As the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, we’re hearing a lot about test kits, treatments, vaccines, and ventilators. And while all of these are crucial to the COVID-19 fight, many people don’t realize that there’s a lot of help to be found in a surprising place: nature.
The restorative benefits of nature, many health experts believe, can lower blood pressure, boost immune function, and reduce stress. Communing with nature is a full mind-body experience that is good for your well being and soul. There are no special requirements, just a willingness to spend some time outdoors, ideally doing something physical, such as gardening, mowing, trimming, or other landscaping tasks.
Have the increasing restrictions on movement and the requirement to stay at home got you feeling cooped up and stressed out? Just the simple act of stepping outside and enjoying a little sunshine and fresh air instantly improves the mood and outlook of many people. Now that spring has finally begun to make an appearance, bulbs, shoots, and grass are appearing as well. Now’s a great time to slow down, take a deep breath, and look closely at all the blooming and flowering plants.
As the seasons progress, the environment changes. While the weather is still cool and damp, this is the perfect time to plan landscaping projects that can improve your property, beautify your landscape, and keep you busy. Create a backyard oasis with a new garden or a sitting area for relaxation. Starting a vegetable garden is an ideal way to put healthy, homegrown food on the table while reducing stress and improving your physical conditioning.
Studies have found that looking at nature can produce a decline in systolic blood pressure in five minutes or less. Exposure to nature can aid recovery from stress as measured by changes in brain electrical activity, muscle tension, respiration, and shifts in emotional states, all of which may be linked to better immune function. That, in turn, can protect people from disease and help them recover if they are sick. Research has discovered that humans are "hard-wired" through evolution to react and interact positively with nature as a source of physical and mental wellbeing. As part of the natural world, we are connected to it and restored by it. In fact, studies show that sunlight is an effective treatment to minimize the impact of a virus.
Landscaping work such as gardening is an aerobic activity that can effectively counter the negative effects of inactivity resulting from staying at home and indoors for significant stretches of time during the current pandemic. Gardening in particular can:
- strengthen bones, muscles, and joints
- improve the ability to do daily activities
- prevent falls among older adults by improving balance
- improve mental health and outlook
- decrease lifestyle diseases such as obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers
- promote longer, healthier lives
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Unlike many everyday activities that only involve the arms, gardening uses the whole body as you move around digging, planting, weeding, and watering. And if you choose an exercise you like and that’s convenient for your lifestyle, you’re more likely to do it. And you can eat the results.
In general being outdoors has a calming effect. The sights, sounds, and smells of being in a beautiful, ecologically focused landscaped environment gives you the sense of “being in the moment.” It enables you to escape the relentless pandemic news cycle and negative sources that can adversely affect your outlook and even your health
Spending time outdoors is a wonderful way to recover from the stress and strains caused by the current situation. Your landscape can be a real and significant mood changer for the better. That’s why our company is called Moodscapes – because we understand firsthand the power of a beautifully-designed landscape and how it can improve your mood and your life.
Reach out to us if you are seeking to improve your outdoor space to enjoy as a retreat and restorative environment for you and your family.