Stress is no joke. It can have a number of adverse effects on your health and in some cases can (indirectly) be lethal. It can rewire your brain and trigger the evolutionary “fight or flight” instinct even in fairly safe surroundings, leaving us feeling constantly panicked and as though something terrible is always just around the corner. At the same time, however, small doses of stress can shake us out of a funk of apathy or complacency. It can force us out of our comfort zone and bring out the best in us.
The trick, however, is to keep the stress in our lives as manageable as possible. This means compartmentalising our lives so that stress is kept in its place… and that should never be the home! Your home should not only be a reflection of your personality but a haven to which you can retreat from the world and its myriad contributors to your stress.
But if you find yourself unable to relax, your home might be stressing you out! Here’s how you can wind down and relax under your own roof.
Say bye-bye to clutter… by any means necessary
Clutter might seem fairly innocuous but it can be surprisingly damaging to your mental health. It can prevent you from being able to concentrate, it can stop you from being able to relax and can generally feel like the things you own have taken possession of you. Clear away clutter by any means necessary. Stick it in the attic, put it up on ebay or keep it packed away in boxes in the wardrobe. Just make sure it doesn’t impinge on your living space.
Plastic, synthetic fabrics and other man-made affectations can also make us feel on edge. They can feel… wrong and prevent us from being able to relax. On the other hand, natural materials like wood, stone, ceramics, cotton, linen and wool can all make us feel more calm, comfortable and serene. From furniture to cushions to kitchen tiles, try and include as many natural materials in your decor as possible. It’s a little change that can make a big difference.
Colour me calm
Remember that we human beings respond to colours in very specific ways. Some can stimulate us, some can make us emotionally erratic and some can chill us right out. Blues and greens can be very restful while oranges and reds can be stimulating. Whether you’re painting walls or choosing soft furnishings, a little consideration of colour psychology can go a long way.
Smells like serenity
Finally, remember that the triggers that add to stress aren’t exclusively visual. They can be heard, felt and smelled, too. The exact same goes for the things that help us to feel calm, relaxed and at home. A little aromatherapy in the home can go a long way. Try placing some diffusers full of essential oils around the home such as vanilla, rose, lavender, chamomile and cedarwood. You might be surprised by how effective they are.