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Laura Jean is a Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior, chronic tea drinker, and northerner. She loves sharing with other Spoonies small changes that can make a big difference in your quality of life.
Green Therapy at Home
by Laura Jean
As part of my holistic approach to managing my Rheumatoid Arthritis, I have spent a lot of time researching the health benefits of nature, both for physical and emotional well-being. When you live North of 60 like I do, and the land is cold and covered in snow most of the year, it can be a challenge to get outdoors and enjoy nature (especially when your joints won’t co-operate). That’s why I have made a special effort to bring the outdoors inside as much as possible.
It first started with me getting a few house plants. Now, for most of my life I have been a self-proclaimed plant killer. It wasn’t by choice, it just always happened to be that way. My home was always filled with fake plants because I didn’t trust myself with the real thing.
From what I’ve read, even having artificial plants in the home can bring some “nature” benefits for the soul, but of course the impact is much stronger when the plants are real and alive. My friend started me off with a snake plant. She gifted me the plant, which I took with near trembling hands, sheepishly admitting that I didn’t know how long I could keep it alive.
“You can’t kill this plant,” she said with confidence.
I was tempted to tell her of the long list of plant failures I have had, but I refrained. I accepted her “challenge”.
It’s now been 4 years since she gave me that snake plant, and she was absolutely right! Not only has it survived life under my care, it has also thrived! I have repotted it twice and it is near ready to move up into an even bigger pot.
Gaining confidence with that one plant emboldened me to get out of my comfort zone and try expanding my “plant horizons”. I slowly gained a few small plants and succulents. All the plants are gathered in front of one window in our home which has become my “green space” and this has quickly become my favourite space in the home. Each morning I am delighted to awaken to the vibrant green leaves, sometimes surprised with a delicate blossom, and always intrigued by the growth which seems to happen overnight. It has become incredibly satisfying to tend to the needs of the plants and to see them flourishing.
When I sip my first cup of tea and do my morning reading to start my day, I’m settled beside the plants and I often find my eyes gazing at the beauty of them. There is something so calming and peaceful about nature. I’ve made efforts to increase the natural materials and elements in my home to feel more of that connection. My decor has expanded to include polished river rocks, a bouquet of branches, some wildflowers, and a diffuser with natural essential oils. A Himalayan salt lamp has a soothing glow in the evening. My next purchase will be a small indoor fountain because nothing is as relaxing to me as the gentle flow of water.
Surrounding myself with nature, without having to leave home, has given me a special retreat that I never tire of. It fills my cup each morning and is the place I go when I need to calm my mind or recharge myself. Of course, nothing compares to a walk outdoors in nature, but this is a satisfying way to get some “green therapy” without exerting myself and leaving the comfort and safety of our home.