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  • Writer's pictureJen

Tips on leveraging your home environment to support mental well-being


Armchair with lamp and side table
A cosy corner at home

Ideally our home should be a place where we feel safe and relaxed. Home should be our sanctuary, our happy place. Somewhere we can close the door on the world and just be ourselves. Home is our shelter. Dorothy was not wrong when she clicked her heels in those red shoes and said "There's no place like home". (Wizard of Oz)

 

It’s mental health awareness week and I wanted to share with you some simple things that you can do at home, that can help you to just take a minute for yourself, to embrace family and to relax and have fun.

 

Let’s face it, the world can be a bit much sometimes. You only have to watch the news for a few minutes to feel stressed or upset. Demands on our time are high, which means our mental load is huge. We’re juggling jobs, a hectic home life, kids, trying to fit in 10,000 steps a day (I mean, who’s managing this unless you’re a professional dog walker), and a to-do list a mile long. It can all feel a bit overwhelming.

 

So here are ten ideas for you to do in your own home to help you feel less stressed and to use your home to bring you calm and happiness.

 

  • Treat yourself to a home spa. Tell everyone in your home you need just an hour to yourself and lock the bathroom door! Ask if anyone needs the loo before you begin. Run a bath and use a lovely bath oil, or salts to relax your muscles. Light some candles and dot them around your bathroom. Tea lights are perfect for this. Hydrate your skin with a face mask, read your book, or listen to some music and sink into the bubbles. Hey, have a glass of something sparkling to enjoy too! Just let your daily stress melt away so you are ready for a nice sleep.

  • Create a cosy corner in your home. Maybe you have a favourite armchair, or a corner of a sofa that you prefer. Plump up some cushions, have a cosy throw to hand, make yourself a drink and enjoy reading your book or magazine. Switch off from the world whilst you lose yourself in a story.

Journal, cup of tea
Journalling
  • I know a lot of people wang on about journaling and gratitude diaries, which can sound a bit woo-woo, but they really can make a difference. When life seems to be against you, sitting down for five minutes and listing three things that you’re grateful for each day can help you gain your perspective. Writing a diary entry about how rubbish your day was can help you to release some of the anxiety from your mind. Maybe create a list of lovely things you want to do in the coming months to give yourself something to look forward to.

  • Lighting is so important in a home. It helps to set the mood in any room. In my kitchen for example, I’ve got practical lighting so I can see what I’m doing when I’m cooking for my family. But I’ve also got lamps and twinkle lights which I pop on when we’re just sat around chatting, or when we are entertaining. It makes it a much cosier space. Warm-hued lightbulbs help to create a cosy atmosphere rather than the white/blue-hued bulbs which can look a little bit cold and clinical. Having a few lamps dotted around, with a sprinkling of fairy lights can really help you feel cosy when you’re winding down at the end of a busy day.

  • We can’t talk about lighting without mentioning the wonder of candlelight. Lighting our favourite scented candle can relax us, uplift our mood or make us feel sleepy ready for bed. Unscented candles are great to create a welcoming, soft glow to any space. Turn off the big lights and light some candles. It’s like receiving a hug from your home. Channel that lovely word ‘hygge’ and do simple things that bring you joy, like lighting your favourite candle. Unless it’s a Jo Malone candle. Let’s be honest, they only come out when we have guests.

a mum and daughter hugging
Mum and daughter hugging
  • Hugs have been proven to help calm us down. From childhood, hugs are there to make us feel better. So why should this stop when we’re adults. Make some room on the sofa when you’re watching the telly and snuggle with those you love. Ask for a hug! If you’ve had a bad day, ask your partner or child to give you a hug. Really sink into it for as long as they’re willing to stand there. At some point you may want to sit down!

  • Create time to play. Whether this is literally playing with your kids at home or doing something creative that brings you joy. Maybe you have a hobby that you haven’t had time for in a while. Create a games night with your family when you can laugh and play and create memories. Watch a comedy, or a stand-up show of your favourite comedian who you know will make you laugh. Laughing really helps to reduce stress.

a cupcake with a candle, mug and a ceramic decorative tag
Time for cake
  • Cake! Only last night, I picked up on the fact that my husband was feeling a bit fed up. Nothing major, just a bit fed up. We all feel like that sometimes don’t we. And my daughter had some great feedback from a teacher at school, so I decided to bake them a chocolate cake. Just to show that I’m thinking of them, I'm proud of them and that I wanted to do something nice for them. They both really appreciated it and telling them the reason why I made it kicked off conversations, which are always healthy to have. Don’t keep things bottled up. In my kitchen I always make sure I have ingredients to bake something, as you never know when a cake may be required. A slice of cake, a cuppa and a chat are sometimes all you need to feel better.

  • Your home is also a place where you can relax with friends. A place where friends and family know they will always be welcome. Somewhere you can connect with your people. Your door is open, the kettle will be on, or a glass of wine will be poured. If they need to chat, your home is warm and welcoming. Or you could arrange an evening to catch up with friends over a nice home cooked meal, wine and nibbles or even a games evening where you can all relax, catch up and share stories which will have you all in fits of laughter.

  • Home is your space. It’s the nest you share with the ones you love the most. It’s somewhere to be your true self, where you can let your hair down, act silly or walk around in your jim-jams all day if you want to. Go make-up and Spandex free! Think of that feeling when you remove your bra in the evening. Have that all day. (You ladies will know what I’m talking about). Make the most of the space and rooms that you have in your home. Whether that’s a cosy evening on the sofa watching a film to help you switch off, or hosting Sunday lunch at your kitchen table and invite the family over for a loud and chaotic afternoon. Perhaps you want to roll out your yoga mat in the lounge and have 30 minutes of peace just on your own. Whatever it is you want to do in your own space that will help you to ease the mental load – do it!

 

Your home is the place where you can recharge. It can also be the place where you rant at your other half for thirty minutes about how unreasonable your boss is. Home is your safe place. Enjoy the privacy it gives you to be just you. You’re perfect just as you are. Even if you are braless and in week-old jim-jams!


I just want to say that I appreciate that this is a very light-hearted approach to helping mental health. I’m talking about the level of mental stress that all of us have to some extent because we have such busy lives. Some individuals will heartbreakingly be really suffering with their mental health and sitting with a book for an hour won’t particularly help ease their pain. My heart really does go out to those people. As I can’t personally help, I’ve listed a couple of mental health charities who can. Our mental health is just as important as our physical health. Please reach out. Look after yourselves. xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

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