Many of us have seen the references (and hashtags). Crazy Plant Lady, I’m a Plant Hoarder, Plant Obsessed, Plant Lady is the New Cat Lady, I Have a Plant Problem…the list goes on! But how do you know if you actually have a problem? What does it mean to have an “unhealthy” obsession? When does your passion become a troublesome addiction? What about your compulsion to check your phone for updates? Likes? Comments?
5 signs you might have a (plant, social media, other…) problem (adapted from ICD10 Use Disorder criteria):
1) You want to cut back but you are having trouble doing so. Cutting back could refer to time spent on the activity or money invested, or both.
2) You are passing on important social, occupational, or recreational activities in favor of the activity.
3) It’s interfering with your most valued relationships with friends and family.
4) Purchasing (plants) beyond your means.
5) Not managing to do what you should at school, home or work because of the obsession/addiction.
I’d also like to touch on some strategies I’ve developed that I’ve found helpful as preventive measures. Sometimes we are so passionate that it can become a slippery slope in to an unhealthy addiction. So here’s what I do to avoid the slippery slope:
1) Plan. Set aside a dedicated amount of time each day/week that you’re going to spend on the activity. Put it on your calendar.
2) If you have children, consider setting aside screen time as a family. Set an example for your kids and don’t pick up your device unless it’s dedicated time for everyone (for example, 30 minutes in the morning and 30 in the evening). Consider preparing your IG posts when they’re asleep so you can focus on them when they’re awake and ready to play. Consider getting them involved in your plant care so they can learn from your passion and maybe develop a healthy passion themselves.
3) If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of plant care you have to do every week, consider giving some plants to friends that might be happy to care for them. Some of you know at this point that I have a one plant in/one plant out policy now (out could mean giving to a friend, but sometimes refers to plants who’ve passed on). I found my “equilibrium” for plant care management. I’ve also passed on some higher maintenance plants. Not because I can’t care for them, but because I’d prefer to spend that time with my family and friends.
I hope this helps some of you fortify your healthy passions. In the end, the most important thing is that the activity/hobby brings you joy and reduces stress. If it doesn’t, get back to the roots of why you are doing it in the first place.