Don't let your home stress you out!
We all face stressful periods in our lives - heck, even our everyday life can be stressful with work and constant notifications on our phones and negative media bombardment and too many commitments in our calendar.
But our homes should NOT add to that stress!
Our homes should be our sanctuaries that help us keep stress under control. They’re meant to help us relax and unwind and rest. Our homes are where we need to spend leisurely time with family, friends and ourselves. They should lift us up, not bring us down even further.
Does your house do this for you?
If not, it can. Don’t worry - you’re not alone.
With just a few tweaks, your home can go from being a source of added stress to a relaxing oasis of peace. Yes, I know your kids are still there but your home itself can help you reach your zen! :) Here’s how.
9 Steps to a Stress-Free Home
The state of our homes is the state of our minds. I hate to break this to you, but if you have clutter at home, it’s no wonder you feel stressed! Clutter mirrors the chaos that’s going on within you. So getting control of clutter at home will help you get control of it in your mind as well. It will give you the space to decompress and soothe yourself so that you can manage stress more easily and perhaps not allow it to turn into a chronic condition.
I know it may be difficult, but take some time this weekend to clear the clutter in your home.
clear your surfaces of papers by filing them away or shredding them (here are more details on gaining control of paper clutter)
get toys and games under control by putting them in big baskets and bins so it’s easy for kids to pick up after themselves (teach them to do this)
take small appliances and kitchen gadgets that you don’t use daily off the counter and tuck them away in a cupboard that’s convenient to get to
donate 20 decorative items you don’t love
clear off your bedside table of all but a good lamp and things you need like reading glasses, lip balm, hand cream, etc. Better yet, tuck these things in a drawer within your bedside table.
declutter your entryway of any coats, shoes and accessories that those in the house really don’t use. Keep only the things you’re using daily in the entryway, and hang lots of hooks so they’re easy to keep off the floor or bench. Check out the essentials of a simple entryway.
Join the 21-Day Declutter Challenge for instructions and motivation for decluttering one small area each day.
2. Calm your home.
Visually calming your home will help you calm yourself down too. If you’re finding that you have too many colours or patterns that don’t make you happy, get out the paint brush. Go for a white or light neutral colour on your walls. This helps calm your brain, plus it allows the meaningful decor - like photos and mementos and your favourite artwork - to stand out. Just make sure to keep a little “white space” as well. Painting takes time but it’s a pretty inexpensive way to help you de-stress your life.
3. Up the convenience factor.
Sometimes your home can stress you out simply because you don’t have it set up to be the most convenient for everyday activities. Make a few simple hacks to fix this and forgo daily frustrations.
Hang a valet hook to set your outfit out on the night before.
Put exercise gear in a bag by the door ready and waiting for you.
Have a cleaning caddy ready with all the supplies you need to carry from space to space.
4. Make chores less of a chore.
Cleaning up - especially when you feel like you’re always cleaning up after others - can be stressful. Turn it around by making it time to yourself that you enjoy. Have an upbeat playlist ready, put your earbuds in dance away while you do the dishes and sweep the floors. Use a dish soap that smells wonderful. Add some bling to your laundry room to make ironing and laundry a little less boring. Or set aside an hour each week when the whole family does chores together while playing a shout-out trivia game or dance contest. Make it fun!
5. Add nature.
It’s been proven that spending time in nature significantly decreases stress hormones in the body. But if you don’t have the luxury (or the climate) to get outdoors all that often, bring nature into your home. It will be a subtle reminder for you to slow down, be appreciative and connect with the greater whole.
Add rocks or shells or wood or herbs or driftwood or even bottles of sand from the beach.
6. Do stuff you love at home.
Resist the urge to go straight to the fridge and binge-watch hours of The Blacklist when you get home. Instead, set up your spaces to encourage hobbies that make you feel good. You might:
Use a seldom-used guestroom for painting or yoga.
Reclaim your living room for family time or entertaining (not watching TV).
Install a dock for your tablet in the kitchen so you can cook up the recipes you’re watching on the cooking channel.
Clear a table for a jigsaw puzzle.
Set up a cozy reading corner.
Make a dedicated meditation space.
Instead of jumping right into cleaning and chores and TV watching while at home, be more intentional with your time and attention.
7. Appeal to your senses.
The things we ingest with our senses goes straight to our nervous system - good or bad.
Explore aromatherapy with a misting diffuser and essential oils and by taking lavender and Epsom salt baths.
Load up your sofa and chairs with fuzzy, chunky knit throws and soft pillows.
Put a soft rug underfoot in the living room.
Play a little classical music while you’re getting supper ready.
Dim the lights at night to create a warm ambiance.
Have a happy hour with sparkling water infused with fresh fruit and herbs (and forgo the alcohol!).
8. Gain inner peace.
Now that your home is set up to help you let go of stress, work on finding some stillness and inner peace. Although there are some stressful situations we can’t ignore, sometimes stress is simply a build-up of chronic busyness.
Make a commitment to spend some time meditating or just breathing deeply and being quiet.
Find time to journal and write down your worries so you don’t hold them inside.
Choose a positive mantra and get in the habit of saying it while your getting ready in the morning.
Pray and read faith-filled or spiritual books.
9. Release the need for perfection.
Seriously, why do we think we have to have perfect homes and perfect lives in order to enjoy ourselves? Life is messy, and sometimes our homes are too. It’s ok. Learn to stop stressing over the days when the dishes don’t get done and the beds don’t get made. No. one. cares. Enjoy the moments for what they are and simply be present in them. Everything else can wait.
Want to go even further to create a stress-free home you love?
Download my FREE guide to essentialism at home for 5 simple decorating lessons.