Spring is officially here and it’s that time again; new beginnings and a fresh start. Spring is a time of renewal and growth, and one of the most enjoyable activities during this season is gardening. Do you know about the connection between gardening and mental health?
Planting flowers, vegetables, and herbs not only beautifies your surroundings, but it also has numerous mental health benefits. Having flowers to plant, for example, can reduce stress, improve mood, and provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
Growing season isn’t just for gardening experts! Even if you’ve only just become interested in gardening, early spring is a great time to learn more.
To help guide you and make the most of the upcoming spring planting season, here are some tips on how to prepare, as well as the physical and mental health benefits associated with gardening.
Preparing for Spring Flowering:
Assess your garden area: Take a walk around your garden area and assess its condition. Remove any debris, weeds, or dead plants from the previous season. Make note of any areas that need improvement, such as soil quality or drainage issues.
Plan your garden: Decide what you want to plant in your garden. Consider the type of plants that thrive in your region's climate and the amount of sunlight your garden receives. Create a garden layout and choose the plants you want to grow. Make a list of supplies, such as seeds, bulbs, or potting soil.
Prepare the soil: Good soil is the foundation for a successful garden. Test the pH level of your soil and amend it if necessary. Loosen the soil with a fork or a tiller and remove any rocks or debris. Add organic matter, such as compost, or aged manure, to enrich the soil and improve its fertility.
- Gather your tools: Make sure you have all the necessary tools for planting, such as a shovel, rake, gloves, and watering can or hose. Clean and sharpen your tools before using them to ensure they are in good condition.
Mental Health Benefits of Gardening:
Stress reduction: Gardening is a great way to relieve stress. Spending time outdoors, connecting with nature, and engaging in physical activity can help lower cortisol levels, the hormone associated with stress. Gardening also provides a sense of control and accomplishment, which can boost self-esteem and reduce anxiety.
Improved mood: Gardening has been shown to improve mood and increase feelings of happiness. Physical activity and exposure to sunlight during gardening releases endorphins, the body's natural mood-enhancing chemicals. The act of nurturing and caring for plants can also provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment, which can improve overall well-being.
Connection with nature: Gardening allows you to connect with the natural world and appreciate the beauty of plants and flowers. Being in nature has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health, reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Gardening provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and scents of nature, which can help reduce stress and promote relaxation.
Mindfulness: Gardening can be a mindfulness practice. When you are gardening, you are fully present in the moment, paying attention to the task at hand, and observing the changes in the environment. This focus on the present moment can help quiet the mind, reduce rumination, and promote a sense of calm and clarity.
Similar to my rooted workshop where we plant affirmations (using a biodegradable paper), this moment allows us to reflect and be intentional about our goals. Planting affirmations is a beautiful metaphor that reminds us to slow down and give ourselves grace.
- Social interaction: Gardening can be a social activity as well, whether it's gardening with friends, family, or neighbors, or participating in a community gardening project. Social interaction is important for our mental health, as it promotes social connections, reduces feelings of loneliness and isolation, and provides a sense of belonging and support.
Remember friends, preparing for spring planting can be an enjoyable and fulfilling activity that not only beautifies your surroundings but also provides numerous mental health benefits. Gardening can reduce stress, improve mood, connect you with nature, promote mindfulness, and provide social interaction.
Happy gardening—take in every moment with care!