Mental Health And Your Garden
According to Beyond Blue, three million people in Australia are currently experiencing anxiety or depression. The good news is that multiple research papers have found that gardening can have a positive effect on mental health, reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Participants in these studies described a range of benefits across emotional, social, vocational, physical and spiritual domains.
Additionally, a study of 20,000 people, by the University of Exeter, found that people who spent just two hours a week in green spaces were considerably more likely to report good health and psychological well-being than those who don’t.
As the colder months approach us in Australia, it’s the perfect time to get into the garden both to ensure it’s set for the environmental and monetary advantages we’ve spoken about before, but importantly, to take care of your mental health.
If you’re working from home, a walk (or jog) around your garden or the local park may give you that mental, and physical, energy boost you’ve been looking for. If that’s not on the cards, just taking in the flora of your space outside could recharge you from those video calls we’ve all been on for the last couple of months.
With 60% of those surveyed saying they avoided or cancelled large gatherings ‘often’ or ‘always’ in response to COVID-19, we are increasingly postponing the physical human connection that is so important. Despite a number of restrictions easing, and more potentially in the coming months, ensuring you have your health retreat – your garden – in order could be a key to increasing health and well-being.
And this isn’t new. In 2014, Garden Centres of Australia (GCA) established an innovative program called Garden Releaf, to help people understand the numerous benefits that spending time in a garden or simply being surrounded by living greenery can have on a person’s health and wellbeing.
To finish, we’ve taken some advice from Toni Salter, past President of Cultivate NSW, the Horticultural Therapy Society of NSW
1. Take it slow, don’t rush the activity and use your senses at every step — see, smell, taste, listen and feel the objects you are working with.
2. Don’t expect perfection — it takes time and practice to get things perfect, but plants are often quite resilient, just like us, and will handle a few mistakes along the way.
3. Enjoy the process more than the end result — it’s not always about how things turn out, but we can make the most of the time we spend on it.
So, what are you waiting for? A simple May meander through your yard, a couple of new additions here and there, and you’ve not only got your health in a better state, but your garden is looking great, too.
If you or someone you know is in need of crisis support, phone Lifeline 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue 1300 224 636 or beyondblue.org.au