Do you feel your mood drop as the days become short and gray? Our mood is closely connected to the change of seasons, particularly as the days get shorter. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of seasonal depression that tends to occur as we get less sunlight in fall and winter.
Since we spend so much time indoors as it gets cold outside, many people find that beautifying their indoor space with plants creates an oasis of calm that helps improve the symptoms of seasonal depression. A gorgeous indoor garden is a reminder of spring, and tending plants is even being prescribed as therapy by doctors.
This post explores the benefits that plants can bring to your life in winter, especially if you’re vulnerable to mood shifts.
How do I know if I have seasonal depression?
SAD is generally associated with winter and it’s easy to understand why. In most parts of the United States, winter days are grey, dark, and cold, with only 5.5 to 8.5 hours of daylight available each day.
Many people use the term ‘winter blues’ to refer to SAD, but that doesn’t express the severity of this condition. SAD is a diagnosable condition, with signs and symptoms that are shared with clinical depression.
Someone who is experiencing seasonal depression will experience mood shifts that are not related to specific events. They may feel sadness, hopelessness, despair, anger, or loneliness that leads to underperforming in school or work or withdraw from social situations. They may also feel more tired than usual and have trouble concentrating.
How Can You Tackle Seasonal Depression?
If you are experiencing SAD, it’s important to know that there is help available. If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is important to discuss your feelings with your family doctor. You can also try one of these natural therapies to help boost your mood during the change of seasons.
Many researchers believe that SAD is triggered by changes in sunlight. This explains why some people feel seasonal depression even in the summer months. It’s not just about the lack of sunlight, but about the shift. As the seasons change, and sunlight begins to increase or wane, it can throw off our circadian rhythm, which sends signals to our body when it’s time to sleep, and when it’s time to wake up. These circadian rhythms also govern our hormones, which play a huge role in the feelings we experience daily.
Since light has such a huge effect on our circadian rhythms, many therapists believe that light therapy can help alleviate symptoms of seasonal depression. For most types of light therapy, an artificial lightbox is used to trigger the chemical changes in the brain that would usually be caused by natural sunlight.
Another holistic way to improve symptoms of seasonal depression is to start cultivating an indoor garden. Gardening indoors with houseplants is a great way to maintain a connection to nature, even if you’re stuck inside for days on end due to inclement weather conditions.
How Plants Help Improve Symptoms of Seasonal Depression
There are so many aspects of indoor gardening that can help improve symptoms of seasonal depression. Here are some of the best reasons why you should consider houseplants as a treatment for your seasonal affective disorder.
Even just the simple act of being outside in nature improves our mood. Research has shown that viewing plants and greenery, even if it’s through a window, can help improve recovery times for hospital patients.
When you garden indoors, you bring the greenery to you. It’s a much better option for people who live in cities, and may not have access to green space on a regular basis.
Some doctors in Britain’s National Health Service have even started prescribing courses of gardening to patients to help encourage relaxation and stress relief.
Connection with Nature and Reminder of Spring
Since our circadian rhythms play such a large role in our symptoms of seasonal depression, many people need to spend more time in nature to feel a closer connection with the seasons. This isn’t an easy option in winter, which is why indoor gardening is such a great choice. It brings the plants to you and provides a real picture of what life will be like when spring starts to bring the world outside to blossom.
Remove Toxins from the Air
In a landmark study on air quality, researchers at NASA looked at many common house plants to determine which are the best at removing toxins from the air. These toxins negatively affect our health, so removing them from the air can make us breathe easier.
For many people, breathing easier helps encourage a better night’s sleep, which can break the cycle of exhaustion and fatigue that’s so common with seasonal depression.
Best Plants for Seasonal Depression Relief
There are many plants available today that offer home gardeners lots of benefits, without complex care requirements.
If you know that adding a splash of color to your living space will help boost your mood, pick a plant with vividly bright leaves like Croton Petra or Tradescantia Zebrina. These bright orange, green, and purple-leaved plants add beautiful tropical colors to your home, reminding you that spring is just around the corner.
Looking to breathe easier? Many of the plants in our shop are noted for their ability to remove toxins like toluene, formaldehyde, and benzene from the air. Peperomia Ginny, Spider Plants, and even the stately Money Tree will all work actively to remove toxins and pollutants from the air of your home.
Our shop is full of beautiful plants that can help boost your mood and encourage relaxation. Check it out and start your own winter blues-busting indoor garden.