The sudden rise of the novel coronavirus brought a drastic reassessment and reorganization in the way we live, impacting every aspect of our daily living. From lost jobs, shortages of food and medical supplies, civil disorder, and fear of the unknown, the COVID-19 has taken its toll. But every crisis can also be an opportunity. During difficult and challenging times, people come together to work on improving the situation and find ways to protect and look after themselves and each other.
Through gardening, many people discovered the comfort and joy that they need in times like this. For many, gardening is considered a part-time activity or a hobby many used their time and energy into, especially during the imposed lockdown worldwide.
In this time and age, physical health is the world’s priority. Thus, safety practices and protocols are strongly advised, such as frequent hand-washing and social distancing. These efforts are, for the most part, to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. However, a wave of mental health problems also emerged from the pandemic. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA, noted that the social distancing measures affect incidences of boredom, frustration, anger, anxiety, loneliness, and worst, depression.
How Gardening Affects People Positively
Clinical Psychologist Kamna Chhibber said, “Engaging with nature and the environment, in general, tends to have a very therapeutic effect on us. For most people, stepping out or going outdoors, whether it’s in their own garden, a forested area, or to the mountains, the experience is very relaxing. It takes you away from the constant rush of your daily life by disconnecting you from the hustle.”
Gardening has a positive psychological impact on people, and numerous studies prove that gardening boosts our mood. The Journal of Evolutionary Psychology published that the presence of flowers directly improves mood, increases the recurring feeling of happiness, and provides a soothing feeling. A survey conducted by San Francisco hospitals also proved that 79% of patients experience an intensified sense of calm and relaxation after spending some time outdoors in a garden.
Moreover, 19% revealed that they feel a more positive and upbeat outlook, and another 25% feel healthier and refreshed. These studies show that when we tend to our plants or hang around the garden, both the visual and physical stimulation increases “happy hormones” in our brains. These hormones, notably dopamine and serotonin, help improve our mood and overall mental health.
Furthermore, the pandemic is a traumatizing experience, and a lot of people have been experiencing stress and anxiety. According to a study in the Journal of Health Psychology, a significant decrease in “stress hormone” or cortisol is experienced after gardening. An additional study from the Journal of Physiological Anthropology discovered that people working on duties or chores involving plants are more relaxed and comfortable than those doing administrative or computer tasks.
Gardening Offers Other Benefits, Too
Some of the public interest in gardening is not exclusively fueled by the desire for leisure. Some initiatives are geared toward producing immunity-boosting fruits and vegetables for people to consume. The fear of food shortage contributes to this trend since the pandemic has disrupted the global food supply chain.
Home gardening is a farming method that consolidates physical, mental, social, and economic factors to produce a fresh food supply in a household setting. Enriched and balanced diets are attained in situations like this, where urban gardens supply households on a day to day basis with fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables packed with proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Families are starting to realize the benefits of home gardening, such as improving food security and diversity, nutritional value, and the home’s microenvironment.
The rise of urban gardeners during the pandemic also made gardening supplies a hot commodity. Several seed companies have delayed or suspended taking orders for seeds due to the unprecedented order, volume, and correspondence. Similarly, consumers are also stacking on injection molding products such as flower pots and planters in various shapes and sizes. With demands like this, the global market of gardening and agriculture equipment is estimated to reach $44.6B by 2027. That is from $35.5B this year.
Whether it is for the joy of collecting houseplants or planting edible herbs, the number of new garden enthusiasts putting their green thumb into practice is continuously growing. While the world is suffering from a health emergency, gardens are blooming with ornamental or nutritious plants. It is a bittersweet timing to discover and improve one’s gardening interest and skills while in the middle of a pandemic, but this is a trend worth utilizing.