With lockdown across England at least the next few weeks, gardens can offer a little welcome relief from the view of the same four walls. Even when it’s a little chilly outside, the garden can be a welcome break from the house, and it can have a massive impact on your mental health and wellbeing.
But what are some of the ways that your garden can be best utilised to benefit your health and wellbeing in this difficult time?
You might not be naturally inclined to gardening, but if you can break through that initial barrier you might find you have a real knack for it. Gardening is a calming and meditative pastime that has been proven to have a positive impact on mental health.
Surrounding yourself with greenery is linked to better management of depression, anxiety and stress and better yet, growing and eating your own food can give you a deeper sense of connection to the world. Growing your own food doesn’t have to be a major challenge either, even in these current climates. Polytunnels make it easy for amateur gardeners to grow their own food by offering an affordable and flexible alternative to greenhouses.
Even if you are not blessed with an expansive garden, what little space you do have can be used to practice yoga, circuit training and general exercise, which is imperative to your mental and physical health. Exercising indoors is certainly a possibility but there is truly no alternative to getting a sweat on in the fresh air.
You don’t have to run rings around the garden either. Whether it’s digging and planting, mowing the lawn or even weeding, gardening can be a great workout and it will help you get a good night’s sleep too, which is its own form of exercise!
You don’t have to be doing a particular activity to absorb the goodness of the sun. Just finding somewhere to sit and relax in peace while soaking up the rays (even if it is a bit cold) can have a massive impact on your health and wellbeing. Many modern homes are designed to block out the natural light, but as human beings, we rely on sunlight to mediate our serotonin levels. This is why there has been such a dramatic increase in seasonal affective disorder in recent years and that can only be cured with regular exposure to sunlight.
It’s not only your mood that will be improved by sunlight either. Ultraviolet radiation can help build stronger bones and, when experienced in moderation, can even help prevent skin cancer and other ailments, including skin conditions. It’s a glorious natural resource that we owe it to ourselves to make the most of.