Recently, after a long day at work, I found myself walking home with my two small kids in tow, in the rain. No umbrella of course because I have a bad habit of ignoring the weather reports. We were wet, grumpy and cold, and it was not a shining parenting moment. But when I walked in the door of our home and turned on the lights, I was struck by the sense of warmth and security we’ve created at home, and the long day and the rain and the cold all fell away, and I felt thankful.
This is not to say my home was tidy (it wasn’t), or large (it’s not). It’s old and often dusty and occasionally feels like there’s one upgrade after another, but the environment we’ve created gives us a sanctuary from the outside world, and a necessary place to find calm and peace at the end of the day.
I’ve put together a few easy, eco-friendly tips to create a calming environment in your home, and I’d love to hear yours in the comments below.
Here’s something that your naturopath, your friend who raves about their essential oil diffuser, and the makers of children’s shampoos and soaps all know: the right scent can be incredibly powerful.
The air freshener business, including scented candles, is a multi-billion dollar industry. They know that consumers want to use scent to create a happy home environment. But look at the ingredients on most of these items and you’ll find a list of chemicals and synthetic fragrances. Increasingly, the scented
candle industry in particular has drawn criticism for being both bad for you, and bad for the earth.
A home environment that is making you sick with synthetic fragrances is not going to create the sanctuary you need.
Listen, I’m telling you right now: throw away your Pumpkin Spice candle, pick up this Ginger Spice Air Freshener. Ginger and spice create a warm feeling, perfect for these late autumn and winter nights. Nothing synthetic to harm you, your family or your pets: just a beautiful, warming scent. A few spritzes in your sitting room to greet you when you get home is step one in creating your home sanctuary.
My close friend is a lighting designer. When she first went into this line of work, I was baffled by what it was that she did. I had never noticed the lighting around me before – in stores, in dressing rooms, in the theater. But that’s the power of well-designed lighting: it can guide your mood and your sensations,
whether you realize it or not!
Using the right lighting in your home can help you feel calm and reduce stress. I don’t mean the lamps you buy, but the light. A light bulb with a reddish hue will add warmth, while ones with a blue hue will be a stimulant. Phones and computers emanate blue light, which is why experts often recommend we set a
device-free period before bed, to get a good night’s sleep.
Using LED lights in particular is an environmentally-friendly, and cost-efficient, way to create a warmly lit environment in your home. You don’t need to buy a red light bulb; just look for lights that have fewer than 3000 kelvins, which will provide a warmer glow.
The bed-time routine
We all know how valuable sleep is to manage our stress and peace of mind. And, as parents, we’re told that creating a bed time routine is invaluable for kids. But what about for us adults? Preparing your mind for sleep is essential for us too!
I mentioned that blue light from phones, tablets and computers is a stimulant. And for many of us, scrolling through our social media in bed to unwind seems like the perfect brainless activity – but I urge you to try, even for just a week, to put your device down an hour before bedtime. Let the lighting you’ve created tell your brain that it’s time to prepare for sleep. And frankly, let yourself focus on you and not the outside world during this time.
There are a number of benefits to meditation, to help reduce stress, increase focus and self-esteem. But it can also help you train your mind and become a beneficial part of your bed-time routine.
Photo Credit: Expertreviews.uk.co
Add some greens No, I’m not talking about veggies. I’m talking about plants. Adding plants to your home has a number of
benefits: some studies say they help reduce stress, help clean the air, and make people happy. And there are a number of easy-to-care for plants for those of us that don’t have a green thumbs.
Aloe vera plants are very easy to maintain, and are said to help reduce stress in particular. If you have a cat or dog, however, this may not be the best plant for you as it can be harmful if ingested by them.
If you have a sunny window for your plants, jasmine and chamomile are both great options, and aren’t harmful to your pets (though I wouldn’t let them eat your plants, regardless!)
Finally, let’s revisit scent. Next time you do your laundry, as you’re putting your sheets away, try using
this Absolute Green Linen and Fabric spray in lavender on them. Use the calming, therapeutic power of lavender to help you sleep, and rest assured you’re not sleeping in any unsavory chemicals.
Building your peaceful home environment won’t take a lot of money, and can done in a natural, safe way. And having a sanctuary for you to unwind and find peace is invaluable to your own well-being!