It’s starting to really hit home that summer is behind us and we are heading into the blustery and chillier Autumnal months. Picnicking outside and sunning ourselves in parks feels slightly less enticing, and its easy to feel a bit worried about how to make sure we are still getting enough green & nature in our lives. So what is it about green spaces and plants that are so important for our mental wellbeing? And how can we make sure we still get our green fix with shorter colder days?
Inner city pressure
Living in a city sure has its benefits. You are close to pals and have pubs, galleries and restaurants right on your doorstep. However it has its downsides; noise, pollution, commutes and a sea of grey…it doesn’t take a scientist to tell you that these are un-natural environments.
Parks and green spaces have historically been used in city planning to mitigate these issues, with trees muffling noises of traffic and plants cleaning the polluted air. Parks and gardens have offered a calming centre away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, encouraging people to leave the office or their homes for a sit in the park, swapping slate grey and glass for green.
As populations have expanded people flock to cities, and the hub of a city has become increasingly synonymous with stress, anxiety and fatigue…In fact there is a, now defunct, medical condition called neurasthenia that was coined with specific reference to the debilitating mental effects of urban living, the cure? A dash of nature…
Over 50% of people live in urban environments globally, up from just 3% in the 1800’s, and in the UK it is over 80% (see nerdy graph below), and this increase is set to continue. These figures combined with the statistics that there are 40% higher rates of depression in cities makes for pretty startling reading and reveals the importance of our individual approach to life to keep our bodies and minds healthy.
So how can nature and plants help combat these feelings of loneliness and stress? Research has repeatedly shown that green spaces are important for a number of reasons (see our blog on why even the colour green is good for you & on how plants can increase cortisol levels), but being close to green spaces/plants and nature can reduce feelings of aggression, stress & anxiety (we’ve all felt that on a commute or in traffic).
A study in Brisbane, Australia showed a 7% decrease in cases of depression & 9% decrease in high blood pressure amongst a study group who visited green spaces more often. So getting out there really does help and, whilst this isn’t always easy to find, many of the cities across the UK are some of the the greenest in the world so make sure you brave the cold and get out there over the next couple of months, at least once a week.
We think this is incredibly important, and I am trying to live by these rules while I am at home. This is why our next Mind, Body & Soil bundle, The Green Healer, is particularly special to us. We are bringing you some of the very things that inspired us to start our monthly boxes and that I personally use to understand how to improve my mental wellbeing through plants.
Bring the outside in
There plenty of ways to improve your mental and physical health without leaving your house, and with a second lockdown looming it is vital that we find other ways of injecting nature into our daily lives. Greening up your home is one of these ways, adding that splash of colour can improve air quality and mood.
Moreover those precious moments where you carefully tend to your much loved houseplant to make sure the soil is just moist enough, it is pest free and taking a peek to see if you have any new growth gives you a brief timeout from the daily grind and provides us (well me at least) with a sense of fulfilment…especially when you start seeing results (see my maidenhair fern I have just saved from certain death with a big haircut and a lot of love…Im so proud of the little guy ???)
We cant stress enough how strongly we feel about the importance of introducing plants and nature into your daily lives. Small incremental changes to your routine can have massive positive effects. Make sure you are giving yourself a timeout through a run, walk or plant timeout (they are my fave). We strive to bring this to you with our monthly boxes and our app gives you the knowledge you need to keep your green companions happy.
Our next Mind, Body & Soil box has been curated with these principles in mind and I can guarantee you that you will not be disappointed…in fact the great Stephen Fry has said of one of our box items that it helps anyone:
“Find a way of reconnecting to yourselves and rebuilding confidence and hope by way of nature”Stephen Fry on one of the items in our next box
If you want a little bit of Green Healing in your life just type GREENHEALING25 at checkout to receive 25% off our next box…it a no brainer and PACKED with value!