We’ve all been through a lot lately within the last couple of years. And as of 2022, we’re still dealing with the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic along with navigating through the maze of regulations that are constantly changing.
All of this plus the stress from daily work-life can leave you burnt out, unsure where to turn next, or what to do with your time when you finally get a moment to yourself. But the truth is, there are many therapeutic activities you can engage in to help reduce stress and improve your overall quality of life, and one of them is gardening.
Believe it or not, many studies show that gardening is an activity that can improve your overall health and well-being. And you don’t have to spend the hundreds of dollars that you would on an expensive vacation to reap the benefits.
If you’re looking to relieve a little stress and improve your quality of life, the following will explore how gardening can make this possible.
One thing that COVID-19 may have taught us was the importance of cultivating solitude from time to time, even though many of us hadn’t planned on it. Additionally, many healthcare workers know all too well how busy our lives can become, and how often we forget to make time for ourselves. As such, solitude is essential for a recharge. And gardening can make this possible.
When you spend time gardening, you enter a sanctuary where you’re alone with the natural world. And just being outdoors in an oxygen-rich environment, can work wonders for the mind and for the senses.
Even a few hours a day spent outdoors gardening has many other benefits such as sun exposure, which is an abundant source of Vitamin D, an essential component for regulating mood and health in general.
One thing that’s been backed by scientific studies for years is the benefit of regular exercise. And gardening can offer you light to moderate exercise as you prepare your soil, and tend to your garden.
With natural methods for working the soil and removing overgrowth, you’re sure to get a good workout from weeding, hand-pulling, raking, digging, and planting. And doing this actually offers even more benefits as well.
For example, many people prefer to use chemical herbicides to keep weed growth in check. But this can wreak havoc on the soil composition, and on your overall health.
In fact, recent studies have shown the link between harmful chemical herbicides and the development of cancer in farmers and other agricultural workers. Regular tending (especially hand-pulling weeds) is better for the environment, and you won’t have to worry about adverse side-effects that could harm you or your environment.
Improving Mood and Mental Health
As mentioned, with everything that the average working-class person has going on during a given week, so much of this can cause our mood and our overall zest for life to diminish. But spending time outdoors has its own magical way of uplifting mood and improving mental health.
One thing that can certainly improve mood is by focusing on simple tasks. And while you’re out in a natural environment, planting and tending to your garden offers you the perfect space to focus.
In addition, focusing on the therapeutic work that gardening entails places you in direct contact with nature. And many believe that this type of communion works wonders for the mind, leaving most people feeling more at peace after just a couple hours of gardening.
The combination of direct sunlight, amplified oxygen levels, working with your hands in the soil, and getting moderate exercise, begins to allow the body to release endorphins–the body’s natural painkiller. And these feel-good chemicals are essential for mood regulation and mental well-being.
Beyond the Garden
Unfortunately, you can’t spend the rest of your life hidden away from your obligations tending your garden. But you can turn this activity into a wellness routine that you can look forward to each week, or each day if you choose.
Additionally, if you prefer less solitude and more of a social environment, gardening is also a great way to get your family together and enjoy the experience. Or you may prefer to join a community garden project and be in the company of others with a love for gardening and with similar interests. And you may even learn a few tips and tricks for tending your garden more effectively as well.