
One important factor in recovery is a good routine. Having daily activities and rituals can help maintain balance in our lives and keep us along the proper path. This is because, as human beings, we enjoy control. Control makes us feel comfortable.
Although caring for plants cannot fix your entire routine, it certainly can help you start one. Plants are not very needy creatures, but they do require watering, sunlight, and good soil to thrive. By learning to water your plants at a specific time every day, it is possible that adding other activities to your schedule might be a little bit easier because you already have some practice.
The routine you build around plants might even include other people and evolve into a bonding process. Maybe you or a loved one could start a garden together. Working with a partner on a project can keep you accountable and motivated to want to keep going more so than doing it alone. Many cities and towns also have community gardens where people come together to work, learn and share. Whichever way you choose to practice this hobby, all that matters is that it helps you along your journey.
Although it is not for everyone, gardening and growing plants can be a beneficial hobby for our minds in recovery. Plants can be an inexpensive way to find peace, grow food, and add life to our homes. There are books and websites dedicated to learning this hobby and many different plants to choose from. With all the ways plants can benefit our lives, it’s no wonder that we have been growing them for thousands of years. For those in recovery, it may be worth a try. However, if you or a loved one has not yet reached the stage of recovery, Everlast Recovery Centers is here to help. At our southern California-based facilities, our caring staff is ready and willing to give you the best treatment possible. We treat each client as an individual and take both their mental and physical health into consideration. To learn more about our services, call (866) 338-6925 today.