10 Ways to Maintain a Calm and Relaxing Home in Times of Social Change
As the revolution in Lebanon continues, having a relaxing space to retreat to after long days of being politically active or witnessing change is as important as ever. Numerous studies have shown the high degree to which our home environments affect our lives, including how we deal with stress, how well we sleep at night, and how much energy we have during the day.
Self-care is so much more than having a bubble bath and doing a facial – it’s about putting in the work – both internal and external – that will leave you better equipped to handle anything thrown your way. It’s about taking care of yourself and knowing that you can’t pour from an empty cup.
While the state of your home may be the last thing on your mind given the social unrest and constant change happening in Lebanon, giving yourself a sanctuary in which you can recharge your batteries is vital to keeping up your energy and taking care of your mental health.
The best part? It doesn’t have to cost a thing!
So, as a key element of self-care during this time of revolution, here are ten easy ways to create a calm and relaxing home.
1. Keep Things Fresh & Tidy
When life outside of the home feels chaotic or uncertain, it’s important to make your home your sanctuary. According to a study by the National Library of Medicine, people with cluttered homes report elevated feelings of stress and anxiety than those who have tidy ones.
Try to keep things as clean and in order as you can, and make sure all your items have a designated space. Additionally, donate anything that you don’t use anymore or that has no sentimental value – sharing the wealth is an awesome practice during social change.
2. Use Scents
Incorporating scents is an easy way to feel more relaxed at home. In fact, studies have shown that scents play a huge role in mood, emotions, and memory. It’s estimated that as 75% of all emotions felt in a day are linked to scent, and those same studies have shown that people can experience huge mood swings after being exposed to certain scents.
So, with all this research, it’s no wonder why having calming scents are so important in the home. Whenever possible, try to surround yourself with scents that make you feel at peace. For example, lavender is a well-known scent for evoking feelings of calm and relaxation and lemon can help with clarity and anxiety.
Also think about scents that remind you of your favorite place – maybe it’s the refreshing smell of sea breeze or fresh pine. And, whenever possible, try and stay away from scents that smell too chemically or manufactured.
Having more scents in your life can be as simple as getting an essential oil diffuser, buying some candles, or setting up an oil burner.
3. Choose Peaceful Colors
Like scents, the colors you choose for your home will play a big role in how you feel in the space. While it’s well-known that warmer hues (such as reds and oranges) are great for keeping you feeling energized and on the go, and that cooler tones are great for relaxation, the most important thing is that you choose colors that make you feel at home.
Think about places or situations that make you feel the most like you – perhaps it’s the ocean, a lush green hike, or the desert. Then, choose a color palette inspired by that place, and infuse them into your home. For example, an ocean palette would have lots of light blue, beige, and white.
4. Get Some Plants
With all the change happening in Lebanon, not everyone has the time or resources to completely update their home décor to fit their personal style. So, if you feel like you just want to make a small change that will have huge effects on the vibe of your home, get some plants!
Studies have shown that having plants around us can boost serotonin (the pleasure chemical) and lower cortisol (the stress chemical) in the brain, lower blood pressure, raise productivity, and even improve perceptions of the room they’re in.
Getting plants can be as simple as placing a few potted plants in the house, or as ambitious as starting a home garden.
Here are 12 indoor plant suggestions to make you happier and healthier!
5. Include Personal Touches
During times of social change, it’s so important to remember the things and people you love so you can keep perspective and stay energized. One of the easiest ways to do this is to have personal tokens around your house that remind you of the people in your life, or of great times you’ve had.
Simple personal touches can include souvenirs, photographs, gifts, or reminders of your favorite music or movies.
6. Keep Things Handy
Pay attention to the flow of your home and make sure that you keep things as handy as possible. Meaning, put things where they make sense instead of just “where they’ve always gone”.
This could be as simple as rearranging your kitchen cupboards to have your utensils close to the stove, or putting knitting needles in the living room by your couch where you use them the most.
Having things handy and keeping a certain sense of flow in your home will mean you always know where your things are, are never stressing about where you left something, and will restore a sense of order to the space.
7. Have Social Media No-Go Zones
While social media is a great tool for keeping up with events and happenings during political movements, there does come a point when too much social media can cause more stress than peace. If you find this is happening to you, or if you just want to create more boundaries around how and when you are reached, then create social media no-go zones in your home.
Some examples of these zones can include no phones at the dinner table, in the bedroom, or even two hours before bedtime.
8. Designate a Meditation Spot
We talk a lot on The Wellness Project about the multitude of benefits that meditation can bring, and so if you’re a fan of the practice, then I recommend setting aside a specific spot in your home where you can do this.
Your meditation spot should be clean, feature a pillow or yoga mat, induce feelings of calm, and be as distraction free as possible.
If you’re not super into meditation, then think about other hobbies you have that you can designate a spot to. If you read, then create a reading corner for yourself, or if you do yoga, then have your yoga gear set up and ready to go.
This practice is less about what you do in the space, and more about making sure you have a corner in your home that’s your own and that will bring about feelings of peace.
9. Create an Ideal Sleep Environment
As we’ve mentioned time and again, getting a quality night’s rest every single night is so important, especially so when you’ve been giving your energy to political movements.
Your ideal sleep environment should include a pitch-black room, comfortable bedding, a cool yet comfortable temperature, and, if you need it, white noise.
If sleep has been eluding you lately, then check out our 10 tips for a better night’s sleep.
10. Have Company Over
There’s a reason people have housewarming parties when they first move into a space – it’s so it feels less like basic shelter and more like a home. If you find your home is lacking joy or a human element, then consider inviting a friend or family member over.
Spending time with loved ones is also one of our top Self Care for Activists tips – it can be so cathartic to talk about current events over a meal or a cup of tea.
Thanks for reading this list of ways to maintain a calm and relaxing home! Do you find your home affects your mood? Let us know in the comments!
As the author of this article, I’d like to note that although I’m not Lebanese, my heart is with the people of Lebanon during this time. This article was put together using my personal experiences, a variety of sources, and with the help and guidance of The Wellness Project team currently in Lebanon.