by Lea Emery on 27th November 2018
It’s time to take stock of how stressful our lives are and where we can create more space and time for relaxation. According to the International Stress Management Association, stress causes us to lose almost 12 million working days a year — and can have a considerable effect on our mental and physical health.
And one of the most obvious — and easiest — ways to combat stress is to make your home a stress-free haven. Our home is where we unwind, where we reset, so having it be a chaotic place is going to keep you from being able to regulate your stress levels. You want the immediate feeling of relaxation when you get in your front door, that big breath out as you take off your coat and drop your keys on the table. So how do you make your home stress-free? A few simple design tweaks can make a huge difference.
You may not have thought to include science in your colour scheme, but it really can be worth it. Blues, violets, pinks, greens, and even greys have been shown to help you relax, and earthy tones are always a safe bet. When choosing your colours, it’s also essential to bear your room size in mind — smaller rooms can feel claustrophobic when the wall colours are too intense, so when in doubt use white or a soft colour and focus on furnishings.
A cluttered room makes a cluttered mind. Even if you think you’re someone who excels in chaos, the visual impact of a crowded room can have an effect on your mood. So come up with ways to minimise. Whether you want to adopt the Marie Kondo method and only have things in your home that spark joy or just up your organization, so everything has its place, try to find a way to streamline.
You also may want to think minimal when it comes to your design style. Focusing on one main colour — or a couple of pleasing tones — and choosing your decorations to match can also help create a relaxing space. If you’re someone who likes a lot of decoration or design quirks, you can still go wild and express yourself — but focusing on fewer colours will make things feel cohesive, rather than chaotic.
If you imagine yourself relaxing, there’s a good chance it involves you curled up on the couch or in bed with a warm blanket — and maybe a cup of tea (or a glass of wine). That’s because being cosy helps us feel relaxed, and the textures of blankets or sheets can make the difference. Whether it’s making sure you have soft blankets that you love, a fluffy duvet, the right throw pillows, or even a rug or carpet that creates a feeling of softness, textures can really help you relax.
Sleeping is the ultimate relaxation — if you want to feel more relaxed and less stressed, sleep is crucial. That’s why it’s so important that your bedroom and your bed are a safe haven for rest. Many experts recommend only using your bed for sleep to optimise your sleep and relaxation potential. That means removing the TV, the pile of books, the laptop, and everything else from your sleep space. It can feel a little jarring if you’re used to using your bed as a second living room, but soon your brain will start to associate your bed with sleep, which will help you get that rest — and cope with stress better.
Speaking of sleep, we can't talk about making your home a den of relaxation without addressing the technology issue. Having our phone constantly an arm’s length away keeps us tapped into the stress of work and the outside world, rather than actually taking time to recoup. Not only should you be turning off your tech an hour before bed for better sleep, try keeping them at bay the rest of the time too. Leaving your phone in the other room, even for a couple of hours, will help you unwind. And, at the very least, keep it out of your bedroom. A good old-fashioned alarm clock can stop you from sleeping with your phone by your head, which has a multitude of adverse side effects.
Stress can have a significant effect on our happiness and our health — and it's worth taking the time to step back and assess our own stress levels. You don’t have to start with a total overhaul — just a few small changes can make your home a more peaceful, nourishing space. It’s your safe haven, after all.
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