Fall Gardening: Healing and Harvesting

Fall Gardening: Healing and Harvesting

Spending time in nature can be an excellent escape if you are struggling with substance abuse. Nature in itself can be very healing. Research suggests that actually interacting with nature through gardening or horticulture therapy can be even more beneficial. Spending some time planting or harvesting, even in the fall, can be very calming.

When was the last time you spent some time in a garden? While you may think it is a seasonal activity, there are actually quite a few things that can be planted and harvested in the fall.

Gardening is something some people may do as a hobby. For others, gardening can serve as a therapeutic experience. Watching the fruits of your labor grow and flourish can be very rewarding and healing. Seeing the end product is always fulfilling. Believe it or not, the process of planting, watering, and nurturing can be just as gratifying.

Healing Through Gardening

Let's dig a little deeper into the healing benefits of gardening and interacting with plants. Some people may really enjoy spending time in a garden, while others may not feel that they have a green thumb at all. Others may feel indifferent or have little experience with gardening.

When you think of gardening, you probably think of planting, trimming, watering, or harvesting. Other activities allow for interaction with gardens and plants too. Here at Enlightened Solutions, our therapeutic horticulture program utilizes natural materials to encourage healing and learning.

This can sometimes involve gardening tasks, but often it looks more unconventional. For example, a session might include making tea from freshly picked herbs from the garden. Or, it may involve seeding pumpkins in the fall to represent new goals and a new life in recovery.

The Farm at Enlightened Solutions

For those who have a green thumb or are interested in learning more about gardening tasks and practices, the farm offers clients an opportunity to learn hands-on. Our staff teaches you the importance of caring for something other than yourself and instills the value of working hard to grow organic and nutritious foods for yourself and your community.

Enlightened Solutions continues to offer activities and programs at the farm throughout the fall and winter seasons. This includes markets, volunteering opportunities, and a transitional employment program for clients.

Gardening in the fall can offer all of the same therapeutic benefits provided in the warmer months. If anything, the cooler temperatures might make the experience even more comfortable. Growing your own organic and nutritious produce can be very empowering and motivating.

At Enlightened Solutions, we offer many programs at our farm that provide opportunities for learning new skills and healing. Staff members encourage clients to step out of their comfort zone and try new things. Many even discover talents and abilities they didn't realize they possessed.

Skill Building on the Farm

While you are healing through our programs such as therapeutic horticulture, you can also learn new skills. Many are surprised by how much they enjoy gardening and farm work. The things you learn while engaging in therapeutic horticulture or other Enlightened Farm programs can help you once you complete treatment and enter recovery.

The skills and knowledge you gain while participating in these programs can also aid you in future employment. You can update your resume with meaningful experiences while still undergoing addiction treatment. This is ideal as it can help eliminate gaps in employment and help you build interest in new potential career fields.

Finding Purpose in Recovery

Engaging in programs at the Enlightened Farm can also provide you with purpose. The work you put in to maintain and care for the garden is for the greater good. You are helping to provide healthy and organic foods for others in treatment and your community.

Knowing that you are caring for something other than yourself and helping it flourish can restore purpose in your life. Many find giving back to be rewarding and motivating. Following addiction, finding purpose and motivation in life can make all the difference.

The skills and knowledge you gain as a result of therapeutic horticulture and farm programs can also revive your sense of purpose. It can be easy to lose touch with your strengths, interests, and skills while under the hold of addiction. You likely are not practicing them much during this time. By participating in gardening and farm activities, you can be reminded of the things that you love and discover new things you may have a gift for.

Cooler temperatures do not mean garden activities and programs stop. Fall gardening is in full swing at the Enlightened Farm, and so is our therapeutic horticulture program. This means that healing through gardening and interacting with nature can continue regardless of the season.

Gardening and spending time in nature is an excellent form of therapy. It not only pleases the senses but can serve as a temporary escape from stressors or worry. At Enlightened Solutions, we are rooted in a commitment to the health and sustenance of the earth and all humanity. Our goal is to support and nourish those struggling with substance use disorder and mental illness with holistic and evidence-based therapies. These include our horticulture therapy and other farm-based programs, which cultivate gratitude and connection among the members of our recovery community. If you or someone you care about is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, reach out to Enlightened Solutions today by calling (833) 801-LIVE


Harnessing Your Creativity in Treatment and Recovery

Harnessing Your Creativity in Treatment and Recovery

Do you consider yourself to be a creative person? Whether your answer is yes or no, creative outlets are important to have when recovering from substance use disorders (SUDs). They can serve as healthy escapes or coping mechanisms for stress and anxiety.

