> Your Life is Stressful Enough... Could Your Home be Making it Worse? - Doused in Pink | Chicago Style Blog

Your Life is Stressful Enough... Could Your Home be Making it Worse?

We live in exciting times: with the start of a new year, a new decade, and a potential new era, our future is overdue for new opportunities. At the same time, however, there’s a lot that can cause us stress. From the sociopolitical climate to the way the economy seems determined to work against us. That’s before we get into the day-to-day stuff like dating, finding the motivation to work out, and trying to remain healthy, when all we see around us are tempting sugary, salty and fatty processed foods.

It’s fair to say a lot is adding to our stressful 2020s lifestyle. While we think of our homes as a place to which we can retreat to get away from it all, the home can actually be a source of additional stress.

Without the intent to, we can slowly fill our home with environmental stressors. They can have a slow-burning accumulative effect on our mental health and well-being. Here, we’ll look at some ways in which your home could potentially be adding to your stress and what you can do to restore balance and harmony...

Are you always procrastinating chores?

You work hard. And when your tiresome self arrives home, the last thing you feel like doing is chores. Piles of laundry, the odd dirty plate, and a sprinkling of crumbs on the living room floor can all be overlooked as you collapse onto the sofa and prepare to start an evening of Netflix and relaxation. 

However, don't underestimate the big difference that these little chores can make to the enjoyment of your home. Usually, cleaning up after yourself as you go can add around 5 minutes to tasks like cooking, dressing, and dealing with laundry… but it saves you the stress that comes from seeing a chore that needs to be done everywhere you look.

Have some of your possessions become clutter?

In a culture that treats shopping as a leisure activity, it goes without saying that we’re likely to accrue a lot of personal possessions. And for a time, these possessions can actually give us great joy. Over time the value we get from them can lessen as they grow more familiar. The months or years of wear can make them seem less shiny and new, or we can just plain forget that they exist. 

We might even replace them with newer, shinier, and more impressive belongings as we head to the mall on a rainy Saturday afternoon or while away on our lunch breaks with some online indulgence. 

When this happens, our possessions become clutter. And if we still let clutter build up in our homes, it can have a surprisingly serious impact on our mental health and stress levels. It’s visually distracting and can prevent us from switching off and relaxing when we’re spending time at home. Try dialing it back a little and opting for a slightly more minimalist aesthetic.

That’s not to say that you have to drain all the personality and character from your home. Just try and narrow it down to a couple of carefully chosen statement pieces. Consider using a system of rotation so that none of your belongings feel wasted, and everything gets its moment.

If you find that you lack the storage space to keep items you once had on display, it may be worth thinking about how much you actually need or want it. While the idea of letting go of your possessions can seem scary, it can be surprisingly liberating to give your belongings away to charity or even sell them on eBay.

Smells like stress

There are many stressors around the home that can prevent us from relaxing by offending our other senses. For example, just as it’s difficult to unwind when the apartment upstairs is playing inordinately loud music, so too is it hard to relax in the presence of bad odors.

That noxious smell from the oven that desperately needs cleaning. The reek of the kitty litter. It can all add to stress. Unfortunately, being in a state of stress can actually heighten our olfactory senses and make the scents around us all the more vivid. What’s more, when we’re stressed, we don’t smell great either. We all know the scent of stress sweat and how it differs from the natural scent of our perspiration. 

As such, if we’re going to remove environmental stressors in the home, we need to do something about offensive smells. Don’t worry, you don’t need to rehome your cat. Simply invest in an air purifier. You can find everything you need to know about air purifiers, including product recommendations at https://moonriverchattel.com/. There are lots of different air purifiers on the market today. Some are better for smoke, others are better for pets, and others are better for nurseries. It’s all about finding the right one for your needs. 

Don’t make the mistake of spraying harsh chemical room sprays all over the home. These only mask unpleasant scents for a short time. A far better option is a plug-in diffuser that uses a combination of steam and essential oils to create a naturally pleasant scent. Be sure to use essential oils that are 100% naturally derived and free of chemical fragrances. These are more subtle but infinitely more effective in alleviating stress at home. The best essential oils for combating stress include:

  • Camomile
  • Clary sage
  • Jasmine
  • Lavender
  • Sandalwood
  • Rose
  • Bergamot
  • Ylang ylang
  • Basil

Of course, you can even combine essential oils to give your living space its very own signature scent. 

Does your kitchen make cooking an ordeal?

It’s the start of a new year, and you likely have all kinds of health goals. If every inch of the kitchen counter is lined with pots, pans, utensils, and groceries that won’t fit in your cabinets or refrigerator, something needs to change. 

Cooking in such an environment can be very stressful. Not to mention actually adding to your cooking time as you look for the right utensils or the right ingredients in your pantry.

Fortunately, it can be easy and affordable to fall back in love with cooking. Invest in some smarter kitchen storage solutions, which will help you make the most of your cabinet storage space while also making it quicker and easier to get to the utensils and implements you need. 

Happier and more stress-free cooking not only makes your kitchen more enjoyable to spend time in, but it also makes it easier to honor your health goals for the new year. 

How do the colors and textures of your home make you feel?

When you look around your home, you need to consider the effect that colors and textures have on your mind. Pristine white may make the space look bigger, airier, and more spacious, but it can lend the room a spartan appearance and make it look almost clinical. Likewise, bolder colors may reflect your vivacious personality, but they can also be visually loud and prevent you from relaxing when you need it most. 

Color psychology should be a key part of your interior design choices, but be mindful of the importance of texture in your decor. Wherever possible, opt for natural materials as they have more satisfying colors and textures. Synthetic materials, even those that have been made to look natural, look, and feel “wrong” to our subconscious minds, and it’s much harder to achieve deeper relaxation in their presence. 

Do you take advantage of the healing power of plants?

Finally, no matter what kind of space you call home and whatever your layout, house plants should be a key part of your decor. They help to oxygenate your living space and help you to feel more peaceful and harmonious as you let a little piece of the natural world into your home. 

Great house plants for creating a relaxing environment include aloe vera, peace lilies, spider plants, snake plants, and bamboo palms.

As always, thank you for reading!

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