There is more than one reason to be a little on edge these days. According to a survey conducted by the CDC , 4 in 10 adults are struggling with their mental health, as of June 2020. This was a considerable increase in the results found at the same time in June 2019. Anxiety and depression were among the most common mental health struggles and that won’t come as a shock to many of us. Between working from home, sheltering in place, and the daily uncertainties of this pandemic, self-care solutions have become more imperative than ever.
Before I go further, If you are struggling with your mental health, consulting with a professional is a fantastic first step. The wonders of telehealth are not to be underrated.
Also not to be underrated – the soothing and healing power of plants! According to a study by the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, caring for indoor plants can reduce physiological and psychological stress. And that isn’t the only way plants can help lighten our mental load. Plants also have the ability to absorb harmful toxins from the air, purifying the air in our homes. Plus there are many plants that give off soothing aromas proven to relieve stress and support healthy sleep habits. If you are working from home or in the office, it’s time to add a plant, or 20, to your workstation. And don’t worry! You don’t have to be an expert in indoor gardening. Even some of the most low-maintenance plants have their benefits. Let’s take a look at some of the helpful indoor plants for lowering stress and improving sleep.
Some plants to help with anxiety and sleep:
Ever been frustrated while working from home? I thought so. Peppermint is easy to grow and maintain and has been found to lower frustration and boost alertness. There is a reason that menthol, found in mint plants, is used in many relaxation teas and bath products. The next time you are in a zoom meeting and you think you just can’t take it any longer, give your mint a sniff, chop up the leaves and soak them in a tea, or leave the meeting and soak yourself in a mint-infused bath. Mint understands.
Oh, Lavender. So beautiful a color was named after it. But, it’s more than just easy on the eyes. Lavender omits one of the most soothing smells known to man. Lavender is commonly used to soothe cranky babies (or me when I can’t get within 6 ft of my favorite pizza place). Its oils are also prescribed to help treat insomnia and anxiety. Though it is not always easy to grow from seed, it’s simple enough to find lavender plants online or at your local market. You can even dry the stocks of your live plant to enjoy the comforting benefits for a good long while.
Aloe has long been known as a medicinal plant, especially for its anti-inflammatory capabilities. You may have used it to treat your sunburn back when we could have beach days with friends. Remember? So Aloe has always been good to us, but did you know that as a houseplant, it can help purify the air, support healthy sleep, and reduce anxiety? Not to mention, as a succulent, Aloe Vera is incredibly easy to care for. A well-draining pot and occasional watering and Aloe is your friend for life.
Jasmine is another go-to for its beauty and soothing scent. When blooming, your space will be brightened by delicate white buds. You can also rely on Jasmine to help ease anxiety and keep it close to the bed to aid sleep. Sip it in a tea, purchase it as an oil, name your first child after it. Jasmine is a delight.
There is something to be said for creating a relaxing space, especially when you may be sticking it out in that space for quite some time. Bamboo palm is one of those that can transform the average living room into a mental health spa. With its large smooth leaves, it gives a clean and restful aesthetic. They also purify airborne toxins like benzene and trichloroethylene. Bamboo Palm will need plenty of sunshine to support their large frame, so draw back the curtains and let in the light.
Chamomile is most often recommended to aid healthy sleep. Not only is it effective in teas and oils for relaxing and getting to sleep, but for sleeping more soundly. With plenty to worry about while we lay in bed at night, who couldn’t benefit from a little chamomile? With its small yellow flowers, chamomile is the perfect companion to the fresh lavender at your bedside. They will fill the room with their restful aroma and their blooms will make a comforting tea.
These dainty blooms always remind me of home. So there is a particular comfort there. But no matter your association, gerbera daisies are perfect to brighten up your life with a pop of color. They can also help to promote healthy sleep as they increase the oxygen and purify the air in your bedroom at night. Take a deep breath and set your mind at ease. Gerber Daisies do take a bit of tender love and care to thrive. But, these days, staying home to care for your sweet daisies is safer than heading to the theater on a Saturday night. So why not?
While we are all taking extra precautions to ensure our physical health during this time, now more than ever, we have to care for our hearts and minds. Caring for indoor plants not only breaks up the daily routine, but it also gets you off your computer and connected with another living thing, up close and personal. A rare treat for some these days. These indoor plants can provide a calm and comforting aesthetic, encourage healthy sleep, and provide clean air filled with soothing aromas. So while you consider upping your self-care game, don’t forget the plants.