March 1, 2022

Tips for Creating a Home That Improves Well-Being and Mental Health

Your home should be a place for you to feel safe and yourself. Wellness focused design is much more than making sure your home’s construction is up to code. With more people spending time at home, the pandemic has fueled an awareness of how our indoor spaces affect the way we work, study, play, create, and care for ourselves and others.

Create Routine and Ownership

Cluttered spaces can create feelings of anxiety. Experts say that there are multiple positive mental health benefits of cleaning, including taking control of your environment, finding inspiration, and helping to increase focus.

Feeling ownership and control over your environment can help increase confidence and thus your mental health. Small tasks such as making the bed every morning, starting the dishwasher at night, and putting your belongings away before bed can help. Accomplishing a task, no matter how small, can improve your mindset.

Positive Be-Leafs

In our Interior Design Trends for 2022 blog, we discussed biophilia design, or the conscious effort to directly incorporate nature into human spaces. Studies show that people who spend time cultivating plants have the potential for less stress in their lives. Gardening, or caring for plants in general, provides a positive way to channel their stress and frustration into a physical thing that provides them comfort and joy.

If you live with children, plants can benefit them, too! Research shows that children who spend time around plants not only concentrate and focus for longer, but also calm those with attention deficit. Caring for plants between a guardian and child can foster positive communication, sensitivity, and compassion for others.

Material Wellness

Biophilic design can also attribute to the kind of materials we incorporate into our spaces. A lot of our mainstream cleaning products contain toxic and harsh chemicals that can cause harm to humans, animals, and the environment. Construction materials can also affect our wellness. Tiles with chemical sealers, wood with chemical stains, engineered flooring with formaldehyde, and carpets with fire retardants can all negatively impact your household air quality.

If you’re renovating or building a space, be sure to include materials that are renewable, waste-reducing, energy-efficient, natural, organic, and locally sourced. Experts suggest looking for materials that have a GREENGUARD certification, a third-party certification for building materials that have verified environmental claims that support health and wellness.

The Importance of Light                                                                  

Your home’s lighting has much more potential than the types of bulbs you use. Natural light affects our circadian rhythm as well as our vitamin D balance. A circadian rhythm is the 24-hour cycle that are part of the body’s internal clock and effects essential functions and processes. These rhythms are directly influenced by environmental cues, such as light. Sleep, metabolism, and mental health are all connected to circadian rhythms.

The best way to positively improve your circadian rhythm at home is allowing natural light into your home. Open your blinds during the day, even if it’s cloudy. If you have smaller windows or less light, take a few scheduled breaks throughout the day to step outside and allow your body to track circadian rhythms in a natural way.

To experience proper circadian cues, experts recommend creating exposure to bright, short-wavelength blue-light during the day and warmer, longer wavelength red, yellow, and orange lighting at dusk and night. With electronics an intricate part of our daily lives, it can be hard to remember to give your eyes and brain a break. After dusk, try to make a habit of turning on blue light filters on your appropriate devices, such as your computer, phone, or e-reader.

Technology-Free Sanctuaries

Don’t discount things like “man caves” or “she-sheds” or sanctuaries. Creating an area in your home that’s dedicated to your comfort and relaxation is encouraged by mental health experts. While renovating a basement or converting a shed can feel daunting, there are plenty of smaller changes you can make for your space to achieve the same effect.

Surround your bed and sleeping area with items and textures that make you feel cozy and relaxed. If your bedroom also operates as a multi-functional space, be sure there are clear boundaries between spaces to play and relax versus focus and productivity.

The best way to achieve the sanctuary you need is by making mindful choices. Beyond fundamentals, the things that inspire well-being and positive mental health will be different for everyone. When you think of the places you feel the most at peace, what about that space evokes those feelings? When you’re ready to purchase a house and design your ideal sanctuary, contact us. If you aren’t ready to move, consider refinancing options that can give you the financial freedom to renovate and create your ideal home.

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