There's no time like the present to tackle that back garden. It's a well-known fact that working on your garden is a great form of exercise, but did you know it has many mental health benefits too?
If you're feeling stressed and anxious thanks to the wild 2020 we've had so far, why not go outside and tackle that garden and reap the physical and mental rewards.
Joie Risk, wellbeing coach, and MD of Sunlighten UK (sunlightensaunas.co.uk), has explained four ways gardening can boost your mental health:
Sunlight for stress relief
Getting out in the sun to work on your garden feels great - but don't take our word for it, there's science to back us up! Sunlight triggers the release of endorphins and serotonin - chemicals that help us relax and calm down. Doctors say a lack of sun exposure can lead to seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or depression. So, next time you're feeling blue, add some greenery to your life. An hour in the garden might be just what the doctor ordered.
Researchers estimated that, worldwide, about a billion people don't get enough vitamin D, which helps build strong bones, teeth and muscles, each day. A lack of this vitamin can lead to the development of prostate and breast cancer, memory loss and schizophrenia. Doctors also recommend an hour of sun each day for patients suffering from osteoporosis.
Most of us spent plenty of time getting dirty in our youth. As we age, it seems fewer activities require us to get our hands dirty. It turns out, some of the microbes that live in soil play a role in our mental health. The microbe Mycobacterium vaccae mimics the effects of antidepressant drugs. Who knew? Maybe that's why the dirtier kids get, the more fun they seem to have!
Nobody denies the connection between the food we eat and our physical health. The same is true for our mental health, too. Among other positives, our happiness and confidence get a boost when we consume more fruits and vegetables. There's also evidence that suggests raw produce is even more effective at improving mental health than cooked.
And since raw vegetables taste the best right from the garden, there's every reason to get your plot ready for the growing season right now!