Plant Life Balance

How a little Plant Life Balance can help post-bushfires

Along with the rest of the country – and the world – Plant Life Balance has watched the bushfire crisis unfold with intense grief and concern.

It’s difficult to assess right now time what the long term affects of the fires will be – and what will be needed to regenerate the country’s scorched landscape and impacted communities.

What we do know is that the impacts so far have been wide-ranging and indiscriminate, from bushfire affected communities’ first-hand experiences; to those living in the cities, covered in thick smoke for record-numbers of days; to the longer-term impacts on Australia’s diverse, and often fragile, ecosystems.

The devastation of these events cannot be disputed. However, we are also encouraged to see the first signs of regeneration already emerging, to witness the broader community jump in and give a hand (and a dollar), and as always – we are reminded at this time of the restorative potential of green life for mental health and as a way of bringing people together.

With that in mind, here’s how we think a little Plant Life Balance can help in the wake of the bushfire crisis.

1. Take solace in watching the landscape regenerate

Significant areas of natural and built environment will need time and effort to return to normality… and it’s likely that some never will. However, in other areas, you can already see how certain species in the Australian landscape can be so gosh-darn resilient.

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I bow to our mother earth 🙏❤️

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Recovery, of course, depends on the duration and intensity of the fire in question – however its known that many species in the Australian bush are evolutionarily adapted to live through fires, and some even require it to stimulate seeds and regenerate the plants.

It’s going to be a long road ahead to recovery – but hopefully these first images of regeneration are a sign of things to come.

2. Take a mental break in nature

It has been well established that gardening, and being in nature in general, can have hugely positive impacts on mental health. So, if the crisis has had an impact on your mental health and you need a mind break, why not refocus attention on tending to your indoor or outdoor garden, or exploring a new green space?

According to University of Melbourne researcher Dominique Hes, “Tending to plants can be one of the most accessible and simplest ways to engage in mindfulness.” Horticultural therapist Toni Salter concurs:

Gardening activities like digging, shovelling and playing with soil can provide instant gratification for your find. Focusing on an activity like this can be a great distraction from feelings of anxiety and can produce a rewarding end result. It helps to ‘stay in the moment’ and appreciate the process.

And if you’re looking for a new lush and leafy place to forest bathe in or to simply sit and have a quiet coffee, Plant Life Balance has you covered – check out our catalogue of Plant Life Balance Places which covers parks, gardens, leafy bars and cafes, retail spaces, restaurants, and get-aways.

NB: If you are experiencing mental distress and want to talk to someone, please reach out to Beyond Blue – they have a big national network of people ready to have a chat.

If you are heading to a state or national park that has been fire-affected, please check with the relevant governing authority to ensure it’s safe to do so before you go.

3. Support nurseries in bushfire affected towns

Over the last few weeks, a host of resources and platforms have sprung up to support local, independent businesses that have been impacted by the fires. Instagram accounts @spendwiththem, @buyfromthebush and @emptyesky are just a few that are encouraging Aussies across the country to connect with impacted local businesses and showing them some love.

Once it’s safe to do so, you can support affected nurseries by throwing an empty cardboard box in the car beside the empty esky and paying them a visit! Check out our Plant Life Balance accredited nursery finder to find local nurseries along your road-trip path.

In addition to supporting business as usual, another way to support affected nurseries is by attending their events, workshops, and fundraisers. We think this is an amazing way to harness the power of the plant lovers scene – if you know of something happening in your town, be sure to get involved!

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