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Gardening for Mental Health

The activities of our everyday lives can often provide us with opportunities to pause, reflect, and be mindful.

One such activity is gardening, which has been found to have many health benefits, including:

  • Relaxation
  • Reducing stress
  • Soothing anxiety, tension and fatigue
  • Physical activity – helps improve endurance, strength, mobility and flexibility
  • Grounding and connectivity
  • A food source (if you choose an edible garden!)

As well as providing us with meaningful activity engagement, which gives us a sense of achievement and enjoyment (a core OT principle!) – which helps to boost our mood.

At a time when so many of us are disconnected from the world around us (and hyper-connected to technology) – being in a garden provides us with an opportunity for connection. As gardening is an activity that requires our full focus, it takes us away from the distractions and stressors of modern life – thus making it a great form of incidental mindfulness.

There are many ways to get the benefits – if you aren’t keen on gardening for yourself, try sitting in a garden, having a small indoor plant, or even just looking at some greenery through a window.

And for those looking for inspiration…here are some pictures from a garden created by one of our Lifeworks clients. This started as a small project, and has now evolved into a beautiful environment within her block of units…which has brought joy to herself and many others. She has found that her garden gives her a reason to “get out of the house”, and provides her with a sense of purpose, connectivity and achievement. She is also able to look out at her work through her window – so an added bonus!

Want to get started? Speak to an OT … we are seasoned professional in grading and adapting any activity to support you to get involved, no matter what your health condition. Start small…you never know what may happen!

Heidi is a qualified Occupational Therapist with over 20 years of experience in both community and inpatient mental health settings. She specializes in case management, psychoeducation, counselling, functional assessment, psychosocial rehabilitation, and individual and group therapies. Heidi is trained in various therapeutic techniques, including DBT, ACT, and CBT. She is also a registered OT with the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia and an endorsed BAMH practitioner. In her free time, Heidi enjoys yoga, walking, and spending time with her family.

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