Gardening for Wellbeing | Our Bumper Crop of Tips to Get the Most from the Outdoors
For many people, their gardens are an important part of their home, and more recently they are being seen as an extra room of the house. Whether we see our gardens as being inside or outside the house, an outside space can be an oasis of calm and tranquility that helps us cope with the demands of our daily lives.
A large proportion of Zetetick’s properties have gardens, and we recognise how beneficial having access to some outside space is for our tenants, especially since Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns. However small an outside space is, it can still be hugely beneficial for our health, and gardening for wellbeing is something we should try to be more aware of.
If you don’t have a garden, it is still so important to spend time in green spaces.
Everyone needs a ‘Natural Health Service’ as well as a National Health Service (Sir Muir Gray, British physician)
Gardening is physical exercise, and exercise is good for us. According to the NHS, it is medically proven that people who exercise regularly are at lower risk of many serious illnesses including heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Lots of people get their exercise quota by going to the gym regularly, but for those who prefer other ways of keeping fit, incorporating gardening for wellbeing into our routine can also have a big effect on our health:
the number of calories burnt from 30 minutes of gardening is comparable to playing badminton, volleyball or practising yoga
Good for mental health
Gardening for wellbeing is not only about physical health. The benefits of gardening for our mental health are also huge. Spending time in green spaces is known to reduce anxiety and depression, reduce feelings of stress and anger, and generally improve our mood.
MIND have more information here about the mental health benefits of being in nature:
The Japanese have a therapy called “shinrin-yoku”, or “forest bathing”. Simply being in nature and taking in the surroundings is calming and relaxing, and you don’t have to find a forest! You can forest bathe anywhere there is some green. Just being in the garden is good for our wellbeing, even if we don’t get much work done. If you don’t have a garden, try to find a patch of nature nearby where you can find some peace and calm.
Food – grow your own
Eating less meat and more plant-based food is good for our health as well as for the environment, and gardening for wellbeing can also be about growing our own to help us reach that 5 a day of fruit and veg in our diets. The World Health Organisation recognises that, like the health benefits of exercise, eating enough fruit and veg lowers the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
If you aren’t lucky enough to have a garden or only have a very small space, there are lots of plants you can grow in containers or window boxes. For example lettuces, radishes and herbs do well in window boxes, as do flowers like petunias, geraniums and begonias.
So many plants grow wonderfully in pots – tomatoes and beans are probably the vegtable most commonly grown in containers, but chard works really well too, and if you plant the rainbow or ruby variety you will get fabulous, richly coloured stalks that also taste great and are so good for us.
Gardeners don’t grow on trees!
We are always looking for volunteers to give us a hand with our tenants’ gardens.
Do you like getting your hands dirty and do you have a few hours to spare?
If this sounds like something you’d be interested in get in touch and let’s have a chat.
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