Recently we had 2 large trees removed from our backyard in preparation for some major renovation in that area. After they were cut down, it was obvious that our backyard looked… well, pretty awful. The lawn had more weeds than grass. The concrete patio appeared old and outdated. Also, our swingset had seen better days, and the overgrown remains of past garden plots looked more like abandoned archeological digs. This view certainly didn’t match up with our grand vision of a pergola, above-ground pool, flowering fruit trees, and updated landscaping. It was overwhelming to think about the amount of time and work we’d have to invest to fix the mess. This project would require more than just pressure washing concrete and buying new plants. We weren’t talking about simple cosmetic changes.
We needed a plan. When projects seem too big, it helps to start in the most basic of places. So we took measurements of the yard, the dimensions of the pool we wanted, and the space required for planting fruit trees. We calculated the dimensions for the pergola and new garden spaces. Then we researched each particular part of the master plan. We made adjustments based on the information we found. We talked to local gardening experts to ask for advice on landscaping and plants. Then we formulated an action plan and a timeline for accomplishing the project. It won’t happen overnight, or even in a few weeks. This is a long-range plan that will take a couple of years to fully implement. However once it’s finished, we’ll have a more attractive and livable backyard space. Plus, we’ll enjoy it for years to come!
So what does my backyard renovation have to do with mental health?
Everything! Just like my currently ugly backyard, we get so used to living in our own (sometimes not so pretty) mental health state that we don’t notice how undesirable things are until something big changes. (Like cutting down our trees opened our eyes to the state of our backyard.) Maybe you’ve recently experienced a change in your life like a divorce or breakup, a job change, the loss of a loved one. Perhaps that has caused you to see your life in a different light, and what you’ve noticed is that things could use some improvement.
Just like my backyard project, going to therapy to improve your mental health involves planning. You and your therapist will make a plan together. Part of the therapy process is taking stock of what’s going on, deciding what needs work, and making a plan to accomplish those goals. Just like asking local gardening experts for advice on which fruit trees to plant and where to put them, a mental health professional can offer suggestions and work with you to make changes in your life.
Sometimes those goals can be accomplished relatively quickly with a few minor adjustments. Other times those goals can take a bit longer to realize (like my backyard). Your therapist can give you an idea of how many sessions you’ll need. I remind myself that all the hard work, effort, and time will pay off when the project is complete and we’re enjoying our new space! The same can be said of therapy, too.
Does this sound familiar? Or are you feeling overwhelmed by recent changes in your life? If you can relate to needing some mental health renovation, contact me to see how music therapy might be able to help. I’m always happy to answer questions!