One possible cure for the winter blues is to create a little summer-like sanctuary in the home. Essential to that particular remedy is the liberal use of houseplants.
It’s hard to resist a sense of awe and wonder when awakening one sleepy autumn morning to find the first white blanket of snow sparkling outside under the sunlight. However, by the time the holidays have slipped into the rearview mirror, the snow has often lost its luster.
Instead of a glistening winter panorama, all that’s left are wet and dirty grayish shades of slush: reminders that there is a cold and bitter winter yet to endure.
Dr. Timothy Hayes, a psychologist with a practice in Crystal Lake, IL, said some people feel the winter blues deeper than others. “Some people are more sensitive to their surroundings,” he said, adding that some people even suffer from an ailment known as SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is a condition where individuals are particularly affected by the seasons.
“It’s a pattern of being sad, low on energy and melancholy in the late fall up until spring,” Dr. Hayes said. “It’s correlated with short hours of sunlight. It’s even been correlated with chemical changes in the brain.”
Dr. Hayes said the lack of sunlight is one of the keys, whether talking about someone who is dealing with clinical depression brought on by the season or whether talking about someone with a simple case of the winter blues. He said some people, as a result, make a living selling full-spectrum lights that provide outdoor sunlight indoors.
Of course, plants also appreciate appropriate levels of sunlight. With or without the special indoor lighting, bringing houseplants into the home is a great way to start rolling back the winter blues.
“Some people literally feel the energy from plants when they walk into a room,” Dr. Hayes said. Plants … provide more oxygen, which is a boost. They can also improve the air quality.”
There are a number of articles on the Internet that even go as far as to claim pain-reducing benefits of houseplants on hospital patients, including a Dec. 29, 2008, article in e! Science News.
The article states that there is evidence to support the long-held belief that flowering houseplants can help reduce the pain experienced by patients after surgery: “Now, research has confirmed the beneficial effects of plants and flowers for patients recovering from abdominal surgery.”
Clearly, if the psychological benefits of houseplants can help hospital patients reduce the pain of surgery, houseplants can help pick up the spirits of someone when spring simply can’t arrive fast enough.
Linda Vadnais, the inventor of InvisiClimb, the clear, low-profile plant hangers, said plant hangers are a great way to introduce plants into the home without giving up valuable counter space.
“A lot of hanging plants you buy in the store hang too high,” she said. “You find yourself looking at the bottom of the pot instead of the flowers.” She said that InvisiClimb hangers bring the plants down into view where people receive the full benefits of their natural beauty.
Vadnais said the color and life plants bring into the home is rejuvenating. “It’s hard to be blue when you’re surrounded by houseplants,” she said.