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Do you have a home sanctuary? The expression “home is where the heart is” relates to a deep emotional connection to your home and loved ones. But keep in mind that your surroundings can affect your physical and mental health. The average person spends 90 percent of their time indoors — mostly within their own homes, so it’s imperative to understand the ways your home may be affecting your health.
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Choose Your Colors Wisely
The colors you choose to decorate your home can play a major role in your mental state because specific color palettes have been known to impact mood. For instance, blues and greens promote tranquility, while reds and yellows are stimulating. Painting your bedroom in a calming blue can promote sleep, which in turn affects your overall well-being. Dark rooms without a lot of natural light are perfect areas for brighter tones like yellow or even shades of white as they will reflect more light and open up the space, essentially lifting your mood. Using shades of green throughout your home represents life, growth, and overall positivity.
Plants Bring Life
Nothing says home sanctuary than bringing some of the outdoors in. Plants bring life to a space (quite literally). They not only warm up your home visually but also improve air quality by removing carbon dioxide and other pollutants. Aloe vera, lavender and jasmine are all great options because they also lower your stress levels, heart rate, and blood pressure.
Get Rid of the Clutter
Another way to lower blood pressure and anxiety is to get rid of clutter. You may not realize it, but having piles of paper everywhere or too much “stuff” can make it harder to focus and hinder your memory. Your brain has to register all of the items your eyes are taking in rather than focusing on more important information. Don’t forget about your closets and drawers as well –– organization is key to keeping everything in order and in its proper place. However, having a home completely devoid of “stuff” can also hinder your mental well-being. Humans tend to connect to certain items that bring them joy and happiness. It’s important to find the happy medium between the two extremes in order to enjoy the most positive environment. So, go ahead, display your family photos and your vacation mementos but it might be a good idea to rotate them out seasonally so you are able to enjoy them without taking up all your wall or shelf space.
Embrace a Clean Environment
A clean environment does a body good in terms of eliminating potential allergens and dust. Deep cleaning your home a couple of times a year is a great idea. But, also have a regular cleaning schedule for each area or room. This assures a clean and organized home the majority of the time. The routine will keep you in a positive state of mind and a clean house will boost your physical health.
Let the Light In
Natural light has been proven to increase mood and positivity. Meanwhile, extended exposure to fluorescent lighting can cause eye strain, insomnia, and migraines. Keep your window treatments open as much as possible. If you’re worried about privacy. install shades that allow the light to shine through while blocking visibility from the outside. In areas where natural light is limited or for evenings, it is important to layer your lighting to include ambient, task, and accent lighting. As we age, these become increasingly important to our health and well-being not only in terms of our ability to see, but they can also keep us safe. Proper lighting in bathrooms can support a safe exit from the bathtub or shower and lights near staircases can prevent falls. It’s also a good idea to switch to LED bulbs. They’re energy efficient, brighter and last longer. Pay attention to the color temperature –– 2700-3000K is typically the best for residential use as it is a softer light and easier on the eyes.
It’s important to love where you live, to have your own home sanctuary. Your surroundings should evoke positive feelings and emotions. On the same token, your home should love you back in terms of providing a suitable environment beneficial to your mental and physical health.
This article originally appeared in our Spring 2020 print issue.