Let’s get real – too many of us are stressed, tired and maybe overworked. We’re not getting enough rest, not having a balanced meal, according to a recent study done by AIA. There’s a ripple stress effect on almost every aspect of our life, with these issues piling up.
Since negotiating our workload in the workplace might be out of the question (with an eye to a promotion or struggling finances in mind), we should do our very best to tilt the other scales for some balance. Think out of the box, like transforming your space from dreary to dreamy, or other pick-me-up lifestyle choices like pursuing a cool hobby or picking up a new skill, which can help ease not only your mental exertion, but physical tension as well.
Also, a big part of your mood is affected by your personal environment, namely your home. Take a look at it this way – besides your office or workplace, you sleep, eat and spending your leisure time there.
So what are you waiting for? Keep reading to find out how you can turn your environment into a calm, stress-free environment that’ll keep you going through the year.
Some people actually thrive with clutter around them, according to studies done by scientists and researchers at the University of Minnesota in 2013. If you’re one of them, you may want to consider organising your clutter into different piles – it might help out with your creativity.
Now if the “messy room, messy mind” saying still applies to you, start clearing out everything you don’t need. Your makeup, clothes, and shoes, and odds and ends. Be merciless and immediately put what isn’t needed in the dispose pile. For plus points, pass on the things you don’t need to your loved ones, upcycle them, or better yet, donate them.
Once you have a clear space and less of a clutter, you’ll feel the harmonious house feng shui energy – an enlightened load, so to speak.
For your house to have good ‘Chi’ or feng shui energy, it needs to be filled with fresh air and light. Doing the following is also beneficial for your health. In a book written by Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz, otherwise known as celebrity doctor Dr Oz, it’s said that “the inside of a home generally has three to four times the pollutants and particles that are most dangerous to us”.
So make it a habit to draw the curtains and open up the windows every morning once you wake up – ignore the heat or chilly wind. You may also want to consider switching your blackout curtains for translucent ones, or even blinds. On the weekends, try and leave the windows open and curtains drawn through the day. The point is to fill your home with as much natural light and fresh air as possible.
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It’s comparable to retail therapy – you only buy things that make you happy, so why decorate your house (or leave it bare) with things that you don’t like? Adding bits and bobs of colour and objects that are aesthetically pleasing to you, makes you happier and feel less tension when you step in.
Go on a trip to IKEA or any furniture store you like to give your home a refresh. Add objects in colours that you love, but make sure that they complement each other, not clash. Besides choosing colours you adore, it’s also best to choose ones that resemble your Feng Shui birth element (find out yours here). For example, if your element is fire, you’ll want to add warm red or deep pink tones into your home.
Introduce plants, flowers or wooden elements which will help to keep you rooted to nature. Just remember to water them or dispose of them if they wither, as Feng Shui experts say it’s not good for your overall ‘Chi’ to have dying or dead plants around. You can also add a healing crystal, which also helps to ward off the negative energy while looking rather gorgeous.
Just as how decluttering your possessions can clear your mind, keeping your room and house clean clears your mind too.
It’s one of the simplest chores that too often we skip, because we’re lazy. Take a few minutes out of each morning to clean the bed. Zen Buddhist priest and author Karen Maezen Miller says that, “The state of your bed reflects the state of your head.”
So simply smoothen out the covers, or you could brush the bed with a broom stick (yes, really), which helps to dust off any dead skin or dirt that may be on your bed. Then spritz the pillows with a refreshing spray, like this Deep Sleep Pillow Spray from This Works.
Leaving the room clean, tidy, and fresh will make you feel more welcomed when you come home.
Photo: Ida Ryding/ Instagram
Have a little corner of your house that’ll make you happy, as having a personal space for peace and joy is important. It’s where you go to when you need to get your thoughts sorted out, or to relax. Make it clear to those you live with that if you’re in that area, you should not be disturbed. It could be a little nook, a whole room, or a single chair. You could personalise the area however you want to, be it with books or a comfy pillow with a box of essential oils.
On the other hand, be sure to designate the purpose of each room and be strict with it. Just like how we restrain ourselves from bringing personal issues into the workplace, we should leave work away from certain areas of our home. If you have a work desk, limit work and the stress that comes along with it, to that area only.
Photo: Sweet Home Ideas/ Instagram
ALSO READ: HOW TO GET MORE SLEEP IN 2018
A study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience found that odors can affect your behaviour and mood. More specifically, the study, which included testing the effects of lavender and rosemary on people, found that those who smelled lavender felt more relaxed and were happier. Meanwhile, those who inhaled rosemary were more alert and relaxed. All 40 of them performed better in one way or another.
Light up scented candles or drip essential oil which will help calm you down after a long day at work. You can also spray your pillows and blanket with a refreshing or calming scent. Just be sure to open a window, and not to over do it since it could cause a headache with the overpowering scents.
Personally, the smell of fresh linen calms me down and reminds me of travelling. So take your time and find a scent that’s suitable and pleasurable for you. It’ll not only help you unwind, but it’ll help you sleep better and in turn, perform better in the day.
This is more of a personal tip rather than a scientific one. Whenever you can, try cooking up a new dish and follow the recipe step-by-step. The methodical-approach to cooking demands your full attention, so you’ll have to slow down and focus on it – you won’t have time to worry or think of much else. For some, the sounds of the knife hitting the chop board or the sound of water boiling is soothing too.
In a way, it’s like meditation with the promise of a hearty, delicious outcome. Even therapists have recommended “culinary therapy” to those with behavioural or mental health conditions like depression, anxiety and ADHD.
Not to mention, home-cooked food is the best kind of food!
At least an hour before bed, start unwinding with a simple night routine. It varies from person to person but could be anything – as long as it does not involve any technology.
We’re all aware of how the amount and quality of our sleep affects our day. A sleep research conducted by California State University found that the common reason why we’re not getting the optimal rest, is because we use our phones or laptops before slipping into bed – to reply emails or get the next day’s affairs in order. Cut that habit. The blue wavelength light from LED-based devices tells our brains to produce more cortisol – which makes us more alert and counteracts melatonin, a chemical that helps us fall asleep.
Start off by slipping into some fluffy bedroom slippers, comfy pyjamas, and complete your night skincare routine. Then, sip on a hot drink while reading a book, writing down the day’s events, or scribbling your agenda for the next day. Whatever you choose to do, make it your before-bed routine.