Transforming Your Home Into a Haven of Stress Relief
There’s no denying it. We live in anxious and stressful times. Even before the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown came along, many of us were living and working in a state of near-perpetual anxiety. If you’ve spent years feeling as though a catastrophe is just around the corner waiting to pounce on you like a hungry lion, it’s possible that anxiety has infected your every thought process.
Anxiety is a potentially helpful instinct in small doses. It keeps us alert and can bring out the best in us. But when we live in a state of chronic stress and anxiety, it can be absolutely ruinous to our health. Stress triggers the body’s inflammation response which has been linked to all kinds of chronic diseases from heart disease and diabetes to cancer. Fortunately, with time and patience you may be able to undo the damage to your mind and body that years of chronic stress have caused. A great place to start is by ensuring that your home is a peaceful and meditative place which keeps stress at bay.
What better time to start than now? Even though lockdown measures are slowly scaling back across the country, it’s likely that you’ll be spending a lot of time at home for the foreseeable future. Here are some ways in which you can make your home a stress-free haven…
Decorate with natural materials
We’re predisposed to feel more relaxed in the presence of nature. Which is why your daily dose of outdoor exercise is so important (especially now that you can spend more than an hour outdoors). However, bringing natural materials into our home can make it a more serene and satisfying place.
Synthetic materials like plastics, nylon and chrome may be affordable and versatile, but they are hard to be truly comfortable around. They feel strange against our skin, they don’t allow it to breathe and there’s something about them that looks and feels “wrong” in ways we can’t quite articulate.
As such, wherever possible, try to decorate with natural materials like wood, stone, wool and cotton. You may be surprised by how versatile they are. Take a look at these Limestone Tiles for instance. Not to mention all the many, many things that can be made with bamboo from baskets to bedding. Natural materials tend to be more attractive and satisfying to the senses while also being harder wearing and a better long term investment.
Bring plants into your home
While we’re on the subject of the natural world, investing in some good house plants is absolutely essential. Whether you’re trying to relax in your living room or trying to work in your home office, plants can be tremendously helpful. They oxygenate your living space and help you to feel calmer and more serene in their presence. Take a look at this post from Psychology Today to see how plants can benefit your mental and emotional health. Suffice it to say that as well as beautifying your home, plants and flowers can improve your mental wellbeing and help to keep stress at bay in your home.
Clear your pantry of processed foods
When we’re stressed or anxious, we tend to comfort eat. And few of us choose healthy wholefoods for our comfort munchies. We tend to gravitate towards heavily processed sugary, fatty and salty foods. While we think that this is alleviating our stress, these foods can actually exacerbate it. They can cause oxidative stress within our bodies and this can create even more inflammation within our bodies.
We all need a place to which we can retreat when things get too much for us. A meditative space where we can enjoy some alone time and truly be ourselves. This might be a quiet space where we can reads a book, exercise or meditate. Alternatively, we may choose to build a home cinema or game room. There are no wrong answers here. It should be as individual as you are, but you should have total autonomy over what (and who) goes in it.
Keep electronic devices out of the bedroom
Finally, when we’re not getting enough sleep, it can make us much more prone to stress and anxiety. So make sure that your bedroom is a restful haven that’s dedicated to sleep and relaxation. Make sure your bedding and surroundings are made from natural materials where possible, and try and keep electronic devices out (or at least out of use) when trying to relax. These devices emit blue light which can impede our bodies’ production of melatonin, which can make for sleepless nights and irritable mornings.