Over the last few months, Brits have embraced their gardens like never before.
Offering a crucial escape from the confines of the house, and providing some much-needed space and fresh air, gardens have helped many of us get through the lockdown and adjust to the new world we find ourselves in.
Across the UK, experienced and novice gardeners have been planting veg, weeding borders and getting their hands dirty. This has had a very positive effect on the nation’s mental health. According to a recent survey by Rhino Greenhouses Direct, 70% of people say spending time in the garden helped their mental health during the lockdown. So why is gardening so good for our mental wellbeing? We decided to find out.
It’s well known that exercise is good for mental health. Exercise causes the brain to release endorphins. These ‘happy chemicals’ can have a huge impact on your mood and help you feel more positive.
While spending an hour in the garden isn’t quite the same as going for a run or hitting the gym, it does still burn a considerable number of calories.
Weeding, digging, pruning and raking all work muscles and help get your heart rate up. This will encourage your body to release endorphins and help keep you active during the lockdown.
Another benefit of exercise is that it will help you maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle. When you’re confined to the house, it can be all too easy to indulge in snack food and spend hours sitting in front of the TV. This can boost your chances of developing obesity and other lifestyle-related conditions. Getting out in the garden on a regular basis will help you work off those extra calories and keep you fit.
Fresh air, like exercise, is good for mental wellbeing. Sitting inside all day, breathing in stale air can make you feel lethargic and bored. Getting out into the fresh air is a great way to energise your body and invigorate your mind. Being outside also gives your body the chance to soak up vitamin D from the sun. Vitamin D has been shown to help boost the immune system, something that’s more important now than ever before.
Getting plenty of fresh air and exercise will help you sleep better at night. Having a good night’s sleep has been shown to help boost energy levels, reduce anxiety and even improve health.
If you’ve been struggling to get your 40 winks during the lockdown, getting out into the garden could well be the solution you’re looking for.
Sense of achievement
Growing your own fruit, veg or flowers can give you a real sense of achievement. Whether you start from seeds, cuttings or plants from your local nursery, watching something flourish is a great feeling. In a few months’ time when your plants have matured and you get to enjoy the fruits of your labour, your satisfaction levels will go through the roof.
The sense of achievement you get from growing, pruning or tidying something in the garden can help to give your mental wellbeing a real boost. It’s easy to feel a little aimless during the lockdown, so having set tasks to focus on can give your life rhythm and help keep you motivated.
Watch any episode of Gardeners’ World, and you’ll see just how much there is to learn about gardening. While you may never master all the Latin names or learn all the different species out there, tackling a new challenge is a great way to keep your mind active and your brain busy.
If you suffer from anxiety or depression, having something else to think about can be incredibly beneficial. As the world of plants is a big one, try choosing a specific area to focus on. For example, you could become an expert in tomato growing or a master of chillies. Alternatively, choose a small area of your garden to transform and use this as a starting point for your gardening research.
Spending a little more time out in the garden can be great for both your physical and mental health. So if you have a little patch of green outside your house, why not pick up a trowel and get stuck in?