Gardening can counter mental health issues caused by hemophilia

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My husband, Jared, and I have maintained a small garden on our balcony since we moved into our new home. We started with a few potted herbs and over time expanded our collection to include ornamental plants and flowers.

Jared is a wizard in the kitchen. He likes to prepare his own special recipes. With this in mind, he likes to collect all kinds of herbs and spices. He wanted to start an edible garden so he could pick fresh leaves from the comfort of his home, instead of having to buy them at the grocery store.

Ideally, we would like to reach a point where our garden fully meets our food needs. This way he can gather the ingredients on his own, even when he has continuous bleeding due to hemophilia (unless he is completely immobile). Then he could whip up his own comfort food. The joy of practicing a favorite pastime, along with its delicious products, can help distract him from the pain and boredom of tending to an unwanted injury.

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For now, we’re starting with the basics. We already have two types of basil plants, which Jared managed to propagate by cuttings. He often uses them to make pesto sauce, a staple with us. We also have mint plants, which grow quickly and therefore need to be pruned often. The harvested leaves go straight into a pitcher of herb-infused water that we always keep in our fridge – a healthy drink for our desired healthy lifestyle.

Having an edible garden is most definitely handy. But beyond that, gardening as a hobby can generally improve a person’s mental health and well-being.

mental health gardening |  Hemophilia News Today |  Jared tends to his plants on this balcony

Labor of Love: Jared isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty when tending to his plants. (Photo by Alliah Czarielle)

The simple act of caring for plants has been therapeutic for Jared. His morning routine of watering them down and giving them “haircutsif necessary, energizes him and reframes his mind for his daily responsibilities. I’ve noticed that he’s also in a much calmer mood when he’s gardening. He handles the plants with great care, knowing that they are living beings. He also gets sad when his cuttings don’t grow. Interestingly, this puts him in touch with his emotional side. Indeed, he is more patient and less grumpy.

As a bonus for mental health, gardening can provide a sense of authenticity accomplishment watching the plants grow, getting stronger and bushier with each passing day. Jared often tells me that he is happiest when he achieves something through his own efforts. Hemophilia sometimes makes him feel less capable of things, hence his desire to prove to himself (and to others) that he can do something – anything! Bonus points if he can do it well.

As our garden grows richer and lusher, with beautiful flowers sprouting haphazardly from clusters of leaves, Jared’s sense of accomplishment grows, knowing that this is something he fed. And as I sit in our little green space admiring this little patch of nature that my husband (and sometimes myself) has so faithfully tended, I think of his dedication to caring for the living things around him, including including our daughter and me. And this thought also makes me feel happy and fulfilled.


To note: Hemophilia news today is strictly a disease news and information site. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of anything you read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia news today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion on issues relating to haemophilia.

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