It is easy to get mentally overwhelmed; given all that is going on in current events, people need outlets to improve their psychological health. I find myself wondering what kind of atmosphere I will be walking into when I begin to see patients again, so finding ways to help that can fit into the new norm of social distancing has become imperative. Spending time outdoors in the garden is the one thing that has helped me the most over the last few weeks. Since National prides itself on evidence-based care, I was curious to see what current research has to say about gardening and health outcomes.
Enter, “Gardening is beneficial for health: A meta-analysis,” whose concluding statement is that “a regular dose of gardening can improve public health.” The studies included in the meta-analysis looked at everything from decreasing anxiety/depression and increasing cognition to reducing BMI. I can speak from experience that gardening can deceptively yield an excellent workout; with some patients, this could be one way to ease them into exercise without them realizing it. If you encourage the cultivation of fruits and vegetables, a patient will likely include them in their diet as well. I know my kids will eat things just because we grow them that they might otherwise fight with me about, literally enjoying the “fruits of our labor.” Kids especially benefit from time outside interacting with plants; things like inattention and impulsivity have been shown to drop as kids interact with natural settings.
Our home garden has turned into a group project. I enlisted the kids to help paint boards for our new raised garden. My son helps water the plants…and his sister. My daughter. Well, she looks for insects (they are ALL her friends, and she tries to bring them in the house). In a world where so much feels out of control, it has been helpful to shape the space around me.
(Left to Right) Before and after.
The next time I write, I will have taken Part 2 Boards. It still doesn’t feel like it is actually happening, but I got an email with the test center’s procedure, so it must be. Wish me luck!
Source to share: Soga M, Gaston K, Yamaura Y. Gardening is beneficial for health: A meta-analysis. Prev Med Rep. 2017;5:92-99. doi:10.1016/j.pmedr.2016.11.007