Unless you live in the fictional kingdom of Westeros (and by the way, I am really enjoying this last season of Game of Thrones!), winter is now a distant memory. Spring is in full, well, spring and summer is just around the corner. All around you people seem suffused with an infectious sense of positivity and enthusiasm. When the sun rises a little earlier and sets a little later, it puts us all into a good, upbeat mood. However, just because the sun’s out and nature is in bloom that doesn’t mean that things won’t get you down from time to time. Long hours at work, the stress of family commitments and schedules, even arguments with loved ones and the ever-present issue of money worries can all conspire to sap our enjoyment of the summer seasonal sense of cheer.
When the world gets you down it’s important to have a home that picks you back up again. A home that provides a haven that nurses you back to full mental health so that you walk back out through your front door with a smile on your face. Your home is your fortress; it’s a place where you can leave your worries at the door and keep your problems outside where they belong. But by tweaking your decor slightly, it can also offer rehabilitation for shredded nerves and ailing mental health.
Take control! Over the years we all collect an abundance of possessions. And the things we own can be both a blessing and a curse. They can give us a surge of joy when we first buy them but over time this joy can fade. Over time they can stop being treasured belongings and simply become clutter. As Marie Kondo would put it, they fail to “spark joy” any longer.
When our living space is cluttered by possessions which have ceased to be useful or pleasurable this can actually significantly contribute to our stress levels, make it more difficult to concentrate or otherwise take a toll on our mental health.
If clutter has begun to make you feel stressed and alienated in your own home maybe it’s time to take control of what you can see. Last month, I posted a few tips on how to clear out your home. Tidy away extraneous belongings (or better yet sell them if they’re no longer of use to you). Leave out only items that stimulate pleasure when you see them.
Embrace minimalism! This doesn’t mean you need to live in a sterile environment, just a more curated/organized one!
Minimalism is more than just a mode of decor, it’s a way of living. It revolves around cutting back on the excesses which society encourages but actually leave us feeling poorer rather than richer. Part of this is getting rid of belongings we no longer need, use or take pleasure in but it also involves being more judicious in our decor. I’m still going through our house and just yesterday took yet another huge load to our local thrift store.
Minimalism tends to favor clean lines, neutral colors and natural materials like wood, cotton, stone and paper to create a sense of calm and serenity. This is why minimalism is a great mode of decor for those who suffer from stress and anxiety. It makes your home a calmer place to be that’s free of stress and distraction. This is especially important for those who work from home.
I also highly recommend creating a space, even if it just a corner of your bedroom, where you can workout. There are few activities more conducive to mental health than exercise. Working out floods your brain with natural antidepressants like endorphins and serotonin. What’s more, it aids concentration by increasing the flow of blood to your brain ensuring that it gets more oxygen and nutrients. Thus, regular exercise can not only elevate your mood but also help you to feel more in control of your mind and your thoughts.
It’s great to dedicate a little part of your home to exercise. You don’t necessarily have to build your own home gym but it’s good to be able to have a space in the home in which you can exercise without the feelings of self-consciousness that can often plague us at the gym. I highly recommend taking a few yoga classes and using what you learn at home. Just doing a few stretches in the morning in your “space” will make you feel good. There is no need for expensive equipment. It is amazing what you can with a clear floor space and a $10 yoga mat!
And the last tip, be it with humans or pets, it’s necessary to surround yourself with life. Even if you enjoy your own company and rarely (if ever) feel consciously lonely it can still work wonders for your mental health when you are surrounded by life.
Pets are a great way to elevate your mood, especially after a hard day’s work. If you are interested in adopting a dog or cat, please look online at PetFinder.com. You can find your furry friend there! Nonetheless, if your circumstances (or tenancy agreement) won’t allow you to keep animals, never underestimate the mood boosting powers of plants. Finding cheap house plants is easy and many require little maintenance. They oxygenate the room, lend your living space a feeling of calm and tranquility and can add a much needed burst of color and life to your decor. I personally love plants and have collected some really neat plant containers over the years.
When the world is getting you down, take control by transforming your home into a mental health haven!
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