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Spruce Up Your Home

Updated: Mar 14

Photograph by Minh Pham

We all know that our physical environments play a role in the state of our mental health. People tend to be happier under the sun, around green spaces and by the water. But apart from natural settings, indoor sites like our home and offices are also important.

Although some adults were spending too many hours within four walls even before the pandemic, this has obviously been the case for many of us since then. Plus, knowing that making bigger changes might be a more difficult task now, simpler adjustments following cleanliness and noise-reduction can go a long way in de-stressing and brightening our personal surroundings, just in time for spring. Here are a few tips:

  • Lighting: Try to get as much natural light in as possible by opening windows. If that is not enough, consider a light therapy device. I use this one. Alternate between bright light for working hours and dimmer light during periods of rest, which can help regulate your circadian rhythm—i.e. sleep-wake cycle—as well. Find out if you prefer warm, cool or daylight colour temperatures and where for the next time you buy bulbs. Here is a good explanation to understand the differences using photography. Do you need task lighting? It could be for your desk, side table, vanity, video conferences or selfies to reduce strain. Add candles or twinkling lights to enhance comfort after hours.

  • Greenery: Jules Renard once wrote, "le paradis n’est pas sur la terre mais il y en a des morceaux." Nature’s ability to calm and heal is ancient and bringing it home adds life, so there is no reason to have a barren place. From succulents, vines and mini-trees to herbs, vegetables and florals, there are a ton of options out there. You can pick something up from a local store or order online. For newbies, pothos is a great houseplant to start with. Once you get the hang of it, you can look at others because there is no heaven on earth, but there are pieces of it.

  • Memorabilia: Thinking of happy memories can be a mood booster, especially in difficult times. They are a reminder that life has not always been tough. This is partly why most of the recent posts on my personal Instagram page have ended up being throwbacks. You can print photos and frame them, put up postcards on the fridge and lay souvenirs or trinkets somewhere visible. Even sitting with a cozy old throw, stuffed animal or well read book can ease tension and promote relaxation due to the sensory effects of touch.

What is your favourite part of your home? Let us know in the comments below.

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