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From reduced social interaction to health anxiety and the stress of uncertainty, there are a tonne of reasons why managing your mental health might be a little trickier at this time. But according to recent research, if you’re yet to find peace in activities like reading, cooking or running, gardening could be your saving grace.
Don’t run away yet – we know planting flowers and tending to weeds might remind you of your grandparents, but gardening isn’t just an old person thing. It can actually be quite cool. And since there are a multitude of reasons why it can have an immeasurably positive impact on your mood, more young women are taking it up than ever before.
A report in the Journal of Mental Health cited gardening as being able to reduce stress and improve mood, with a reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety. A Dutch study found that those who participated in gardening had measurably lower levels of cortisol – the stress hormone which, in high amounts, has been linked to heart, digestion and memory problems – and another study found it can even reduce Dementia by up to 36%! Sign us up.
You don’t need a large garden to reap the benefits of gardening. A tiny garden, a balcony or even a window box will do. In fact, if you’re living in a rented property and don’t have much freedom to mix up your interiors or paint the walls, a small garden can be your creative outlet.
If you don’t feel confident enough to go full steam ahead and dig up your entire space, start by investing in a planter. There are plenty of options available, from this one which hangs on the wall, to this window box planter, a giant plant pot or an ultra-stylish plant stand which can lean against a fence or wall.
Next, think about whether you’d like to grow flowers, fruit or vegetables. You can buy packs of flower seeds here, from Dahlia seeds to Sunflower seeds and sweet peas. Or, if you’ve always dreamed of growing your own produce, there’s no better time to start. The supermarkets will certainly thank you. You can pick up a whole array of vegetable seeds from Dobies to be delivered straight to your door. Oh, and don’t forget to treat yourself to a cute watering can, trowel set and not-so-cute-but-necessary compost for all of the above.
Since the weather is heating up, taking to the garden to work from home could be another sure-fire way of increasing your productivity. Once you’ve created a nice planter, invest in some garden furniture. We love these chairs from Garden Trading, this outdoor cushion from John Lewis and these cute lanterns for when the sun starts to go down.