They say “Home is where the heart is”, but how do you bring more heart into your home? Making your home a sanctuary entails more than having certain furniture pieces or even arranging them in a certain way. It means being able to come home and be at peace. This can make a world of difference after a long day at work or if you are feeling stressed in various other aspects of life. Recent studies have shown that nearly 70% of Americans experience either physical (fatigue, insomnia, digestive disturbances, muscle tension) or psychological symptoms (irritability, depression, anxiety) related to stress. Stress management is one of the most common conditions I treat in practice. It often presents within what I call the “vicious cycle” triad of stress, insomnia and fatigue. Wash, rinse and repeat! My treatment plans for these patients always include some sort of prayer, meditation or mindfulness practice; spending more time in nature and connecting with people or activities that bring joy. Why not achieve all of these goals right in your own home?
A spiritual practice can help relieve stress as it brings the mind to present moment and facilitates self reflection. There are so many ways to incorporate these practices during busy lives and it may help to dedicate a quiet space in the home for this purpose. A room, bathtub, corner or even a closet would do! If insomnia is an issue, it may be helpful to develop a bedtime routine that includes some of these tools to help you wind down and put the stresses of the day in the past so you may have more restful sleep and wake up rejuvenated the next day.
Spending time in nature can help us feel connected to the earth and take our focus away from stressors an onto the beauty that surrounds us. Research has shown that even a view into a natural space can increase a sense of calm, improve mental capacity and also hasten healing time in the ill. Bringing natural elements into the home can help create this environment indoors. Plants, photos of natural scenes and window views into green spaces are great options to harness the power of nature at home.
And finally, joy. Sometimes it is overlooking the small joys in life that can makes us more susceptible to feeling overwhelmed by stress. Hobbies and other forms of recreation can play a big role in relieving stress and improving energy and relationships. I earnestly believe that laughter is the best medicine so making sure that we have resources at home that are just plain fun is a great preventative health choice. Board games, crafts, light-hearted tv shows, uplifting music and anything else that brings a smile to your face are great investments. We are never too old to play!
Our shows Green Home Sanctuary and Green Summer Decor have more helpful tips to create your very own home sanctuary.
Dr. Adeola Mead, ND is the Natural Choice Network's Healthy Living Content Coordinator. She is a Bastyr University graduate and Seattle based naturopathic physician. Dr. Mead is passionate about using natural medicine education as a powerful healing tool for both individuals and communities.