Home is where the heart is, they say.
It's also where peace, quiet, sanity, sanctuary, and respite are meant to reside. If you're lucky, it's also your base, it's the place you go when you don't know where else to go, it's where you end up at the end of... anything, and it's where your loved ones know to find you.
Obviously, having a safe and comfortable home is essential for everyone's well-being, across the board. But it's especially important for sensitive introverts who have literally nowhere else to go to get a break from all the noise, noise, NOISE!
And if you're a naturally private person like I am, you probably also want a private space to recharge. After a long day of intense situations, there's nothing I need more than to go off and be vulnerable in a place where no one will see me--except my cats and my miraculously understanding significant other.
At home, I can shed the day's armor. Often, this looks like irritability, agitation, or total dullness, depending on the day I've had. And I most definitely do not want people to see me like that because it's just not an accurate representation of who I really am.
Luckily, these intense days don't come around too often anymore, but being the practical and self-aware person I am, it makes me feel a helluva lot better just knowing that I'll be prepared when "those days" inevitably do roll around.
Here's the most important thing to remember to make your home a place where you can rest and recover from the day: Don't underestimate the power of decor.
I'm not telling you to go pick up some new trinkets from Pier 1 or Ikea.
I'm simply reminding you just how easily our mood and energy can be influenced by our surroundings--mostly through sight.
This is especially true for highly sensitive people; we're highly attuned to the beauty of orchids and the ugliness of litter, as well as the tranquility of gardens and the hectic frenzy of city streets.
One of the biggest things you have control over in your home is how it looks. And sight, as one of your most influential bodily senses, is constantly giving your body information about how it should feel. So help it along.
If you want to feel calm or relaxed in your home, make sure what you see in your home is actually making you feel that way.
We all have individual preferences for which types of sensations make us feel calm, energized, focused, or agitated. Keep that in mind as you read the following tips for how to use decor or aesthetics as a restorative tool.
Tip #1: Adjust the lighting.
I've been in houses that are kept dark at all times, with minimal lights on and the curtains drawn. Some folks find this soothing, but I find that it makes me vigilant, especially if the bright TV is the only source of light in the room.
I personally like lots of natural light, which can be maximized by hanging mirrors across from windows or sliding doors.
The brain is wired to respond differently to varying degrees and types of light, which affects your level of arousal and alertness.
When you're looking to rest and restore, do you prefer dim lighting or bright light? Blue light, fluorescent light, warm light, candlelight, or natural sunlight?
Tip #2: Go easy on the patterns and colors.
Are your walls and furniture brightly colored or neutral? Are they patterned or solid?
Bright colors and busy patterns are typically more stimulating, which is why casino floors are the way they are, and why my bedroom is nothing but whites and light blues.
So if you're trying to chill out, it's probably best not to give your eyes any more to process than they have to. Clutter drives me up the wall for this exact reason.
Tip #3: Display items of sentimental or emotional value.
You can literally trick your brain into being happy and relaxed if you purposefully evoke feelings of play, love or care. Evoking these feelings on a regular basis actually rewires your brain to be more resilient!
Hang up photos of loved ones and old pets. Display artifacts that you've collected from your travels. Create a space for your dogs, cats, guinea pigs, goldfish, or pet cactus to hang out, where you can see them at all times. (I don't have kids, so I'm not sure how this tip would work for those who do. Leave a comment to let me know how you've made this tip work for you!)
I've used these strategies regardless of how tiny, crowded, or crappy my apartment is, and you can too.
And of course, aside from what you see, you're also affected by the textures and temperature of your home, the close and distant noises, and the subtle and not-so-subtle scents and tastes within the kitchen and other rooms of your home.
There are so many ways to use your five senses to create a home environment that is calming, peaceful, and restorative. Your five senses give your body information about the outside world, and your body responds with tension or relaxation.
Enter your information below to get an idea bank of 110 ways that your home can influence your mood and energy through your 5 senses.
As you dive into today’s free PDF download, notice which of the 110 ideas are calming to you, and which ones are not. Which sensory experiences energize you or help you to focus?
Use the idea bank as a starting point for getting intentional about the types of messages that you send your body with your surroundings, especially when you're trying to get some R&R at home sweet home. Use this freebie to actually be intentional when you redecorate this season!
Remember, you have control over how your home looks and feels, so leverage that to create a restorative and nourishing environment for yourself.
Wishing you a cozy, calm, and healthy home,