These days, Augustin said, taking care of plants can give you a feeling of control over your physical environment, which has been shown to enhance cognitive performance. The act of caring for something and watching it grow is also beneficial: “If you’re caring for the plant, that gives you a feeling of accomplishment, which is desirable.”
Regan Azizi said plants are a form of meditation for her. Azizi, plantmomchicago on Instagram, said her plants help her take a breath. They keep her mind busy and help her focus on something other than what’s going on in the outside world. It’s also a project she can work on with her daughter. Since she got into plants about a year ago, she said they’ve now become an integral part of their day.
“One of the highlights is waking up in the morning and checking our plants to see which ones have new leaves and which ones have new growth,” Azizi said. “You get to take a moment out of your day to actually focus on something else besides yourself.”
Anna Lauterbach, botanicbutterfly on Instagram, said plants gave her a “total distraction” from the pandemic. Living in the city can be harsh, she said, so bringing green plants into her space made it feel more comfortable and peaceful. She moved from her Wicker Park apartment to her parents’ home in Michigan, taking her plants – and the sense of home they bring – with her.
In two years of collecting, Lauterbach said she has accumulated more than 70 plants. She said she especially likes large plants, which take up a lot of space. “I’ll be living in a jungle if I get any more,” she said.