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Can Gardening Help Your Recovery?


Can Gardening Help Your Recovery?

Not everyone might immediately see the connection between recovery and gardening, but having experienced it personally, I can vouch for the incredible benefits. Although I wouldn’t claim to be an expert, I do think of myself as a self-proclaimed recovery gardening guru, as it has become a part of my holistic recovery plan.

How did I get into gardening in the first place? It happened somewhat by accident, but I quickly realized the benefits it offered. Gardening is more than just a hobby; it’s a therapy. Horticultural therapy was first recognized back in the early 19th century by Dr. Benjamin Rush, known as the father of American Psychiatry. This practice uses plants and plant-based activities as therapy for patients with mental illnesses.

Gardening has numerous benefits that can help anyone, but especially those in recovery. It teaches us perseverance, helps establish routines, and brings us into the present moment. When I first started gardening, I was overwhelmed by the number of weeds on our property. However, instead of being daunted, I took it one step at a time, one square foot at a time. This methodical approach calmed me and made me realize that I could overcome challenges if I broke them down into manageable parts. This process mirrors the recovery journey in many ways.

But how does gardening tie in with specific recovery issues? For me, it has helped with my ADHD. Research shows that being out in nature and engaging in physical activities like gardening can improve ADHD symptoms. Beyond that, gardening has helped me reduce stress, improve overall positive feelings, retrain my brain, and even foster a sense of accomplishment. Plus, there’s just something about putting your hands in the soil that’s incredibly grounding and life-affirming.

Moreover, gardening offers tangible results that can symbolize our internal growth. It’s like a physical representation of our recovery process. In recovery, we often struggle to see our growth, but when we garden, we can witness the fruits (or vegetables!) of our efforts firsthand.

Need help on your recovery journey? Set up a get-to-know-you call with me by clicking here.

Starting your own garden is simple. It could be as straightforward as buying grow bags from Amazon, filling them with soil, and planting a seed. If you’re looking for a sense of community, consider reaching out to your local extension office or university. Gardening presents many opportunities for connection and community, both of which are crucial in recovery.

In closing, I encourage anyone in recovery to give gardening a try. You might be surprised by how satisfying it can be and its positive impact on your recovery journey. It’s not just about growing plants; it’s about growing ourselves.

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Shauna McKenna Vick is a certified Joy Coach with a unique background, specializing in addiction recovery and chronic relapse. She uses a neuroscience-based approach to help clients understand brain patterns, create new neural pathways, and overcome obstacles to joy. Drawing from her own experience in long-term recovery, Shauna crafts individualized plans that emphasize building a sobriety toolbox, setting intentions, and developing healthy habits. With an extensive educational background, including certifications in professional recovery coaching and recovery specialist, Shauna is dedicated to empowering clients to not only overcome addiction, but also to thrive in their lives and create fulfilling, sober existences.

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