Get a Houseplant to Feel More In-Control of Your Life


Illustration for article titled Get a Houseplant to Feel More In Control of Your Life

Photo: New Africa (Shutterstock)

For almost a year, nearly every aspect of our lives has been changed by things beyond our control (mostly the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects). And while having multiple effective vaccines is certainly a reason to be optimistic, that doesn’t mean any of this is going to end in the near future. We still don’t know how long it will take before things start going back to “normal,” which makes it difficult to plan ahead for activities we enjoy (like travel) and that give us something to look forward to.

Living through a pandemic has meant having to “go with the flow” for months on end. But not in the fun way—like when you don’t have a set agenda on a vacation and decide to relax and see where the day takes you. This is a decidedly not-fun way, where every part of your life must be flexible because for most things, planning ahead isn’t an option. The good news is that there is something small that might help: Getting a houseplant. Here’s why that might make you feel slightly more in control right now.

Using plants to control our need to be in control

In an article for MindBodyGreen, Eliza Sullivan spoke with environmental expert and zero-waste activist Lauren Singer about why having a houseplant can help us feel more grounded during These Uncertain Times. Actually, there are four reasons, according to Singer:

  1. Watching plants grow throughout the year can give us a better sense of the passage of time—especially when every day can feel the same.
  2. Caring for a plant means sticking to at least some sort of routine (again, at a time when a lot of people no longer have one).
  3. It can also be a type of mindfulness. Singer says that having plants to care for “teaches me to focus on my surroundings and be present because they are entirely dependent on me.”
  4. Being in charge of another living thing—even a plant—can give us a sense of purpose.

So if you were on the fence about buying that leafy houseplant, consider it an investment in your mental health (as well as your decor).