A home is more than just bricks and mortar. Your living environment plays a vital role in your quality of life and a cozy and comfortable home brings with it bountiful benefits for your physical and mental health. As people are spending more time at home due to the pandemic, it is ever more important to craft a dwelling space that encourages happiness and wellness.
The act of home improvement itself can be a restorative activity for some. According to a recent study, 49 percent of people surveyed said that home improvement projects during the quarantine period have given them a sense of enjoyment while 34 percent of people said that these projects have improved their mental health. Luckily, you do not have to be a construction expert to make meaningful adjustments to your home. Here are some tips to get you started.
Work (Out) From Home
As many of us are now working from home, it is important that we designate an area for a home office. A home office can be set up in a dedicated room or just a modest nook in the house. Creating a separate office space assists remote workers in establishing a work-life distinction and can help in managing the inability to ‘clock off’.
As we are mostly working during daylight hours, the home office should ideally be situated close to a window where natural light is abundant. Exposure to natural light allows your body to increase the production of vitamin D, bringing with it a wide range of health benefits. Natural light also helps to regulate your wake-sleep cycle and wards off seasonal affective disorder.
In addition, soothing wall colors such as light shades of blue and green in your home office can help to relieve stress. Warm neutral colors like beige and brown can create a feeling of comfort and calmness. Add some yellow and orange accents to spark a little joy and energy, and your home office environment will be complete.
The current remote working situation has its benefits but decreased active movement is not one of them. With most of our shopping done online and our daily commute time reduced to zero, Americans are becoming more sedentary by the day. Setting up a home gym is a wonderful way for people to maintain their physical health during the pandemic.
A garage or basement is perfect for setting up a home gym. Home gym setups can vary widely depending on your interests. Have a stressful and frustrating job? Cue the punching bag and boxing gloves. A bit of a minimalist? Well, you just need yoga mats and resistance loop bands. Fancy a bit of bodybuilding? Get yourself an all-in-one home gym with suspension trainers and weight plates.
Regular exercise not only helps you to manage your weight and maintain your cardiovascular health, but it improves your mental health as well. A simple 30 minutes of moderate physical activity has been shown to combat stress and decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression. Regular exercise also improves your overall mood, cognitive function, and sleep quality.
Eat, Bathe, Love
A neat and functional kitchen is surprisingly beneficial for our health. Many people avoid fully utilizing their kitchens due to the anxiety of cooking and the stress of dealing with the mess. However, cooking has been shown to be a meditative and therapeutic activity that can relieve stress, alleviate depression, and enhance creativity.
Make cooking more accessible by decluttering and organizing your kitchen and pantry area. Even small areas can be converted into storage space with creative shelving. Magnetic knife boards, ceiling hangers for pots, and cabinet door spice racks are great ways to make the most of your kitchen space. Categorizing and labeling pantry items is an additional way to simplify the cooking process.
A happy kitchen helps us to enjoy cooking instead of viewing it as a chore. Eating—and eating well—is an essential act of self-care. From having an elderberry supplement with breakfast to a chamomile tea before bed, a welcoming kitchen and dining area can encourage you to take time out for mindful meals and take better care of yourself.
Another important ritual of unwinding is taking a bath. Warm baths in the evening are beneficial for blood circulation, can help to clear up your respiratory system, and contribute to better sleep at night. A relaxation routine before bed triggers your body to release feel-good hormones such as serotonin while reducing stress hormones such as cortisol.
For ultimate relaxation, give your bathroom a home spa atmosphere with lavender or rose essential oils. Aromatherapy with essential oils has been shown to relieve tension and anxiety. Put on some music that helps you to find your chill. This could be anything from Gregorian chants or lovers rock reggae to karaoke songs for the shower. Complete the mood with tranquil dim lights or candles.
Last but not least, decorate your home with indoor plants. Low-maintenance plants such as snake plants and peace lilies are perfect for the beginner plant parent. Aside from being aesthetically pleasing, house plants can assist in purifying the air and elevating our positive emotions. Indoor gardening can help us feel a sense of connectedness and purpose which alleviates loneliness and depression.
A house itself is not a home. With a little effort, we can modify our houses to create spaces that are not only for living but also for rejuvenation and growth. Through the gradual improvement of our homes, we invest in our health and happiness.