You don’t have to possess a green thumb to start gardening to de-stress. In fact, you don’t even need a big yard. If you have a window box or even a windowsill that gets some light, you can get the benefits of caring for plants.
It may be superficial, but gardens are just…pretty. Human beings are drawn to flowers almost as much as the bees and butterflies. A lush green fern or fiddle-leaf fig tree is beautiful, too. Being around natural beauty helps relieve stress and get us back to our roots (if you’ll forgive the pun).
Most of us don’t get enough vitamin D. That’s because you have to go outside and soak up some sunshine for your body to produce it. Since vitamin D can help boost your mood, gardening outdoors is a great way to feel better. Just remember to wear sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat. You don’t need to be bombarded by damaging UV radiation to get your vitamin D fix.
Gardening is the perfect time to practice mindfulness. You’re connected to the natural world even if you’re just tending to plants in pots. Breathe deeply and slowly as you work, letting yourself be fully present in the simple actions of weeding, pruning, or watering. You can try mentally repeating a simple, soothing mantra as you work to reinforce the feelings of peace.
In some ways, caring for a garden is even more difficult than caring for a pet. Because they can’t tell you when they need something, plants are completely dependent on your attention and knowledge. That’s a lot of responsibility. But it’s also incredibly rewarding and self-esteem building. To see a plant sprout from a tiny seed into a living green thing is an everyday miracle.
It seems like everybody is into adult coloring books these days. If you’d rather pick up a different hobby, gardening is a surprisingly creative act. You choose the color palette, the layout. You decide to prune or move pots around. It’s not as obvious an artform as painting, but you’re creating something lovely when you work in a garden.
Not convinced that you want to play in the dirt? Well, consider this. You literally can’t be on your phone while gardening. All that dirt and mud (and, yes, the occasional bug) is not good for your very expensive smartphone. That means the phone stays inside where it’s safe. And you get to enjoy a few minutes of distraction-free time. No notifications. No texts in need of a response. Just you and nature. Trust me, it’s a great way to shed the stress of a busy week.