There’s no doubt that the pandemic has had a huge impact on the wellbeing of NHS staff, where it’s estimated that nearly half of all critical care staff are suffering from depression, anxiety or PTSD.
Finding an outlet to release the stresses of a long and hard day at work is more important now than ever before, and increasing numbers of experts believe gardening could play a key role in achieving this.
Lowered stress levels
Numerous studies reveal that gardening reduces stress hormones in the body, with around 80% of gardeners experiencing improved mental health after spending time outdoors tending to plants.
Getting out in the garden after a hectic day on the wards offers the perfect way to switch off and relax, and by focusing on the task at hand, whether it’s planting seeds, digging, weeding or pruning, this allows your mind to gently unwind and calm itself.
Surround yourself with nature
Even if you come home from work feeling shattered, and the last thing you feel like doing is tackling the weeds, try to force yourself outdoors, even if you don’t do any physical activities. Simply spending five minutes outside in a green space at the end of a busy day can have enormous benefits on your mental health. Find a quiet spot in the garden and sit with a cup of tea, soaking up the colours, sights, smells and sounds that are abundant in the garden.
Many NHS staff work in stark, clinical settings, often without any natural light, so connecting with nature for a few moments each day can help to restore this balance.
In a time where there has been so much uncertainty and disruption in our world, knowing that life still carries on as usual in the garden for the plants, birds and bees, etc, can help us to regain a sense of normality and control in our lives.
Even if you don’t have a garden, potting up a few herbs on a windowsill or looking after indoor plants can still have a profound impact on your mental health. With many hospitals also providing gardens as healing spaces for patients, these can equally prove to be a welcome retreat for staff on a break.
When it comes to kitting out your garden and saving money, you’ll find plenty of NHS discounts and voucher codes, so search ‘garden’ to get the latest deals.