Many people are constantly in search of new hobbies that will allow them to learn more about the world and themselves. If you are one of those people, you might be looking for an activity that will help you take your mind off the everyday hustle and bustle and make you feel a bit better about the state of the world. So, if you want a hobby that you can do in your own home, have you considered gardening? This amazing practice will not only provide you with fresh food and flowers but it will also help your mental health. Here are five ways how gardening can benefit your mental wellbeing.
You will feel closer to nature
It doesn’t matter if you have a spacious backyard where you can create a huge garden or if you live in an apartment where you can only do some gardening on your small balcony. Maybe you don’t even have a balcony and have to make space for your garden indoors. Regardless of its size and what you choose to plant, a garden will allow you to feel connected to nature, even if you are inside. For example, other than planting various fruits, veggies, herbs, and flowers, you can create a little nook for yourself where you can relax and truly clear your mind. You can try some meditation or yoga in this environment if that is something you like doing or simply kick back and enjoy this safe and peaceful place you’ve created for yourself. By focusing on the calming scents, sounds, and sights of nature, you can forget about the stress of your everyday life and feel peace even if for just a few minutes every day.
Your mood will be boosted
Feeling close to nature can help you feel more calm and relaxed. However, being surrounded by greenery also comes with a mood boost. For instance, in case you manage to place your garden outside, you will get to enjoy fresh air and plenty of sunshine while you’re taking care of your plants. Not only does sunshine provide us with vitamin D but it also triggers the release of serotonin, a hormone which helps us feel more positive and productive. Serotonin also acts as a mood stabilizer so getting enough sunlight is vital for preventing lethargy, anxiety, and depression. What is more, the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, is also stimulated by natural light. This hormone regulates our circadian rhythm, meaning that your sleeping habits might also improve thanks to gardening. On the other hand, even if your garden is indoors, you will still get to experience its mood-boosting effects as the plants will filter out harmful toxins and provide you with better air quality.
It helps you feel accomplished
Besides helping with your mood and sleep, tending to a garden can give you a sense of achievement. If you’re feeling low on confidence or feel like your life is lacking meaning, taking care of your plants can give you a sense of responsibility and something to look forward to. Look at it this way; regardless of whether you opt for a flower or a veggie garden, if you take proper care of it, you will be able to pick some flowers for your home or harvest produce that you can eat all year long. So, invest in some quality gardening equipment, learn as much as you can about the plants you plan on growing, and ensure they have the optimal conditions in which they can thrive. That way, every time you return the hose to the wall hose bracket after watering your precious plants, you will look at them with a sense of pride and accomplishment as well as take care of your own mental health while taking care of them.
You can make new friends
If you are an extrovert whose mental health is seriously impacted by the amount of socializing, you’ll be glad that gardening is a hobby that makes it very easy to meet new people and make lifelong friends. For example, if you find it easy to start conversations, you will have no issue chatting with the workers at the local nursery where you will be purchasing your seeds and seedlings. You can begin by simply asking for some pointers about how to care for your plants and your conversation can go in a completely different direction. On the other hand, even if you’re an introvert, you can make friends if you visit various online forums and join gardening groups where you can ask for advice and bond over your love of gardening. Sure, maybe you won’t make instant friends but simply chatting with people can boost your mood and have a positive impact on your mental health. Plus, this will also expand your knowledge and help you acquire new skills.
The physical exercise helps your mental state
Last but not least, you are probably aware of how our body is connected in various ways. That means that your mental health is also affected by your level of fitness. Regular exercise can boost your mood and lower anxiety levels thanks to endorphins that our brains release during physical activity. Well, it’s good news then that gardening will also give you a good workout. Studies show that you could burn the same amount of calories by gardening for three to four hours as you could by spending an hour at the gym. However, gardening will put minimal stress on your body unlike some other more demanding activities like running and aerobics. When gardening, you can expect to drag heavy bags of soil, dig holes, move containers with plants, move around the garden beds, rake and mow the lawn, bend down to pull weeds, and so on. Seeing as how the movements are various, you will be working on different muscle groups and improve your flexibility.
Gardening comes with so many amazing mental health benefits that you should most certainly give it a go. Plus, you will get a good workout out of it as well as some food.