Did you know that according to a National Human Activity Pattern Survey, we spend about 87% of our time indoors? If that’s true in your case, like it is mine, it’s important to think about how the interior of our homes may be impacting our physical and mental health.
Just the thought that your home may be adding to your stress is a little stressful, isn’t it? Well, take a deep breath and relax because there are some simple things you can do to make your space healthier.
First things first. Walk into your home and look around. Do you feel good as you step over that threshold? Does the temperature feel just right? Does your house smell the way you want it to? Does it sound comforting? Do you avoid looking at certain cluttered rooms or areas? Do some of the objects you’re looking at make you feel calmer or happier?
Now that you’re tuned into your home, here are some things to consider to make your home more of a wellness sanctuary, so to speak:
Connecting with Nature
Biophilic Design is very popular these days. The hypothesis of Biophilia is that humans have an innate desire to connect with nature as well as other forms of life. There have been numerous studies that show how just walking in a park or forest makes us feel much more relaxed, and helps us think more clearly. So, when we spend so much time in our houses away from nature, it’s good to bring the outdoors inside when we can.
Adding some living houseplants is certainly beneficial because they help make the air cleaner. Some of the best plants to have inside are Boston fern, spider plant, English ivy and snake plant. Living walls are becoming popular now, inside as well as outside on patios. But check to make sure the plants you choose aren’t toxic if you have pets, or little ones, who may like to chew on nature!
Having a nice view is an easy way to bring the outdoors in and that view doesn’t have to be dramatic to make it special. Are you lucky enough to have a window or two in the house that overlooks a flowering bush, a tree you love, or maybe even a bird-feeder? Standing or sitting by a window with a view for a few minutes can go a long way to rejuvenate you after a day filled with screen time and meetings.
Natural light is a critical element of home design and well-being. There have been loads of studies to prove that it boosts our mood and productivity. But, all that aside, just imagine how you feel when you walk into a room filled with daylight. Warm and alive? And compare that to one of those windowless conference rooms. Ugh.
But, having a dark room at night is just as important as having natural light during the day, so that our day-night rhythm isn’t out of whack.
I have several blogs with ideas about window coverings that let the light in during the day and block out the light at night. My “Room with a View…Or Not” and “Guidance all the Way” blogs will be a big help.
Personalize Your Space
When you walked over your threshold and your eyes were drawn to your favorite things, what were they? Are they pictures of your family that bring back wonderful memories? Are they paintings or artwork that you’ve collected on your travels? Sometimes it’s a quirky lamp or clock that makes you smile. The objects we choose to decorate our houses with tend to reinforce our identities. They remind us of things we’ve loved in the past and things we love today. Surrounding yourself with those things you love will make you feel more at home, and peaceful.
Declutter Your Space
Don’t take surrounding yourself with objects literally, please. Shoes piled by the front door, dirty clothes on the bedroom floor, a catch-all dining room table can bring all that stress tumbling back. You might have heard of the tidying-up guru Marie Kondo? She encourages us to only keep items in ours home that spark joy, discard the items that don’t, and organize everything in a way that makes things easy to find.
Small Changes Go a Long Way
Sometimes it only takes a trace of your favorite scent or a touch of warmth to give us a feeling of well-being. Light your favorite candle. Play your favorite music. Is there a piece of furniture you never sit on because it’s uncomfortable? What would make it cozier? A fluffy pillow? A warm throw? Maybe you can rearrange the furniture so that you have a great view when you sit on that sofa. Do you have dimmer switches on your lights to create a soft glow in the evening?
Remember, your home is an ongoing project. You don’t have to make it perfect in one day or even one year. Tuning in to what feels good and what doesn’t will help you slowly create harmony in your home so that it truly becomes a sanctuary over time.