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Plants and the Winter Blues

There is scientific and medical evidence to show that shorter days, colder weather and therefore more time spent indoors can cause the winter blues. While you can be diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), many people who aren’t diagnosed feel the effects of the harsh seasonal changes and can have it affect changes in mood and overall well being. 

For some, these feelings start around the beginning stages of Winter when daylight starts to come in short supply. For others, this time of year post holiday is the hardest when days are still short, the weather is still cold and the holiday spirit has passed. 

The winter blues can cause a lack of energy, motivation, social withdrawal and make you feel moody among many other symptoms. Whether you have diagnosed Seasonal Affective Disorder or just need a little winter boost from the blues, you are not alone. While unfortunately this affects many people, plants can actually help lessen the symptoms during these times. How you might ask? They can help to improve your productivity levels and therefore encourage motivation in your personal and work related activities. Plants can also increase and stabilize your mood day to day and are shown to also increase your energy levels by improving your daily environments in many different ways. Another great way to fight the Winter blues is to improve your sleep quality and add purpose to your day by caring for them.

Improving Productivity 

For those who feel their motivation dwindling away, plants actually have a positive effect towards increasing productivity and creativity levels. Many research studies have shown that plants in office spaces increased employee satisfaction and self-reported levels of concentration. 

How does this work? A green office space increases employees' work engagement by making them more physically, cognitively, and emotionally involved in their work. So while the minimalist interior design of office spaces is popular, an office space without plants can have a negative impact on those working in and around the space. 

While many of us are continuing to work from home, if you don’t already have plants in your at home work spaces, consider moving your plants into these areas to help prove your levels of productivity and motivation.

Boost your Mood

Having plants around you can also make you happier and less stressed. They can lower your anxiety levels, reduce stress, and improve your well-being. Plants are known to create a relaxing, soothing environment. 

When you go for a walk outdoors, you end your time spent outside feeling uplifted and rejuvenated because you are surrounding yourself with nature and many plants. We all love the outdoors for the fresh air it offers. However, since you can’t be outside all the time, having indoor plants allows you to bring the outside inside. 

When placed indoors, they offer a soothing refuge that works wonders on your daily mood and in turn can help improve your general happiness. A plant isn’t a cure-all for your bad days, of course, but it might just perk you up a little when you need it.

Increase Energy Levels

Plants can help lower blood pressure and increase people’s attentiveness therefore help to increase energy levels. An easy way to do this is by improving the atmosphere inside your home during the winter months, when you are forced to stay inside more often. 

Studies show that certain plants are especially good at purifying air and creating more oxygen, so depending on the plant you get, your new greenery could improve the air quality of your workspace. A NASA study found that several plants—including spider plants, English ivy and Gerbera daisies—can filter out common toxins like trichloroethylene, formaldehyde and benzene.

Improve Quality of Sleep

The number one mood killer is the lack of sleep. That is why it is recommended to have at least 8 hours of sleep every day. While it may be possible to squeeze the 8 hours in our busy schedules, getting quality sleep is always a struggle for many. This doesn’t have to be the case if you placed plants in your bedroom. 

However, you have to be careful to choose the right plant for the bedroom. Photosynthesis stops at night, and plants start releasing carbon dioxide, contrary to what they do during the day. Thankfully, few selected plants do the opposite. Bromeliads, succulents, snake plants and orchids release oxygen at night. These make a perfect choice for the bedroom to give you quality sleep that will ensure a boosted mood the following day.

Create Purpose

Nothing brings people to life than knowing there is something or somebody they are living and caring for. Lacking a purpose in life can make life feel directionless and caring for indoor plants offers that purpose that one might need to keep moving forward. 

Just knowing that the helpless plant depends on you for what it requires is something that can give life into your days, and give you something to look forward to each day. In addition, seeing the plant grow and thrive is a rewarding exercise that can keep overwhelming feelings at bay.

While many of us are going through difficult times right now, we know plants are not a cure-all for all of these feelings, they can help us in small ways that may eventually cause a larger overall change. Reach out to the ones you love, do things that make you happy and know that there are lighter, brighter and better days ahead!

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