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  • Writer's pictureLinda Andrews - Editorial Assistant, Nuse Online

How Your Garden Can Enhance Your Mental Health

Mental Health Awareness Week (13th–19th May), the theme this year is ‘Movement: Moving more for our mental health’.

What better way to get moving than getting out in our gardens and sprucing up our outdoor spaces? Gardening isn’t just a way to beautify your surroundings - there can be substantial benefits to your mental wellbeing too. The mental health charity, Mind, found that nearly two-thirds of UK adults (63%) say spending time gardening or in nature helps their mental health.

Engaging in gardening activities can significantly reduce stress, improve your mood and enhance your overall sense of calm and satisfaction. Whether it's mowing the lawn, pruning your perennials, or simply enjoying the tranquillity of nature and the outdoors, each moment spent in the garden can contribute positively to your mental health. In this guide, Cheryl Harper, Managing Director of Greensleeves Lawn Care, discusses how getting moving in our gardens can give us a mental health boost.

More than just a hobby

Gardening is not only a delightful way to spend your spare time; it is also a great way of keeping active, getting outdoors and improving mental wellbeing. Working on the garden is an excellent full-body workout that incorporates both strength and endurance. There are so many fun green activities, making gardening an accessible form of physical activity. The very nature of gardening tasks, whether it's mowing, planting, or weeding, involves a range of movements that engage different muscle groups.

Physical exercise, such as gardening, has been shown to reduce stress and enhance mental wellbeing too. This natural form of exercise helps in releasing endorphins, the body's natural mood elevators, which can lead to improvements in mood and reductions in feelings of stress or anxiety. In fact, in recent years, the NHS has started ‘prescribing’ gardening as part of the mental health services set out in the NHS Long Term Plan2.

Connecting with nature

Simply being around greenery and nature has been shown to help with mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. The smells of fresh cut grass, blossoming flowers, or feeling the soil between our fingers all help us connect with nature.

Gardening under the sunlight provides a great opportunity to soak up some vitamin D. This is essential for bone health, immune function and mental well-being. Vitamin D has been linked to improvements in mood and a reduction in depression symptoms, making gardening an excellent way to improve your physical and mental health simultaneously. Just remember to protect your skin with sunscreen and stay hydrated if you’re out for long periods of time.

The rewards of growing the garden

As well as enhancing the aesthetics of your surroundings, gardening can play a significant role in boosting self-esteem. The satisfaction derived from seeing a well-mowed lawn or a beautifully maintained garden cannot be overstated. It provides a tangible result for your efforts and labour, contributing to a deep sense of accomplishment and pride.

Moreover, gardening offers endless learning opportunities. Whether it's mastering a new technique or understanding the specific needs of a plant species, each new piece of knowledge adds to your skills and confidence. This is especially encouraging for beginners, who can start with small, manageable projects and soon witness the fruits of their labour. The incremental successes in gardening can be incredibly rewarding, helping to boost satisfaction and morale.

Quality time with family and friends

Gardening is a fantastic activity that brings families together and is suitable for individuals of all ages. It provides an excellent opportunity for children to learn important life skills and understand the value of nurturing nature. The hands-on activities like planting seeds, watering plants and digging soil can be educational and enjoyable for children, offering lessons in responsibility and the cycles of nature.

Community gardens serve as wonderful gathering spots that foster social interactions and build a sense of community. Participating in gardening projects allows us to meet new people and work collaboratively, enhancing social skills and creating a supportive network. You’ll often find people share not only their gardening skills but also their stories and experiences, promoting a collective spirit of cooperation and wellbeing.

Breaking through the hustle and bustle

In our increasingly fast-paced world, gardening offers a unique opportunity to step back from daily stresses, put down our digital devices, and engage at our own pace. This slower, more deliberate approach to tasks allows us to focus on the present moment and the task at hand, which can be incredibly therapeutic. The act of gardening itself – whether it’s deciding the layout of a flower bed or choosing which vegetables to plant – puts us in control. It's a personal retreat where we can restore a sense of order and create an environment that perfectly suits our needs and aesthetics.

Lawn care is a crucial aspect of maintaining an aesthetically pleasing outdoor space, and we now understand how green spaces aren’t just for nature – they boost our mental health too. If you are looking to enhance the beauty and maintenance of your garden and want to learn more about the services offered by lawn care specialists Greensleeves, please visit here to learn more.


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