Did you know that plant care is fast becoming a new trend in self-care? Yep, it’s true! Studies show that while more than half of the world’s population lives in an urban environment, our desire for the country landscape within the concrete jungle is only increasing. That’s because plants provide us with many “cognitive, emotional, and psychological benefits”.
In addition to reducing anxiety, scientists found that green spaces can successfully be utilized for healing and therapy. So, if you’re feeling frazzled and stressed out lately (and who isn’t right now?), why not dig a little deeper into this self-care phenomenon and try it out for yourself.
There is something for everyone, whether you want to just adopt a starter succulent or go full-on fancy farmer, so get ready to get your hands a little dirty.
Nature’s Chill Pill
Indoor plants require a regular routine to stay in tip-top flora (or fauna) form. No matter what is going on in your busy schedule, plants don’t care. So if you’re one of those people who needs a physical reminder to take a break, this may be a great option for you.
And trust me, those mini moments of zen while watering or pruning may get addictive. Plus, the process of caring for a plant models how we should be practicing self-care (especially now).
Plants are great reminders to not only take time for your health (you need proper daily watering too!), but they can also become tangible reminders of your most motivating affirmations. I love these examples:
Eucalyptus – This fragrant plant is a breath of fresh air when you want to stay present.
Snake plants – These durable plants don’t require much to survive, serving as a powerful reminder that you too can make it through any struggles this year.
Aloe vera – This beautiful plant is the perfect symbol for healing.
Lavender – Enjoy a few whiffs of this purple plant when you need a reminder to take a break and let go.
Money DOES Grow On Trees?!
Okay, okay… plants can’t literally dole out promotions, but they can help you work smarter and faster. A 2014 study by the University of Exeter showed that productivity in the workspace increased by 15% once previously barren office walls included a little greenery. One researcher commented, “Adding just one plant per square metre improved memory retention.”
In a 2010 Australian study, plants helped reduce fatigue and hostility among employees. Attention Restoration Theory suggests that even looking at pictures of nature can shift the brain into a different processing mode. This helps you focus on the task at hand better and be more creative. (Now, that is a case for using those default computer screensavers with forest pics if I ever heard one!)
So if you’re working from home staring at a blank wall, consider getting a few indoor plants for your desk or setting up shop by a window with a view.
Save On That Isolation Grocery Bill, Girl!
If you want to take your plant life (no pun intended) to the next level, why not start appreciating the process of nature from seed to sprout to stomach. 😉
Urban gardening has really been growing in popularity over the past decade, with inspired green thumbs planting everything from flowers to food in backyards, patios and windowsills. And the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel nurturing plants into existence is some serious self-care!
Retired Consumer Horticulture Specialist and gardening show host Dan Gill notes that “September is almost like a second spring when it comes to the vegetables we can plant now.” You can mix summer vegetables like squash cucumbers and tomatoes with cooler-weather crops like broccoli, onions and mustard greens. Gill offers some great tips you can read here on picking out the best spot and setting up your garden.
If you’re worried about selecting the right veggies and herbs for your local climate, check out the Veggie Version Formula. All you need to know is your USDA Hardiness Zone (which you can find here), and you can download a PDF of easy to grow veggies for your area.
If you’d prefer to learn from a master (and from the comfort of your own home), Ron Finley offers a Masterclass in urban gardening. A community activist and self-proclaimed “Gangster Gardener”, Finley has spent 10 years growing food on the “humble strip of soil” adjacent to the sidewalk in front of his Los Angeles home. You can also check out Facebook and Meetup for local online gardening classes or browse the gazillion YouTube videos available.
Waste Not, Want Not
Now that we’re all home (almost) all the time, we’re producing a staggering amount of extra waste. While composting isn’t necessarily the same as plant or self-care, it is certainly connected to both.
You can use your homemade compost to help keep your home garden growing. Food scraps are broken down by beneficial bacteria and fungi into a nutrient-rich substance called humus. It’s a great alternative to chemical fertilizer.
Composting is wonderful for the environment too, reducing landfill material and the resulting methane gas emissions. So you’re doing your part to make the world a cleaner, less toxic place. Plus, it can be done in any space, from a big backyard pile to a small countertop can.
Check out NPR’s Life Kit breakdown on some tips to get you started. The EPA also has some good tips on what kinds of organic matter works best, which is essential info when you’re composting in your kitchen.
Are you ready to open your heart and home to more greenery? Do you think plants will help you with your self care goals? Let me know in the comments below.
With lots of Plant LOVE,