When life gives us lemons - some of us make lemonade, some of us get chickens.
One of the most powerful tools in managing depression and anxiety is giving yourself space for hobbies. Spending time doing something that brings you joy or silliness or a sense of meaning allows us to better regulate our emotions and shifts us away from negative thinking. This is taught in inpatient group therapy groups, is a key component in safety planning for those struggling with suicidal thoughts, and it is true in my own life.
My husband, Adam, is an avid hobbier. If I am being honest though, I stay baffled by his ability to incorporate his love of whatever topic he has his mind set on into something tangible. In our marriage he has often said: “you need a hobby”, to which I have always replied: “like what?” and the conversation stopped. Fast forward to the great egg price markup of ‘23 when I decided that maybe, just maybe, I wanted to have a small backyard flock of egg layers as a hobby and self supply of eggs. When I mentioned this grand idea to him, he quickly responded: “I meant knitting.”
The great news is that I did get the chickens. Chicks in fact. Fourteen of them. I have been a happy chicken “tender” as the community says, for 4 months. A little over a month back, I remember asking Adam if he thought that I seemed happier. He commented: “Yes, and I truly think the chickens are to thank.”
There are many noted benefits of pet therapy. A few that I hold true it my chicken endeavor include:
It gets me OUTSIDE. It is my experience that my anxiety or depressed mood takes a little bit of a back seat when I am out in nature.
It allows me time with my daughter and a tangible way to teach her social emotional skills like how to nurture another living thing.
It allows me to connect with others around this hobby in a way that fosters connection and community as opposed to isolation.
It allows me to share the chicken love with others who may benefit as well. Our friend, Teddy (pictured below), is Autistic and has intellectual, speech and motor delays. He struggles with more common therapy animals due to his sensory preferences. However, Teddy and the chicken just “click” and it is a true joy to witness this.
The truth is, we are all working on creating a mental health environment that is conducive to the goals we have for our lives. This is a goal that Nurture and Nature encourages on a professional and personal level. We take a moment to ask YOU the question of what is your “Chicken Therapy” and how are you using it to create the life you envision?
To inquire about an appointment with us to explore how to foster your best mental health, please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.