By Katie Dillon
Nature as a form of therapy has been a confirmed belief for centuries. Gardens and gardening are incorporated into hospitals, rehabilitation centers and treatment methods to assist with recovery from a variety of mental and physical ailments.
It’s easy to inject wellness into your own slice of nature, a move that is likely to impact mood and energy levels in a positive manner. Your backyard should be a private sanctuary anyway so we have ten ideas for you to get started.
Do (Some of) Your Own Gardening
Don’t leave all tasks to your gardener. Take a few off of his or her plate (or add in a few more) in order to do some of the work yourself. Gardening is surprisingly good exercise and studies have shown that it’s proven to lower Cortisol levels (the stress hormone), thereby decreasing the amount of stress a person feels. And we don’t have to tell you why stress is terrible for us.
Use this as an excuse to rotate in seasonal blooms or start an herb garden that you and the family can be responsible for tending. Just be mindful to protect your back and knees as well as use sun protection.
Get a Hammock
Get Things Planted
Use this as inspiration to get the yard in order. In a water-wise world, a backyard stuffed with lush tropical plants isn’t realistic but we say tidying up the yard to a point where it doesn’t cause stress works wonders fits the bill. This means covering bare spots with pavers, planting cool grids of succulents and incorporating a design that you are literally at peace with.
Plan a Detox Herb Garden
A variety of herbs that are fantastic for detoxing and weight loss can be grown in the backyard and easily slipped into waters, teas and other recipes. To give you a few examples, cilantro is high in dietary fiber and thought to lower cholesterol. Mint is a natural detoxifier that may also increase circulation, settle nausea and more. Fenugreek is another power herb thought to ease PMS symptoms, manage weight loss and strengthen the health of the nervous system. Of course, there are more herbs to consider so do some research to decide which are the most applicable to your health and taste buds.
Incorporate Pleasant Sounds
The two most common ways to add sound therapy to an outdoor living space are via a water feature or wind chimes. The other upshot is that the calming sounds of running water or melodic chimes can mitigate traffic and other irritating noises.
Leave Digital Devices Indoors
Apparently, the average person is checking a digital device at least once every 6 minutes. Breaking from digital devices allows the brain to properly rest and is something most of us do not do enough. In fact, forget juice cleansing, some argue that a digital detox is the more important kind of detox we can perform. Make a point to deliberately go outside enjoy your garden without a phone in hand. Sit in a chair, close your eyes and rest.
Strike a Pose
Know a few yoga poses that you can perform safely at home? Good. Roll out a mat outside (or not) and perform some helpful poses. A few sun salutations in the morning as the sun is rising is an ideal way to start the day. Or opt for a tree pose, downward dog, child’s pose or really anything that makes you feel good even for just 20 minutes or so.
Assuming your backyard is a relatively quiet space, meditating is quite a simple thing to do. Find a quiet spot, sit comfortably, close your eyes, breathe naturally, relax the body, focus your attention on your breath. Of course, a variety of meditation techniques exist that one can explore after mastering the basics. A recent Harvard study showed that consistent meditation over the course of 8 weeks helped rebuild the brain’s grey matter. This is major.
Surround Yourself with Pleasant Smells
Forget reaching for a caffeine drink, studies show that spending time in fresh air is more energizing. Going outside for just 20 minutes per day can significantly increase vitality.
So, now close the laptop and head outside. See how you feel and report back.
How do you detox outside?