The pandemic has highlighted many things for us all, some for the better, and some for the worse.
There can be little doubt that mental health has been one of the focuses of the discussion when we talk about the aftermath and after-effects of being stuck under restrictions.
One of the biggest downsides of being in lockdown was that it had an almost universally negative effect on people, but on the flip side of that, when we consider positives, it has to be said that the conversation around mental health has now taken centre stage and has advanced from where it was.
We’re now, as a country, in something of a better place to recognise and nurture our mental health as opposed to before the pandemic. We’re better at prioritising it and taking time for ourselves to reflect.
With that in mind, we thought we’d put together a short guide of how to make your home a place that allows you to improve your mental health.
Not every home has the benefit of large windows or lots of sources of natural light, so this isn’t us suggesting you knock a hole in your walls in order to bring more in.
Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase your serotonin levels, a chemical in the brain which is linked with happiness, a calm mood and increased focus. It also promotes good health by exposing you to vitamin D, even through glass, which is linked with better health.
In your home try, where you can, to place seating areas near windows and natural light even if it’s placing some cushions on a larger windowsill where you can read a book or relax.
A space to relax
Making space in your home to be able to relax is absolutely vital to maintaining a good level of mental health.
That being said, relaxation means different things to different people. If you love to read, for example, it’s probably worth dedicating some space in your home, even a small space, where you can sit and read a book or do a jigsaw, even for half an hour or less per day.
Doing the things you enjoy, and which make you feel happy are important, and your home is a place where you should feel safe and calm, so dedicate some space to something you enjoy.
It’s recognised that having a good routine is a great way to promote positive mental health by allowing you to feel organised and grounded.
If, like many of us, you’re working from home, then try and dedicate a proper workspace somewhere in the home and, where appropriate, try and follow a similar routine to when you’re going to work. Get up, shower, get dressed and have a coffee, for example, around the same time you normally would, and this will allow you to stay grounded in a sense of normality.
Similarly, if you’re feeling bogged down by household jobs and chores, it’s perhaps a good idea to set yourself a routine for them. For example, set Monday aside for hoovering, Tuesday for washing, and so on.
If you’re not happy, make a change
Perhaps this sounds obvious, but we understand it can be a lot harder than it sounds to make changes.
One change that could be important is to change your living space. Now, that could mean simply reorganising things, but it could also mean moving entirely.
If your living space isn’t bringing you the happiness you know it can, it’s perhaps time to make a change. Take things slowly, though, and make a list of the things you’d like in a home, what your budget is, and what types of homes you could afford.
Finally, if you’re struggling to find what you need, speak to a reputable estate agent who can offer some help.