Stress management can come in many forms. Changing your thoughts and attitudes can help you to feel less stressed and be more proactive when you face challenges in your life. Maintaining ongoing healthy habits can also help, and can foster greater overall wellness, too. Eliminating stressors in your environment, as well as creating an environment that helps you to manage your stress, are also a key strategies that can really help with your overall stress management efforts. As someone who has studied stress management and helped others with it for years, I wanted to share my own personal tips on creating a home environment that's conducive to stress management. At the end of this article, you'll be able to share your own ideas and see what has worked for others. Enjoy!
- Clean House
I love having a clean house, and I've worked to cull clutter so that my house isn't as much work to keep clean. It wasn't always like this for me; I'm a (mostly) reformed messy person, and I hold onto things for sentimental value, so I used to have way too much stuff, and it was kept in a disorganized fashion. But now I've gotten into the habit of getting rid of things every few months, putting things in their logical places each day, and decorating in a way that feels really peaceful for me. (I also have a few helpers in the 'keeping things clean' department now: my kids, who are great at doing chores, and professional house cleaners when I need a little extra help.) While everyone may have a different comfort zone with how neat things need to be, most people find a cluttered home to be a bit of a subtle-but-pervasive stressor. This article on stress and clutter explains why, while this article on keeping your home clean outlines more on how to tell how clean you want your house, and how to get it there with minimal stress. (In fact, I've found that at certain times, cleaning can work as a stress reliever!) Let your home be your haven.
We have a hot tub and a massage chair, and I couldn't love them more. The massage chair is great for loosening tension in my body, and the hot tub creates a soothing end to any day. (Our friends love the chair, too, though fewer of them make their way into the hot tub.) We use these gadgets all the time, and don't take them for granted. My parents don't have these things, but they do have a sauna. My sister and her husband had a pool table--not something that you may think of as a wellness tool until you remember that having fun is important for a balanced life and overall wellness as well. Having a large item or two that can really help you relieve stress can be well worth the money. (What would your ideal gadget be?)
I have essential oils, stick incense, and scented candles throughout the house. When I use them, it creates a new level of relaxation, and can really affect my mood. This, according to research, occurs not only because I enjoy the scent, but because certain scents can create different effects in our bodies. (For example, lavender is soothing, and peppermint can wake you up cognitively.) Read more aromatherapy research, and find out more about the benefits of aromatherapy.
- Home Spa
I have a bath tub that I love (the kind with jets) and I keep a stock of bath products and candles that make it feel a bit like a home spa. I like feeling like I can take a mental mini-vacation by engaging in a bath meditation at home, and emerge feeling like I really got a break from my day. Here are some tips on setting up your own home spa.
Though I have less time for it than I did in previous years, I really enjoy trying to keep the beautiful plants in my yard alive and thriving. I have several edible plants: raspberries, blackberries, mint, basil. But you might love roses, and cut them to be in your home. Or geraniums, with their bright, beautiful splashes of color. Or hard-to-kill succulents. Whatever your fancy, gardening can be a great stress reliever because it gets you out in the sunshine, surrounded by beauty and nature, and generally taking a break from your everyday stressors, even if it's just a brief break. Read more about stress and gardening.
Music can be a wonderful tool for stress relief, and can also be used to energize. I use my mellow music to relax, and my faster-paced music to wake myself up if I need to have more energy. There are real benefits to this practice (you can read about them in this article on music therapy.) I also recommend using music in your daily life, and in the car to combat road rage, if you ever experience that. How might you use music in your day to relieve stress?
I'm a big fan of Starbucks, but sometimes I want that coffehouse feeling in my house. I thought about what I liked the most--vanilla tea--and started drinking it at home. I also have small pieces of dark chocolate that I can use in chocolate meditation, as a 'reward' for hard work, or for a quick uplift. (I don't advocate excessive emotional eating, but I do love my chocolate, eaten mindfully, and in small doses!) The point is that I have stocked my home with things that really aren't that bad for me, and feel especially wonderful when I have them at just the right time. (For more, see this article on pleasures.) What would you love to have more of in your home?