How Gardening Can Reduce Stress and Improve Mental Health
The article below is a guest post by Brad Krause, founder of Self Caring and author of an upcoming book on Self-Care. Brad is a regular contributor for Living Simply. I’ve included links to his articles at the end of this post.
For many of us, dealing with stress and anxiety is a daily struggle. Whether it’s from work issues or just dealing with chores and other responsibilities at home, stress can quickly become overwhelming and can lead to depression, frustration, problems performing at work and school, and issues within your relationships. That’s why it’s so important to find calming activities and hobbies that will help you de-stress and push all thoughts of work away when you’re at home.
While there are many ways to relieve stress, gardening is one of the best. Not only does it include physical activity to keep you active, it allows you to get outdoors and spend time in the sun, enjoying nature and the benefits of vitamin D. It’s also wonderful for your mental health, giving you the chance to focus on the tasks at hand and to enjoy the beauty and rewards that come with growing things.
Keep reading for more on how gardening can help reduce stress for better mental health.
Planting a garden and working in it can help you stay active throughout much of the year, depending on where you live. There are many different types of plants that will flourish in various seasons, including vegetables, and while gardening is a relaxing activity for many people, it can also be a great workout. Protect your knees with foam knee pads and always wear sunblock and a hat to protect your face while working in the sun.
Growing your own vegetables will likely inspire you to eat a healthier diet, which can help reduce the likelihood of stroke, heart attack, and diabetes. You can share the wealth with your family, as well, and take this opportunity to talk to your kids or grandkids about the benefits of eating fresh foods with every meal. Since your physical and mental health are inextricably linked, finding ways to eat better will help you feel good about yourself and boost your self-esteem.
Taking care of your mental health now can actually help prevent issues down the road. Internalizing stress, anxiety, and feelings of depression can have negative impacts on your life in the form of relationship issues, emotional breakdowns, and even substance abuse. Taking steps to make your mental health a priority will help prevent those problems. Click here for more info on mental health and addiction.
With so many of us always plugged in to our phones, tablets, and other devices, it can be overwhelming at the end of the day after being exposed to so much information. Overloaded brains tend to have trouble focusing on the important things, so taking the time to unplug now and then and put aside those electronics can be hugely beneficial. Gardening is a wonderful way to start because it allows you to focus on outdoor responsibilities rather than being in front of a screen.
Gardening is the kind of pastime that allows you to get creative, so put it to good use by turning your outdoor area into a haven. Use flagstones, hanging baskets, fencing, handmade garden stakes, and anything else you want to include to make the space uniquely your own. The more creative, the better!
Taking care of your mental health is so important these days, not just for your own benefit, but for the benefit of the people around you. It’s not always easy to take time out of your busy schedule to focus on yourself, but once you get into a routine, things will become easier, and your mind, body, and soul will thank you for it.
Tell me in the comments what kind of Gardner you are. Veggies? Flowers? Or are you like me and tend to kill most things you try to plant? 😬