When things are stressful at work, relationships are challenging, and the future feels uncertain, your home should be a place of refuge. It should be a place where you can toss your troubles aside, relax, and feel completely at peace. With the recurring and long-lasting stay-at-home orders that have taken over this year, along with the need to social distance and minimize outings even when not required, we have all spent far more time in our homes this year than in years past. You may not have realized it before this year, but your home plays a big role in your mental health. This year has been difficult enough as it is and mental health is already at an all-time low, so if your home is negatively impacting your overall mental health as well, you likely need a bit of an overhaul to improve your mindset and quality of life. Here are a few ways to spruce up your home for the best impact on your mental health.
It should come as no surprise that excess clutter adds to your stress and decreases your mental health. The more overwhelmed you feel by your environment, the more likely you are to be stressed out, suffer from anxiety, and experience symptoms of depression. In addition to struggles with mental clarity and overall mental health, clutter can cause problems for your physical health as well. Studies have actually found that too much clutter can cause excess weight, which further contributes to mental health problems. Additionally, clutter can cause fatigue, increased stress levels, depressed moods, poor coping skills, and more, all of which contribute to even more mental and physical health challenges. Decluttering can feel very overwhelming, but if you can go slowly through areas of your home that need attention, you can remove clutter, improve organization, and find peace and satisfaction in the cleanliness of your home.
Add Natural and Living Décor
Nature makes people feel good, so bringing nature into the home only makes sense when you’re thinking about mental health. Having plants surrounding you can give you more purpose in terms of caring for the plants, which can be extremely beneficial for those struggling with their own self-care. Having plants can also boost your mood, reduce your stress, help with your memory, decrease depression, improve productivity and concentration, and more. If you don’t have a green thumb, you can get a few common houseplants that are easy to care for to quickly experience the benefits of natural décor in your home.
Embrace a New Scent
Our sense of smell is a powerful tool that can bring back vivid memories, bring about relaxation and rest, and incite powerful emotions. If your home is not the place of rest and peace that you would like it to be, consider embracing some form of aromatherapy on a daily basis. You can burn incense, light a candle, utilize scented wax warmers, or diffuse essential oils. Depending on your preference, you may wish to choose scents that you simply enjoy, or you might want to delve into the science behind essential oils and select scents that are believed to improve mental health. You might also want to switch out your scents depending on what you’re dealing with on a particular day. Maybe you want to diffuse lavender oil to relax at night, but you choose a citrus smell for daytime to boost your mood and productivity.
Add Color to Your Home
Color psychology is a very real thing that scientists, artists, and interior designers have studied for centuries. While some of the impact that a color has on your mood is more subjective than objective, it still plays a large role in your mental health. In general, it is widely accepted that greens and blues are known for creating calming, peaceful, and restful environments, whereas red is seen as a little more aggressive, often sparking creativity, passion, and powerful energy. More neutral colors can enhance the peacefulness of a space, but sometimes having a room or area that is too drab can bring about feelings of discontent, boredom, or a lack of creativity. Adding carefully selected colors to specific areas of your home can improve your overall mental health by utilizing color psychology as well as by making your home feel more put-together and personalized. Adding color may be about painting a room a new color, adding colorful throw pillows to a couch, or hanging brightly colored pictures to empty wall space.
Create Designated Spaces
If you’re working from home or your kids are doing school at home, it can be overwhelming to have every part of your life happen in the same space. If you’re sheltering in place or working remotely for a while, it’s a great idea to create designated spaces in your home for those work-related activities so that the remainder of your space can continue being restful places of peace and relaxation. If you’re unable to designate an entire room or area to becoming solely a workspace, commit to clearing the area before and after you use it for work to keep your work and play separate. For example, if you have to work or do school with your kids at the kitchen table, make sure it’s clear of clutter before you begin working for the day. And then, at the end of the workday, clear off your work things to bring it back to being the typical kitchen table. This can help you concentrate more on your work and help you focus on the transition from work to play and vice versa. Even if you’re not working remotely or have a child learning from home, it can still be beneficial to designate areas of your home for certain things to keep the restfulness throughout the entire house, such as having TVs only in common areas and having toys only in playrooms or kids’ bedrooms.
Upgrade What You Can
The conditions of your living space can play a large role in your mental health, and even if you can’t move or completely alter your entire home, doing a few small upgrades can make a huge difference in your state of mind while at home. Painting a room, replacing flooring, or adding new window treatments can bring about substantial changes. If you’re financially able to do something bigger, that can completely revitalize your home and substantially improve your mental health, so long as the financial side of it is not stressing you out. Opening up floor plans for more movement and flow through the home is a great way to upgrade your home, but painting a room with a warm, light color can help open up a space as well.
Technology is amazing and has brought about huge benefits in our world, but it definitely comes with more than its fair share of downsides. Technology not only distracts us from other important things in our lives, but it can bring a lot of negativity into our households without us even realizing it. The news, social media, and even television shows and movies can significantly increase depression, anxiety, negative thoughts, fear, and so much more. If you can minimize the use of technology and consumption of media, your mental health is sure to improve significantly. If you struggle to minimize technology use at home, consider removing some items from your home completely. Put a television only in the living room, keep phones out of the bedrooms, and keep all device use in common areas for appropriate supervision and safety, particularly with kids. Reducing your interaction with the outside world through devices will improve your mental health by reducing unhealthy comparisons on social media and helping you unplug and de-stress by focusing on those with you rather than the negative things going on across the globe.
Being creative is great for mental health, and it can be quick and easy to spruce up a room with some decorations to add a little pep in your step. Think about how happy you are when you put up holiday decorations, and embrace that excitement to add some more décor to your home any time of year. You can do a DIY craft project with your kids, purchase new décor from a store, or simply move some decorative items around and put them in new places for a fresh look.
All of these tips are meant to help you add some creativity, peace, and joy to your home in order to improve your mental health. If you find that you are still struggling regardless of how hard you try to overcome mental health challenges, be brave enough to reach out and get help. Behavioral health services can substantially impact your quality of life and overall mental health to help you live your best life that is full of joy and satisfaction.