The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of us to stay at home. Although following such a protocol has been good for our physical health (helping us avoid contracting the virus). The pandemic has been negatively affecting people’s mental health. In July, 53% of people reported their mental well-being negatively impacted by the pandemic, mainly due to anxiety and stress about the virus. Social isolation is also one of the main reasons why people are experiencing negative mental health impacts. It’s a given that such a result will occur because humans are naturally social beings. That’s why the government is trying its best to re-open the country again, but the stay-at-home order is still ongoing.
For a lot of us, our homes are not the most conducive place for improving mental health. People rarely acknowledge the fact that our environments also have an impact on our mental health. Now that we have no choice but to stay at home, we have to do something to make our homes better for our mental health to be better. Here are five ways to make your home the most conducive environment for improving our mental health.
- Keep your home clean.
By simply tidying up your home, you can already improve your mental health. People don’t realize it, but clutter, even minor ones like a pile of dirty clothes on a chair or a messy desk, is a source of anxiety and stress. If you’re already feeling stressed by the pandemic, you’d want to get rid of as many sources of additional anxiety as possible. You can start small by simply cleaning one area of your house like your desk, closet, or even making your bed in the morning; these are good places to start.
Indoor air quality is another factor you should consider. Poor indoor air quality can lead to more disease, illnesses, stress, and even depression. Try to vacuum your home every week and make sure that you have proper ventilation in your kitchen, bathroom, and laundry area. If your exhaust vents are damaged, you should get them replaced. If you’re concerned about whether home insurance covers such repairs or replacements, talk to your provider about it. Don’t underestimate the advantages of having proper ventilation.
- Add more greenery to your homes.
Experts have confirmed that by surrounding yourself with plants and greenery, you can improve your mental health. It has become a means to reduce anxiety and stress, lowers blood pressure, improve productivity, and even improve indoor air quality. If you’ve ever wondered why NASA brings plants to space, other than for research purposes and understanding plant biology, it’s also used to help the astronauts stay healthier during their missions. Back in 1989, NASA conducted a study to see if plants could remove toxins from the air. They found that plants could indeed remove toxins from the air, even potentially deadly toxins such as formaldehyde. Having fresh air and being surrounded by nature (even if it is just a few plants) are beneficial for one’s mental and physical health.
- Have visually stimulating decor.
It’s a given that having dull surroundings can make us feel more down than usual. Staring at the same old dull decor can be unpleasant. You can boost your mood by having more visually stimulating decor. Why not try painting a wall in your room with a different color or painting each wall with different colors. Use light-colored paints instead of darker ones. Or add fairy lights around your room or buy a smart bulb that changes colors. You can also try adding decorations or furnishings that stimulate other senses, such as scented candles, a cozy blanket, or a fluffy rug.
- Rid your home of any alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.
Part of taking care of your mental health is taking care of your body. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, as these can worsen your health in general. If you want to commit to avoiding these substances, you can either lock them up and give the key to a trusted friend or throw them away.
- Make your bedroom more sleep-friendly.
Getting seven to eight hours of sleep is particularly important. Depending on where you live, if you live next to a busy road or if there’s construction near you, you may have trouble sleeping due to the noise. You can soundproof your room by purchasing soundproof curtains. These are heavy and tightly woven curtains that were specifically made to muffle sounds. These are more aesthetically pleasing and cost-effective than installing acoustic panels.
Our homes are supposed to be a safe space. In a time like this, we have no other choice but to stay at home. So, we have to make our homes the best place by changing the surroundings a bit. However, if you are living with people who are toxic and feel that your mental health is in danger or if you are facing a crisis, visit Mental Health America’s website or call 911 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text MHA to 741741 at the Crisis Text Line. If you are a victim of abuse, please call the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.