Considering our homes are where we spend large amounts of our time – especially recently – it’s perhaps no surprise that our living environments and our mental health are closely linked. Shelter is a basic human need, and having a cozy, safe place in which to relax, practice self care and escape from day to day stresses is proven to be a fast track to wellbeing. But how we look after ourselves – and our environment – while at home can impact mental wellbeing even further. In honor of World Mental Health Day, here are our 10 easy ways to look after your mental health from the comfort of your pad.
10 ways to look after your mental health at home
1. Make space
Clear home, clear mind. Research has shown that being in a messy, cluttered environment can have a detrimental effect on the way we feel. So why not boost your wellbeing by giving your possessions a sort out? Toss any garbage, recycle old papers, and bag up clothes and knick knacks that no longer serve you to donate to your local Goodwill (or share with neighbors on Freecycle). You can even part with unwanted but still edible food using the Olio app (so long, unwanted jar of pickles at the back of the refrigerator!). You’ll feel much better for it – and as they say, one person’s trash is another’s treasure.
2. Get clean and serene
Now you’ve banished the clutter, it’s time to get the rubber gloves out – not least because having a clean space can actually help reduce anxiety. What’s more, the repetitive act of cleaning can serve as a form of mindfulness – what better reason to get dusting? To really up the feelgood factor, ditch the harsh chemicals in favor of cleaning products with natural ingredients – they’ll not only smell great, but be kinder on the environment, too. We love the planet-friendly All-Purpose Cleaner by Common Good with bergamot essential oil.
3. Create a self-care corner
The kitchen is dedicated to food preparation, the bathroom to washing – so what about creating a space in your home reserved just for mental health self-care? Pull up a cozy chair, pick out some favorite candles, and perhaps accessorize with an inspiring artwork or two – and voilà. Your very own corner in which to have a peaceful moment whenever you need it – whether you’re sitting down for a short meditation (we love Insight Timer’s huge library of free ones), or immersing yourself in a good book.
4. Show your bod some TLC
Taking time to look after our bodies can have a positive impact on our self-esteem. Even a simple act like taking a shower with some of your favorite products or massaging oil into your skin can have your mood lifted in moments. If you feel like going all out, why not have an at-home spa experience? Grab the fluffy robe, get your chillout playlist fired up on Spotify, and treat yourself to a head to toe pampering session.
5. Be at one with nature
Not only do plants oxygenate our air, studies show that being among greenery can help us feel more relaxed and less anxious. So whether you tend to your family of houseplants (for tips, check out Apartment Therapy’s excellent plant care guide) or get out in the garden for a dose of fresh air (also great for mental health!), spend some time with nature for a real wellbeing boost that doesn’t cost a thing.
6. Get moving
It’s a well known fact that exercise is vital to good mental health. But that doesn’t have to mean pumping iron at the gym – thanks to the huge number of free online classes out there, it’s now easier than ever to work up a sweat at home. The key to maintaining a regular exercise routine is to find something that you really enjoy, so why not experiment – it might be that you discover a love of tree pose by following an Alo Yoga class on YouTube, or it could be a HIIT session with The Body Coach that floats your boat. But whatever you do, have fun!
7. Cook up a storm
Preparing and enjoying a balanced meal with fresh, healthy ingredients is a great (and delicious) way to support your mental health, particularly because good nutrition is linked to more stable moods and a reduced risk of depression. Cram it full of green leafy veggies, healthy fats and a lean protein source and you’re on the way to great brain health. If you’re stuck for recipe inspiration, a browse of Epicurious is always a good place to start.
8. Spend time with friends
Socializing and feeling part of a community are proven to positively impact our mental health. So to really amp up your mental wellbeing, why not invite a pal around to yours? You could share a tasty meal (see above), watch a funny film, laze in the garden, or just have a good chat. If seeing people in person isn’t on the agenda at the moment, try Skyping friends and family, or pick up the phone to a buddy you haven’t spoken to in a while. Instant mood uplift!
9. Step up your sleep game
Sleep and mental wellbeing are closely connected. In order to keep our bodies and minds healthy, it’s important that we get that recommended 7 to 9 hours a night. To help you catch some high quality slumber, try and make your bedroom as relaxing and sleep-supporting as possible. Invest in some blackout curtains, remove electronics from the bedroom, and try to keep it at a cooler temperature (experts recommend aiming for between 60 to 71 degrees Fahrenheit). To really up the relaxation factor, introduce some soothing scent to your space before bed. Lavender essential oil is known to be good for sleep: try using the CASA Home diffuser with our Quiet Evenings oil blend, with lavender and benzoin to help you drift off in no time.
10. Treat yourself
It might sound simple, but showing yourself a bit of kindness is a recognized way to improve the way you feel. No one knows you better than yourself, so your idea of a treat will likely be very different from someone else’s – for some, it’ll be lying on the couch bingeing a favorite Netflix show, whereas for others it’ll be enjoying a glass of red wine or ordering takeout (life is all about balance, after all!). But whatever treat you choose, savor it, happy in the knowledge that you’re supporting your mental health at the same time.