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How to Perk Up Your Home to Improve Your Mental Health



When you have mental health issues, you may not feel motivated to do much around the house. It's normal, as lack of motivation is a major symptom of many mental health conditions, such as depression. However, creating a welcoming space in your home can have many positive benefits for your mental health.


Since most of us spend a lot of our time in our homes, creating a home space that is safe, comfortable and welcoming can benefit our mental health. In some ways, our homes are a reflection of ourselves. If your home is cluttered and messy, it can be a cause or stress. But conversely, a home that is clean and inviting can bring us a sense of peace.


According to Very Well Mind,

Evidence suggests that having a messy, cluttered environment can create stress and interfere with your ability to concentrate, at least for some people. The actual act of cleaning and decluttering can boost your mood, help you move your body more, improve focus, and help you feel more in control of your surroundings.

When you are tired, depressed or anxious, ask yourself if your surroundings could be a contributing factor. Do you have piles of dirty dishes in the sink, unfinished laundry, children's toys lying about, or dust bunnies in the corner? If so, this could be a contributing factor to your sense of unease in your home.


How to start facing the clutter


I know that when I feel depressed, I have a tendency of letting clutter overtake my home. Lack of energy and motivation are a big factor, as well as not knowing where to start, or where to put things in the house. Organization is not my strong suit to begin with, but when I feel depressed, even the smallest home tasks can feel overwhelming.


When you start trying to get your home in order, you don't have to go all Marie Kondo and ask yourself if every item in your home brings you joy (though many people have had success with this method). You can start small. If you have a pile of dishes, try washing one or two. Move a few pieces of laundry to the hamper. Throw away trash that's on the table.


You can start making a cleaning schedule, or commit to spending 5 minutes a day on cleaning to start off with. When I was feeling tired and depressed, I had read that according to Feng Shui, if you move 27 things in your house, it will make you feel better, so I tried that. If you can't motivate yourself to move that many things, commit to putting away 5 things. Or 10. Whatever seems manageable for you.


Even doing a small amount of cleaning can make you feel better about your space. If a full-on cleaning spree doesn't appeal to you, you could just try to start the day with making your bed and opening some windows.



Arranging your space for happiness


They say, "your home is your castle" and it can be, if you put thoughtful effort into how you arrange your home. You can start with the rooms you spend the most time in, and make small changes that will allow you to feel better about your space.


According to Real Simple, here are 12 Home Decor Tips for a Mental Health Boost (That Have Nothing to Do With Decluttering):


  1. Prioritize emotional safety.

  2. Surround yourself with friendly faces.

  3. Choose colors based on your ideal energy level in a room.

  4. Add a healthy dose of nature.

  5. Incorporate visible wood grain.

  6. Factor in flow.

  7. Remember your pets.

  8. Amplify the natural light.

  9. Use artificial light with purpose.

  10. Soften the space with textures.

  11. Dabble in dappled lighting.

  12. Don't overthink everything.


Making some simple changes around your home can help to make your space more inviting, so that you can relax and enjoy your home. For example, my daughter is a big fan of crystals, so she has crystal decorations in every room of her house. I like affirmations, so I have posters with motivational sayings around my home.


You can put out some family photos, buy new throw pillows, get a potted plant, or move your work space near a window to let in natural light.


Anything natural can give your mood an easy boost. That is why it is great to be able to open your windows to let in fresh air and sunlight. Same with plants and pets. Both are natural mood-boosters as well. You could even do something like buying cat grass, so your pet can enjoy some nature, too. Nature has amazing restorative powers, so try bringing some nature into your home!


If you're like me and don't have a green thumb, you can try plants like succulents, which are easy to grow and don't need to be watered often. Or, you can buy some fresh flowers in the supermarket and put them in a vase. In Japan, the art of Ikebana incorporates mindfulness into flower arranging. Even if you don't study the art in depth, you can use the time spent with your flowers as a time to be mindfully present, and enhance your sense of inner calm.


The colors you use in your space is something you can be intentional about as well. As you may know, McDonalds chose their colors (red and yellow) because these are colors that make you feel hungrier. Similarly, the colors you use in your home can be used to enhance calm, focus, or any other element you want to introduce into your home.


According to Tiny Buddha, here are the meanings of several colors according to the art of Feng Shui:


  • Red: Passion, power, stimulation, and high energy. (Suggestions: dining room, bedroom, or upholstery)

  • Orange: Creativity, happiness, enthusiasm, and communication. (Suggestions: accenting, throw-overs, or pillows)

  • Yellow: Cheerfulness, light-heartedness, and mental stimulation. (Suggestions: kitchens, not bedrooms)

  • Green: Growth, harmony, nature, safety, peace, and healing (Suggestions: bedroom, bathroom, or office)

  • Blue: Trust, loyalty, confidence, faith (Suggestions: accents around the house and in bedroom)

  • Purple: Romance, luxury, nobility, wealth, spirituality, and motivation (Suggestions: bedroom)

  • Black: Power, independence (Suggestions: picture frames)

  • Brown: Stability, humility (Suggestions: living room)

  • White: Cleanliness, vibrancy (Use sparingly; too much white can feel cold)


By using colors in an intentional way, you can make your kitchen and living room bright and airy, or your bedroom calm and relaxing. By incorporating your favorite colors around your home, you can make the space feel more your own than if you just have white walls and beige carpet everywhere.


Even if you aren't able to paint in your home, you can choose framed art, vases and decorations to make your space feel more your own. Having items that the kids make for you can also make your space feel more inviting.


Just remember, whatever you do in your home should be meant to make you feel better.


According to Mental Health America,

A big part of a mentally healthy living situation is feeling like your space gives you comfort, support, and calming energy. This could look like keeping comfort items around. Your favorite blanket, a meaningful gift, or a candle in your favorite scent can go a long way in helping you feel more at home. Your home can also impact your mental health based on colors, natural light, and set-up. Appropriate light, furnishing textures and patterns, and room organization can help reduce signs of anxiety and depression.

Making your home into a beautiful oasis where you can relax and recharge can go a long way toward improving your mental health.


Conclusion


A clean, organized, beautiful home can go a long way towards improving your mental health. We spend a lot of time in our homes, so home should be somewhere that you feel safe and protected. This can look different for everyone. We all have different color pallets that we are drawn to, based on our personality and moods.


Bring things into your home that bring you joy (I do think Marie Kondo has that right!). Whether it is flowers, fluffy pillows, new art pieces, or pictures of your family, anything that makes you feel happy is great to feature in your home.


Cleaning itself can boost happiness, too. When you do something to improve your space, it can give you a sense of accomplishment. But start small. You don't have to do a spring cleaning binge and go through every room of the house in one day. If you try, you are likely to get burned out.


Making a commitment to spend a few minutes a day, complete a certain task, or move a certain number of items is a good way to start. And, if you really feel overwhelmed, enlist help! You can get a cleaning service, or ask your partner or kids to help out. Either way, make sure you aren't taking something on that feels unmanageable, or you will feel a sense of resistance to starting.


Let me know in the comments if these tips are helpful, if you have questions, or if there are additional topics you would like me to cover in the future!



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