Plants are not just a beautiful metaphor for personal growth. They are a wonderful way to incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine, practice self-care, aid in your whole well-being and improve your environment in numerous ways. AND they can be a really punny hobby. Seriously, if you are not into plant puns, this is probably not the blog series for you!
Keeping that in mind…
Whether you have already been fiddling around with your fig, you are ready to try to dance the Monstera Mash or you were born and raised in a garden bed, Victoria Licandro, LMSW and I are here to support your journey with fun and useful tips.
Do you have a history of killing plants or are you worried that you do not have a green thumb? OK, Bloomer! You’ve got this and we’re rooting for you. We welcome plant people from every level of experience in our green space.
***This blog series is meant to supplement your mental health care. It is a natural and rewarding way to enhance the work you are already doing and NOT a substitute for treatment.
Grow With Us: Plant Care as Self-Care
By Victoria Licandro, LMSW March 3, 2022
Over the past three calendar years, you’ve most likely picked up a new hobby of sorts. Whether it was of the fleeting variety (speaking of—that yeast you bought in March 2020 is now expired) or more long-lasting, it hopefully served its purpose in temporarily occupying your mind during the inordinate amount of time you’ve spent at home.
Maybe you’re one of the people whose home got a lot more forest-like. You’ve studied up: A(locasia Amazonica) to Z(Z plants). You became an armchair horticulturist—and seemingly overnight, you were surrounded by twenty shades of green.
When you began adorning your available surfaces with leafy plants, perhaps it was solely for the purpose of accessorizing and revitalizing your space. However, after dedicating time to nurturing plants on an almost daily basis, one comes to realize that they’re more than just a means to attain a certain aesthetic. Due to the unfortunate circumstances related to the pandemic and the incalculable losses and sacrifices that relentlessly follow, mental health has been compromised for most of us. Many people wonder how to find the time and will for self-care. It turns out that plant owners have been doing it all along.
Science corroborates the notion that exposure to green spaces—and spending time in nature—can improve mood, reduce stress, enhance cognitive skills, and promote overall well-being in people of all ages. Whether basking in flora occurs inside or outside the home, many report that their thoughts slow, they breathe more calmly, and they find joy in the practice of plant care. Several studies suggest that keeping plants at work improves focus and productivity. What’s more, large plants or large groups of plants can also lessen background noise, making it easier to concentrate. Productivity aside, caring for another living thing is an act that keeps us rooted in the present. Plants will look after us if we look after them.
We require water, sunlight, fresh air, and some TLC. Not to be reductive, but are we sentient houseplants? Here are three ways to care for yourself in parallel with your plants:
Stay moving. Certain plants, particularly ficuses, get jostled by the wind, rain, and wildlife in their natural habitats. You might feel ridiculous doing it initially, but shaking the trunk of your ficus for a couple minutes every day actually helps it grow stronger and healthier. Sound familiar? If you have a plant that needs shakin’, think of it as nature’s notification to find some sort of movement in your own life. Stretch, twist, bend—whatever feels comfortable for you.
Stay nourished. Like plants, we have our own watering and feeding guidelines, light needs, and yes—we encounter pest problems and may have to do some weeding out of the relationships that bring us more grief than joy. Because unlike our photosynthetic, eukaryotic friends, we have big ol’ brains that necessitate nourishment as well. We flourish when we can find lily pads throughout our week upon which to rest.
Stay lustrous. Similar to our skin, plant leaves have pores. Dirty, dusty leaves can lead to health problems for your plants and inhibit life-sustaining processes such as photosynthesis and respiration. Every few months, you may want to consider adding some detergent-free soap to distilled water to maintain healthy and clean plants. Soak a microfiber cloth in the soapy solution, then gently wipe down both sides of each leaf. Once you’ve wiped all of the leaves, gently tilt your plant to the side (making sure the soapy water doesn’t absorb into the soil) and rinse your plant in the shower or sink. As you’re delicately attending to your plants’ leaves, ponder the ways in which you can tend to your inner or outer health. There are innumerable ways to find your shine.
Plants can be the ultimate bellwethers of our mental health—if they are droopy, we may be, too. Every drop of water that we don’t pour into our plants is most likely a drop that we aren’t pouring into ourselves. Let plant care be self-care.
To learn more and inquire about how you can plant healthy roots, fill out our Send Us An Email form on our contact page or call us at 917.476.9381.