Your home should be a haven, a place where you shed the stressors of the day and kick back and relax. The items you have in your home, the way it’s arranged and the sensory experience it creates all impact your mood, your stress level and how you feel. Why not make your home an escape from the stressors and worries of the day? Here are five simple ways to make your home a “stress-free zone.”
Pare Down the Clutter
Clutter creates stress and confusion. Start by eliminating obvious sources of clutter: books and magazines lying around, clothes that aren’t hung up in a closet and items setting around on counters and tables that belong in a drawer. Make sure you really need these items before putting them away. If you haven’t used something in weeks and don’t have plans to, put it in a bag to donate to charity. Someone else will get joy from that item and you’ll be doing something good for someone else. Then take a look at your décor. Do you have too many pictures on the wall or knick-knacks setting around? Simplify by donating items that are making your rooms look too “busy.” Simple décor is best for easing stress, and a clutter-free room is easier to take care of.
Add More Natural Light
Natural light influences circadian rhythms, the “master clock” that controls almost every aspect of your functioning. Depriving your eyes of natural light disrupts this natural rhythm, leading to sleep disturbances and changes in mood and alertness. Let some light in by taking down the heavy drapes and replacing them with sheer curtains or blinds you can open and close to let more sunlight in. If your windows are blocked by furniture, re-arrange things so the sunlight can freely come in. Another option is to add sky lights or sun tunnels to infuse your home with natural light. If your walls are a dark color, try painting them white. This opens up a room and makes it seem more open and airy.
Bring Nature Inside
Who doesn’t feel more relaxed when they rest their eyes on the beauty of nature? One way to bring nature indoors is to add green plants to a room – but don’t stop there. Add a tabletop fountain or a Zen garden to your living room. The sound of trickling water will be music to your ears as you let go of the stressors of the day. Why not let the sounds of nature relax you too? Download recordings of nature sounds and play them as background music for relaxation. Coming home never felt better.
The Power of Smell
Odors affect your mood too. The area of the brain that processes smell is very close to the part that registers emotion. That’s the whole basis for aromatherapy. Why not use a fragrance diffuser to deliver stress-relieving fragrance to the rooms in your home? Some essential oils that promote relaxation include chamomile, lavender, jasmine and geranium. Try them all and see which is the most relaxing to you.
Dress Comfortably at Home
When you come home, change into comfortable clothing and shoes, whether that be a comfy pair of sweat pants or a silky pair of pajamas with ultra-soft and fuzzy slippers. Wearing clothing that’s comfortable is essential to reducing stress. Changing clothes when you come home for the evening signals your brain that it’s time to relax and helps you start unwinding.
The Bottom Line?
Home is your haven where you can relax and let go of the cares of the day. Make sure it’s not cluttered, dark and uninviting. If so, make some changes and you’ll look forward to coming home at the end of the day to unwind even more.