Like silverfish or in-laws, anxiety is usually an unwanted guest in the home. The outside world is stressful enough, but as simultaneously tiring and confrontational as it can be, we often forget that small things in the comfort of our own home can be triggers of stress and anxiety.
Psychologist Samantha Symes from Pinwheel Psychology in Sydney says “If you’re not feeling relaxed or completely settled when you’re at home, look at easy fixes that can be changed and won’t be stressful or time consuming to alter as your moods or tastes inevitably do.”
Paint your bedroom in calm & soothing colours
Your bedroom should be a sanctuary of relaxation. Subtle shades of blue, grey and mint green will help to calm your mind, but if you’re after pops of colour, try a feature wall or stick to decorating with brightly coloured props rather than painting your whole room.
Limit electronic device usage
Getting enough rest and sleep is a no-brainer. Manage your electronic device usage in the bedroom, as well as any area made for relaxation (bathroom, anyone?)
Samantha recommends having no more than two devices being used at the same time in the one room. Dual-screeners, take note. Try to switch off for an hour before bed, too.
Bring your own personality to share houses
Shared homes are a tricky space to navigate. For new movers especially, it’s not until you’re out of your comfort zone and familiar surrounds that you know what may trigger feelings of unrest. Different things can trigger anxiety in people – someone else’s style, cleanliness, or lack thereof.
Common areas can be equally as important as your bedroom, too. When living in a share house, be assertive and bring parts of your own style into common areas. Surround yourself with things that make you feel comfortable and settled, like travel keepsakes and souvenirs, or photos of you and your family or loves ones.
Researchers at Yale University discovered that the parts of our brain linked to physical pain light up in response to letting go of items we feel a personal connection to. Need more proof that hoarding is not only unsightly but bad for you, too?
Samantha recommends avoiding clutter by sticking to a minimalist look and feel, buying less, and investing in household items that will stand the test of time.
Start a passion project
Hoarding and excessive cleaning is one thing, but small DIY projects around the house can be a great way to manage anxiety and take ones mind away from daily stressors.
Samantha says, “Household projects can be quite mindful, not to mention you’ve finished them, you’ve got the satisfaction of something you’ve worked on, and your surrounds become more familiar and comfortable.”
Let the light in
Sunlight works wonders in improving mood levels, as well as lowering blood pressure and the amounts of stress hormone cortisol in our bodies. Avoid bright lights and harsh florescent lighting – instead, find clever ways to work with natural light in your home. Opt for shutters and blinds that maintain your privacy while still letting sunlight in.
Get some inspiration from these relaxing outdoor areas – perfect for winding down.