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From Garden to Table–A Food and Mental Health Journey

From Garden to Table--A Food and Mental Health Journey

Do you ever feel like you are just jumping from task to task with no real sense of things fitting together? You have a big project due at work, but you have to get the kids to rehearsal, but you promised a friend you would meet them for coffee, but…

You can feel like a pinball careening off of one activity after another. It can be chaotic and stressful.

Sometimes being able to see the through-line—the thing that connects a bunch of other things—can bring some perspective and calm. Finding and focusing on that through-line can be a great way to support your mental health.

You might be able to think of several examples that bear this out. For our purposes here, we are going to focus on food—and a through-line that can boost your mental well-being at each step along the way.

Get Out in the Garden

It turns out gardening has a whole host of benefits. It gets you outside to soak in some natural sunlight (just make sure you protect yourself), which can boost your mood. It involves a fair amount of physical activity, which means you get the physical and mental health benefits of exercise. And it can be a truly engrossing hobby, which means it can help reduce your overall stress levels.

And if you decide to grow food in your garden, you will be contributing to your healthy diet, which is a cornerstone of both physical and mental health.

Whether you carve out a small patch in your yard or participate in a large community garden, you can grow yourself some positive mental health gains.

Get Cooking in the Kitchen

We suspect you are starting to see the through-line here. Once you have grown some food, the next step is to get cooking. We have already mentioned the benefits of eating the healthy food you have cultivated, but that is not the only mental health benefit. Cooking can be such a creative activity—not just an engaging hobby (though it can be that, too), but a kind of artistic endeavor that can bring real satisfaction. And there are so many options to explore (some a little odder than others). Finding (or creating) the perfect recipe and bringing it to fruition on a plate can increase feelings of happiness while lowering levels of stress.

Cooking is also something you can do with friends or family members, providing the opportunity to spend productive, quality time together doing something you find enjoyable.

And speaking of friends or family members…

Get the Gang Together to Nosh

Spending time with the people in your life who lift you up can be an essential source of joy in your life. And who doesn’t like getting together around some delicious food? It’s the perfect endpoint for our food through-line (okay, maybe the perfect endpoint is after your friends and family help with the dishes, but you get the point).

If possible, it is a great idea to make these sorts of gatherings (whether or not they are at your place and you are doing the cooking) a regular part of your schedule. Strong relationships are good for your mental health, so a regular get-together can be a wonderful thing. Plus, it prevents that terrible and seemingly endless cycle in which you and your friends tell each other that you really ought to get together…and then never do.

A Little Bit of Order in a Chaotic World

We want to return to where we started. This journey from garden to table is an example of a way in which finding and pursuing a throughline can add some order to our chaotic lives. A little more order can mean a lot less stress, so it is worth pursuing. And as we have noted, this particular example of a throughline offers plenty of additional mental health benefits along the way.

We Are Dedicated to Your Mental Health

At Peak View Behavioral Health in Colorado Springs, we take the time to listen intently to each and every person we treat. We know that no two people are identical or have identical needs—and that means we never rely on cookie-cutter approaches to mental health treatment. Instead, we work with you to determine your goals and needs, and then we design a personalized treatment program to help you make and maintain progress.

Whether you are struggling with anxiety, a trauma-centered disorder, or one of the many kinds of depression, we can help. While the first step is up to you, treatment at Peak View Behavioral Health can be the through-line to improved mental well-being. Contact us today.

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