Creativity can be incorporated into almost any activity. Take cooking, for example. You are expressing your creativity by putting your own spin on a recipe. Maybe you are decorating cookies for a holiday party. This involves creativity too!

Expressing creativity is something we all should strive to do. Creating has a long list of benefits regarding mood, mental health, and motivation. In treatment and recovery, finding ways to express yourself creatively can enhance your experience and lead to better success long term.

Benefits of Creativity

As mentioned, finding creative outlets and opportunities for expressing creativity can have many advantages. For those struggling with addiction, creative activities can offer a reprieve from the many significant challenges associated with it.

#1 Aids in Relaxation and Stress Reduction

For many, activities that involve being creative can offer a sense of relaxation. This could include drawing, painting, making pottery, writing, and more. The therapeutic nature of these activities can help calm your nerves and help you focus on what your hands are creating in the moment. This allows you to drown out the things that may be weighing you down or causing stress.

#2 Boosts Confidence

There is something about creating something beautiful with your own two hands that brings a sense of pride. Even if the result may not seem beautiful to others, the beauty is often in the process. Learning to create something usually involves developing new skills. With building new skills comes more confidence.

#3 Fosters Socialization and Community

Activities that involve creativity can often be delivered in group settings. This creates an opportunity for you to bond with others over a common goal. Even if everyone is creating something of their own, the shared experience promotes communication and bonding.

Creative Expression During Treatment

At Enlightened Solutions, you are sure to exercise your creativity regularly. We offer a variety of therapeutic activities that promote healing and encourage creative expression. You may even discover a skill or ability to create that you did not know you had before entering treatment.

We understand that talk therapy can sometimes be intimidating or difficult, especially in the early stages of treatment and recovery. Expressive art therapy techniques, such as the ones we utilize, offer you a different modality for expressing your thoughts and feelings. It can be hard to find words to explain certain emotions at times. Painting a picture or writing a poem that is representative of how you are feeling can sometimes feel more manageable.

Our treatment facility utilizes a variety of different mediums when it comes to expressive art therapy. We offer art therapy groups that can involve painting, sculpting, sketching, and more. Our music therapy classes may include listening to music, playing musical instruments, or even singing. We also aim to help clients harness creativity throughout wellness and nutrition groups.

Creative Outlets Enhance Motivation in Treatment

Staying motivated to engage in creativity-focused activities throughout treatment and recovery can sometimes be challenging. This is most common, perhaps, once you have completed treatment and resumed your busy schedule. It is essential, however, to make time for the things that help you manage stress, build confidence, and offer a sense of community.

This may take some planning ahead and time management. For some, expressing creativity may fall into the self-care category due to the mental health and mood-boosting advantages. Learn more about the importance of self-care in recovery here.

It is essential to recognize how versatile exercising creativity can be. It may look different for everyone. Think about how you might be able to express creativity while participating in hobbies or activities you already enjoy. For example, consider taking a photo of the beautiful sunset next time you are out on your paddleboard. Photography can serve as an excellent creative outlet. Or, consider picking up a few flat stones on your next hike. They can make excellent canvases for painting.

Harnessing your creativity in treatment and recovery can benefit your mental health and help you avoid relapse. Usually, when you are doing something creative, your energy and thoughts are focused on what you are creating. This allows you to ignore and fight cravings, drown out stressors, and feel a sense of accomplishment and purpose. Consider picking up some paintbrushes, or even take a few minutes to doodle or draft a quick poem. You might feel a little more relaxed and joyful as a result.

Everyone has the ability to create. Some may enjoy it more than others, but everyone is capable. For many, the challenge is finding something they actually enjoy doing or believe to be meaningful. There are tons of different activities that can incorporate creative expression. A few common mediums include painting, making music, sketching, writing, acting, and even cooking. Sometimes, trying some of these activities for the first time can lead to new hobbies or coping strategies when it comes to managing stress or processing trauma. At Enlightened Solutions, we facilitate various activities that promote creative expression and help clients recognize the impact. Our trained therapists provide art therapy, music therapy, horticulture therapy, and more. If you or someone you care about is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, we would love to help. Call Enlightened Solutions at (833) 801-LIVE.