This month is mental health awareness month, an issue which is very close to so many people’s hearts, including us here at 4AllSeasons. Having a mental health problem is nothing to be ashamed of and you should always seek help if you need it. We’ve decided to post up a blog on how gardening and doing activities outside in general can actually be really beneficial to your mental health.
I was surprised when doing research for this blog just how much information there is online on how gardening can help those with mental health issues. It goes without saying that being outdoors, exercising, breathing in fresh air, and enjoying the sun (if we have it!) is good for everybody. It helps you relax, de-stress, and sometimes reflect on the bigger picture. If you’ve spent a lot of time indoors, it also can remind you that there’s a whole world of people out there and a lot of beauty on our planet too. All of which can make you feel better.
Many studies have been done about the benefits of gardening on your mental health but before I share some of that, just from a personal experience I’ve found that getting out in the garden, taking care of plants, and growing things from seeds has been a very therapeutic, rewarding experience that has made me feel like I’m actually doing something constructive and worthwhile with my spare time. It also feels like you’re giving something back to the world by planting new life and beautifying the outdoor spaces.
But you don’t need to take my word for it. A study in Sweden showed the more people used their garden, the fewer incidents of stress they endured. It clearly works as a contributing factor of decreased stress as a study of gardeners in Philadelphia found mental health was second to recreation as the most important factors of why they gardened. It doesn’t just have to be gardening itself that is beneficial: just looking or relaxing in a green space has show to have very positive effects on people’s mental health. It’s also been shown to help reduce aggression and upset in people who are suffering from diseases like dementia.
Gardening really is an ideal practise to help with your mental health and it doesn’t matter whether you’re a novice gardener or an expert. There’s plenty that you can do. Not only does being physically active help releases endorphins and help shake off any negative energy but it can also be a creative endeavour that allows people to express themselves. It’s also just a well-established fact that plants and trees give off oxygen — which helps our brains function better.
It’s important to note that even if you don’t have access to your own garden, there are still plenty of ways you can take part in the hobby. For instance, growing indoor plants (check out our previous blog on propagators if you need inspiration!). You also shouldn’t stress about what your garden looks like or whether it’s a mess. Start at a comfortable pace, do what you want to do with any outdoor spaces, try to have fun with it, and most of all, do the hobby for your own enjoyment.
Of course worth-while hobbies and exercising like gardening might help manage your mental health, but it’s not going to magically fix any issues you might have. Again, please reach out if you are suffering, whether to friends or family or medical professions. There will be so many people who want to help you and you should never feel embarrassed or frightened about speaking out.
Here are a few organisations that can help if you are suffering or just want to look up any advice:
Mind. Available at: www.mind.org.uk/
Samaritans: Avaliable at: www.samaritans.org/
Thanks, everyone! Enjoy your weekend!