Although the weather is still chilly in most parts of the country, the splendor of spring is right around the corner, complete with its gorgeous blossoms and 75-degree days.
This time of year is also perfect for starting a garden. Yes, it will serve as a great break from the sweatsuit-clad Netflix marathons and early sunsets; but it will also give you something to look forward to and give your mental health a boost.
Gardening is becoming an increasingly popular hobby, and for good reason. Gardening is packed with mental and physical health benefits, and it’s also great for the planet. So if you’re looking for a new form of self-care this spring, gardening is an excellent option. Here’s why it’s so great for you—and how to start your own garden.
Gardening helps you spend more time outside
The benefits of spending time in nature are well-documented. Immersing yourself in the great outdoors reduces anxiety and can even improve our immune systems. While indoor gardens do exist (and we’re all about them!), for the most part, gardening happens outside. So as long as you have adequate sun protection — and a great gardening hat — spending time in your garden will give you a vitamin D boost and serve your body and mind very well.
Gardening provides you with a sense of purpose
Having a sense of purpose is crucial to happiness, and gardening gives you just that. By tending to your plants, produce, and flowers, you’ll always have something to care for and a reason to get up in the morning that isn’t related to work, family, or even a pet. As a nice bonus, other than enough water, sunlight, and some weeding, your garden won’t ask for much from you!
From vegetables and herbs to flowers, you have tons of options when it comes to what you plant in your garden.
Gardening will help you do your part in preserving the planet
Climate change anxiety is a real problem in 2022 — many of us are spending a lot of time worrying about the future of our planet. Our current food supply chain is not very sustainable, so by growing your own food, you’ll naturally use it less. Mental health experts often say that action is the antidote to anxiety, so participating in a practice that’s good for the earth can help ease those worries a bit.
Gardening will help you eat healthier
If you’re growing your own food, you’ll naturally eat more produce. From berries and tomatoes to eggplant, zucchini, and leafy greens, you’ll rarely be without access to fruits and vegetables. Plus, you can rest easy knowing your food isn’t covered in harmful pesticides.
Gardening helps you get exercise
While gardening isn’t exactly equivalent to going for a run, the act of weeding and tending to your garden will get your heart rate up and help you get a moderate amount of exercise without even realizing it.
Gardening is great for your memory
If you’re looking to give your memory a boost and stave off diseases like dementia in the future, gardening is a great starting point. One study found that gardening may lower the risk of dementia by 36%.
How to start a garden
While gardening is somewhat straightforward, there is a lot to learn beforehand if you want your garden to thrive. The below resources can help you get started:
Take an online gardening class
There are a handful of amazing gardening classes available. This one will teach you everything you need to know about how to grow vegetables, succulents, herbs, and more in any space, like a planter or a rooftop, while this one will teach you how to start a flower garden on a budget.
Read books on gardening
There are so many great books on gardening out there. Some excellent options include:
Invest in the right gear and tools
You'll need a handful of tools (and maybe even a few new wardrobe items) to plant a garden that truly thrives. Some essentials might be a trowel, a rake, gardening gloves, a kneeling pad, a sprinkler, a pair of gardening shoes (rubber clogs are a great option), a hat, pruning shears, and more. You can shop gardening supplies (and see what else is out there) here.Do you have a garden, or any plans to start one? Let us know in the comments. And while you’re at it, here are 22 food journaling prompts for mindful eating.