There is something magical about traveling. Whether it’s to the beach, the mountains, a foreign country, or a small town here in Arizona, just getting away from the day-to-day can make you feel brand new. And it’s not just in your head! Research has found that those who take more frequent vacations reported less stress and depression, a boost in happiness and satisfaction, and enhanced creativity.
But what if I told you that these benefits are available even when you’re unable to travel? Our everyday environments affect our mental and physical well-being – that’s partially why traveling is so beneficial. But there are easy ways to turn your home into an oasis and replicate those feelings of vacation. Read on for seven tips to help you create your own retreat so you can reap the same benefits you experience when traveling while staying at home.
Create Calm Zones
Our homes should be a retreat from the busy world around us. I like to create different calm zones in various rooms when possible, to invoke meditation and relaxation as a means to decompress. Calm zones can be whole rooms or a quiet corner, and there are a few different ways to create this space. First, make sure that the chosen space is clear of clutter. Remove any distractions — this is a laptop, tablet, and phone free zone. Next comes the decoration — I like to choose calming colors such as neutrals, shades of blue and green, utilize natural elements like plants and wood, and find ways to increase natural light.
Turn Your Bedroom into a Luxury Hotel Room
To me, the bedroom is one of the most important rooms, since it is where we both start and end our day. I may not have a way to guarantee a chocolate on the pillow, but there are plenty of ways to turn the bedroom into a retreat. The easiest way is to upgrade the bedding with comfortable textiles. I love adding plush elements to the bedroom like fluffy pillows and a cozy, neutral chair.
Rearrange Your Furniture
When I was a teen, I remember feeling so accomplished after rearranging my room. There was something energizing about creating something new in my everyday space. Dr. Nicole Villegas, an occupational therapist, agrees. She points out that rearranging the layout of a room offers people the ability to take control of their environments, which sends a signal to our nervous system that allows us to feel safer and more relaxed. Try moving your furniture to different rooms or locations, changing out your pillows and rugs, or moving around your décor. It’s a creative exercise and might even help you declutter.
Bring the Outdoors In
Have you heard of biophilic design? It is a way to connect to nature and has a ton of proven benefits like supporting cognitive function, mental and physical restoration, decreased stress, and more. My favorite thing about biophilic design is that there are so many ways to incorporate it while still getting all of the benefits. The easiest way is to bring natural elements into your space through the use of plants, water features, natural light, and natural finishes. But you can also incorporate things that represent nature like pictures of nature, patterns that mimic nature, or natural colors. I like to hang photos of the different places I’ve traveled, in addition to adding house plants to living areas.
Clear out the Clutter
One of the fastest ways to create a Zen space is by getting organized. It’s a medical fact: organization has been found to improve sleep; reduce stress, depression, and anxiety; and even improve your relationships. If you don’t know where to start, here are the steps that I follow. First, I pull everything out and clean the area. Then I sort all of the items into one of these categories: trash, things to donate, things to sell, and things to keep. If you’re undecided on an item, put it in a box for six months. If you don’t use it during that time, chances are you won’t need it in the future. Finally, I love to create an aesthetically pleasing organization system using baskets, bins, and trays. Everything should have a home!
Indulge the Senses
Your sense of smell is an incredible thing. Information from what you’re smelling is sent to several different parts of the brain and can impact your mood, emotions and even your memory. I like to use candles that remind me of my different travels. Not only do they smell amazing, but they bring back those happy memories. Different smells can also have a variety of effects on your mood. A few of my favorites are ylang-ylang for feeling calm, lemongrass to increase my energy, frankincense to help me focus, and bergamot to reduce stress. It’s these small things that can ultimately make a big impact to make you feel good.
Freshen up your Walls
Color theory is powerful and you can completely change the energy of space with a new coat of paint. If you want a more relaxing environment, use cooler colors like blue, green, gray, and purple. If you want to energize a space, use warmer colors like orange, red, and yellow. I design using mostly a neutral palette that includes creams, grays, and natural wood tones. To me, this keeps a space fresh and calm.
We can’t travel all the time, but we can turn our living spaces into our own oasis. Using any one of these tips will help you create a home that helps you to recharge every day.
Kirsten Holmstedt is the founder of Treasure in the Detail, a Gilbert-based interior design firm.
For more information visit www.treasureinthedetail.com.
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