Designing A Healthy Habitat

Hello Friends! I am so excited to have my incredibly talented friend and interior designer, Amanda Stewart, guest post for me here in this space on creating your own healthy habitat. There is never any better time than the present to seize initiative and start projects, but this is even more true now as the weather turns colder and we turn our intentions and focus to spaces inside the home instead of outside. Creating is such a rewarding form of self care. So treat yourself, have a read and unleash that inner creative this winter. I know I will! I especially like the tips for the plants and workout space here, but I am a little biased *wink*

Designing a Healthy Habitat

By Amanda Stewart of Feels Like Home Interior Design

Harness the power of interior design to boost your wellness.

The wellness industry has its hand in nearly everything; from fitness, to the workplace to beauty. I’m here to offer one more source for wellness to draw from: interior design .

That’s right. We spend endless hours researching nutrient-dense recipes, and countless dollars go to gym memberships. But at the end of the day, your sense of well- being is enormously impacted by your immediate surroundings. If you’re looking to improve your mental health or boost your overall mood, look no further than your own home. Incorporating wellness into your private living space is the first step in laying the foundation for the energizing, uplifting, and balanced lifestyle that a habitually healthy home strives to create.

Here are three main elements to consider, and a few practical tips to implement them in your home.

  • Bring nature indoors- Nature has long been touted as a powerful relief for both physical and mental stress. The quiet calm of the natural world soothes your mental state, and of course, is scientifically proven to boost your endorphins and serotonin levels (https://www.healthline.com/health/happy-hormone). But how do we get nature’s benefits indoors?
    • Let the light in. Natural light can be an instant mood enhancer. Here are three ways to ensure you are making the most of all of that valuable natural light available to you in your home:
      • Take advantage of any windows you have by precariously placing your furniture to let as much of that light in as possible. Avoid placing bulky pieces in front of a window.
      • Additionally, arrange seating so that a view of the outdoors can be glimpsed from as many vantage points as possible.
      • Framing your windows well is equally as important as furniture placement. Properly hung curtains won’t encroach on the light from the window. Always hang curtains outside and above the window molding (anywhere between 2-6” above, and 4-10” outside), and just cover the window box with a few inches of fabric, leaving the rest to gently flow across the wall toward the end of the rod. {example picture, before and after}
  • Plants make people happy. Indoor houseplants are the closest thing to being inundated with nature as you can get in your home. Not only do they act as air purifiers, but the act of caring, watering and tending to houseplants also boosts your “happy hormones.” Resources such as thesill.com offer a wide range of types and sizes of plants that can be sent right to your door, and make it easy for you to cultivate your own collection.
    • Since plants also cancel the positive ions that emanate from electronics, you can get double the benefit by placing a plant near the tv or at your computer desk{ Siņicina N, Skromulis A, Martinovs A. Amount of air ions depending on indoor plant activity. Environment Technology Resources. Proceedings of the International Scientific and Practical Conference. 2015;2. 267. Doc: 10.17770/etr2015vol2.247. } A snake plant requires little maintenance by way of light and water, and looks beautiful while purifying your air and balancing the harmful effects of technology. {picture of snake plant} https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2077351/
  • Soothe your Senses. You feel calm, cool and collected in a spa, right? But anxious and overwhelmed in a McDonalds? This is color psychology hard at work, and brands have been using these theories for years in marketing their businesses, so there’s no reason you can’t incorporate these lessons into your own homes as well.
    • Calm and soothing colors. If your life is filled with chaos, anxiety, and overwhelm, your best bet is to stick with neutral tones and minimal patterns within your home for a calming effect that reduces anxiety and improves moods. Here’s a few tips on how to do that:
      • Blues, Greens, Neutrals. There’s a reason these are the colors that show up the most in a spa. Green is associated with feelings of security, blue makes us feel safe, and neutrals (white, beige, grey) have a calming and soothing affect. These colors are great choices for the majority of you space (think: wall color, couch, large art pieces). Colors found in nature. When choosing any color, it’s wise to choose a shade that can be found in nature. Unnatural shades can make you feel visually and physically uncomfortable.
    • Colors to Reign in. Save these colors for accents and use in small doses. Red: Use this color with caution (think small accent pieces in a bookshelf or one lamp), as it arouses passion and danger, and can instantly increase your heart rate.
      • Orange: This playful and happy color is more youthful than sophisticated, so use in small doses in common areas or go wild with it if you are lucky enough to have an entire room devoted to working out (it’s very stimulating and known to increase productivity!).
      • Purple: Since it’s not found in nature, this color can often feel uncomfortable when used in large doses (like painting a wall).
  • Workout ready area. In our fast-paced, instant gratification culture, we’ve been programmed to look for the quickest, easiest way to do things. So, if you don’t make your workout corner easily accessible and in your view every day, you are less likely to work up a sweat as regularly as you’d like to! Here are some tips for creating a workout haven that will inspire you to move every time you pass it by (without being a design eyesore).
    • Define your workout. Do you need some dumbbells and a TV to do workouts on an app? Do you just need a yoga mat or a large space for jumping rope? Make a list of everything you need for your workout (including water and a towel!) so that you are fully armed to stock up a location.
    • Set it up. Grab a storage ottoman or a wicker basket and stash those workout accessories stylishly, yet in plain view. And that’s it! If your workout items are convenient, accessible, and look good, then you will be much more likely to be consistent with your exercise routine.

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