Last we covered the importance of prioritizing self care, but one thing we didn’t touch on is the way our own space can have a huge impact on our mental health.
Our homes can act as a safe space for us, a place where we are able to rest, relax, and recharge. And because of that, we want them to be not only comfortable for us, but ideally a space that works intentionally with our mental health in mind.
First: how does decorating your home help your mental health?
The act of decorating or organizing your home in itself can be a practice in mindfulness.
What do you want your space to look like? Where do you want to spend the most time in your home? What purposes do your possessions serve? Taking time to consider these things helps to ground you in your space, makes you more attuned to your own needs and desires, and overall brings a greater sense of welcoming and mindfulness to your space.
It helps you call attention to your own growth.
In each new stage of life, the needs in our homes changes. Reflect on your space and how it provides for the stage of life you are in. Do you live alone? How does that affect the way your space is set up? Do you work from home? Is there a designated space to work and to relax if that’s the case?
Taking time to donate or discard things that were useful in an old stage of life but don’t provide what you need now is a great way to take time to express appreciation for your own growth and make space for your future at the same time.
So how can you prioritize your own mental health when considering your space?
Decide on your personal priorities for your space.
While decluttering as much as possible can help alleviate stress, it’s not possible for everyone to live as a minimalist. And, we may not even want to! Instead of trying to clear your space of everything that isn’t completely necessary for living, take time to consider what brings happiness and fulfilment to your life. Do you like to read? Then having a lot of books in your home probably makes you comfortable and happy! If not, they may just be making you feel out of place in your own space.
Have you heard of Marie Kondo? She has a cleaning and organizing method all about considering what sparks joy. Basically, if something has personal significance to you or brings you happiness then it’s worth keeping around! It all boils down to being intentional in your space.
Maximize the light.
Especially in the winter months, this point can make all the difference in your home! Having lots of natural light is great (it can help increase your intake of Vitamin D, boost your mood, your energy, etc.) but lots of natural light isn’t always a possibility. So if your space doesn’t have access to natural light, invest in lots of other lights to brighten your space. Keeping spaces dark can lead to lower energy, fatigue, worsening moods, etc. So adding lights (bonus if you have a happy light around!) can help combat those negative mental health effects.
Add some plants.
Whether you have a naturally green thumb or not, adding plants to your home can help improve mental health. They help to purify the air in your home, and because plants typically need lots of light, they help to force you to open your blinds and bring that light into your home! Plus, having a routine where you go around and tend to your plants can help you develop your own wellness ritual–when you check in on your plants, check in on yourself too. As you water them, consider yourself. Do you need water? Have you gotten enough light?
And, it turns out, research shows that spending time tending to natural things actually has links to decreasing symptoms of depression.
What are your biggest mental health struggles? Take time to consider the biggest obstacles you face with your own mental health. For example, if depression makes it difficult for you to nourish yourself properly, consider that as you design your kitchen and eating space. Make them spaces you want to spend time in. As you organize your pantry, put quick easy meal staples in the easiest spot to reach. Likely when you are in a depressive episode, you won’t have the energy to search through your cupboards to find something to eat, so keep the easy staples right where you can see them. Other things that are less used can be in harder to reach places, as you’ll likely only use them when you’re feeling more high energy anyway.
If you need assistance figuring out your goals or values or brainstorming ways to practice self-care, we can help!