While you’re taking down the holiday decorations this January – perhaps ponder replacing them with something a little more natural. Buying and tending to houseplants was a big pandemic hobby, but there are many reasons why the boost in interest in our leafy friends has continued to last – There are endless benefits to them!
Four Benefits of Tending to Houseplants
- Plants are nature’s purifies and humidifies
Plants work around the clock improving the quality of air in your living space. Not only do they convert carbon dioxide into the oxygen that we’re breathing in, but some plants even absorb chemicals and toxins in the air. Some of the best houseplants for improving air quality are Spider Plants, Snake Plants, Peace Lilies and Golden Pothos.
- Plants can improve your mental health
Countless studies have proved that just being in the presence of indoor plants improves your mental and physical health. Plants speak right to our senses; the dirt and leaves feel good to touch, they look pretty and pleasing, you can smell some of the more fragrant plants or notice how crisp your household’s air is. In addition, plants can help you with feelings of being lonely. Studies have shown that in the office environment, plants brought employees a feeling of escape. Even during stay-at-home orders, a study showed that those who had indoor plants experienced significantly less symptoms of anxiety and depression than those who did not.
- Plants bring nature inside for those who do not have time/cannot walk in nature daily.
Humans have an inherent connection to nature and plants around them. It is often highlighted how taking a daily walk in nature can help ground you, boost your mood, increase your memory and cognitive functioning. That being said, there are many barriers that keep you from being able to be surrounded by nature daily. For some, it’s lack of time, poor weather conditions, or physical abilities. Houseplants can be especially helpful for those populations. In addition, improved air quality can greatly increase cognitive performance – boosting memory, focus and productivity. Studies have even shown that individuals are 15% more creative when they are surrounded by natural elements and greenery.
- Plants are shown to reduce stress levels and boost moods
Caring for houseplants reduces physiological and psychological stress. This could be due to the fact that caring for plants suppresses your sympathetic nervous systems’ activities promoting feelings of comfort, ease and emotional openness. In fact, studies have found that spending even as little as 20 minutes with houseplants can help make us feel more relaxed.
“If a plant is greener, does it make it better for me?” Believe it or not, a study showed the brighter, greener leaves actually increased feelings of cheerfulness and relaxation whereas the leaves that were lighter stimulated negative emotions.
“Do artificial plants still help my mental health?” Having any type of greenery in either fake plants or photographs of plants is better than nothing. That being said, real plants do have a greater effect on overall mood, attention and relaxation than their imposters.
“Playing in dirt doesn’t seem very healthy…” Repotting plants and interacting with dirt is great for your mental and physical wellbeing. Most surprisingly, dirt is amazing for your immune system. Being repeatedly exposed to friendly microorganisms that are found in dirt can actually train your immune system and help build resilience.
Common Houseplants Toxic to Pets:
Before running out to buy your new houseplant, it’s always good to do some research on not only its care requirements, but also if it is toxic to the loved ones in your home. Having young children, curious cats, and playful puppies it might be a good idea to be careful in the plants you’re bringing home or put them in a safer position in your home. Here are some examples:
- Aloe Vera
- Devil’s Ivy
- Tomato Plant
- Snake Plant
- Peace Lily
- Rubber Tree
If your pet is displaying symptoms of poisoning and you think they may have ingested a house plant, take them to the vet immediately.
Houseplant appreciation day is January 10th – the perfect time to go out to your local plant store and explore! If you are looking for other ways to relax and incorporate peaceful hobbies into your lifestyle, please reach out to Capital EAP and we can assist you!
By Lorraine LaRock, EAP Account Manager