A certain amount of stress in everyday life is unavoidable. Family life, work, relationships, finances and other aspects of living in the modern world all come with their stressful moments, and most people can deal with this stress without too many negative consequences.
However, too much stress can have adverse health effects on both physical and mental health and can cause:
- Depression, particularly in people who have experienced depression before
- Lack of energy and problems concentrating
- Stomach problems and lack of appetite
- Increased risk of high cholesterol and heart attack.
Stress can disrupt healthy coping strategies. It is essential to deal with stress for both physical and mental health. Having a stress-free home environment and routines is a great way to promote everyday stress-free living.
It’s not possible to completely eliminate stress from your life, but if you’re prone to feeling stressed about everyday problems, or you have a stressful job, it’s important to make sure your home is a haven where you can retreat and relax at the end of a busy day.
1. Create a Relaxation Zone
It can be challenging to find a space just to be you in the middle of busy family life, but it’s so important. Dedicate a room, a nook, or even just a chair in your home to be your personal relaxation space. Add a cosy blanket, a candle, and make sure the rest of your family know not to bother you when you’re curled up there with a cup of tea and a good book.
2. Clear the Clutter
Being surrounded by piles of clutter can be stressful. You’ll be amazed how light and free you’ll feel after you clear out the stuff that’s weighing you down. Be ruthless and get rid of anything you don’t use or you don’t like. This includes clothes you’ve been waiting to slim into! Donate your unneeded items to charity, or sell them on eBay or Gumtree to bring in some extra cash.
3. Make the Most of Natural Lighting
Getting enough sunlight is an important and often overlooked factor in mental health. In fact lack of light in the winter months in several countries in the northern hemisphere can even cause a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). In most parts of Australia, we get enough light all year round so that this isn’t a problem, but if your home is dark and gloomy it can make stress and depression worse. Avoid blocking the light from windows with heavy curtains or blinds in the daytime and consider using light bulbs that emulate daylight.
4. Add Some Greenery
Spending time in nature can have a hugely positive effect on your mood so it’s important to get out of the house when you can. However, you can also bring nature inside with the addition of some pot plants and even artwork or photography of landscapes. Studies have shown that just looking at a picture of beautiful scenery is enough to lower stress levels.
5. Unplug From time to Time
If you’re like most people, you’re probably surrounded by technology in your home – televisions, computers, mobile phones and other gadgets. While all that technology can help you to relax at times, it
can also cause stress – especially when you feel compelled to keep checking your email in the middle of the night. Unplugging your electronic devices at night and turning off your phone not only saves money but also helps you to stay calm and focused.
6. Choose Calming Colours
You probably didn’t consider how colour could affect your mood when you were last redecorating, but some colours such as red and yellow can actually raise your blood pressure. To promote a calming atmosphere, opt for light shades of blue and green that help to improve relaxation.
7. Use an Essential Oil Diffuser
Essential oils not only make your home smell beautiful, but they can also help you to feel more relaxed. Lavender, frankincense, roman chamomile, and sandalwood all help to ease anxiety and can even help you sleep. When you’re feeling down and low on energy, switch to citrus and peppermint scents to perk you up again.
8. Invest in an Aquarium
There’s a good reason why fish tanks are so popular in doctors’ and dentists’ waiting rooms. Watching fish swim around is highly relaxing and meditative. A study carried out at a US aquarium found those participants’ heart rate and blood pressure dropped as more fish were added to the tank.
9. Create a ‘Landing Station’
Are you always running around at the last minute looking for your keys? Eliminate this unnecessary stress by putting a small console table in your hallway with a bowl to put your keys in as soon as you get through the door. Some other organisational items like a basket for mail and hooks for your hat and sunglasses can also help to streamline your mornings and help you to be more organised.
10. Make Your Bed Every Morning and Clean Your Kitchen Every Evening
Getting the day off to the right start can make a big difference to your overall mood and stress levels. Start with an easy task that you can achieve no matter what – making your bed. In the same way that clearing clutter helps to clear your mind, a freshly made bed will help you to feel calm and prepared for the day ahead. Likewise, nobody likes getting up to a dirty kitchen first thing so make sure you do the dishes and wipe down surfaces before you head off to bed.
If you’re struggling to deal with stress or depression, you may benefit from professional counselling to help you to develop effective coping mechanisms and learn how to minimise the effects of stress on your health. Book an appointment today.