National Gardening Week is just around the corner and there has never been a better time to discuss the benefits of gardening and the ways in which it can improve mental health and wellbeing.

Gardening and spending time outdoors is far from a cure when it comes to mental health and improving a person’s wellbeing, but it sure can help.

This is the case for everybody, but can be especially helpful for those who may no longer live at home or are in receipt of care.

Enjoying the great outdoors is just one way to help people de-stress, whilst allowing them to be alone with their own thoughts – or provides them with an opportunity to bond with those in the same situation.

Radis Community Care, a leading community care provider offering various services for people across the UK and Wales, shares five ways gardening can improve mental wellbeing.

  1. Destress and relax

Some people might not have any friends or family close by and may often be looking for ways to boost their mood and perhaps feel more at home.

Spending time outside is a great, natural way for people to destress and relax. Breathing in the fresh air is a fantastic way to regulate breathing, decrease heart rate and reduces stress-related hormones, making us feel calmer and happier.

Being outside doesn’t have to mean exercising outdoors (although, this is even better!), but simply sitting out in the fresh air, or taking a light stroll outdoors can be a huge mood booster.

  1. Increases serotonin

Something as simple as getting involved, whether that be planting bulbs and watering plants and flowers can increase serotonin.

As a natural antidepressant, an increase in serotonin can boost immune systems. The colour green is traditionally associated with tranquility, hopefulness, comfort and energy, whilst yellow helps to release serotonin further – two colours that you will typically find outdoors and in a garden.

Making contact with soil, such as planting bulbs and getting really involved has been found to increase serotonin levels (the happy hormone, a natural antidepressant and can strengthen the immune system). As does the fresh air.

  1. Growth and new life

Watching the seasons change can give people something to look forward to, as can planting something new.

Waiting for things to grow is a great reminder of growth and new life – something that is sure to bring positivity to those who really need it.

Whether it’s planting flowers in the gardens, planting vegetables and seeds in the windowsill, or even building a bug house – no matter a person’s ability, gardening is something everybody get involved in and it can make a huge difference to their day.

  1. Provides a sense of achievement

Whether people have planted the bulbs and seeds themselves, or have simply helped to water them, watching plants and flowers come to life can bring a great sense of achievement knowing that you have contributed to that.

And if people aren’t quite up to getting involved or getting their hands dirty, then asking somebody to help is also more than enough!

  1. Brings people together

You can’t beat the great outdoors, and nothing brings people together quite like nature. Whether it’s a love of gardening, alfresco dining, or simply enjoying a cup of tea in the sunshine with friends and family,

Especially for people who may live independently in a supported living or extra care service where there are communal areas for people to come together and socialise.

Many of Radis’ extra care services have gorgeous gardens for residents, clients and their families to enjoy. From flower beds to allotments and greenhouses, there’s much more than fresh air for everybody to enjoy.

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