5 changes to help your home support your mental health
When discussing mental health, we often discuss mindset, therapy, meditation, diet, and exercise. But how often do you think about your environment, the places you spend the most time?
Your physical surroundings can significantly impact your mood and overall well-being. From home to office to grocery stores and everywhere in between, you will spend approximately 80% of your life in a built environment.
Optimizing the spaces where you spend the most time, like your home, makes complete sense.
From decluttering to the psychology of color to functional spaces that work for your lifestyle, there are a few easy changes you can make in your home that can immensely impact your mental health and improve your mood daily.
Decluttering your space
If you’ve ever walked into a cluttered room or opened your junk drawer only to have feelings of stress and anxiety wash over you, you are not alone. When you see clutter, the overwhelming amount of stuff can stress you out, impacting your mood and mental health. By reducing the clutter in your life, you’ll be free to tackle the more significant issues head-on.
Embracing a little bit of minimalism in your life can transform your home into a tranquil oasis.
Even if you aren’t ready to tackle your closets, start small—go through your unopened mail or junk drawer, or even just put your laundry away. And don’t forget to examine your digital “clutter”—your overflowing inbox, unorganized Cloud storage, or packed desktop can also benefit from the minimalism treatment!
Another bonus of an organization system is that you’ll find everything you need more quickly and save plenty of time looking for missing objects.
The psychology of colour
Have you ever thought about how certain colours make you feel? Researchers agree that certain colours, shades, and tones evoke distinct emotions and feelings in people.
Red, yellow, and some shades of orange are instantly recognizable signals of warning or danger. And spending an extended time in a room painted in one of these colours can shock the nervous system. On the cooler side of the colour spectrum, blue is often associated with calming energy, and green brings thoughts of tranquility and nature to mind.
You can track the extremity of colours and their impact on stress levels based on its wavelength (nm). Warm colours like red and orange have longer wavelengths (~625-800 nm) and are seen as the most extreme. Shorter wavelengths are associated with cool colours like violet and blue (430-500 nm).
Even if the same colours don’t affect people universally, there may be colours that might make you feel better or worse. Think about how you feel when surrounded by certain colours and tones—try experimenting with different colours to see what emotions they evoke in you.
Redesigning a room to feature colors that you love can go a long way toward making a space feel more welcoming. It doesn’t need to be as drastic as painting your entire home—try adding colour through smaller decor items like pillows, art, bedding, and rugs.
Building functional spaces
It would be best to design your home to support how you live your life. It should be a functional space that allows you to spend time in your home according to your interests and desires.
For example, if you want to spend more time entertaining your friends and family, having a room with comfortable seating that fosters connection and conversation can help you reach that goal.
You may want to upgrade how your family eats or spend more time cooking. That goal is much easier when you have a pleasant space to prepare food and a well-organized kitchen.
If you are one of the many people who have started working from home, a better-designed, clutter-free home office makes it easier to get better work done in less time. Creating a functional home can help you be happier and more content.
Tapping into the power of natural light
There is nothing better than welcoming a bit of sunshine into your home. Wherever possible, you will want to take advantage of the natural light you already have in your spaces.
By amplifying natural light, you can improve the long-term well-being of the people in your home. Bring more natural light into your home by experimenting with window dressings, adding mirrors and other reflective surfaces, and rearranging any furniture that interferes with the light flow throughout your space.
Bringing the outdoors into your home
Whether or not you have a green thumb, bringing plants into your home is a great way to improve your overall mental health. The positive link between good mental health and nature has been proven time and time again.
And while getting outside into nature should still be a priority in your daily life, bringing nature inside your home is a great way to relieve stress while you’re spending time indoors.
A great way to reduce stress and anger and fill your space with positive vibes is to have plants throughout your home. Make sure you have houseplants in the rooms you spend the most time in—grow herbs in the kitchen, bring your favourite potted plants into the bedroom, and decorate your living room with fiddle leaf figs and money trees!
We spend 80% of our lives in built, indoor spaces. It’s no wonder that they can have such a profound impact on our mental health. But with just a few small changes, you can start to make your home—and other indoor spaces like your office—an oasis that supports your overall well-being.