Can’t get out and enjoy nature right now? Bring nature in your home. You may not own your dwelling, but you can still find ways to bring the outdoors inside. Whether your space is large or small, gardening enhances both your health and happiness.
Living in the middle of a city, disconnected from nature, makes it all the more important to add some green in your life. You’ll find yourself feeling better and thinking more clearly. Here, we’ll go through the main benefits and the basics of incorporating more green space into your home.
Plants Add Humidity
Apartment plants are desirable because they add a bit of humidity to the air through transpiration, releasing moisture through small pores in their leaves. Lack of humidity usually leaves you with dry skin, and dry air can cause lung irritation and dry mouth. Recent studies suggest that increasing the humidity can also lower the odds of getting a cold or sore throat. Group a few of the right plants together in a couple of rooms, and you should see an increase in humidity. Some of the best plants for adding moisture to the air include:
- Rubber plant
- Peace lily
- English ivy
- Spider plant
Plants Clean The Air
Taking deep, cleansing breaths is great for your health and you want to take in the purest air possible. Houseplants help with that. The NASA Clean Air Study (1989) started out as research on ways to clean the air in the Space Station. It found that certain plants filtered pollutants — including benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene — out of the air. While more recent research shows plants may not work as well outside of a controlled environment, scientists agree that they are removing harmful chemicals. Here are a few of the plants recommended for scrubbing the air.
- Elephant ear philodendron
- Aloe Vera
- Bamboo palm
- Barberton daisy
Plants Boost Mental Health
Houseplants may have an even bigger impact on our mental health. Working near greenery helps with concentration and memory. Flowers can boost the feeling of happiness through their appearance and scent. Keeping them in your home makes you less stressed and more relaxed. And whether you’re growing your plants out on a balcony or indoors, they need sunlight. As the plants are exposed, so are you. Sunlight increases our brain’s release of serotonin, the hormone responsible for boosting good moods and helping you feel calm and focused.
All plants in your apartment garden have the power to positively impact your mental health, but you may want to give careful consideration to a money tree plant. While money doesn’t grow on trees, legend has it that carefully tending to this particular green pal brings positive energy, good luck and prosperity! It’s a great way to spruce up your apartment.
Now that you know the why, let’s talk about the how. Apartment living often comes without a yard or a large space to turn into a garden. However, you can still get your hands in the dirt by bringing nature inside.
Use Native Plants
Even if you don’t have a green thumb, growing plants and flowers in pots is simple. Turn them into conversation pieces by choosing native plants. These flowers and shrubs have adapted to your area’s climate over many thousands of years. They typically require less water and fertilizer. Choosing native plants celebrates the heritage of the region. Not sure where to start? The National Wildlife Federation has an easy-to-use website where you simply type in your ZIP code and suggestions pop up, along with pictures. Find out which natives are best for apartment gardening from your local garden center.
Plant an Indoor Herb Garden
Limited indoor space practically screams for an herb garden. It’s a bit more challenging than growing potted plants, but extremely satisfying. You can grow herbs indoors year-round or put them on your terrace or patio during the warmer months. Perennial herbs, such as mint, thyme and sage, flourish when you’re able to set them outside. Growing herbs in your apartment has many benefits, among which their homey fragrance and aesthetically pleasing appearance, as well as a constant supply of herbs to season your meals. The herbs that grow best in an apartment garden include:
Create Living Wall Art
A distinctive way to Incorporate nature into your apartment is by adding living wall art. Also known as a vertical garden, this assembly of wall-mounted plants is a perfect trend for smaller apartments, with plants that grow up instead of spreading out. Think “Jack and the Beanstalk,” only classier. To create your living wall, you’ll need a support structure like a trellis, chicken wire or planters secured to the wall. Vertical gardens can get heavy, so make sure your wall has enough support. Be sure to build this green wall somewhere where it can get direct sunlight.
There’s another aspect you need to consider: how you’re going to get water and nutrients to the plants. Living wall art can be made of greenery such as ivy and pothos, flowers including roses, wisteria and morning glory, and edible plants like kiwi, peas and tomatoes.
Use a Jungle Theme
Elvis Presley knew what he was doing when he created the Jungle Room at Graceland, back in the mid ’60s. That trend is still en vogue, and it’s a great way to bring nature into your apartment if plants aren’t an option. Most people don’t decorate their entire apartment in this theme but, rather, choose a room or two. Maybe a bedroom or a hallway.
You still have the option of adding a few plants, but the right patterns and materials can create the same jungle effect. Think bamboo furniture, woven floor mats and colorful jungle wallpaper, or even a painted mural on one wall. Mix and match green with more subdued tones of tan and brown. Throw in animal ceramics like giraffes, apes or lions. Creating a jungle-themed room is different for everyone. You can go as big or as toned-down as you like. It’s a great way to bring nature into your apartment if you don’t have the time or the desire to have an apartment garden.
