It is no secret that while the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the entire world, it also has effects on everyone individually. Many people have been faced with a decline in mental health in response to this pandemic, whether due to working from home, being isolated from loved ones, or simply the overall stress the pandemic induces. It is important to take care of ourselves and make contributions in our own lives to enhance our mental and emotional wellbeing.
One way to address this is to alter the space we live in. Adding plants to the home is one approach that has been studied and concluded to be beneficial to overall wellbeing and improve Mental Health with Indoor Plants.
Although making small changes such as adding nature to your home can help improve mental health, it is important to seek professional help if you are struggling. Refer to the resources at the bottom of this article for more information.
Mental Health with Indoor Plants Benefit
Connecting with Nature
Growing plants indoors can purify the air in your home and help you create a connection with nature. This is particularly important in the cold, dreary months of winter when it is undesirable if not impossible to spend time outdoors and connect with the natural earth. Spending abundant time in nature has been shown to lessen stress and improve mood, and bringing a small element of nature indoors can yield a similar effect. One study showed that a bacteria found in soil called Mycobacterium vaccae can release serotonin upon interaction, reducing anxiety and lifting overall mood!
Plants have also been said to reduce feelings of loneliness. Especially during isolation when it is not safe to see loved ones or venture out to make new friends, having something in the home that needs to be taken care of can help us feel purposeful. Plants need to be regularly cared for and there may be a learning curve for new plant parents. Luckily, there are plentiful resources online to help you prepare to take care of your own plants. Delving into researching the proper care for your plants and adapting to your plants’ needs over time can provide the feeling of being needed and in turn reduce the feeling of loneliness or purposelessness.
Improving Emotional Wellbeing During COVID-19
In 2020, a study looked specifically at how houseplants were helping people cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers found that 74% of respondents reported that the presence of vegetation in their homes boosted their emotional well-being and reduced the frequency of negative emotions amid lockdowns. Interacting with plants can even have physical and physiological benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and soothing the nervous system. These tangible effects on the cardiovascular system have direct influences on physical and mental health, potentially providing long-term health benefits.
Additionally, when you enrich your environment with plants, your productivity and creativity may increase. Biophilia, the human instinct to connect with nature, is thought to be a stimulant for this increased creativity, tracing the benefits of plants back thousands of years.
Making Your Space a Mental Health Haven
Now that you know what houseplants can provide you, you may be wondering where do I even begin? First things first, figure out what kind of houseplant is right for you and your home!
Best Indoor Plants
Spider Plant: If you are in search of a versatile plant with a unique appearance, the spider plant is for you! Because of their cascading foliage, these plants are great either sitting upon a tall table or hanging. Spider plants are relatively simple to care for, making them great for new plant parents!
ZZ Plant: When you are looking to occupy a larger space such as an empty corner of a room, this ZZ plant is the perfect fit! They grow up to 4-feet tall, are rich green in color, and thrive in conditions that your home likely naturally provides (indirect light, moderate humidity, and room-temperature air), allowing for a seamless transition into your home!
Bonsai Tree: These miniature trees are great options for small spaces. Since these plants are contained in their planters and can be pruned to remain whatever size you desire, they are easy to fit in any tight space. They are also extremely portable, allowing you to change up your greenery location whenever you’d like!
There are limitless suggestions of great houseplants to add to your home, so think about what exactly you are looking for and do some research! Once you have chosen what plants work best for your lifestyle and space, you can start brainstorming ways to decorate with them.
Arranging your houseplants strategically can help enhance the benefits they will bring. For instance, if you have a designated relaxation space in your home, adding plants to this area can help amplify the peaceful feelings you gain. Consider hanging multiple small plants, perhaps in terrariums, to create a dynamic, immersive plant experience. Hanging plants are also great for rooms with limited table-top space!
On the other hand, if there is a space in your home that tends to bring bad feelings, such as an office or dimly lit room, adding a plant to this area can help reduce those negative emotions and encourage positive ones. Dark rooms tend to be gloomy, so investing in a grow light allows you to bring nature into these spaces to liven them.
Another way to let plants complement your home and enhance your mood is by harvesting herbs! Having access to fresh herbs in your kitchen will add rich aromas as well as delicious flavors to your cooking. You’re more likely to make a home-cooked meal and experiment with cooking if you have herbs close by waiting to be used, so use these plants to get creative!
If you live in a space that isn’t conducive to displaying many potted plants, consider creating a grow wall! These displays sit flat against any wall, taking up minimal space while providing all the benefits of potted plants. We have some suggestions of the best plants to use on your very own grow wall here.
Regardless of what kind of space you have, there is a way to incorporate nature into your home. Growing houseplants can be a form of self-care and it is important to be kind to ourselves during tough times such as these.
Mental Health Resources: