Mental health is a crucial aspect of our overall well-being. Still, it’s a topic often stigmatized or overlooked. Introduced into our vocabulary in 1949, the U.S. soon designated May as Mental Health Awareness Month.
In honor of this annual movement, we’re highlighting a proven way to boost mental clarity and emotional stamina. You don’t even have to leave the creature comforts of home to find it. All you need is a green thumb and a garden right at your fingertips.
Here is how to build your inner sanctum from the ground up in every sense of the word!
THE MENTAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF GARDENING
Gardening is an activity that engages both mind and body—and one that provides a host of benefits:
Reduced Stress and Anxiety
One of the greatest benefits of gardening is its ability to reduce stress and anxiety. Spending time in nature, being active, and nurturing plants contribute to a calmer mind. In addition, studies show gardening can mitigate the severity of depression, too, enhancing one’s quality of life.
Gardening also provides a sense of accomplishment. Watching plants grow—ones we’ve carefully tended to—is rewarding. This act alone helps us feel more confident in our abilities. These visible and tangible results materialize a sense of fulfillment and self-rejuvenation, which lifts the heavy burdens of the day.
Improved Social Connection
Gardening can also be a great way to connect with others. Join a community garden, attend a class or workshop, or talk to fellow hobbyists. Building relationships can offer a sense of belonging. This can be particularly helpful for those who may otherwise feel isolated or lonely.
Expanded Mobility and Movement
Gardening exercises the joints without putting too much stress on the body. It can help improve strength, flexibility, and balance, and the time spent outdoors signals other mental health benefits. For instance, expect a daily dose of vitamin D and a boost in one’s overall mood.
Aaahhh, going green is so very serene. Ready to give it a try?
GETTING STARTED: MIND YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
If interested in gardening as an outlet, follow these tips.
While it can be tempting to dive in headfirst, too much too soon can overwhelm the novice gardener. So start small by curating a few simple plants or a compact, raised bed. Then gradually branch out as you gain more knowledge and experience.
Choose the Right Location
Make sure you choose a location with plenty of sunlight and good soil drainage. If you plan to grow vegetables, ensure the site gets six hours of sun load daily.
Select the Right Plants
Choose plants that are appropriate for the climate and your level of experience. And map out how much time and effort you’re willing to put into maintaining them. If you’re new to gardening, start with low-maintenance vegetation like herbs, cherry tomatoes, or strawberries.
Get the Right Tools
Investing in a few basic gardening tools, like a trowel, pruning shears, and gloves, can make gardening easy-peasy. Consider renting or borrowing heavier equipment (like tillers or rototillers) if tackling larger projects. That is until you’re sure gardening is right for you.
Maintain Your Investment
Regular maintenance is the key difference between a thriving and a neglected garden. Make sure you water your plants regularly and keep an eye out for pests or diseases. Prune overgrowth as needed and remove any weeds that sprout up.
PLANT A SEED AND START GROWING
Gardening itself can have a significantly positive impact on our mental health. After all, the parallels are uncanny—not only do plants blossom, but so do we. When we contribute to something, we inevitably feel good about it. Essentially, we grow roots, too, reducing stress, boosting self-esteem, and inviting social connections into our lives.
As we move into Mental Health Awareness Month, now is the perfect time to add this activity to your routine.
At Health & Benefits Partners, we’re focused on your well-being—mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially. Our insurance products are designed to help remove the stress of finding the right coverage. And our expert consultants are here to answer questions while setting your mind at ease.
So reach out today and let us help plant the seeds of a secure, healthy future.