About the author: Jayce Lambert is a graduate student in Texas who loves traveling, camping, hiking, and cycling. Her love of the outdoors is apparent in her dorm room, which she adorns with hanging plants and ferns.
Published at Tue, 31 Mar 2020 09:43:14 +0000
For many, de-stressing at the end of the day goes hand in hand with a long binge session of your favorite series and a nice glass of wine. But, nowadays, as we spend more time indoors away from hectic commutes and long office hours, the days tend to blend. What’s more, because we’re at home most of the time anyway, we might feel like there’s no particular need to put an emphasis on relaxing.
However, in times like these, when the world is challenging for all of us, mental well-being should be prioritized. And, there’s no better place to begin than with a clear mind and a positive attitude. So, we compiled a list of apps available on Android and iOS to help you de-stress and reset. From games to quick yoga and meditation sessions, check out these seven apps to help you clear your mind.
Headspace tends to top many lists of mindfulness apps, and for good reason. The free basic package is enough to give you an idea of what Headspace wants and can do for you. Get your very own guide to mindfulness and meditation tips, plus learn more about your sleeping pattern and how to improve it. Most important, the app is designed to help you relieve stress, reduce anxiety and learn how to relax, in general. It also claims to be able to increase your happiness level by 16%. With all that’s going on in the world right now, we’ll take it!
It’s in the name. The people behind the Calm app believe calmness to be the foundation of our wellbeing, and we can only agree. The first thing you do in Calm is tell it why you need it in the first place, which personalizes the content and caters it specifically to your needs. Like most mindfulness apps, you can sign up for content on how to reduce stress and anxiety, but Calm knows our happiness often lies in the little things. So, the app goes a bit further and offers to teach you how to build self-esteem, improve your performance and develop a sense of gratitude in your everyday life.
3. Stop, Breathe & Think
Admit it. You’d rather be doing anything else than meditating for an hour at home, even if you have nothing better to do. That’s why if there were an app to help you rewire your brain and find peace and quiet in five minutes, you’d use it. Well, Stop, Breathe & Think promises to do just that. The strategy is simple: you just have to stop and analyze yourself, breathe and understand yourself, and then think about how to better yourself. Furthermore, the app offers sessions and exercises to help you along the way while keeping track of your progress. All you have to do is stop and download the app, breathe as you choose what to start with, and think no more about postponing your well-being.
4. Insight Timer
Insight Timer prides itself in being the largest free library of guided meditations, while also providing you with a cool collection of meditation music to accompany the sessions. Choose what suits you best from hundreds of titles that teach you how to manage anxiety, improve your sleep and cope with stress. The one feature that might just win you over is the meditation corner for kids. Because it’s never too early to start understanding and taking care of yourself, the app offers nearly 500 meditations to teach our children how to cultivate peace, explore and understand emotions, and so much more. If you’re still on the fence, check out the Insight Timer blog for interesting and soul-searching reads before making a decision.
At first glance, Sworkit looks like your typical workout app — until you realize it’s made the lists of best science-backed fitness apps for years, competing with the best in the business. So, what keeps Sworkit on top? For starters, it promises to get you in shape and keep you that way, no matter your level of commitment. And, it does this even if you have no time, no gym access and no personal fitness equipment. You choose the length of a session, and the app provides you a customized workout plan to give you the best results within that timeframe. Then, just select your goal (weight loss or maintenance, increased flexibility or endurance, muscle gain or toning) and how to get there (cardio, yoga, stretching or strength). There’s even a kids version!
6. Two Dots
Reducing stress through workouts and meditation is great, but nothing beats a good old game to keep you alert while also taking your mind off everyday hardships. The calming power of Two Dots lies in its simplicity. All a player has to do is connect at least two dots, make moves and advance to the next level. The app has been updated numerous times to add more attractive graphics, music, side quests and new levels, but the principle of it hasn’t changed much. If you need a dose of serotonin at your fingertips, this is the game for you.
7. The Unic
There are plenty of relaxing games out there, but another excellent choice to help you unwind and keep the stress at bay is The Unic. This one is special because it boosts not only your serotonin levels, but also your creativity. An observation game, it requires the player’s attention to distinguish between duplicate patterns and identify the one that’s unique. Pretty simple, right? This free game just might become your greatest ally in tuning out the real world for a few minutes. Plus, the results are actually more satisfying than a quick review could reveal.
As COVID-19 demands more and more of our attention, we all need a little downtime and break from the news. We hope some of these apps will help you enjoy a bit of peace and quiet.
Published at Tue, 31 Mar 2020 09:32:11 +0000