Have a drink with your blooms, because the benefits of spending time with plants are real


Photo: Getty Images/Maria Kovalevskaya-EyeEm

Calling all dedicated, multitasking plant parents! Ever wonder how to incorporate your own self care into your routine for caring for your blooms? (Because anyone with a fauna family to call their own knows it can be a time-consuming effort.) It’s certainly possible, and the latest recent episode of Well+Good’s Self-Care Nation, with plant-lady wellness coach Brittany Gowan of Pause with Plants, outlines a few tips using the benefits of plants that’ll lead both you and your potted pals to really blossom.

Even if you’re cursed with a perpetual inability to foster a plant successfully (I, for one, once killed a succulent), there’s one self-care tip that even a casual nature lover can incorporate into their wellness routine: Just get out there into nature, people.

Gowan says making sure her plants never want for nutrients provides her with a hearty dose of relaxation and joy. She loves seeing her greenery flourish, and to even further optimize this bonding experience, she even joins them for a drink.

“I enjoy watching the water soak into the soil, and it makes me feel good to be helpful in assisting my plants to grow well and thrive,” Gowan says. “After I water my plants and before eating breakfast, I look to jump-start myself with a glass of water or two.”

So stay hydrated, friends; whether you’re human or fern, it’s the cornerstone of any self-care practice. Below, check out the other true benefits of plants and how you can help each other grow.

1. Houseplants can improve your concentration

Honestly, a greenhouse would be the perfect place to sit cross-legged with your mind completely blank. Or if you’re trying to get some work done, consider it an alternative to your go-to Starbucks. One study on green offices showed that the addition of just a few leafy friends helped increase productivity by 15 percent. If nothing else, it makes you want to cuddle up with a little desk succulent (even if you, like me, have less than a green thumb).

2. Plants do their part to purify the air

Gowan does focus on regulating her breathing while checking in to see how her plants are sprouting up. It’s a meditative, calming practice that allows her to focus on the individual beauty of each leaf. And since a lot of plants help purify the air, she’s definitely inhaling some really top-shelf stuff.

In fact, research by NASA (yes, NASA) reveals that the right plants can remove up to 87 percent of toxins from an air space. Specifically, certain shrubs like Boston ferns, spider plants, and Devil’s Ivy can fight against toxins like benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and ammonia. Time to load up, fam!

3. Likewise, plants can bring moisture into the air

I go from one to Monica Geller in humid weather, but if you have dry AF skin, you might as well get a few potted plants to change up your environment. Plants increase humidity in the air through transpiration; not to make this sounds like a science class lecture, but they absorb water through their roots, circulate the moisture through stems and leaves, and then the water evaporates into the air.

If you feel like it’s not working, then it’s time to dial up the humidifier—and your plants will definitely second that choice. Gowan loves making sure her foliage fam is in an optimum, humidified environment. The idea of a sauna sesh with your plants doesn’t soak with you? Give it a second thought; Gowan is soothed by watching the mist flow to help her plants live their best lives.

4. Taking care of plants can help you become more caring overall

Seriously! Studies tend to show that ornamental plants impact our compassion levels, and those who spend more time around plants are natural nurturers who have more advanced social relationships. Consider the following: you’re extending love and empathy to a plant, a living yet ultimately faceless being. That means that you’re able to bond with just about anything, and anyone.

5. Surrounding yourself with plants is psychologically soothing

“In the rush of city life, I value the role that plants and nature play in keeping us connected to the natural world,” Gowan says.

Honestly, we should all be doing this.

Because when you inhabit a concrete jungle, a touch of greenery can really boost your psychological well being. This means you should take time to indulge in the act of shinrin yoku or forest bathing. Forest bathing is supposed to give you a sense of calm and spiritual cleansing, but there’s more to it than that. In fact, research shows that if you live in an urban area, living in close proximity to a park is a blessing for your mental health. So whether you identify as a plant mom or simply as plant-curious, we can all take this tip to heart.

Originally posted May 28, 2019. Updated October 15, 2019.

To catch up on Self-Care Nation, watch how a sex and wellness writer sages her way to good energy. And one make-up artist centers herself with a 17-step morning routine.

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