Emotional Wellbeing

Health

Life

Psychology

Mandy Kloppers

Home Sweet Home: How Your Home Environment Impacts Your Mental Well-Being

Image Source: Pexels

Regardless of how much time you spend at home, your humble abode will inevitably have some profound impacts on your mental health. These can be positive, negative, or somewhere in between — it depends on how you create your home environment. Learn how aspects of decor, cleanliness, aesthetics, and location can uplift or detract from your mental well-being. Then, you can create a home life that is more conducive to feeling good, being productive, relaxing, and reaching any personal or professional goals you may have.

Why a Low-Stress Home Environment Is Important

The phrase “home sweet home” evokes feelings of coming back to a familiar, relaxing environment at the end of the day. Life offers up stressors in many ways — don’t let your household contribute to that pile. Stress is a normal part of life and can even be helpful in high-stakes situations, but excessive stress affects your body and mind in negative ways. Chronic stress can cause: 

  • Your heart to pump faster, raising your blood pressure and raising your risk for headaches, cardiovascular disease, and even kidney disease;
  • Your body to produce too much adrenaline, causing hyperventilation, dizziness, irritability, jittering, restlessness, heart palpitations, sweating, and trouble focusing;
  • A release of too much cortisol, which can cause weight gain, high blood pressure, discolored skin, muscle weakness, mood swings, osteoporosis, and high blood sugar;
  • A weakened immune system, leaving you more susceptible to illness; 
  • Mental health issues like depression and anxiety.

Stress can also exacerbate any preexisting conditions like eczema or asthma. Fight or flight responses are inherently triggered too much in a society that doesn’t have to run from predators and hunt down food daily. However, you can mitigate the negative effects of excess stress on your life by creating a safe haven. Make your home a space to return to and let go of all the burdens of everyday life to lessen the negative effects of stress.

Health Hazards in Your Home

A low-stress environment is one that is cozy and relaxing, but it is also one that is free of things that could harm you. Home health hazards can be undetectable without close inspection and could potentially be causing negative mental side effects. Make sure that your home is free of issues like:

  • Asbestos; 
  • Carbon monoxide;
  • Lead;
  • Mold;
  • Pests;
  • Radon;
  • Volatile organic compounds, like harmful chemicals used for cleaning.

If left untreated, these substances can wreak havoc on your mental health. You could be unnecessarily burdened by your home if you start experiencing health issues like lung cancer, weight loss, fatigue, seizures, hearing loss, joint pain, nausea, headaches, asthma, and more. Long exposure to these substances can have adverse effects on the body but also the mind. 

Mold and carbon monoxide, in particular, are known to cause confusion, mood swings, brain fog, and even hallucinations. The neurotoxins in these substances affect your nervous system and can make you feel uneasy in your own home. If you spend long hours working from home, these dangers must be mitigated to keep you healthy and worry-free. Bring in a professional to check for these substances and remediate any issues before they get worse.   

How Clutter Affects Your Mental Health

A less extreme contributor to mental issues can be a disorganized, cluttered, unclean home. Unsanitary conditions can be a health hazard in and of themselves — but simple clutter and mess can make you feel less than your best. Clutter stresses people out by making them feel overwhelmed if they let the mess get past a tipping point. There’s a threshold at which mess becomes unbearable and causes psychological distress.  

Clutter can affect your mental health by negatively impacting your relationships, causing disagreements and even resentment. It can also cause you to feel anxiety and depression with excess junk piling up around you. Sometimes, extreme clutter can even be a manifestation of hoarding disorder, involving extreme emotional distress at the thought of getting rid of any possessions. Even if you have a high threshold for a bit of mess, it’s important to keep organized to a certain degree to keep your mind clutter-free.

How Home Aesthetics Can Play a Role in Your Identity and Mood

Even if you are super-organized, you may not have a home environment that matches your style aesthetically. Decor like furniture, paint colors, textiles, and wall art can add to how much you feel at home in your space. Expressing yourself through your home decor can give you a sense of identity and reflect your personality and values. Interior design can reduce depression and anxiety symptoms by giving you a creative outlet that is unique to you. Then, you can marvel at your space and look at items and colors that boost your mood every day.

Creating a Home Environment  Tailored to Your Needs

By infusing your living space with elements that bring you comfort and joy, you can cultivate coziness in your home. This serves as a refuge from life’s daily stresses. Personal touches like warm color schemes, soft textiles, cherished mementos, and cozy nooks for relaxation can all contribute to a soothing atmosphere that nurtures your soul. This intentional design not only promotes relaxation and contentment but also fosters a sense of belonging and security, providing a sanctuary where you can rejuvenate and find solace during challenging times. Design your home to ultimately benefit your overall mental health and emotional well-being.