Our home environment has more of an impact on our wellbeing than we may think…
For myself, I’ve experienced the whole living, working, breathing and eating in one space thing – and let me tell you – it’s dark, very dark. Not only did living in such a small and confined space impair my productivity, it dramatically impacted my mood making it even harder for me to recover from the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
However, even with the smallest, darkest of spaces – there are lots of things you can do to significantly improve your wellbeing by being clever with your interiors and styling. Here are 5 things I implemented to improve my mood to inspire you in your own space.
A clear space gives a clear mind. It’s really that simple. Research shows that more “stuff” we have, the more our brains have to take in each time we walk into our homes, significantly decreasing our ability to focus. As a former serial hoarder, I know this all too well. However, there are some really effective techniques out there to help you through the process of decluttering which, for many, can be an overwhelming and emotional task.
Marie Kando, a Japanese organising consultant shares her incredible methods in her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: a simple effective way to banish clutter forever”. She believes in the principle of only keeping hold of things that “Spark Joy” in your life and cleverly teaches you how to say thank you and goodbye to the items that have served you well, but no longer need. This book is wonderful and thoroughly helped me to clear my own space. If you can’t take on the book right now, it might be worth watching this.
2. The Power of Light
Saving on energy is important, but not to the detriment of your health and wellbeing. Whilst living under the cheapest LED ceiling lights, I began to notice a huge difference in my overall mood when these lights were turned off. I decided to research to see if there were any links between these lights and mood and what I found was quite startling.
An international team of neurologists, biologists and ophthalmologists who studied the matter warned that the blue light in LED bulbs and screens are more disruptive than halogen, incandescent and fluorescent lights, presenting an untold risk to our health and wellbeing.
So what can we do? Well, if you are anything like me, you will notice the almost instant improvement in mood when in direct contact with natural sunlight. If you have good natural light sources in your space, make sure you utilise them well. This could mean moving your bed nearer to your bedroom window, ensuring you draw the curtains each day or if your space really lacks natural lighting then perhaps it might be an idea to invest in a specialist SAD lamp.
There is also huge power in keeping your interior furnishings light where possible. Throws, pillows, bed linen and accessories can be light or white in colour in areas that lack natural light flow, lifting you into a more breathable, fresh space.
3. Invest in Things You Love
Impulse purchases often come hand-in-hand with low mood and the need for instant pick-me-ups couldn’t be easier with the advancements of online shopping, however, having just cleared your space leaving room for the “Spark Joy” pieces, you might want to carefully consider your next purchase and whether it’s likely to make you feel amazing in the long term.
For me, I’ve discovered a new appreciation and love for ‘key pieces’ of furniture. I very often purchase second-hand side tables or paint ones I’ve found on the street – and there is NOTHING wrong with this – I wholeheartedly condone the upcycle but sometimes, just sometimes I like to spend copious amounts of time dreaming about moving into West Elm and making a home for myself there.
In the past, I’ve felt guilty about purchasing pieces I truly adore and opted instead for the second or third option but over time, I’ve only ended up accumulating a mass of more things I don’t really love and then my space makes me feel the ‘blah’ I’m trying to get away from. Sigh.
Allow yourself to dream, draft interior mood boards and make healthy choices for YOU. If you can pick up a second-hand mid-century sideboard at a car boot sale then you grab that, and you take it! If I could find one, I would too! But it is OK to hold out of the sale or just treat yourself to that piece of furniture you can love and adore for the rest of your life. It’s OK!
4. Bring Nature Inside
If you can’t get outside, why not bring nature inside?
Whether you source a few small plant pots for your kitchen window ledge and spend an afternoon planting your favourite herbs (pre-grown from Waitrose are affordable and perfect for the job) or decide to invest in a Pinterest worthy plant that you can take pride in watering – there a plenty of ways to bring new life into your space.
Did you know houseplants can significantly improve your mental health and wellbeing? Different plants have different properties with some releasing happy chemicals, reducing stress, decreasing pain levels and purifying our air. If you worry that you will forget to water them or simply can’t, there is nothing wrong with the plastic kind to enhance the scenery!
5. Pictures, Photos & Framed quotes
Search for motivational quotes on postcards or create your own and place them in a frame next to your bed to ensure you go to sleep with the same positive thoughts you’ll wake up with. This stuff is hugely powerful and even without us realising can truly positively impact how we feel about ourselves.
This is also something to consider when accessorising. Be mindful of how things are worded. Consider how the, “I hate Mondays” picture might be relevant but the word hate is super negative, think about what you put into your home and what you absorb unconsciously. With that in mind, source encouraging quotes on mugs, place wonderous post-it notes on your laptop and allow your space to reflect back as many positive affirmations as possible, without going overboard, of course, we don’t want to add clutter!
It’s also worth taking note of colours and what role they play in different areas of your home. Yellow pictures will make you feel happy and optimistic whereas blue will likely make you feel calmer and aid concentration. Understand the impact of colour psychology and implement this into your choices for different functioning areas to achieve the ultimate productive and uplifting space that you can call home, if you want to learn more about colour meaning, symbolism, and psychology then be sure to check out home interior designer Jen Miller’s guide, completely free – here.