By Amanda Murphy
Sustainability not only benefits the planet but, those of us who live on it as well. Being sustainable includes mental and physical health. Fortunately, working with plants and being around plants can create a feeling of mental wellbeing and certainly also has many physical benefits.
An element of combining these practices is a concept known as “Biophilic Design.”
Biophilic Design is defined as: a concept used to increase human connectivity to the natural environment through the use of direct nature, indirect nature, and space and place conditions. It is argued that this idea has health, environmental, and economic benefits.
In other words, bringing the outdoors indoors with natural elements like plants, water, and sunlight, as well as materials that similarly evoke our connection to nature.
Studies have found that integrating these natural elements into our homes and work places can have these effects:
Reduction in sick days and absenteeism
Reduced pollution and cleaner air
Lower noise levels
So, while we wait for the weather to warm up consistently for the season, it’s a great time to use Biophilic Design ideas to bring some of the outdoor elements inside—perhaps helping our physical and mental health through the next couple of months as we await better outdoor weather.
This concept can be as easy as going to your local nursery or plant store, and bringing home indoor plants that work well in your living space based on their lighting and watering needs. If your home is like mine, it’s already full of plants. So, take a little extra time now to divide large plants into new containers. Or if you have a plant that looks like its outgrowing its pot, take the time to transplant it into a larger container. In both instances, adding new soil will greatly benefit your plants.
Another great outlet to get your hands in the soil and create new plants is to start vegetable and flowering plant seeds inside, which can be transferred outside to your gardens when temps stabilize (come May). Most stores have a good selection of seeds, starter trays, and soil in stock now.
Below is a helpful link for starting seeds inside. It provides approximate planting dates for plants grown from seed that have been started inside. Dates vary depending on the plant.
Whether you enjoy having house plants to care for, or get excited about creating new plants from seed to transfer outside, I’m pretty confident that either activity will leave you feeling a bit uplifted—perhaps with a feeling of accomplishment for the end result. And the extra activity with natural elements during the winter months is always a good thing for mental and physical wellbeing.