In an ideal world, our home would be a sanctuary, an oasis so to speak, from the environmental stresses that surround us. Unfortunately, our busy work schedules and family commitments can often mean the things that need to be done or fixed around the home fall to the bottom on our list of priorities.
When these things inevitably start to pile up, the home environment ends up feeling more like a warzone than the safe haven you have always dreamed about. Instead of bringing you relief from the outside, it has become just another source of stress.
And stress, without a doubt, is awful for our general health and well-being. It can lead to poor sleep patterns, acne breakouts, tension headaches, anxiety, tension and bad tempers all-around.
We have identified six triggers around the house that may be stressing you out and what you can do to turn your home back into the sweet refuge it once was.
Dump the Excess
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, most of us have heard this question by now: “Does this item spark joy?” Marie Kondo’s method of decluttering is a worldwide phenomenon and based fundamentally on the idea that decluttering not only cleanses the environment but also the soul.
But the concept is not new. Research supports the fact that decluttering your living environment can also help to dissolve mental clutter. So if your home closets are spilling over with clothing and your countertops, shelves, coffee table and floors are stacked to the brim, it is time to review your material possessions and get rid of the things you no longer need in your life.
When you are done, you will come out lighter and brighter on the other side!
Dampen the Noise
Noise pollution is a genuine issue; too much of it leads to stress and anxiety. Living in a city that never sleeps means there is a constant rumbling of traffic, the periodic blare of sirens and the persistent pounding of construction sites.
Think about investing in noise-cancelling windows so that you can literally shut out the noise when you are home. Alternatively, a white-noise machine can help you tune out street noises at bedtime.
Noise can also come from inside the home. One major culprit is the television set. Too many households have a TV in almost every room of the house and when they are on all day, it can cause exhaustion and frustration (and distract you from the other things that you could be doing).
Think about having just one TV in the household and limit the amount of time the family spends in front of it. Instead, put on some classical music (research has shown that it can elevate one’s mood) as you tend to your chores. It will energize and calm the home environment at the same time.
Keep Your Walkways Clear
In the Chinese practice of feng shui, strong and smooth energy flow is the foundation for a calm and peaceful abode. One of the simplest ways to achieve a good and positive flow is to remove obstructions around the house.
Is the sofa blocking your path as you enter the living room? Are there too many pairs of shoes scattered at the front door? Are there toys all over the ground that you are constantly having to sidestep? These little disruptions as you are trying to go about your day can do a number at a subconscious level, leaving you feeling distressed, frustrated and wondering why. Now you know.
Schedule Your Chores
The longer you put off completing your household chores, the more they start to pile up, and the more overwhelming the job will start to feel; before you know it, stress and anxiety sets in.
Stop the procrastination by making your chores a priority and by setting a realistic schedule—and sticking to it. That could mean setting a fixed time to do the laundry every other day, endeavouring to iron the clothes every Saturday and reserving Mondays for mopping the floors.
Colour You Happy
Studies show that colour can significantly influence your mood and the decisions you make. Fun fact: Did you know that the colour red can make you spend more at a store?
So while black or ruby red may be your favourite hues, they may not exactly be the best options for your wall. Next time you enter a room in your house, evaluate how it makes you feel; it may be time to switch from that dark plum to a cerulean blue.
Right lighting matters, too. Poor lighting can certainly have an impact on your mood. Try and embrace natural light—a natural mood booster—where possible, and invest in good lighting and pretty lamps that put a smile on your face.
Keep Things In the Right Proportion
If your couch is so massive that it looks as if it has taken over your living room, there is a chance that it may be making you feel uneasy and overwhelmed in your own home.
Take a good and serious look around your house and think about whether or not your current furnishings (e.g., coffee table, armchairs, cabinets, shelving) are too large in proportion to the space. You should also consider if the problem may have to do with having too many pieces of furniture.
While you are at it, look at what you have on display on your open shelves and walls. When you have too much going on, it can lead to what is described as visual chaos. That can cause overstimulation, which leads to, yes, stress. If you find it hard to let go of things, you could start by removing one or two items on display, and follow with more as the days (or weeks) go by.
With these simple steps, you will be surprised by the sense of ease and joy that can come with all the extra space that you just gained.