Is Your Home Your Haven?
Six Steps To Making Your Home A Stress Free Environment
Our home is our haven. It’s a phrase we’ve all heard before and which the vast majority of us would like to think is true. But is it really? Is your home truly a place where you can escape from the stresses of your working life and relax with absolute freedom?
In truth, very few of us can claim that our home genuinely provides such a space. We want it to be a haven, but too often the rigors and excesses of our day to day lives get in the way. When this happens, our homes cease to be the peaceful, stress-free environments we desire for both ourselves and our families and become instead a mirror to the clutter and stresses that define our day-to-day existence.
If this is true for you (as it has been for me at times) then here are six practical steps you can take to making your home a place of relaxation and sanctuary.
For whatever reason, most of us are hoarders. We surround ourselves with stuff that was only ever temporarily useful and which we don’t really need. Do you have clothes in your cupboard that you never wear? What about those magazines lying around the house which are more than a year old and which you keep telling yourself you’ll finish reading sometime? Or the shows and movies that you’ve recorded on television and which you’ll get around to watching soon? Are there any small (or large) items of furniture in your house that you don’t actually use? Any high-tech kitchen utensils or tools (well, they were high-tech once!) which have long since ceased to see the light of day? Are you struggling for storage space?
Answer in the affirmative to more than one of these questions and it is likely that you are a hoarder. And if you are, then a good place to start on your journey towards making your home a haven will be to get rid of those things which are simply taking up space and which add nothing to the look and feel of your home.
De-clutter and then organise what is left. Make sure that your home is easy to walk around and that everything has its place. By taking these relatively simple steps, you’ll find that cleaning-up suddenly becomes much easier and that your home ceases to be a drain on your energy and emotions.
2. Decorate with a light touch
When it comes to decorating, a ‘less is more’ approach will help you create a more relaxing ambience for your home. Just because you have shelves and tabletops in your house doesn’t mean you have to fill them. Instead, try to select and display a few pieces that are meaningful to you and which bring you joy or comfort. Don’t let them get lost in the clutter.
Remember too, the importance of natural light. Not only does natural light open up a space and make it seem more inviting, studies have shown that it has a positive impact on the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects mood, emotion, sleep and even appetite. So, remember whenever possible to draw back the curtains and open up the shades. Don’t be scared, either, to hang mirrors where they can reflect natural light and make a room feel bigger.
Finally, think carefully about how you want to decorate your bedroom. Even if you are someone who loves bright colours and patterns, it might be worth considering more soothing hues for your bedroom. Cool shades of blue and green, and neutral earth tones, have a calming affect on our emotions. You need not necessarily repaint your bedroom to achieve this. Some well-placed accessories such as throw pillows, quilts and lamp-shades, all in calming colours, can help bring a sense of peace to your bedroom.
3. Create your own space
Create a space in your house dedicated to relaxation and meditation. A room where you can get away from it all and surround yourself with comfortable furnishings and some items that you love is ideal, but for those of you who don’t have the space to do this, a designated corner of the house can prove just as effective. It may be the corner of your lounge, an armchair by the window in your bedroom, or a chair on the porch. Wherever it is, treasure it as the place you go to relax and de-stress; maybe to read a book, meditate, or simply listen to your favourite music. You’ll be amazed how important that space becomes to you and how much you look forward to using it as your retreat!
4. Switch off electronics
They’re meant to make our lives easier and more enjoyable, but electronics – televisions, computers, laptops, tablets, mobile phones – can end up dominating our lives. We tend to lose ourselves in them and forget about giving ourselves the time and space for relaxation and contemplation.
Electronics in the bedroom can be particularly bad news. They serve as a distraction, keeping us up and interfering with our body clocks. Just as bad, the light they emit provides a signal to stay awake, preventing a proper night’s sleep and leaving us with elevated stress levels in the morning.
5. Surround yourself with items you love
Surround yourself with items that you love and which bring happy thoughts or memories to the fore. Treasured books and pictures can fill this role, and so can photographs. The latter, in particular, can provide your house with that personal touch which will help turn it into a loving home.
Another great idea is to place an item close to your heart in your entrance way. That way, every time you walk in the door, you will be reminded of what it is you love and why your home is so special to you.
6. Ambience is Important
A home with a comforting ambience is perfect for relaxation and can be easily achieved by the introduction of two items – music and essential oils. Music, as we all know, is good for our soul. It can not only help us relax and lose ourselves in the moment, it can also make work lighter. Simply put some of your favourite music on in the background and a task like cooking or washing up immediately becomes a more pleasurable experience.
Essential oils also help in this regard, especially good quality organic oils. This is because they possess mood enhancing properties which can trigger those parts of our brain responsible for our feelings and emotions. Thus, the addition of a few drops of oil to a burner can instantly change the ambience in your home, helping you to feel happier, more relaxed, and more in charge of your emotions.