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How gardening is great in challenging circumstances

31st March 2020

A recent article published in GQ magazine revealed that the British racing car driver, Max Chilton, gardens to keep active and pass the time during self-isolation. Max Chilton’s new-found past time shows us that there’s something special about spending time in our gardens.

This is particularly important during periods of self-isolation. Spending more time inside, it’s natural that we’d feel cut off from friends, family and the outside world. Whether we’re mowing the grass, sowing flower seeds, or planting up fruit and vegetable seedlings, getting outside into our outdoor spaces, or even growing a few things on a windowsill, has a multitude of benefits.

Stress-relief

We all know that gardening is great for our mental health. A 2010 dutch study, published in the Journal of Health Psychology, revealed that gardening can help to restore mood. In the study, thirty allotment gardeners were asked to perform a stressful task before being instructed to garden or read for half an hour. The gardening group were found to be in much higher spirits, and had much lower cortisol levels (cortisol is our main stress hormone), than the readers who did in-fact experience a deterioration of good thoughts.

Confidence builder

Ask any gardener you know, and they will tell you that there’s nothing more uplifting than harvesting the crop from the first seed you ever sowed. Regardless of what it is, learning a new skill can help to boost our confidence and can give us a purpose that we might feel is missing from our day-to-day lives. What’s more, when we spend a lot of time inside, the process of sowing a seed, watching it grow, and harvesting it, can help us to re-connect with the natural world.

Grow your own

Learning how to grow our own fruit and veg gives us access to lots of healthy food that is great at strengthening our immune system. It’s also useful for when food is in short supply. The Dig For Victory campaign, for example, was set up in World War II by the Ministry of Agriculture so that people could eat during periods of harsh rationing. Domestic gardens, parks, and other public spaces (including the lawn outside the Tower of London) were all turned into allotments.

Connections

At first glance, it might seem that gardening is a solitary hobby. However, that is simply not the case! For a start, gardening is an activity that you can do with other members of your household. Also, there are hundreds of online gardening communities that are full of budding gardeners. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our own online forum The Grapevine (which can be found here), are platforms to share photos, anecdotes, information and to ask questions when you get stuck.

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