Fall is here and it is the time of year that many reluctantly make the transition from spending hours outdoors in the yard and garden to spending more time within the home. This transition can be made easier by creating an indoor garden space, and houseplants can be an inexpensive way to spruce up even the most dull room or workspace. There are many therapeutic benefits from maintaining plants including reduced stress, increased attention, and improved productivity. Research also shows that keeping house plants can improve the quality of air within your home or workplace due to the release of oxygen and absorption of carbon dioxide. Perhaps you are naturally blessed with a green thumb and already have plans for continued horticulture as the winter approaches, but if not, there are many simple steps you can take to transform your home or workspace into a beautiful, cultivated greenspace.
Helpful Tips for Choosing Your Next Indoor Plant
Examine the environment and choose a plant that will do well in the amount of light present and room temperature. Many indoor plants do best with indirect sunlight. Beware of too much sun and the presence of cold drafts.
Choose a plant that matches your experience and or availability for care. If you have limited experience caring for plants, start with an easy plant such as a succulent or a cactus. These plants are low maintenance and can tolerate less than perfect care for many years. Both types of plants do well with very light watering, just mist them with water from time to time.
Beware of plants that can be toxic to children and pets. Common house plants such as aloe vera, and popular holiday plants such as mistle toe and poinsettias can be harmful if ingested. You may be surprised to hear that even tomato plants can be harmful if ingested by your canine friend. Avoid a call to poison control and make sure to research the safety of your plants in the presence of small children and pets. Any local or online plant store should be able to provide you with information regarding the toxicity of their houseplants.
Avoid Pain and Protect Your Joints When Caring for Your Plants
Avoid staying in one position for a prolonged period of time. If an activity is going to take more than a few minutes, try completing it in a comfortable seated position. Take breaks and reposition yourself often.
When lifting and carrying larger, heavier, or awkward items be sure to use your larger joints and keep the items close to your body.
Avoid a tight grip and strong pressure to the pad of your thumb. Building up the handles on your gardening tools with soft foam can help to decrease the need to grip and pinch tools tightly. If you must use a tight grip, take frequent breaks to allow your joints to rest.
Consider using adapted equipment designed to reduce the force required to complete a task. Try to avoid using your hands as a tool. For example, instead of ripping bags open with your hands, try using spring loaded sheers or scissors. For more options, consider doing an internet search for “adaptive equipment” for the specific task at hand.
Don’t ignore pain. Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. Ignoring pain can lead to joint damage and more pain. If your hand or wrist is bothering you 2 hours after completing an activity this means that the activity may have caused permanent damage to your tissues and joints. In the future you need to find a different way to complete the activity.
If you normally use a brace for arthritis or another orthopedic condition, make sure you use it while gardening. When used appropriately, braces for your wrists and thumbs can provide external stability to protect weak or unstable joints. If you are unsure if a brace would be helpful for you, speak to your doctor or hand therapist.