March 1, 2021
As much as we all want things to spring back to normal this year, there’s a lot of uncertainty about what lay ahead these next few months. But, fear not, how we approach difficult situations is all about mindset, which is often influenced by how we feel in our surroundings. We’ve spent most of the past year indoors, and if you’re like me you might be getting sick of staring at the same four walls. However, there’s nothing saying you can’t make a few changes around your home to freshen up the places you spend most of your time. I’ve created a list, mostly of things that have worked for me, that I’m hoping you might also find useful.
Feeling connected to nature has an extremely positive impact on our mental health - nature is proven to stimulate creativity and focus, and by simply incorporating plants into your living quarters, you’re getting one step closer to the great outdoors. But, plants are also great for a number of other reasons. Firstly, they hold us accountable and give us something to nurture. Different types of plants require different watering schedules, different amounts of lights, different frequency of fertilizing… it’s kind of like bringing an extremely low-maintenance baby into your world. Secondly, plants clean the air that we breathe. They are experts at removing any toxins, producing oxygen, and also increasing humidity. Finally, and most importantly, they’re really nice to look at… especially if you decide to treat yourself to a nice, new, pretty clay pot.
Humans are great at accumulating stuff. We’re emotional beings and have the tendency to create emotional attachments and stories to our belongings. Some of these belongings are useful, some reduce stress, some provide a sense of entertainment, but more often than not, we accumulate stuff that has no significant purpose. Go through those areas of your home that kind of stress you out to think about, we all have one - the chair in your bedroom, that one corner of the counter, the top drawer on the island - just do it. If it doesn’t spark joy, as the wise Marie Kondo would say, then get rid of it. You can practice this exercise on a smaller level in other places like going through your closet and clearing out your car. I promise that de-cluttering will have you feeling so much more at ease in your home.
Doctors and experts always tell us that we’re not getting enough sunlight, and therefore Vitamin D, in the wintertime. And this is not only very true but also very detrimental to our mental well-being. In addition to recommending that you go out and get some Vitamin D tablets, I’d also suggest you reflect on the areas of your home you spend most of your time and see if you can invite more natural lighting into that space. For me, I’ve been working from home for the past few months, and for a while, I’d been staring at a charcoal grey wall with my curtains closed. Frankly, it kind of sucked, until finally, one day I asked myself “why here? Why did I choose to set up here?” So, I picked up my desk, moved it out of my bedroom and into my living room, and parked it right in front of a window. SO much nicer, and didn’t require me to move a whole lot. (Also, I suggest you don’t hybridize your bedroom with anything work-related…)
Sleep has always been tough for me. I’ll go through weeks where I don’t fall asleep until 3 am and wake up 3 hours later. Sleep, as I’m sure you’ve heard, is one of the foundations of health. Without sleep, your brain and body can’t recover. There are some changes you can make to your surroundings that will help you ease into your nighttime routine a little better. Firstly, dim the lights at least an hour before bed. Bright lights make it tricky for our brain to register that it’s time to go to sleep, even if you’re feeling tired. I’d also suggest getting incandescent lightbulbs versus fluorescent bulbs to reduce that nasty blue light we keep hearing about. Get comfortable before bed, but don’t get into bed until you’re ready to sleep. If reading helps you get tired, set up a comfy reading chair in your living room. I know first hand how easy it is to revert to bed for some late-night Netflix, but do your best to keep those before-bed activities outside of the bedroom.
Transition and change are never easy, but there are things you can do to your surrounding environment that can complement the changes happening in your life. Try out some of these tips, and even do some more research to see what other people are doing! Be sure to follow Bidmii on social media to get more tips and tricks for your home