A home often serves as a retreat from the stressors of everyday life. A place to relax, switch into comfy clothes, and decompress after a long day. But since the onset of the pandemic, the parts of life which usually happen outside the home have been coming in. Kids are attending school online and professionals are working remotely. A study by Harvard Business School found that “the average workday increased by 8.2 percent—or 48.5 minutes.” The transition to remote working has resulted in people attending more meetings and working more on the weekends.
With the stressors of everyday work life making their way into the house, how can we rethink our living space to better manage those worries? Brunswick Crossing has prepared a list of ways in which you can create a de-stress zone in your home:
Find a Secluded Space
With more members of the household being home more often, it’s important to find your own space. It can be a room that goes generally unused or a space that you mark as DND (do not disturb) for a short period of time. Ultimately, a secluded space is about finding somewhere in your house that is away from the other members of the household as well as your normal work space. This way, you can engage in relaxing activities with less interruption, such as reading, meditating, drawing, listening to music, and more.
Declutter Your Space
Have you ever opened your inbox only to find a myriad of unopened emails? Too much of anything can cause stress, including stuff in your house. Over the years, we tend to collect lots and lots of stuff, such as clothes, books, toys, and so on. Sometimes, it can be hard to clear out your house of unused items. Afterall, that worn out sweatshirt that you bought while on vacation in Florida has a lot of memories. Too much stuff, however, can be a source of anxiety and stress as our brains are overloaded with too much sensory information. Not to mention the anxiety that comes with being unable to find your keys, phone, or other important items among the various piles in your house. At some point, you may want to make the executive decision to clear away those unused items. Afterall, decluttering the home can mean decluttering the mind.
Similar to decluttering your house, managing the amount of other stimuli you might experience from your other senses can also help you relax. Think about all the other signals your senses are receiving when you are walking through the house: the smells, the colors, the sounds. Now how can you modify those to make your home a more relaxing environment?
What’s that smell? Maybe it’s the gym bag in the corner of the room, the lingering odor of last night’s fish dinner, or the trash can that hasn’t been taken out yet. Smell has a profound effect on your stress levels: for better or worse. Step one would be to eliminate the odors lingering in your house. For example, consider putting a lid on your trash can or washing your gym bag. Step two is to consider aromatherapy to help de-stress your environment. Light some candles or diffuse essential oils to bring relaxing aromas to your house. Better Homes & Gardens suggest scents such as the citrus fruit, bergamot, and the flowering herbs, clary sage or lavender.
Beyond the clutter in your home, there are other visual stimulants that can affect your stress levels. First, consider the colors in your house from the walls to the furniture. Color has been widely studied for its impact on psychology. If you’re looking for something that’s relaxing, don’t go for the bright intense colors that tend to excite, such as reds and oranges. Instead, go for softer versions of these colors. Consider going for warm neutral colors, such as beige, gray, or light pink. Or, try a tranquil ocean vibe with pale shades of blue and green.
Also, consider the lighting in your house. You may have heard of seasonal depression disorder where people tend to feel more depressed during certain times of the year, particularly winter. Some studies point toward the way lighting affects your serotonin levels. During the winter, days are shorter and can be less sunny depending on your location. The Washington Post suggests that “exposure to natural light helps our bodies produce vitamin D, serotonin, and melatonin, and can even increase productivity — but it can also have hidden stressors.” So, it’s important to get the lighting right in your house. That means the daytime should be bright and nighttime should be dark. Turn on lights during the day and maybe add in softer, warmer bulbs. Dim the lights at night and consider investing in blackout curtains or less bright alarm clocks to ensure quality nights of sleep.
Similar to color, music has a profound effect on your emotions. It’s no surprise that upbeat music can make you feel more positive and optimistic while music with a slower tempo can invoke calmness and serenity. Researchers at Stanford University suggest that “listening to music seems to be able to change brain functioning to the same extent as medication, in many circumstances.” There are many types of music which are shown to help reduce stress, but it’s all about finding which ones work best for you. Consider listening to music with sounds from nature, such as rain or thunder. Add in some soft jazz, classical, or piano music. Do a quick internet search for different playlists. Streaming services such as Spotify, Soundcloud, and YouTube have some great options that will help you find the right type of music to help you de-stress.
If you’re looking for another reason to welcome an adorable little fur ball, de-stressing your house is the perfect excuse. According to News In Health, studies have shown that pets help “decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure” as well as “reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood.” In fact, many people have recognized that the pandemic is a great time to adopt. The Washington Post reported that many shelters in the Washington D.C. area are experiencing a significant increase in adoptions, so much so that they are running lower on pets in their shelter. In the end, nothing can compare to the companionship of a furry friend full of unconditional love.
Living in times of a pandemic can be stressful, whether it’s reducing interaction with others or dealing with remote working. However, your home doesn’t have to add to the stress. Homes at Brunswick Crossing provide the space and flexibility needed to create low-stress environments for everyone in the house. Not to mention a variety of amenities to help get you, the kids, and the pet outside. View our virtual tours and see the opportunities available to you in a new home. Check out our available models below and schedule your tour: