When the world is feeling especially overwhelming and I can’t control my worries, I often find myself retreating inward. Maybe this is the introvert in me or maybe it’s a form of avoidance but for as long as I can remember, this is how I’ve dealt with my stress. All throughout my life, I remember crawling into my bed and watching Netflix under mounds of blankets after a stressful day. It was my safest spot. In reflecting on that, I began considering the ways that home decor and mental health might overlap.
The house where we currently live is the first space that has been entirely mine (well, Johnny lives here too, but you know what I mean). I’ve lived in other homes but those spaces were all shared with roommates, dorm-mates or my parents. In the last few years, I have really come to realize that caring for your space can be a form of self-care.
There are a lot of things in life that we don’t have much control over, but we can control our space and how we set it up to best serve us and meet our needs.
Now, I’m not talking about creating a picture-perfect home or buying all designer furniture in order to feel satisfied with our space. In fact, if you find yourself preoccupied with all of things you don’t have as it relates to material things in your home, it’s probably time to look inward and explore what you may need emotionally or physically at home to feel more contentment. When I find myself being pulled into the comparison game with others, that introspection and work on myself is usually what I need.
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Home Is A Safe Haven
So what does my personal haven from the outside world actually look like? It’s a place where I can exhale fully after a long, hard day. Home is a where it’s ok to process things exactly as I need to – whether that’s a big cry, journaling in bed or having a hard talk on the couch. It’s a place where I can indulge in frivolity without guilt. And home is also a place where I can try new things and be messy without any fear of judgment – a new recipe, meditation, Pilates. My own home is where I’ve really learned what self-care looks like for me. Whether I’m needing alone time or connection.
Just to be clear, there isn’t one style, aesthetic, piece of furniture or budget that can make your home the space you need. It’s actually so much simpler than that. Start by identifying what you cherish most in your life that money can’t buy. Then build your home around that.
Home Decor and Mental Health
What I’ve realized as we settled into our first home together, was that more than anything I wanted our home to feel like a safe haven. I spend a lot of time in the heavy parts of other’s life in my role as a counsellor in the mental health field. I quickly learned that for me, home decor and mental health intersected. Home needed to be a space of light – the bright white walls, the calming tones, the relaxing scents, the creativity injected all throughout. When I began decorating our home, I tapped into a part of myself that was neglected for a long time. Finding that balance was such a crucial part of caring for myself and feeding all parts of my being and slowly, our home evolved into a place where I could just be, heal, and rest.