We Were Born to Be Real, Not to be Perfect
We’ve all heard of the saying, “Home is where the heart is”, connecting our family and our best memories to the home in which we live. It’s an ideal that we all strive for and daydream about, and a sentiment that gives us the “warm and fuzzies”. It all sounds perfect and it’s nice, isn’t it?
But when you take that nice, clean, stress-free home and add in work demands, bills, children, broken sleep patterns, maintenance, clutter, and a global pandemic, before you know it, your perfectly sweet humble abode could be adding to, not relieving from the stress in your life. That’s just not right!
The good news is, there are 3 quick, easy, and affordable ways to get your home back to a place that serves you and your family’s mental health and overall well being. Let’s dive in!
First Things First: Connect with Your Home
Let’s go for a walk. See, we’re already heading in the right direction of improving your mental health! When you open the front door of your home and step inside, pay attention to how your body reacts and how you feel. Now, walk around your house, and repeat this in every room. When you do this, you’re connecting with your home. This is the first, and most important step to figuring out which spaces are working for or against your wellbeing.
Which rooms made you feel calm and relaxed? Energized? Inspired? or Motivated? What about those rooms made you feel that way? Did any of the spaces make your body tense up and have the urge to walk away? If so, your fight or flight reaction kicked in and this, my friend, is called stress! It happens to everyone, even interior designers. But this is a good thing because you now know which rooms serve you and which ones need a bit of TLC.
Now that you’ve connected with your home and you’ve figured out which spaces need help, let’s discover 3 easy ways you can improve your mental health throughout your entire house.
No surprises here! We’ve said it before, decluttering is one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health within your home! A cluttered space is a cluttered mind. We are not only affected by the influx of technology, social media, messaging, and other information coming our way, but all the extra stuff our homes accumulate over time. It’s all noise and a hinderance to our mental health. Here are a few things you can do:
- Break it Up: Take a deep breath and say “It doesn’t have to be done all at once”. A lot of people get flustered with large cleaning projects, which doesn’t help when trying to improve mental health. Try purging room-by-room, closet-by-closet, day-by-day. Focus on one task per day.
- Make a Mess: It seems counterintuitive but in order to remove the excess, you need to see it. Empty out all of the drawers and other storage areas that accumulate junk. If it’s expired, missing a pair, or something you didn’t know you still had, it’s time for it to go.
- Before & After Photos: This is by far one of our favourite strategies as it reminds us of just how much we accomplished and just what we need to keep it up! Definitely great for improving our motivation and self-confidence.
- Shop Mindfully: Wellness within your home starts outside of your home. Think about it. Everything you own had to come from an outside source. When shopping, ask yourself “Where am I going to put this item?” If it won’t fit anywhere, it might be best to leave it out of your cart until you can make a dedicated space for it. Double points for this tip, because it will reduce clutter in your home and also save you money!
If you want our whole list of decluttering tips, tricks and how to get the whole family involved, read our full Decluttering Challenge blog post!
#2: Balance Your Spaces
One of the most beautiful things about being human is our abilities to think, feel, change and adapt. Our homes should be a reflection of these abilities: a place were we can find a comfortable balance between calmness and comfort, energy and inspiration.
Creating zones is a great way to achieve balance. Again, we’re not expecting you to redo your entire house or take on an overwhelming, stressful project, simply make small modifications that will maximize impact:
Quiet Comfort Zone
Having a dedicated space to relax, meditate, read, practice yoga, or any other calming activity is a must for creating a balanced home for mental health. Keep it minimal but be sure to include elements that promote tranquility – whatever that means to you:
- Muted or pastel pallet
- A comfortable chair
- Soft area rug
- A few floor pillows
- Throw blanket
Add a small table or shelf to keep one book, an essential oil diffuser or candle, a warm cup of your favourite beverage and a speaker for calming music. If you can feel the stress melt away just by reading this, imagine how nice it will be to have this space to yourself to breathe in and breathe out.
Keeping in line with simplicity, it’s a good time to remind you that inspiration and energy can come from even the smallest things. Focus on one space that you don’t feel inspired by and make small changes so that it can start to inspire you. Here are some ideas:
- Gallery Wall: Do you have a hallway or wall that’s blank? Gallery walls not only add a decorative touch but if you frame some of your fondest memories or places you’ve visited, they’re guaranteed to bring a smile to your face every time you pass by. Elevating your mood and sparking a little joy.
