It’s mid-February, which means many Canadians like myself are in the midst of we call the winter blues, or, winter depression. While we know spring is around the corner, it doesn’t help much at the moment. We’ve been bundled up without much access to natural light and we’re going stir-crazy from staring at screens. Some of us are having difficulty getting out of bed and others are struggling to sleep. It’s a rough time of year.
While we dream of warmer and longer days and spending time outside, for now, it’s pretty much too cold for anything but basic survival. I know. I feel ya.
But there are a few things we can do to boost our mood. Obviously, eat well and spend time socializing and take our medication if applicable, and blah blah… We know those things. We live those things. We do our best.
What many of us forget though is how houseplants can help improve our mental health naturally.
So how the heck can a simple houseplant help with your winter blues? Glad you asked.
Green leafy houseplants have positive psychological benefits
Think ficus trees, ferns, and peace lilies. These green leafy varieties are great for our mental health. Looking at them and being near them can even help us get along better with others, which, let’s face it, is a major struggle when we’re feeling blue.
Aromatic houseplants are naturally therapeutic
Plants with strong scents are known to have natural mood-boosting effects. Citrus-scented varieties like citronella or lemon basil can help with low energy levels and support feelings of wellness, whereas floral-and-earthy-scented varieties like lavender and eucalyptus can help ground you and calm anxiety. Try these herby houseplants in the kitchen, bedroom, and living room.
Some plants even go an extra mile and provide additional benefits. For example, peppermint plants have even been shown to increase alertness and enhance memory.
Houseplants can help with creativity
Despite the stereotype of the tortured artist, most people struggling with depression also suffer from creative blocks. After all, it’s hard to feel inspired—or anything at all—when there’s a darkness looming over everything we do. This is where decorating your home with houseplants can help.
Science has shown that green leafy plants can help boost creative thinking, effectively breaking down those blocks standing in your way of completing projects or brainstorming new ideas.
Their soil releases stress-busting “outdoorphins”
Outdoorphins are an adorable name for the high-like feeling we get from being in nature. While it’s obvious you’ll get the best dose of outdoorphins by actually spending time outside, it’s snowy and windy and freezing out there, leading many of us to burrow in blankets inside until spring.
The good news is the microbe’s in your houseplant’s soil can work in a similar way to boost your mood and release pent-up stress.
Caring for plants provides a sense of purpose
Houseplants are pretty much perfect for people with winter depression because caring for them provides us with a rewarding sense of being needed, without all the responsibility of having a pet.
They don’t need their litter changed, to go for walks, and they don’t require a big budget to care for either. They take some of the pressure off during hard times and watching them flourish feels good.
If you feel like you don’t have a green thumb or you want some tips on taking care of your plants, check out my post 3 reasons why your houseplants aren’t happy.
Cover image credit: Unsplash