After the seemingly endless vacations, late night pool parties, and shop-til-you-drop shopping, it’s always a relief to come home and finally rest up. But as soon as you walk in the door, you’re greeted with dirty dishes in the sink, clothes sprawled out all over the floor, and and endless pile of mail and bills. Instead of calming relaxation, you’re sent into a complete panic!
By setting up your space with care and establishing a few simple routines, you can turn your home into a stress-free home.
From daily rituals to decorating ideas, take these ten tips to heart to easily turn your home into a totally zen environment.
Get Rid Of Clutter
“When your home is [disorderly], it can inhibit your mood and make you feel anxious,” Raven Ishak says in an article on The Every Girl. A clear mind starts with a clear environment. So one thing I like to do before bed is going around the house and picking up items that are out of place. Ishak adds, “This will relax your mind and prevent that morning anxiety boost when you first wake up.”
Start by looking at the cluttered areas in your home and ask yourself if you really need all those end tables or pictures frames. Challenge yourself to get rid of at least 35 percent of those items and cut anything deemed nonessential. By adding more negative space to your home, you’re creating a sense of peace to areas that were too busy before.
Don’t Let Small Chores Pile Up
It’s easy to put off small chores with work, friends and a never-ending to-do list. But when your hamper starts overflowing and you’re struggling to carry it to the laundry room, getting it done will seem even more daunting. Knowing you have a system in place for keeping the house neat and tidy can be a great source of relaxation.
Ask yourself what the hallmarks of “clean” are to you — for some, it may be a perfectly scrubbed kitchen; for me it’s clean floors and clutter-free counters. Stay on top of your chores so they don’t grow into overwhelming tasks.
Create A Space To Recharge
One main reason you may feel like your environment is stressful is because you don’t know where to slow down and recharge. But it’s so important for us to have our own personal space where we can spend time away from others and quiet our thoughts.
Pick an area in your home — whether you have a whole spare room to yourself, a quiet window seat or the sinfully comfortable recliner in your den — anywhere that enables you to relax and quiet your thoughts. When you start feeling stressed out from every day life, go to your spot and do whatever helps you relax, like reading a book. Even if it’s just to read a book for 20 minutes, use this space to unwind and recharge for whatever the day holds.
Incorporate Lots Of Natural Lighting
Ever notice how different your mood is when you leave your blinds and curtains open during sunny days as opposed to closed? Writer for Huffington Post, Amy Marturana says, “Studies have shown that thepresence of natural light indoors has overwhelmingly positive effects on health (and stress specifically).” Plus, more sunlight ensures a good supply of Vitamin D which can help you to feel more calm, happier and can even help you get a good night’s sleep.
Start making a conscious effort to push aside the curtains, roll up the blinds and let the sunlight shine through.
Make Your Bed Everyday
“The state of your bed reflects the state of your head,” says Zen Buddhist priest and author Karen Maezen Miller. Coming home to a messy, cluttered bed can really put a damper on an already stressful day. But the simple task of making my bed every day gives me a clear vision for the day ahead.
If it’s not already a habit, resolve to begin smoothing your sheets each morning. You don’t have to go all out; just putting the sheets and pillows back in place. Taking a moment to smooth those covers can make your whole day run more smoothly, right down to sliding into the crisply made sheets.
Stick With A Serene Color Palette
Use restraint with wild patterns and bold colors. This is not to say that homes with soft pastels and limited patterns are the only ones that feel calming. But, generally speaking, the more colors and patterns there are in a room, the less restful it will feel.
Start becoming more aware of how different colors impact you and try to find a balance. If you like mixing patterns, keep their color scheme similar; if you like using lots of color, keep the patterns to a minimum.
Add Some Greenery
Walk into a home filled with houseplants and you’re bound to feel more relaxed in seconds. Aside from houseplants making for some beautiful Instagram pics, numerous studies have shown that houseplants help to purify the air in your home and also improve the oxygen quality. But beyond plants’ air-purifying effects (and a ton of other benefits!), the act of tending to a living thing and cutting/arranging your favorite flowers is a wonderful way to get your mind off and let go of some stress.
If you’re convinced you’ve been cursed with a black thumb, you can still add some greenery to your home with low-maintenance plants. For example, fiddle leaf figs are super trendy and are great for putting in a sunny room. You can even place a plant or two in the bathroom, like a Boston fern, which loves humid environments. Don’t let your black thumb stop you!
Set Boundaries With Technology
Statistic time: On average, we stare at some sort of screen 45 out of every 60 minutes per day! Crazy, right? And those constant pings and alerts have a tendency to keep us on edge. But instead of scrolling through social media or binge-watching your favorite show as soon as you get home, give your eyes — and your mind — some rest. Get involved in a hobby that helps you strike a balance between your screen time. By designating different areas for play, work and rest, you’re creating “an automatic cue to your subconscious informing you that it is time for a specific activity,” says Veranda editor, Lindsey Campbell. “This will help to construct a space that supports balance and harmony.”
I spend all day on a computer at my full-time job, then I come home and get right onto my laptop. So lately I’ve been making a conscious effort to set boundaries for when and where electronics are used. One of my rules has always been not to bring my laptop into bed (though sometimes I break that rule). And on Sundays, I only allow myself three hours on my laptop. Start with small steps and build from there. Instead of spending a week night glued to your laptop, take a nice relaxing bath instead for some much-needed and very deserved R&R.
Keep Your Fridge & Pantry Stocked With Real Food
Open your fridge and pantry. What do you see? Is it stocked with ingredients for healthy, nutritious meals? Or is it filled with beer and sugary, salty junk food? When our schedules are jam packed, it’s so efficient to grab something quick (and unhealthy) for dinner instead of making a home-cooked meal. But depriving our bodies of nutrients on top of stress can take a toll on our immune system. We all know that home cooked meals are healthier, but they’re also cheaper than eating out.
Organize your fridge and pantry so your healthier snack and food options are in the front and keep the junk food near the back. This way, you’ll be less likely to reach for the unhealthy options if they are out of sight. And for a more organized kitchen, put things like pasta, cereal and the like in clear or glass containers for a more cohesive, organized look.
Fill Each Room With Things You Love
Visual motivation can go a long way. So when you surround yourself with objects you love or things you find inspiring, you become more in tune with yourself. Your home should be a reflection of all things you: your interests, passions and inspirations. For example, displaying a cork board with a list of your goals can help you stay on top of them! Or even putting up some pictures of good friends and family and magazine clippings can keep you inspired, especially when you switch things out every now and again. Keep your space comfortable and homey by filling it with art, books, sounds and scents that make you feel good!
When it comes to the things that you own, you’ll want to get rid of anything that you associate with negative feelings or experiences. If your couch is one that you and your ex bought together, it may be time for a new one with a clean slate. Veranda editor Lindsey Campbell says, “by removing this ‘bad mojo,’ you will be one step closer to creating a serene space.” The great thing is you get to fill your home with things that speak to you, open your eyes, and stimulate your mind. Invest in pieces you love and that represent who you are.
Your surroundings has a large effect on how you operate in the world and these small changes can help improve your overall outlook on life. Remember that it’s not necessarily about having a super trendy or perfectly styled home; it’s more about finding a balance of comfort, good design, and blending the two together.