- Pops of Colour and Texture: Is your living space feeling flat and underwhelming? A couple of simple, cost-effective solutions include:
– Coloured throw pillows and blankets
– Painted or textured accent wall
– One or two coloured pieces of furniture
- Bring the Outdoors In: There’s nothing better for your mental health than the great outdoors. Open up your windows, let in some fresh air, and add a variety of greens and florals to freshen up your interiors. Wood is also one of our favourite natural materials to incorporate into a home. Try incorporating a fiddle leaf tree with rattan planter pot to double your nature-inspired impact.
Want more ideas on how to create energy and balance in your working space? Pop on over to read our blog on The Secret to a Motivating Work Space.
It’s ok if one space doesn’t inspire you every day! We need variety. Always explore your options, connect with your home indoors and outdoors, and change it up as you need to, especially now that the warmer weather is upon us.
#3: Try a Challenge
Some say it takes about 21 days (3 weeks) to 66 days (3 months) to form a good habit or break a bad one. It’s not meant to be easy. But if its for the benefit of your mental health and you’re going to come out on the other side a happier and healthier version of you, then it’s worth a shot, right? To start, here are some easy challenges to take on a daily basis to improve your overall wellness:
Challenge #1: Use Your Dining Room Table – For Dining!
This sounds obvious but how many of us use our dining tables as a catch-all for work and learning spaces, laundry, crafting, and other miscellaneous items. We’re all guilty of this. A cluttered dining table forces us to walk away and eat elsewhere, like the couch or our desks. Not ideal for creating wellness.
The challenge is to keep the dining table clear for at least 3-4 meals per week. This will allow space and time for the family to step away from their work, connect and enjoy each other’s company over a meal. There’s no better feeling.
Challenge #2: Make Your Bed
I never used to make my bed. Ever. But I did travel a lot for work at one point. One of the things that I grew used to and quite enjoyed was coming back to my hotel room and settling into the neatly-made, clean, crisp and tidy beds after a long day. I eventually grew out of the travelling work lifestyle but one thing stuck with me. The invitation and luxury of a nicely-made bed. There’s nothing like it.
So, in order to replicate this feeling, I challenged myself to get into the habit of making my bed every morning. And it worked, even until now. My room is cleaner, more inviting, and most importantly, something that I look forward to every night. It’s a small change with a huge impact!
We can go on for days about the impact of a bed and nightly routine on your overall wellness. If you want to read our advice about it, check out our blog post on Setting the Stage for a Great Night Sleep.
Challenge #3: Frame Your Mantras
This is a fun one. We all have mantras: our words to live by that define our beliefs, comfort us in challenging times and motivate us towards a better version of ourselves.
The problem is that we tend to forget those mantras during times of stress. So the challenge is to choose prints of your favorite phrases, frame them and add them to different areas of your home. Some of our favourite mantras are:
- Confidence Mantra: Be Yourself. Everyone else is taken.
- Performance Mantra: Excellence does not require perfection
- Self Love Mantra: Above all things, love yourself first
- Happiness Mantra: Stop trying to make everyone happy, you are not a jar of Nutella!
Tell me you didn’t smile after reading these! That’s the point. Your mantras may even change as time passes, so you can easily update the prints and swap them out for new ones as you see fit. This way, they add to your décor but function as quick, visual motivators throughout your day. A fun and easy way to promote wellness and improve mental health in your home.
Mental Health is Holistic
Remember that mental health and wellness is a journey and your approach should be a holistic one. Although we’ve focused on ways to improve it inside of the home, we highly encourage you to extend your wellness journey outside of your home. Regular outdoor activities, rest, healthy eating habits, connecting with friends and family, and advocating for yourself are all ways to improve both your physical and mental health. Do what feels right for you.
We’re In This Together: Helping the Mental Health Crisis
In support of self-advocacy and eliminating the stigma around mental illness, the Centre Staged family has made a donation to the Canadian Mental Health Association and we invite you to do the same. Visit CMHA.CA to find out how you can help fight the mental health crisis in Ontario.
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