Gardening For Mental Health – How To Manage Isolation By Gardening

By Amy Grant | March 30, 2020
by Amy Grant
March 30, 2020

Well, it’s been quite a month folks and we aren’t done yet. The coronavirus outbreak has the entire world on pins and needles, something that hasn’t affected our planet as a whole for over a decade, and even then, it wasn’t anything like this. Something this epic has many people, myself included, left feeling unsettled and, frankly, downright worried.

Daily Routine Activities are Changing

Daily routine activities get many people through trying times, yet things are anything but routine with the closure of schools, restaurants, and other gathering places – not to mention the millions of people whose jobs, healthcare and even home life are in peril.

When routine is no longer an answer, the best thing to do is stay busy. Luckily, this is all transpiring during the month of spring, with warming temps and the beginning of the growing season. This has many people “coronavirus” gardening with gusto, either because they have extra time on their hands or due to concerns about potential food shortages. One need only surf social media to see all the “Victory Gardens” springing up.

How to Manage Isolation by Gardening

Desperate times call for”¦gardening. Cabin fever is real. For those suffering from cabin fever, isolation, and boredom, getting some dirt under the nails and maybe even sweating a bit in the garden is good for mental and physical health. Got kids at home? Enlist their help. Gardening is a great way to keep the kiddos busy even if they aren’t actually gardening but digging tunnels to far off lands.

If you are in a zone that isn’t quite warm enough yet to plant, there are still things you can do. Raking up last fall’s leaves, pruning back perennials and trees, clearing space for a garden or new bed, or building paths or raised beds can all be done even if the weather isn’t quite fully cooperative.

And for those who have little to no garden space, it’s a good time to “spring clean” your houseplants. Get your houseplants out dusted or sprayed off. Transplant those that need it and start your fertilizing routine for the growing season. Plant some pots with cheerful annual flowers or summer bulbs.

We can’t control much right now but we can take care of our physical and mental health, and gardening is good for both. So get the kids, the dogs, and your significant other off the couch and jump into some spring gardening for mental health. Lord knows, during all this fear of coronavirus, gardening is the one thing I’ve managed to do to keep me sane!

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  • Anita Mackenzie Main
    Comment added May 10, 2020Reply

    sure, its good for our soul to care for plants. we should also feed the birds & insects & frogs. they all will sing for us & cheer us up, in a much better & natural way than we even know to help each other.

  • gayle l frary
    Comment added April 30, 2020Reply

    what is iOS?

    • PatF.
      Comment added May 1, 2020Reply

      IOS is the Apple Operating System for iPads & iPhone.

  • Elaine Hanson
    Comment added April 30, 2020Reply

    I no longer have a yard--living in an apartment. Please do some articles on "inside gardening". Can't use the windowsills because they are only 2" wide. Thank you.

    • Diane Pigott
      Comment added May 3, 2020Reply

      Get LOW LIGHT plants for the window.

  • June McGhee
    Comment added April 30, 2020Reply

    I love gardening anyway, however I find it's even more relaxing and rewarding at this time. The beauty it brings gives peace and purpose. I also love helping my neighbors get involved and watching them enjoy as well ??

  • Mertis Tipps
    Comment added April 30, 2020Reply

    Thank you for your email. Please consider adding info for condo & apartment dwellers. We are interested in growing our own healthy foods. With patio and window sill restrictions I hope to grow lettuce and tomatoes at least. Thank you,

  • Blake
    Comment added April 12, 2020Reply

    Gardening is one of the best things you can do right now. It is best for your physical health and also helps to improve your mental well-being.

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  • bill and warren
    Comment added April 12, 2020Reply

    We are in Sonoma, California so we have had our seeds sprouting on heating cables and will be planting out in the raised beds (we are in town so somewhat confined...4 each 4' X 10' boxes and one 16" X 20' along the fence where i do Italian Broad Beans). the garden has been a GREAT joy for us because of the sheltering at home. hope you all are treasuring the enjoyment of gardening...we are.

  • Kathy
    Comment added April 10, 2020Reply

    I wish we could post pictures here, I live in South Alabama so it’s been warm here for almost a month. Gardening has been my go to Spring activity for years!! This year I’ve added plants, transferred plants & pruned everything from trees & shrubs to jasmine vines. My problem is I’ve now run out of space & things to do☹️

    • Marilyn
      Comment added April 20, 2020Reply

      Kathy, I am older, and not as spry as I used to be. I frequently find myself wishing I had a 'gardening partner' to help me stay motivated, and to help with some of the heavy lifting. Maybe you can find an old lady or gent in your neighborhood who would appreciate your boundless energy in helping them clean up, dig up, prune etcetera. I know that would make MY heart happy. Blessings, from handmaidenofthegardengod.

  • deB Lightbown
    Comment added April 10, 2020Reply

    Thanx so much for this uplifting article. I am already up to my elbows in nice warm topsoil mixed with worm castings and sheep manure. I mix up big batches in garbage cans designated for that purpose only. Then it is brought inside for the winter. This means that whenever I take a fancy to it I can dig my hands right into the soil and plant, plant, plant!

  • Philip Lambert
    Comment added April 1, 2020Reply

    You could try the thinnings in salad or soup, but (in Covid free times) you could give them to a neighbouring gardener

  • Rosemary
    Comment added April 1, 2020Reply

    Absolutely. I wasn't going to start seeds this year because of a (now-cancelled) trip but currently my kitchen is overrun with cucumber, tomato, cayenne, herb and radish seedlings. I will have the makings of a nice gazpacho when this is over.
    Hardest part is thinning. Any tips?

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