Gardening can help us to keep fit – pulling up a stubborn weed is no mean feat. 30 minutes of gardening has been compared to a game of badminton or 30 minutes of yoga. Just think about how wonderfully tired you feel when you’ve spent an entire day outside, and you’ll be reaching for a spade in no time!
A sense of achievement
Watching the things we have planted grow and bloom gives us a huge sense of satisfaction, which can boost our self-esteem. This is especially true when we grow things like fruit or vegetables which we can then eat – satisfying, good for the planet, and good for us!
Connecting and noticing
A staple of wellbeing is to connect yourself to your surroundings – to sounds, smells and sights. What better place to do this than in a garden? With bright colours, intriguing smells and the sounds of wildlife all around you.
When life feels busy, and our phones are buzzing all the time it’s easy to feel tired and disconnected from nature. So getting out into the garden and putting your hands in the soil is a great way to – literally – connect with nature.
Learning new skills
Learning something new has been proven to be good for our brains – they need challenges and development, even after we’ve left education or work. So getting to know all sorts of facts about plants, how they grow and how to look after them is a great way to keep our brains healthy and happy.
Doing something with your hands
Anyone who knits will tell you how calming and mindful it can be to make something with your hands – and the same is true of gardening.
It may be that it forces you to step away from your phone, it may be that it’s more mindful, but studies have shown that doing things with our hands boosts our self-esteem and decreases stress. Focusing on the here and now, rather than the present or past is really good for our brains.
Gardening can also be incredibly creative, so if you’ve been looking for an artistic outlet, get your gardening gloves on and get outside.
Being in nature is also incredibly restful.
A chance to switch off from your daily stresses, and focus in on what’s around you. Whether you find being alone or social restful, a garden is a perfect place for both.
Even if you don’t have a garden to yourself to plant things, there are lots of ways you can bring nature into your house.
Having house plants will not only look great on your Instagram, it’s a great way to care for something even when you don’t have a garden, to brighten up your home.
Windowsill or window boxes
If you don’t have a garden but you do have a windowsill then fear not! You can still grow all sorts of plants in a window box, and as they grow up you’ll be able to see more and more of them from your window – how exciting!
Community gardens and allotments
If you don’t have a garden, perhaps a local allotment will give you the chance to flex your green fingers and grow something exciting.
Lots of places also have community gardens schemes, where you can volunteer to help out.
If planting a garden itself still isn’t for you, just getting out into green space can be hugely beneficial.
People living near to green spaces reported less mental distress, and hospital patients who could see greenery from their hospital bed recovered quicker.
The Horniman Gardens are a great place to immerse yourself in nature, and focus in on some exciting wildlife. The Gardens are completely free, and are open every day.