One year ago when the first cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Connecticut, my emotions went from excited (“Corona-cation”) to confused to nervous to petrified to disheartened within a course of just a few days. Thinking back to those days, where we all experienced together this sense of panic and the overwhelming feeling of lacking control and left with the unknown.

I was tapping into some serious coping strategies and relied on close friends and family for support; virtually of course. I found myself admittedly jealous of all the pictures people were posting “Quarantined with my dog.”

First off, our apartment we lived in at the time did not even allow for pets; second, getting a dog during a global pandemic seemed unsafe and a bit reckless; and third, getting a pet purely to make me feel better didn’t sit well with me.

On a FaceTime with who else but my mom, she was showing me some of her plants as she often does. While this usually was a time to zone out and eye roll when she wasn’t looking, it sparked a fleeting thought that maybe if I cared for a plant like I would a pet, I can be just as happy as my mom was showing me how she propagated a spider plant.

Fast forward a year, I have 14 house plants. Excessive you might say, I say not enough. Plants have been a coping strategy for me, a distraction from the news alerts every few minutes, the state of panic read on social media, and just time away from a screen. It has brought me genuine joy watching my plants grow (and yes some did not survive, I’m still learning!) over the past year. Not to mention there is actual research that suggests that house plants can reduce stress levels, increase well-being amongst those with depression and anxiety, and improve the quality of your air.

Now I can honestly tell you, I am the one FaceTiming my mom enthusiastically showing her how my monstera plant has grown new leaves and posting pictures with captions like “Quarantined with my PLANTS.”  So who needs a pet, when you can have dozens of plants?

Jason Gorski, NCSP, LPC

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