We eat, sleep and spend time with loved ones in our homes. If we’re unable to relax in our own space, we can fall victim to higher levels of stress and anxiety. According to a 2010 study by Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, “women with cluttered homes expressed higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.” Channing Marinari, licensed mental health counselor at Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches, lists four ways to make your home the ultimate relaxation hub:
Often times we keep things in our home that no longer serve a purpose. “If it isn’t serving a purpose, it’s time to pass it along to someone who could use it, donate it, or throw it away,” Marinari says. She points out the connection between a cluttered home and anxiety - they leave us feeling anxious, helpless, and overwhelmed. “If you’ve ever walked into a home with toys scattered everywhere, dishes piled up, laundry to be washed and bills to be paid, the tension and blood pressure will immediately rise,” she explains. Marinari recommends taking time throughout the week to reduce the buildup by getting up earlier or staying up later to clear out the clutter.
“One of the best ways to manage stress is to have a safe haven in the home where you can go to unwind and relax. Maybe this is a place you can read a book, write in a journal, meditate or pray,” says Marinari. She recommends creating a soothing environment with soft lighting, or using candles to create a peaceful mood. “If you have children, they will learn to mimic this behavior when they get anxious or overwhelmed without you even needing to teach them what ‘time-out’ is,” she explains.
Our homes are often host to an accumulation of various noises, such as our televisions, phones, dishwashers and dryers.
“Sometimes we need to reduce the amount of noise we allow at any given time by shutting some of these distractions off. There is a lot of research today about increased anxiety over social media and cell phone use. Put these distractions away and spend time in silence for a few minutes to calm down,” recommends Marinari.
Not only do we need to declutter our homes, we also need to declutter our negative thoughts and energy. “Taking care of yourself internally often triggers the need for the environment around you to change as well. It’s important to maintain positive mental health and balance,” says Marinari. Taking time to care for oneself will make any environment more manageable.