Anyone who has spent time gardening already knows how beneficial it is for your mental health. It’s fun, hard work (in a good way) while also being an amazing way to cope with stress. Gardening allows you to connect with nature while providing you with a quiet time to reflect or not have to think at all, a form of active meditation. Whether it’s raking leaves, planting seeds, or harvesting your previous hard work, gardening and being active outside working with plants is a great way to spend time in your recovery.
There is a lot of evidence that shows working outside in a garden or simply just planting trees can be a huge support to those in early recovery. With your feet on the ground and hands in the earth, breathing in the fresh rich jungle air you connect with your true self in a restorative way. Though still very few permaculture or gardening recovery programs exist, we know that adding it to our recovery program would give ourselves & our guests a fun active way to be outside in nature. Keeping the hands and mind busy with productive tasks can be extremely supportive & beneficial during the recovery process.
A few ways Permaculture activities support people in recovery.
Used as a supportive therapy or activity, gardening can be a very useful and healthy activity to replace drug or alcohol use. People in recovery are often encouraged to take up new hobbies to fill in extra time in beneficial ways. I have seen how Gardening can become a way to move the mind away from cravings and negative thoughts, helping to prevent the mind from dwelling on the past and help keep myself in the present moment by focusing on the task at hand. New skills learned in creating a garden or learning about permaculture promote self-confidence and create a deeper sense of purpose. The food we are cultivating and plants we tend to are shared amongst the members and guests of the permaculture project & Nihue Rao. Another awesome reason to get busy!
Having the opportunity to tend to a vegetable garden can also help inspire people in recovery to maintain a healthier diet and maybe even build their own upon returning home. Gardening also provides us with physical activity to improve our overall health. Spending time outdoors and in nature improves measures of physical and mental health, including lowering blood pressure, reducing stress, boosting the immune system, and reducing anxiety and depression. Even just the simple addition of one hour a day to a person’s regimen can quickly improve how they function, see the world and connect with themselves somatically.
Gardening can also act as a type of meditation during which a person can reflect and focus the mind. Addiction Recovery and gardening work goes hand-in-hand because of this. Bringing our attention inwards is not just something that is encouraged, it’s essential! Getting to know yourself in the deepest of ways is a huge part of working with ayahuasca, it’s also the most important aspect of finding your way in recovery from addiction. There are many ways you can use permaculture activities to help promote lasting recovery. For instance, you may just want to take up gardening in your yard or consider volunteering at your local community garden.
Working in groups & with friends is another great reason to get involved. Sharing ideas, learning from our local friends here in the amazon is a fun way of navigating what might be new territory to some, enjoy trying the various foods and exploring the social aspect of permaculture and gardening with us here at Sacred Rebels Recovery.
If you’re new to gardening, or perhaps struggle with physical pain or limitations it’s best to start small and take it easy. Germinating seeds and designing layouts can be a fun way to begin your permaculture adventure, drawing layout design & colouring can also be a great way to dream up ideas on those rainy jungle days. Stay tuned for more blog entries and stories from the jungle!
For more information or to submit ideas for our permaculture project please send us an email or sign up for the newsletter.