The state of your mental wellness has an impact on all areas of your life. Similarly, there are external factors that can influence your psychological and emotional health. As such, your living space can make a significant difference to your experiences.
Your home can be a sanctuary to shield you from the outside world, but it can also be a more agile tool. The decisions you make with the design, function, and location of your home can be brought in line with your unique wellness needs.
Let’s take a look at a few of the ways you can optimize your living space to support your mental wellness.
Consider Your Location
Location is often considered the most important aspect of any home. After all, where you live can impact a range of elements influencing your life. The same goes for your mental wellness. If you’re making a decision to move house in the best interests of your wellbeing, your first focus for optimization is to choose where you’ll be living.
Certain environments provide specific advantages in this regard. Part of pinpointing the perfect area for you means understanding how some locations can support your mental health. A lakeside area may boost your vitamin D levels and serotonin in ways that lift your mood. While the suburbs could offer a subdued atmosphere with a close-knit community. You may also find living in the city is most in tune with your healthcare facility requirements and social experiences.
However, you should also consider what elements of some locations may be challenging to your mental wellness. Living on the outskirts of a city or a nearby town may find you living in a lower-pressure environment, but this could add a stressful commute. You may also find yourself finishing work later each day, upending your work-life balance. The dynamic nature of the city may feed your career and social needs, but if overstimulation is a challenge there could be a cumulative impact.
None of this is to say you should reject a location based on a single challenge. However, visualizing the pros and cons of the area can help you to make better-tailored plans. You can hone in on the environment with the most positive living space and still research forms of support to address the not-so-great elements.
Design to Your Needs
Your mental health needs are not always going to be the same every day. Achieving wellness can be a complex process and you’ll occasionally need to adjust the resources you use to match the circumstances. As such, it’s important to design your home to be agile enough to meet your varied and changing self-care requirements.
One useful approach to this is creating specific “zones” throughout your home. You won’t always have a lot of notice that some aspects of your mental wellness are taking a turn for the challenging. Therefore, having areas throughout your home designed to address specific types of needs can be an important tool for a timely response.
For instance, if your neurodivergent traits see you becoming overwhelmed by stimuli occasionally, you can have a decompression zone in your home. This can be particularly useful if you find your stimming behavior is getting unwieldy and you need to take some quiet time alone. Make decoration choices in one of your rooms with comforting forms of minimalism. Use neutral colors and soft lighting. If you live in a noisy neighborhood, some soundproofing in this space may be helpful.
If you live with depression, make sure there are spaces in your home to provide you with elements you find most comforting. This could be a space with photos of your friends and family, meaningful artwork, or tactile surfaces to help you feel more connected to the world. It’s also wise to make your bedroom zone dedicated to getting quality sleep. Remove unnecessary screens in this area so you’re not watching TV right before bed. Remember, none of these zones needs to be permanent; not everyone has a lot of space in their home. It may be simply having some accessible storage with relevant items so you can transform the room into a zone easily.
Make Space for Your Personal Priorities
Your home shouldn’t just be the place you return to after a long day at work, only to eat, then crash out, and allow the cycle to begin again. Rather, your home needs to be a place supportive of your personal priorities, too.
Make space for your hobbies. There’s a toxic sense that this is in some way selfish. However, studies have shown people who dedicate time to hobbies are less likely to suffer from stress, anxiety, and depression. Your personal interests form an important part of your personality and feed your general well-being. Optimize the space so you can be free to fully explore these endeavors. This could be designing an easily cleanable area to paint in. It could include making a small greenhouse to tend to your plants in. The key is to make it easy for you to engage with these valuable tools.
You should also consider how your living space can be adjusted so you can attend to activities reflective of your personal values. Feeling you’re making a positive difference in the world can inform your overall sense of self-worth and wellness. Do a little research into the types of nonprofits you can run from your own home. You can engage with mentorship, arts promotion, and refugee support with just an area you can use as a home office. You can handle the practical program aspects in the community.
Your living space can impact your mental wellness on multiple levels. Optimizing your home with this in mind involves some careful consideration. Be cognizant of the advantages and disadvantages of certain locations so you can make more mindful choices. Design your home with zones to tend to your varied support needs. Remember, making space for your personal activities is not selfish, but an important part of your mental wellness.