After being furloughed in March of 2020 (I had been a publicist and social media manager), I was worrying a lot about what was ahead. On one of my lowest days, my fiancé persuaded me to join him outside and build a garden in the backyard of our Woodbury, New Jersey, home.
We plotted out the beds and filled them with compost soil. I noticed I was becoming less and less paralyzed by my anxiety over my job as we worked. Day after day I started to look forward to our gardening work. It allowed me to be creative. It brought me joy.
And it turns out, I’m not alone in finding therapeutic benefits to spending some time with plants.
Haley Neidich, a St. Petersburg, Florida–based licensed clinical social worker, has been recommending gardening to her clients for years. It can be a powerful self-care tool, she says. “We have become so accustomed to multitasking and being totally plugged-in during our everyday lives. Gardening requires that we focus only on one thing at a time and that we are fully present in the moment,” Neidich says.
RELATED: How to Start a Self-Care Routine
This is called the “flow” state, and it occurs during meditation or mindfulness practice. It’s when you feel engaged in what you’re doing and generally like you’re making progress (it doesn’t necessarily mean that what you’re doing is especially difficult, but it’s holding your attention and interest), according