Life can feel pretty isolating with the lack of social interactions, the limited amount of time people are spending outside, and days getting shorter. School is starting to pick up, and midterms are on their way for most. What can possibly be done to relieve some of the excess stress and anxiety during this fall season? Plants! "Why plants?” you may ask. How could a non-mobile, green living organism have such an effect on one’s mental health and overall well-being? Studies have shown that keeping plants can have a great benefit to one’s mental health. Stay tuned for some interesting facts about plants and mental health, and some tips and tricks on which plants to keep depending on your commitment level.
So, what about green plants makes them impact our mental health? Well to begin, let’s explore the types of positive effects that house plants have. Firstly, plants have the ability to make you breathe better. It is photosynthesis that enables plants to release oxygen into the air for us to breathe in. Additionally, since plants produce moisture and oxygen of their own, they have the ability to take up excess toxins that may exist in our environment. Truly a breath of fresh air! Plants help to reduce stress and anxiety, which we would all love to minimize. Plants tend to have an overall calming and relaxing effect on the body. Gardening in the spring/summer would be a great additional activity to take up to take your mind off of things and immerse yourself in small project. If you don’t have the space at your residence, consider a community garden . As you are able, try to surround yourself with the great outdoors. Go out on a hike, or to your local park. Outdoor plants provide your body with the same benefits that indoor plants do. This coupled with a little bit of exercise can help to clear your mind and get you away from looking at a computer screen all day.
"Plants help to reduce stress and anxiety, which we would all love to minimize"
What type of indoor plant should you invest in? If you are looking for something very low maintenance, try starting with a succulent. They don’t need as much attention as regular house plant but are still equally interesting to take care of. Check out this website for some helpful tips on how to maintain a succulent. If you are looking for a plant to help purify your air, try a spider plant, they are quite resilient and can thrive in nearly any condition. Additionally, they are able to grow little shoots called “spiderettes”. If you want something with a bit more colour, to really brighten up your life, try the Tradescantia which vary widely in colour. Also the Purple Velvet plant really catches your eye, and it has a velvety type of “fur” on it. Lastly, if you are looking for something safe for to have around your four-legged friends, check out this website which has some great example of plants safe for pets.
"If you are looking for a plant to help purify your air, try a spider plant, they are quite resilient and can thrive in nearly any condition."
The world is a different place now and can definitely feel more isolating. A plant will not replace the love of friends and family, but at least for a few minutes it can take your mind off of the mundane reality and let you put a little bit of time and energy into a new activity.