Recently I was invited to the Chelsea Flower Show. To my delight, Sonia, a mother of one of my clients was also able to accept an invitation. I have been the Deputy to her lovely daughter for 10 years so knew Sonia would be a great person to spend the day with.
The Chelsea Flower Show has a world renowned reputation and is one of the highlights in any gardener’s calendar. We thoroughly enjoyed the day looking at the marvellous and very clever displays. In particular we loved the water features which only added to the beauty of the gardens. We came away refreshed and revived. So how do gardens and gardening impact mental health?
Research has shown that just spending time outside is good for our bodies and minds. Sonia and I both found this by just wandering around the beautiful surroundings with the fresh air. This was great for us. We were able to enjoy the work of others but what about the gardeners who actually do the work? I expect entering the competition is quite stressful but general gardening has been shown to reduce mental health problems like depression and anxiety as well combat high blood pressure and improve overall physical fitness. There is something quite satisfying planting something and then see it grow over time. There is also nothing better than spending a beautiful hazy summer day relaxing in a garden surrounded by the perfumes and colour.
Gardens can be places to reflect and unwind. They are peaceful places which have restorative qualities to help when stressed and lift the mood. They give you a chance to stop and think.
I have had clients who have benefited from a charity called Thrive. This charity works with people aged 14-94 with lifelong or long term mental and physical health needs as well as those recovering from accidents or illness. They put in place bespoke gardening programmes which are designed for individuals with set goals so as to improve their health and well-being. My client who has been with Thrive really enjoyed the work there and it gave her a focus.
So if you are feeling stressed or simply need a lift why not visit a local garden or park? What about starting some gardening yourself? No matter how small a garden is a little bit of colour or a few herbs can make all the difference to your wellbeing.