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How to de-stress your home

We explain how to introduce a calming ambience to your home, from the influence of colour and aroma to the merits of keeping work out of the bedroom

To many people, life has never seemed more stressful. The last few years have seen a blizzard of bad news and life-changing events, from war in Europe to a global pandemic. Closer to home, economic volatility has seen prices soaring, while strikes continue to cripple the public sector and hamper daily life. Little wonder many of us sigh deeply as we close the front door behind us at night.

In such turbulent times, it’s more important than ever to make our homes a sanctuary from daily stresses. Happily, this can be achieved with small, cost-effective changes and improvements. These are some of the best ways to de-stress your home – and yourself…

Create zones, and stick to them

You’ll feel more relaxed if each space in your home is dedicated to its primary role or function. Bedrooms in particular should be sanctuaries from the outside world. That means no life admin, no replying to work-related emails, and no smartphone activity past a self-imposed curfew. We’d suggest 10pm, giving your mind time to slow down and prepare for an all-important night’s sleep.

Use scents effectively

Walk out of your house, wait a moment and walk back in. What do you smell? If the dominant aromas aren’t pleasant ones, that could subconsciously be increasing your stress levels. Dispose of smelly shoes, over-ripe fruit and overflowing rubbish bags. Light scented candles in the hall, use wax melts in bathrooms, buy plug-in air fresheners for utility areas and grow your own herbs indoors.

Choose soothing colour tones

Alongside aromas, colour has a significant psychological impact, often without us realising. If your home has red or purple walls, redecorate in pastel tones or hang wallpaper with splashes of yellow and green. Light natural colours are more soothing than bold hues, which may make a room or space feel smaller, less welcoming and darker. Speaking of which…

Optimise lighting

Full spectrum lighting simulates the effect of sunshine, stimulating serotonin production. It’s also great for reading or undertaking craft activities. By contrast, dull incandescent bulbs create dark corners which deter pleasurable activities like reading, lowering our spirits. Let as much daylight in as possible, use lamp timers to banish the gloom, and install LEDs or solar lamps in your garden.

Cut down on clutter

In our last blog, we outlined how tidying before your next Queen of Gleam visit helps us to achieve better results. However, minimising clutter also benefits your mental health. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by kitchen worktops if they become a dumping ground for post, keys and toys, as an example. Find clutter a home (it doesn’t matter where) and keep it out of sight, out of mind.

Increase comfort

We’re all guilty of extending certain objects beyond their effective use-by date. That creaky, spring-laden mattress is still bearable; that cracked office chair only becomes uncomfortable after an hour. Comfort and stress are closely related, so replace worn-out furnishings. In particular, desk chairs need to support your arms and lower back – don’t use a dining chair or perch on a stool.

Keep on top of chores

If you’ve ever looked at a huge pile of ironing and thought “not today”, you’ll appreciate how chores can build up and become seemingly insurmountable. Set aside an hour each week to tackle the things you hate the most, and improve them with music, a box set or the promise of a glass of wine afterwards. You’ll feel less overwhelmed and more in control, directly diminishing stress levels.

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