Gardening as Therapy During Recovery (Even for Apartment Dwellers)

Fresh air alone is known to be a mood lifter. Choose to garden while you’re enjoying the great outdoors and your mental health will also enjoy a boost. According to AgriLife Today, an online publication from Texas A&M University, gardening has been found to offer the following benefits:

  • Improved memory
  • Reduced anxiety, stress, and depression
  • Enhanced focus
  • Relief from PTSD
  • Stimulated creativity and productivity
  • Lessened effects of dementia

Even if you live in an apartment and have no access to your own patch of earth, there are ways to harness the nurturing power of Mother Nature. Here are some ways you can leverage gardening as a source of healing during your recovery journey.

Welcome Houseplants into Your Home

One of the best ways to bring Mother Nature indoors is through houseplants. Some are easier to care for than others—try a pothos or philodendron for beautiful bursts of green that don’t require much maintenance. Prefer something more colorful? You might try a blooming plant, like an African violet or a Christmas cactus. If you’ve never tried nurturing a houseplant before, it’s best to start with just one, but be warned—you’ll have an indoor garden before you know it!

There are online forums and communities dedicated to houseplant FAQs, so you might consider joining one if you need assistance or have some knowledge to share.

Start an Herb Garden

If you like to cook or simply like having something more fragrant in the way of plants, you might consider a windowbox herb garden. Whether you start herbs like basil and rosemary from seeds or grow them from small plants, herb gardening can be very rewarding, especially for home cooks who will appreciate having fresh ingredients on hand.

While every herb will have its own preferences in terms of soil, moisture, and sun, you can likely find herbs that will thrive as an ensemble. And even if you do have a yard, many people, especially those who live in seasonal climates, start their herb gardens indoors and transplant outside when it’s warmer.

Join a Community Garden

Craving the opportunity to stretch your limbs as well as your gardening skills but don’t have your own yard to do it in? There’s hope! Community gardens offer the chance to collaborate with neighbors who also have green thumbs to build and maintain a green space. Finding one is as simple as doing an online search for “[your town] community garden” to learn of local opportunities

If your town doesn’t have a community garden, there might be other ways to volunteer in maintaining green space. Check in with a local church or senior center to see whether there are any members of the community who might need help tending to their own yards and gardens. In this case, you’ll have the double benefit of doing something to benefit your own well-being while also supporting someone else’s quality of life.

Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty—in fact, soil itself has been known to boost serotonin, one of the brain’s “happy hormones.” Gardens are full of life, and gardening allows you to play an active part in nurturing that life.

Gardening is just one way to enhance your recovery. Find out how Beachside Rehab in West Palm Beach, Florida can offer additional support you need to thrive in your journey. Call 866-349-1770 today to connect with a trained admissions counselor.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash


AgriLife Today. The positive effects of gardening on mental health,

University of Minnesota Extension. MentalHealth Benefits of Gardening,