There are many ways to benefit your mental health that aren’t just therapy. While therapy is a great place to learn coping skills, work through trauma, and live your life better, sometimes you want more than one way to support your mental health. Things like mindfulness, regular movement, time spent in nature, a strong support network, and making time for self-care can all support your overall mental health in addition to therapy.
One great way to benefit your mental health is to adopt some plants. Even if you don’t think you have a green thumb, there are many varieties of plants out there so you can find one that works for you. Succulents are good starter plants, and many folks also have luck with air plants to get their feet wet in the plant parenting world. You can also pop into any garden center or nursery and get the opinion of a local plant expert on which plants are good for beginners. Taking care of plants is not only a fun hobby, but plants can actually help improve your mental health in several ways.
Plants provide companionship
In a year where we’ve spent more time inside our homes and alone than ever, any sort of companionship can be a real blessing. Some people find that having plants in their space feels like having companions that they can talk to or spend time with. Talking or singing to your plants can also have a positive effect on their growth, so it can benefit you both.
Plants boost air quality
Not only are plants pretty, but some of them also help improve the air quality around them. As there are many areas in the US with air quality issues, it can never hurt to have some plants hanging out to help clear the air of pollutants. For this reason, plants can be handy to have around if you have asthma or allergies.
Can encourage physical activity
Regular movement can help lower anxiety, improve mood, and help with sleep. Tending to plants isn’t always a labor intensive activity, but it does get your up and out of your seat to putter around, finding the right light, and making sure everyone has enough water. It can be a good excuse to get up and do something if you’re looking for a hobby, and it can be a built-in way to get moving – your plants need you!
Studies have shown that spending time in nature can improve mood and alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. Spending time in nature can also help lower stress levels. Plants are pretty to look at, they often smell nice, and they remind us that with a little love and care we can thrive. If you’re in need of a mood boost, try seeing how spending time with nature can help.
We’re always in the middle of something these days, often on a screen. Spending tending to plants can give you a few minutes of peace away from the hustle and bustle of the world. Getting your fingers into the dirt and reminding yourself of your connection to nature can be a grounding experience in itself. You can use the time you spend each day caring for your plants to try to focus on the present moment only – what’s going on with the plants? Who needs water? Does anyone look droopy or damaged? Is someone in need of different light? Focusing on the task at hand is one way to practice mindfulness regularly.
If you’re interested in learning more about the connection between plants and mental health, make sure to check out our plant therapy workshop with Andi Yates.