We’ve all had those days. The dreaded days when you wake up late, scramble out of bed, and try to look as presentable as possible in ten minutes or less (but ultimately you fail because you forgot to put on matching shoes in this ten minute scurry). The days when you spill your freshly brewed cup of coffee all over your paperwork as soon as you sit down at your desk. The days when you’re stuck in never-ending traffic on a Friday and all you want to do is enjoy happy hour at your favorite bar. You know those days–when the perpetual cloud of darkness hails a storm over your head and you just can’t seem to find the sunshine.
On long days like these, it’s important to remember to be mindful, to take a deep breath and acknowledge the feelings of frustration and anger that may be taking shelter within your soul in order to maintain your presence and peace. A great way to unwind and reflect after a rough day at work is by making sure your home is filled with reminders to be mindful–from colors to textures to patterns and scents, here are some tips to making your home more mindful (and hopefully preventing that black cloud from returning to its spot over your head!).
From birth, color is a prominent aspect in our lives–boys are associated with blue and girls with pink. It’s no surprise that color has such a significant impact on our mood. With that being said, it’s important to remember to paint your house certain colors to induce certain moods. In order to maintain the theme of mindfulness in your home, try to choose softer, more pastel colors like blue, green, and purple.
Lighter shades of blue have a very calming effect on our mentalities. According to Myrrh Hector, that’s why so many people “[enjoy] the blissfulness of cloudless blue days” and the “seemingly endless ocean” (Myrrh Hector, Colors of Relaxation). In fact, blue is said to be the most calming color of them all. By simply painting a room in your house blue, you will be able to come home and really concentrate on being present and acknowledging your feelings of frustration and stress.
Green is a very natural color; it surrounds us in the all of the flora that covers the earth. Green is also found in the middle of the color spectrum, signifying balance (Colour Affects, Psychological Properties of Colours). This color has also been known to “lessen depression, anxiety, and nervousness,” so try painting a wall of your favorite room green and see how it refreshens your mind by releasing negative energy (Myrrh Hector, Colors of Relaxation).
Purple is very versatile. Lighter hues like “lavender and periwinkle are…relaxing colors,” while darker hues stimulate meditation, perfect for calming your breathing, focusing on the present, and recognizing negative emotions (Myrrh Hector, Colors of Relaxation).
Tip: If you’re on a tight budget, pick your favorite room–the room you spend the most time in–and try painting one wall either blue, green, or purple, as shown below.
What’s better than coming home after an eight hour shift and wrapping yourself up in a soft blanket and sinking into your couch? By simply filling your home with textures that make you feel relaxed, safe, and soothed, you can maintain mindfulness.
Some great materials to decorate your house with are cotton, fleece, and wool. Not only are they soft to the touch, but soft on the eye, as well; by simply placing soft materials in a room with hardwood floors, you immediately soften up the entire room, making it easier to relax and be mindful. An added bonus for people currently suffering from allergies like myself: blankets and pillowcases made from 100% cotton are breathable materials for our poor, allergic souls. And if you’re also like me and tend to be freezing cold 99.9% of the time, fleece and wool are also materials that “combine breathability with insulation” (Best Materials for Blankets).
So go ahead and fill your home with soft blankets, pillows, and curtains–you’ll immediately be put in a peaceful, present mindset to reflect on the day’s emotions.
Here’s where ninth grade geometry class will actually come in handy. Geometric patterns, while often overlooked, actually have an affect on your mentality. Depending on what’s bothering you in life, there are certain patterns to fill your home with to relax you and bring mindfulness into your space.
For example, if work is dragging you down, try filling your home with decorative pillows, rugs, curtains, or wall decor that consist of symmetric patterns. Patterns with symmetry are known to induce relaxation and creativity (Lacy Mucklow, Color Me Stress-Free). Maybe you simply feel disorganized in life. To counter the chaos, find decor with geometric patterns that are balanced (Lacy Mucklow, Color Me Stress-Free).
Relationships can add stress to your life as well; try spiraling patterns to give you a sense of new beginnings in order to remind yourself of what is important in your life and to maintain your presence within your important things (Lacy Mucklow, Color Me Stress-Free).
Here are some great examples:
Lighting is more important than you may think. During the day, keep your curtains open in order to let natural sunlight fill your home. Not only will you be able to soak up some Vitamin D, but sunlight releases more serotonin in your brain, which will boost your mood and make you feel calm, cool, and collected. So when you wake up in the morning, try opening your blinds–you’ll be mindful before you head off to the 9-5 grind, and it’ll be a mood booster when you get home (Rachel Nall, What Are the Benefits of Sunlight?).
When the sun goes down, it’s important to keep lighting dimmer; you want to increase melatonin in your brain in order to sleep well. Installing dimmers into main light fixtures can be a cheap and easy way to keep lighting dim and relaxing. My favorite trick is to string some Christmas lights over my dresser in my bedroom in order to keep a relaxed mood before bed. This way, I’ll be able to focus on my breathing before bed and let sleep take over my consciousness. You’ll wake up feeling calm and present–an added bonus!
Aromatherapy is a real thing, people. It’s true that different scents can help boost your mood, relax you, and help your concentration. Try filling different rooms with different purposes. For example, in your bedroom, you’ll probably want to be as relaxed as possible; try lighting a lavender candle or sprinkling some of this essential oil on our pillowcase. It will “help control emotional stress” in order to make you calm and help remind you to stay focused on the present, not what happened in the past (Lisa Evans, 6 Scents That Can Transform Your Mood and Productivity).
Maybe you’re angry after a long day at work. Try coming home and lighting a lemon scented candle. Lemon “promotes concentration and has calming and clarifying effects” that will allow you to acknowledge your feelings of anger, rather than act on them, in order to move on and focus on the present moment (Lisa Evans, 6 Scents That Can Transform Your Mood and Productivity).
And if you’re looking for a boost in your concentration during those groggy early mornings, try sprinkling some cinnamon into your oatmeal, granola, or yogurt. This way, you’ll already be heading to work with a mindful mentality (Lisa Evans, 6 Scents That Can Transform Your Mood and Productivity).
With these simple, easy, and cheap tips in mind, you’re home will be a place of presence, calmness, and relaxation as soon as you step through the door. Bye-bye cloud of darkness; hello mindfulness.
Sources and Further Reading:
Colour Affects: Psychological Properties of Colours
Myrrh Hector: Colors of Relaxation
Lacy Mucklow. © 2015 Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc.: Color Me Stress-Free (Coloring Book)
Rachel Nall: What Are the Benefits of Sunlight?
Overstock: Best Materials for Blankets