Our mental health is everything. And if you’re a parent, taking care of your mind carries even more weight because you are in charge of other lives outside of your own. In a world that’s (slowly) learning to prioritize mental wellness, we are learning, as parents, to take up space, to add self-care practices to our daily routines, and to lean on therapy as a means of strength (not weakness).
However, one of the most important ways to support your mind is to start at home.
Your home should be your mental health haven—a place that you not only feel comfortable in, but that supports your overall peace and strength of mind. From making subtle changes to completely shifting the way you live and work, here are a few suggestions to make your home a safe, sacred place for you (and your family).
Cultivate A Connected Atmosphere
You are the best version of yourself when you are in tune with the things, people, and experiences that you love. This is why, as parents, we’re encouraged to spend time both with our children and our friends, or, why we’re pushed to have passions and desires outside of our kids. As such, it’s important to keep this in mind with your home.
Your house shouldn’t just be a space where you eat meals and go to sleep—it should be a mental health haven. It should be a place that you connect with your loved ones, that you do things you love (self-care, passions, of relaxation practices), and that, overall, just brings you joy.
When you design your home, think about what you value and try to create rooms or add décor that celebrates those items/people. For example, a den space for family movie nights, a photo wall to preserve your memories, and a pet area for your animals to share the day alongside you.
Having these items and areas can naturally support better mental health because you are more deeply connected to what you value.. This makes your house feel like a part of you rather than just a space you occupy.
Bring The Natural World In
The natural world—whether we’re talking about the dirt underneath our bare feet, greenery, natural light, or something simple as having a window in our office—has numerous positive benefits when incorporated into our homes. If you don’t have any plants, intentional outdoor areas, or open windows (weather permitting, of course), then this is your sign to redesign, renovate, or be more intentional about your home layout.
Nature—plants, windows, fresh air, and light—can make such a difference, not only in the air quality, but in the way you feel connected to the spaces around you (both indoor and outside of your walls).
Make Use Of Natural Light
Along with bringing nature in, natural light can have a huge impact on how you feel about your home and in your home.
Homes that solely rely on artificial light can feel less ‘homey,’ more ‘sterile’ or ‘office-like,’ and as a result, even disconnected. While you don’t have to completely renovate your space, here are a few simple suggestions: set up an outdoor seating area (even a basic one!) to take advantage of daylight, sunset, or even evening hours; shift your room layouts so that your bed, seating areas, or other furniture can be intentional about taking in sunlight during the day; and, of course, open your windows!
If you have windows with heavy blinds, consider opting for lightweight or sheer blinds so you can have privacy while still bringing in the sun in. If you have the budget, you may want to consider hiring a window service to update your windows so that they can open or so that they’re simply bigger. You can also install a skylight, if there is anywhere in your home that is suitable for that. Regardless of what you decide to do or invest in, changing natural light in your home can help you to mentally reset and feel more positive.
Declutter & Minimize
There is much to be said for simply having less in the home.
One of the main reasons that so many people lean on the Marie Kondo style and other ‘less-is-more’ methods is because minimalizing the home can also reduce mental ‘clutter’ and stress, too. When you consider your home and making it a mental health haven, how many items (furniture, clothing, toys, glassware, etc.) are you hanging onto unnecessarily? How much can you let go of simply because it doesn’t suit you or your lifestyle anymore?
If we’re being honest, quite a few things can be dropped. And what better time to do that than now? Letting go of items can honestly be a practice in healing, too—as you learn to let go, you shed past parts of your life and who you used to be.
Add Positive Colors
Color impacts our mood; in fact, paint colors can impact your home and how both you and your children can both feel and behave. Playing around with colors (of walls, décor, etc.) can be a great way to shift your mood. For example, if you want your home to embody peace and relaxation, lean on deeper and more peaceful blues or greens. And for an area of your home that you want to feel clean and fresh, opt for lighter or brighter hues.
Your home is your mental health haven, and honestly, a reflection of you. So, the key is to be intentional—about the items, colors, furniture, layout, and activities—to make your space something you love rather than just a space you exist in.