As many of you will know I am currently at home on maternity leave, and so many people are still working at home because of the Pandemic situation, so I thought I’d talk a little about how we can create more wellness within our home space to help things feel calmer and more relaxed in a space we are spending so much of our time.
Try to get as much sunlight as possible. This isn’t too hard in Scotland right now when our sunrise starts around 4/5am and sunset doesn’t occur until 9/10pm, we are lucky to experience a huge period of daylight, however this will change soon enough and if you live elsewhere you may not have this broad spectrum.
Sunlight produces serotonin- the happy neurotransmitter chemicals within our brain and also reduces our levels of cortisol- the stress hormone, so maximising your daylight period can cause a shift in your brain’s chemicals. Sit your desk near a window and try to have your breakfast by the window too. Better yet, open the back door or sit outside and feel the fresh air at the same time. Research suggests we should get out in sunlight within the first couple of hours after waking for the full benefits. This also increases our vitamin D production which helps regulate our melatonin and improves our sleep.
Try to open your blinds as much as possible in each room in the house to spread the sunlight throughout your home. The use of mirrors can really enhance this too by creating reflections in spaces that may be slightly darker. Dim the lights in the evening to tell your brain it is nearing bedtime. Lots of blue light from tvs, iPads and phones can make the brain more active, less sleepy, and has even been proven to affect relationships!
Humans like routine! Routine regulates our body clock and controls our cortisol (stress) production. Balancing these two things leads for a healthier and happier body and mind mentality. This balance also makes us more productive overall.
You can enhance your senses in a certain way to create the mood you are aiming for. The colour blue is a calming colour, whereas bold and bright colours exhibit energy and excitement. If you don’t want to start re-decorating the rooms consider things like cushion covers, blankets or throws, vases, and candle holders. Even small dots of colours can catch your eye and shift your mood.
Essential oils and candles can bring aromatherapy in to your space. Citrus orange or peppermint smells are thought to energise, so use these when you need a boost of energy, a workout, or a power hour at work! Alternatively lavender calms and relaxes and would work well in the evenings as you unwind.
Connection gives us the most joy and happiness. This was strongly evident throughout the lockdown periods when connection was the biggest thing taken away from us. So much of our lives is now controlled through technology with zoom calls and meetings becoming the norm, but try not to lose sight of the connection you would have had if in person. Ask how people are, make the small chat before the meeting if you are still using technology. Make in person arrangements when you are able and really saviour them- put your phone away at these times and enjoy being present with the person!
Look at your relationship with your food. Has being at home got you eating more often? Snacking on less nutritious choices? Eating larger than necessary portion sizes? Or the opposite, are you eating less because you know it is accessible when required? Consider your daily relationship with your food and see if it needs improving. Aim to make every meal balanced with a portion of the main food groups; protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Reduce processed and sugary foods. Identify if you are an emotional eater and instead try to acknowledge your emotions and process them before comforting yourself through food. A healthy relationship with food gives a healthy diet, and combined provide a more emotionally stable and happier person.
I couldn’t write about wellness without including Pilates! A regular routine of Pilates will help your body physically in both strength and mobility, but the sense of routine itself is equally satisfying. The breath components of a Pilates practice stimulates your parasympathetic system (the relax and rest aspect of your nervous system) and the concentration required calms the mind. If you want to give it a try you can head to my YouTube channel here and take a short class, or join me online for a full length class here.
I hope some of these ideas are helpful and you enjoy making your home space more in tune with your wellbeing!