15 August 2016 , Posted by Ros Fuller



Those with green thumbs will already know that gardening is good for you, physically and mentally, and now the science is in. Research has found that stopping to smell the roses, pulling up weeds and simply being with plants can lower blood pressure, increase brain activity and produce a good upbeat feeling. Scientists have recently found that there are even some harmless bacteria in the soil that has a positive effect on the immune system, so dirt can make you feel happy!


It’s easy to understand that digging, pruning and weeding are great for exercise, but positive mental health benefits are worth a look at as well. Being amongst plants reminds us to live in the moment; a good practice of mindfulness that is often talked about. Gardening keeps us connected to living things and helps us to relax. Sometimes gardening helps us feel in control, and perhaps even let out some anger. Pruning that overgrown shrub with great gusto may be the perfect stress reliever!


Of course it can be a bit tricky with the FIFO lifestyle, but there are ways to still get a bit of green in your life. We looked at the house sitting service options before. There are people offering a variety of services to look after gardens while you are away. It’s worth checking out some different options. Let us know if you have any good recommendations to share.


Another idea is to look at gardening with native plants. There are many nurseries specialising in plants local to your area. The benefits are not only low maintenance but will also increase native bird and insect life in your garden.


Another brilliant option for renters and FIFO workers is the community garden. These are springing up everywhere and it’s a way to enjoy a productive garden and share the maintenance with those in the community. Your local council will have a list of gardens in your area. You could come home to find ripe tomatoes ready to pick from your patch!


Maybe getting stuck into tree lopping and transplanting is something that you enjoy. No trees to chop at home? Then volunteering to help out the neighbours with gardening jobs can feel good and improves on community sense of security as well.


Even making sure you get some time walking through public gardens or the bush on your down time will feel good.


FIFO lifestyle challenges mean that having a plant in your room on site might not work, however some amazing new research is showing that simply having a picture of a plant helps as well! You may have read about tips for Pimping your Donga here. Now we know that nature posters can also be a good idea. A fascinating experiment studied a group of people that were recovering in hospital. Some were asked to look at pictures of a nature landscape and the others looked at either no picture or an abstract one. Those that looked at the nature landscape had lower anxiety. So you can see how increasing the green in your life can make all the difference.


“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better,” Albert Einstein