5 simple ways to inject wellness to your home
Living well extends beyond keeping to a healthy diet and regular exercise. The spaces in which we live and work can also greatly influence our physical and mental well-being. A bright and airy room can help to stimulate creativity and lift our spirits, while spacious interiors may promote social gatherings.
In times of the COVID-19 pandemic, the home is more than just a roof over our head; the change in lifestyle and shift to telecommuting have placed more demands on our humble abode. Now, a home is not just where the heart is, it is also where the work (perhaps classroom and nursery, too) is.
With many people now spending more time at home, it makes sense to explore the relationship between our living environment and our well-being. Whether it is a landed property or an HDB flat or a private condominium unit, there are relatively simple ways to inject wellness to your living spaces.
Generally, most people tend to spend the vast majority of their time in an enclosed space, be it at home or at the workplace – which makes indoor air quality an important consideration. The inhalation of pollutants over a period of time can negatively impact our health, with potential respiratory problems ranging from asthma to the irritation of the airways.
Common air pollutants include mould, and volatile organic compounds that originate from cigarette smoke, candles, air fresheners, paint, and household cleaning products for example. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), around 3.8 million people a year die from the exposure to household air pollution.
To improve air quality at home, ensure that the space is sufficiently ventilated; this can be done via the opening of windows, using air filters – such as a portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cleaner – and turning on fans to enhance air flow. In addition, ensure that the air-conditioning system is well-maintained by servicing it at regular intervals. (Check out the OVVY app for aircon servicing providers and their rates) While the use of artificial room fragrances like candles and sprays can help to lift moods, they may contain chemicals and introduce contaminants into the air. To get around this, try using natural air fresheners (plants and flowers) such as lavender, geranium, rosemary or mint – they will help to perfume the room naturally and are also easy on the eye.
Lighting plays a critical role in promoting visual, mental, and biological health. In fact, it has a direct impact in regulating our circadian rhythm, which is the body’s internal clock that is linked to our sleep-wake cycle. Essentially, it works like this, during the day, the exposure to daylight sends signals to the brain, which then activates other functions in the body to increase alertness and wakefulness. When night falls, this circadian rhythm tells the body that it is time for rest and promotes the release of melatonin, a hormone that helps to induce sleep. The Sleep Foundation notes that exposure to natural light, especially early in the day, helps to reinforce the strongest circadian cue.
A disruption to the circadian rhythm can impact mood, mental well-being, and sleep quality. There are a few ways – some are more expensive than others - to bring more natural light into the home. If budget permits, modifying windows or changing from solid wood to glass doors, even knocking down a wall can all help to allow more daylight into the living spaces. Other simpler methods include the thoughtful use of reflective decoration items (e.g. mirrors), and lighter interior colour palette to help reflect light around the house. In the evening, lighting systems with a dimmer function also go some way in aligning with our circadian rhythm, as oppose to the bright and harsh white light.
Colour can affect our perception of space. Putting a lighter shade on your walls will help to make the space feel brighter and larger, as light gets reflected around the room – this may be suited for the living room or a small room to give a sense of space. In addition, paints with a glossy finish should also promote the reflection of light compared with matt paints. Conversely, a room with dark-coloured walls may feel smaller, as dark colours absorb light. This may be ideal for the bedroom or the rest area to make the space feel more cosy, promoting relaxation and rest. Darker walls can also be paired with lighter-coloured ceiling to give a sense of increased height.
Companies have used colour psychology to great success in their branding and marketing campaigns to evoke various emotions: Yellow for optimism; blue to convey confidence; red to signify boldness, black for sophistication etc. This, too can be applied to home interiors. Different hues will create a different atmosphere and elicit varying emotions. For instance, colours like blue and green are said to be helpful in easing stress and anxiety, white may inspire mental clarity, while a pop of brighter shades such as red or orange can be invigorating. (Need a fresh coat of paint at home? Find a service provider on OVVY)
Clutter and mess can induce unnecessary stress and anxiety, and may even impede movement around the house. A cluttered living environment is known to create frustration and dissatisfaction.
A quick fix may be to increase storage space, but this is not always a viable option given the shrinking size of modern homes. A more sustainable solution – albeit requiring significant effort – may be to take time out to declutter, sorting through accumulated possessions and casting out (or giving away) unwanted items. Effective space management can greatly enhance one’s enjoyment of the home.
Having a quiet and restful corner/room at home will provide a space where one can step away from work stress to recharge and refocus – a place to perhaps read, meditate, or practice yoga. Incorporating elements of nature such as plants will also help to ease stress, relieve mental fatigue and promote calm.
So, take some time to think about how you interact with your living spaces and how your home can be improved to boost your physical and mental well-being. For all your handyman services – plumbing, aircon servicing, a paint job etc. – be sure to check out OVVY first.
September 14, 2021