Man watering houseplant
Getting in touch with nature through gardening is the perfect way to take a break from technology.

Ofcom statistics show that people on average in the UK spend approximately 45 hours per week looking at a screen, a number which rose by a third in 2020 during the first lockdown period. Some of the negative associated outcomes with excessive screen time include obesity, chronic neck and back problems, depression and anxiety.

Screen time before bed can also cause sleep problems, as exposure to blue light suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone that induces sleepiness.

Experts recommend no more than 2 hours of screen time outside of working hours per day, but what might you do instead?

We have a suggestion! If you are concerned that you might be spending too much time on your devices, we highly recommend gardening activities as a way of reconnecting with nature whilst giving your eyes and your mind a break. Here are a few reasons why:

Feeling at peace

Being online can be an overwhelming experience, as huge quantities of content and advertising find their way to our screens. Gardening is the perfect escape from this, as interacting with plants is inherently calming. It enables us to slow down our thoughts and quieten our minds.

Lettuce grow gardening sanctuary

It can be adapted for any length of time

One of the huge perks of gardening is how adaptable it is. It can be adapted for people of different ages and ability levels, it can be done inside on a table or outside directly into the ground, and you can spend as much or as little time on it as you would like to.

This means you can choose how long a break you would like from your devices and choose gardening tasks based on that. For instance, you might take a 10-minute break to water your houseplants, or you might take a little longer to go outside and sow some seeds.

Plants are great to talk to

There's nothing like a non-judgemental green friend to share your thoughts and feelings with whilst taking a screen-break.

The concept of talking to plants to help them grow was at one time considered a myth. However, research carried out by RHS suggests that yes this actually true! The actual science behind why is still in debate, with many saying it is the vibrations of our voices supporting growth, and some believing it is because of the carbon dioxide we produce when we exhale.

It's not just a one-way street though. Research has also shown that talking to plants is good for us too. In fact, within one study, those who talked to their plants whilst gardening were 3.5 times more likely to report decreased stress levels than those who didn't.

So next time you take a break, don't forget to catch up with your plants!

Gardening sanctuary

Gardening is a sensory experience

Screens can often provide a rather intense visual and auditory experience. Gardening on the other hand engages these senses and more, but is likely to have a more calming effect on the mind.

The ability to smell a plant, and feel the leaves and petals in your hand is a sensory experience that brings you into the moment and connects you with nature.

In many ways gardening is the antithesis of screen time

This is why gardening is such a great way to escape from technology. Gardening nourishes you and your mind, in so many of the ways that screen time is unable to. It provides an opportunity to reconnect with nature and allows you to decompress and destress from the time you are spending on screens.

Give it a go and see for yourself!

You can change lives with gardening

Julia and Chris by Miriam Sheridan Photography