Making Your Home a Mental Health Haven

People have been stuck at home more than ever before for this past year. Not only that, but mental health is at an all time low. Both of these things are, of course, a result of the ongoing global pandemic.

It’s true— in addition to the countless people experiencing COVID-19, countless other individuals are suffering with mental health issues worse than they’ve ever been.

Psychologists have known for some time that your physical environment can influence your mood and behavior. This is why it’s so important to make sure that your house, apartment, or wherever you may live, is an environment that will have a positive influence on your mental health.

Aesthetics

There are many basic changes you can make to your home to make it more beneficial for mental health, such as a new coat of paint.

Most houses today— especially new houses —are painted neutral colors like white, grey, and beige. While these colors are certainly pleasant to look at, some more color is necessary for positive mental health.

All colors have been found to have different effects on mood, but the best ones for mental health are greens, blues, and purples. All three are soothing colors that are conducive to relaxation and calmness. 

Purple also promotes creativity, as it can be energizing and calming all at once since it’s a combination of red and blue. And when in doubt, your favorite color will always be nice to look at. If you can’t outright paint the walls these colors, incorporate them into your decorations.

An image of a roller paintbrush resting on the paint can lid on the floor. Both are covered in green paint.
A fresh coat of paint is a very small change that can have a big impact on improving your mental health. A new, soothing color— maybe even your favorite color —may be just what the space needs to feel more comfortable to you.

It’s important to make sure that most of the rooms in your house have windows, as well. No matter what color the walls are, a room with four walls and no windows will sometimes start to feel a bit cramped.

Windows can also let in a lot of natural light, which is good for mental health since it will keep your internal clock in check to see the sky outside, and it can also just be nice to look at a sunny day even if you’re stuck indoors. It’ll help you get a good night’s sleep, too, since you’ll start to get tired when you see it get dark.

In addition, opening up your windows on a nice day can help the temperature of your room and let a lot of good, fresh air into your room when it gets stuffy. Adding a plant to your room can also help with air quality and incorporate nature into the space.

Belongings

To ensure your space promotes positive mental health, it’s important to make sure that the things you keep in your home are good for you. In order to do so, you should regularly take stock of your belongings and get rid of anything that doesn’t benefit you in any way. 

A disorganized, cluttered space will cause you stress, while the process of decluttering can help one relieve stress and feel more productive. This includes furniture, of course, but also your clothes. Going through the old clothes in your closet might just be the way to make your home feel fresh.

In terms of furniture specifically, though, it’s important to make sure you have enough space for the space not to feel empty, but not too much. It can be a tricky balance at times, but having open floor space can really help improve mental health.

An image of a beautiful living room with artwork on the walls, vases on a cabinet, and candles on the coffee table. Everything is very neat and aesthetically pleasing.
The belongings you use to decorate should be balanced— furniture that you like and will use, as well as plenty of sources of light, and art to hang on the walls as well as decorations for tables to make sure you’re not just staring at featureless surfaces all day.

You should fill your space with things that you want, items specific to you and your mental health. Things that have to do with your hobbies, like books or musical instruments, will always make a space feel homey. And they’re always a good way to use free time, too!

You should also make sure to decorate your walls in a way that will make it feel like your home, either with artwork or photographs of the people closest to you. Making the space your own is the best way to make the space help you.

People

In addition to your external environment, though, it’s important that you also have a good internal environment. 

Redecorating isn’t going to magically solve any mental health issues you may be going through, so you should regularly take stock of yourself and what you need. What you need may be a new rug, or it may be speaking to a professional.

You should also surround yourself with people you care about. Deciding to live with someone is a big decision, and you should think carefully about it before deciding to move in with someone, whether in a romantic or platonic sense. It can bring close friends closer, or put a strain on things if you’re not ready.

If not physically able to be around people you love, as is the case for many people today, you should still take care to stay in touch with your friends and family, since it’s very important for your mental health to maintain those personal connections.

An image of two women sitting on a bed and laughing. One of them is petting a dog that sits beside them.
Sometimes a bad day can be made into a good one just by having a friend over and hanging out together. Make sure that any people that you might have in your space will also have a positive effect on your mental health.

However, in your home, you’ll also want to make sure you’re able to get that peace and quiet you’ll sometimes need, which can be hindered by either roommates or neighbors. Being able to have alone time in your own home is very important, and it’s all about balance.

Everything relating to mental health is usually about balance, and constantly checking in with yourself to make sure that both your internal and external environments are providing you with what you want. 

Though there’s no solution that will guarantee a fix to all your problems, some of these things will be a good start. And of course, making your home somewhere you feel comfortable can hardly hurt.

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