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Struggling during a lockdown winter? Perhaps you always find the darkest months of the year hard to bear. If so, you're not alone, and the year 2021 could feel just about as bad as it could get for those who suffer from mental health problems and loneliness.
In this guest post for Perfectplants.co.uk, Sarah Hastings from RW4Y shares her tips for creating a more positive environment at home that can benefit your mental wellbeing.
We've been spending a lot of time at home lately. While this has been a pleasant experience in a lot of ways, most notably for avoiding the arduous daily commute, all this staying indoors could be bad for your mental health and wellbeing.
Winter is always hard on our mental health, as early nights and miserable weather affect our Vitamin D intake. In fact, Seasonal Affective Disorder — a condition where you feel more depressed during the winter months — affects a third of people in some form, according to The Weather Channel.
But the year 2021 came with even more challenges. A recent study suggested that more than two-thirds of adults in the UK (69%) are concerned about the effect the COVID-19 pandemic is having on their life (ONS), no doubt due in part to being trapped in our houses.
With all this negativity around, you might be looking for ways to turn your home into a hub of relaxation and positivity. So, I'll share six ways you can create more positive interiors.
It's crucial to set boundaries and practice a healthy work and home life balance — especially in the current climate, as more and more of us work from home and it becomes harder to compartmentalise the two. Ensure you have separate spaces for work and rest, even if that's just moving from the kitchen table to the sofa at the end of the working day. This will make it much easier to wind down in the evening.
Find ways to unwind
As part of your home design, you need to make sure you include ways to unwind after a hard day's work. Think about what you like to do to relax — this can be anything from exercising, to reading a book, or tending to an indoor garden — and make sure you have all the necessary resources to make that happen within your home. You may even wish to dedicate a corner or even an entire room to your chosen relaxing activity so that you can escape when you need to.
Use interior design
Another way to create a cosy environment in your home is to incorporate comfortable elements into your interior design. Think of a room with plenty of soft furnishings, such as cushions, bean bags and throws to curl up under. Cheerful décor can also go a long way towards improving your mood, so I would recommend adding plenty of colourful artwork, ornaments, and decorative plants such as bonsai or succulents. In your bedroom, treat yourself to luxury bedding that can help you get a good night's rest as well as look aesthetically pleasing and you're sure to notice the difference.
Let light in
Another way to improve wellness is to embrace natural light. A lot of sunlight can be very calming, plus watching the day get gradually darker can help you feel more relaxed on an evening. So, make sure your windows are clear of obstruction from furniture and heavy curtains or blinds — light, airy curtains are better for this. If your home doesn't get a lot of natural light, you could create a sunroom in your loft by installing roof windows that are angled to let in the most daylight. Fill the space with a variety of exotic plants and this will become the perfect place to escape to when you need to boost your mood.
Make time for hobbies
Mental stimulation is important for wellbeing, so fill your home with items that will allow you to nurture your hobbies and the things that you find fun. Keep around plenty of games, yoga mats, musical instruments, art supplies, and any other tools and resources you may need to practice your creative outlet of choice. If you have the space, a bright and airy craft or hobby room can really help you focus and motivate you to keep pursuing your activity.
Keep it tidy
A tidy home is a happy home. In fact, the less clutter you have left lying around, the less stressed you will feel and the easier you will find it to relax. Even the act of tidying up itself can have a positive impact on your mental health! So, take advantage of your home storage, keep on top of your cleaning, and tidy up your home regularly. Remember that scent is a great way to manipulate your mood and improve your wellbeing, so consider using aromatherapy as part of your cleaning with natural diffusers, and add plenty of air purifying plants.
The tips in this guide can help you create a wellbeing sanctuary that can make you feel more positive at home. Bear them in mind, and you're sure to notice your mood improve.