Your house is your haven from the stressful outside world. When you return home at the end of a busy day, you want to take it easy and get refreshed before facing your responsibilities once again.
However, the more stressful aspects of your life can sometimes make their way into your home—from piles of clutter to late nights spent catching up on work. This can be detrimental to your mental and emotional health because it means you can’t relax in the one place that is supposed to be your refuge.
With a few simple tricks, you can ensure that your home is a source of leisure, not anxiety. Use these tips to transform your home into an oasis.
1. Don’t work in your bedroom.
Your bedroom is for sleeping, not checking your emails or having virtual business meetings. Even if you work from home, you should never take your laptop or your work calls into your room. Just the visual reminder of it can prevent you from relaxing fully.
In addition, a recent study found that short-wavelength blue lights—which are emitted from cell phones, computer screens and tablets—can reduce sleep time by 16 minutes. The blue lights suppress melatonin and decrease sleep quality. For a restful, relaxed sleep, avoid any technology late at night, especially right before you go to bed.
2. Get your zzz’s.
It’s no secret that a good night’s sleep is a great foundation to your day. But if you’re constantly tossing and turning in your bed, then falling asleep at night will always be a stressful routine.
Likewise, you might have the sun streaming in your windows in the early hours and jolting you awake. Outside light can interrupt your REM cycle or cut your snoozing short. If you live in a bright city or have a bedroom full of windows, it is critical to use blackout shades that can rid of any exterior light. Cover those windows, get your seven to eight hours and wake up feeling refreshed in the morning.
3. Clear your clutter.
Researchers have discovered that clutter limits your ability to properly digest information and complete tasks. If you have a cluttered home, you won’t be able to focus on relaxing. Go through your home and donate, sell or toss anything you don’t need.
Not sure where to start? Try some of these ideas:
- Streamline your mail pile by switching your bills to electronic statements and use online bill pay to reduce the amount of paper coming through your door.
- Create an organized system in your closet and arrange clothing by color or type.
- Invest in storage systems where you can place things that you don’t immediately need out of sight and out of mind.
- Take a few minutes at the end of each day to declutter your home instead of letting everything pile up.
4. Choose a neutral color scheme.
Each color has a psychological value. Bright colors, like red and orange, will subconsciously make you feel more alert and stressed. If you spend most of your time in rooms filled with bright colors, the visual stimulation can get overwhelming fast and limit your ability to fully relax.
When decorating your home, paint the walls with soothing neutral colors and buy furniture in matching tones. If an all-white home isn’t your thing, choose soft, relaxing colors like cool blues, grays, lavender, pale green, aqua and light pink.
5. Consolidate your calendar.
Whether you’ve got a crazy social life or are juggling the schedules of multiple kids, it’s important to stay on top of your calendar. Go old school with a central hub where you keep track of obligations on a calendar that everyone can see. Use a color-coded system to make it clear which family members need to be at certain events. Add an inbox and outbox to collect important papers.
If you prefer a digital route, set up a synchronized calendar that you can access on your smartphone.
6. Reduce ambient noise.
Whether you live next to a blaring intersection or in a noisy apartment building with loud roommates, getting some peace and quiet is important to reducing your stress levels.
To block outside noise during your downtime, consider getting a pair of noise-canceling headphones and listening to relaxing spa music when you’re lying down in bed or on your favorite comfy chair.
If it’s the noise inside your home that’s the problem (think loud kids or a spouse who loves watching action movies), schedule regular alone time outside on your patio, balcony or yard. Sit down with a cup of coffee or tea and a great book, or simply enjoy the view. A little bit of fresh air and silence will have you feeling calmer in no time.
Related: How Successful People Beat Stress