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6 ways to optimize your home for anxiety relief


Your home should be a place that promotes rest and relaxation, especially during a time as stressful as the pandemic. Whether your taste is more minimalist or rustic farmhouse, there are evidence-based interior design tricks you can use to create a space that helps reduce anxiety.

How to design your own calm space

Most people strive to turn their living space into a haven that welcomes them after a long day of work. Use these six tips to help take your home to the next anxiety-reducing level.

  1. Incorporate plants and nature throughout your home.
  2. Opt for natural colors and textures.
  3. Go for natural lighting when possible.
  4. Keep clutter minimal.
  5. Be mindful about your bedroom design.
  6. Create a flexible space.

Incorporate plants and nature throughout your home.

Indoor plants are a great way to brighten up your space and provide health benefits like reducing stress, boosting productivity and attention, and promoting a smoother recovery from illness. You can spruce up your office, bedroom, living room, and bathroom with different types of plants that each provide their own unique benefits. If you have children or animals in your home, some plants to avoid or keep out of their reach include aloe vera, chrysanthemums, lilies, and poinsettias.

Opt for natural colors and textures.

A lot of home decorating trends this year have pointed towards neutral and earthy tones, like tan, white, and black, and there’s a reason for it! These colors have been attributed to feelings of resilience, stability, strength, simplicity, and peace from a psychological perspective.

In action, you can add white to your space to help create a feeling of tranquility and freshness and help the space feel bigger. If you’re looking for a pop of color, paint your bedroom walls a light blue hue as studies suggest this color can help reduce blood pressure and make you feel more sleepy.

It can also be beneficial to decorate your home with textures like a natural wood dining table, a stone or concrete coffee and side table, and natural fibers in throw blankets to enliven and improve your senses. However, try to limit the number of patterns you use to decorate because this can be overwhelming to the senses.

Go for natural lighting when possible.

Keep your windows open to let in as much natural light as possible to reduce stress levels and improve sleep. But we all know natural light isn’t always available. As the days get shorter in fall and winter, the amount of daylight starts to decrease, which can lead to seasonal affective disorder. While we can’t change the time the sun goes up and down, a study suggests that artificial sources of light may help.

Various lamps and ambient lighting sources—light that bounces off the ceiling to fill a room—can be used to brighten up a space. Use soft, warm white lights to help prevent headaches and migraines, and limit your exposure to sources of blue light, like cell phones and computer screens, which can strain your eyes.

Keep clutter minimal.

Holding on to clutter not only crowds your home, but it can weigh you down by releasing cortisol, a stress hormone. A helpful tip is to keep your bookshelves half-empty and to embrace empty space. Regular moments of decluttering can help prevent your things from piling up into an unwanted mess.

Be mindful about your bedroom design.

When it comes to sleeping, those who sleep fewer than the recommended seven hours a night are more likely to experience anxiety and depression. Prioritize a comfortable bed that maximizes your deep sleep; it is recommended that you replace your mattress every six to eight years. This also helps with allergy and asthma symptoms by getting rid of dust mites and allergens that may have accumulated. Research has also shown a link between not getting enough sleep and heart disease, kidney disease, and diabetes.

Create a flexible space.

As more of us have adopted a work life completely from home, it is important to have a living space that is flexible and provides separation of work and rest. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different aspects of your space, including room dividers, storage units, colors of walls, and textures of your furniture and decorations.

These six things are some of the steps you can take to help reduce stress and anxiety in your life, but it’s important to seek a diagnosis and treatment from a medical professional. If you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression, schedule a virtual or in-person visit with a Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group primary care physician for an evaluation.

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