Freshen Up Your Living Space

With the semester now entering its fourth week, papers are already approaching and midterms will be here before you know it. All of these assignments might generate some anxiety, but and it seems that living in a small, confined space, like a dorm only heightens these kinds of anxieties. An on-campus college student spends a large amount of time in their dorm room, especially when the semester’s work load begins to pick up. They might go outside less, and spend more time inside working and studying.  

While it is important to stay on top of things and work hard, spending a prolonged amount of time inside is hardly healthy. Nature and the outdoors are a necessity for humans, especially when it comes to stress levels. But sometimes you just don’t have the time to go on that suggested walk, so what can you do?

The answer; start adorning your dorm with some plants! Sounds silly, yes, but plant life has been proven to not only lift moods because of appearance, but because of the fresh air they can create in your room. They release oxygen and absorb the carbon dioxide in your room They free your room of toxins, and fresh air leads to a fresh mind.

A recent Texas A&M study posits that, “Communing with the natural world increases people’s feelings of vitality and energy, and consequently has a large positive effect on their overall mental health.” 

Studies like this have proven that plants help improve concentration and productivity, which therefore leads to manageable stress levels, and, by proxy, a better mood. Nature and plant life is known to have a calming effect, not only because of its scientific positives, but because of its aesthetic purposes as well. Green is known to be a calming color, and brings life to a room, (especially a cinderblock one at that).  

So, we know that plants can help liven our dorm rooms and create a less stressful environment, but each person has a different degree of the metaphoric ‘green thumb’, and each plant has different needs, so what plants are the best option? For flower lovers, a trip to the local 

ShopRite every week or two might be the best option. Most flowers are sold for less than five dollars, and their color can add an element to your room you’ve been missing. However, these only last so long. Succulents and cacti are probably the best bet for longevity and minimal care. 

These two plants are relatively inexpensive, and because of their growing popularity, you can find them at many places. The Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, Shoprite, even CVS carries them most seasons of the year. They are perfect for the indoors, because they usually only require indirect sunlight and slight watering. They are also adorable, and there are so many different types. Being low effort while still supplying all the benefits previously mentioned makes these probably the best option.  

Another great option is a spider plant. The spider plant is quite cool, as once you have the main plant, you can trim it, and have spider babies, that only need water to thrive. Fellow arachnophobes have no fear, the spider plant does not resemble the dreaded creature by which it is named after. It is just another beautiful, lively plant that can produce many children that you can share with your friends! So not only can your dorm be brought to life, but your peers as well! 

If you really feel like you can’t keep plants alive, there is some hope. If you still want the plant life aesthetic and some of the benefits, there is always the fake plant option. While you won’t be getting the fresh air that you might with real plants, you still get the calming affect that just the visual presence of plants can bring. Target and Home Goods are wonderful options for fake plants. 

The semester is in full swing, and with that comes stress. You might find yourself unable to go out as much, and just take a breather. If you can’t go outside to nature, bring the nature to you! Having plants in your dorm will not only add a pop of color, but a breath of fresh air.