How Your Home Environment Affects Your Mental Wellbeing

How improving your space can positively impact your productivity and happiness
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Created by Olivia

Published on Oct 7, 2022
a living room with a blue wall, a couch, wall art and plants

For centuries now, many people have emphasised the importance of your living environment and the effect it has on your mood and mental health. From feng shui to the KonMari method, living in a clean, tidy, and light space is something I have recently realised the importance of, as it has a significant impact on my ability to feel happy and organised. With the increase of people working from home since Covid 19, the place you spend most of your time should spark joy and motivation within you, so take some time to re-evaluate whether your home (or bedroom if you’re living with others) is allowing you to be the best version of yourself.

Assess the light situation. Whilst I was living at university, my bedroom had the smallest window and was located on the ground floor, so I barely got any natural light. I found this really affected my mood as it was hard to motivate myself to get out of bed or do any work (in addition to making the room freezing during the winter months!) Daylight exposure is so important in improving low mood and sleep, so if lack of sunlight is an issue for you, consider buying soft lighting such as fairy lights or invest in a SAD lamp, which mimics natural light and helps with seasonal affective disorder. 

Look into how you’re decorating your space. Colour theory is definitely an interesting concept to look into for your home décor. Certain colours pair well with other colours aesthetically, but colours can also influence your mood. For example, cooler colours are said to be soothing and calm, whilst warmer colours can be energizing and good for creativity. Find out what your style is, whether eclectic, minimalist, or bohemian, as you’ll feel happy if you enjoy the style of the environment which surrounds you. Also, try introducing house plants into your living space, as they can benefit your mental and physical health by reducing certain indoor air pollutants as well as bringing a brighter energy into your room. 

A tidy space equals a tidy mind. You may have heard this many times before, but it really is true. I always feel more focused and productive when I tidy my room before working. A UCLA study recently found out that women who lived amongst clutter had higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, than women who were tidy. They found that the tidier the home, the happier the occupant, highlighting the effect your space has on your mental health. I recommend making a habit out of regularly cleaning and tidying. For example, a ‘Sunday reset’ each week where you change your bedding, wipe surfaces and wash and put away your clothes can help you form a routine to keep on top of things. Otherwise, if you lose track and the mess piles up, it becomes a more daunting task to take care of. 

In addition to keeping your space tidy, ensure it is also de-cluttered. After reading Marie Kondo’s ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying’, I realised how cluttered my bedroom actually was, even more so after moving back home last month with all of my university belongings on top of my home possessions! I gave away a lot of my clothes and miscellaneous items to charity or recycled them, as I felt that living in a chaotic space made me feel like my life was disordered too. Using the KonMari method, I measured whether my possessions sparked joy or had any use to me and managed to declutter. I then organised my remaining items by categories and arranged my clothes in my wardrobe via clothing type and length, then colour-coded them so they appear aesthetically pleasing as well as organised. 

Overall, decorating, maintaining, and tidying your living space can improve your mental health and well-being by stimulating productivity and happiness. Give it a go!

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