Many of us often believe that change comes from within, motivation is always intrinsic or that mental health is all about what is going on inside our heads. Well fun fact, our environment and the space around us (outside of our heads) has just as much of an impact on our mental health and wellbeing! Everything from a messy bedroom, dimly lit space or lack of colour, it all affects our daily mood and overall mental health. We’ve been inside more then usual this year so it’s probably time to look at your space through a new lens and ensure it is serving you in a positive way.
Recently, I found myself completely uncomfortable in my own room, my apartment that I have lived in for 3 years now. Being within those 4 walls felt different, through COVID, being stood down from my job and lockdown it just didn’t feel like a comforting, happy place anymore. It didn’t matter how much I cleaned or tidied it, it never felt right. Something had to change.
What effects can my external environment play on my internal mental health?
- Influence your mood
- Change your behaviour
- Increase/decrease stress, anxiety and depression
- Impact your motivation and productivity levels
Steps to make your environment more positive:
1. Check out Pinterest, search styles, colours and themes that you like. Simple things that you can incorporate into your already existing space.
2. Do a cleanse, it’s Spring so try releasing old items that you don’t use or no longer serve you or your space in a positive way. You will be amazed at what might be weighing you down and you may feel instantly lighter. You can break this into sections so you don’t feel overwhelmed or the need to do a complete overhaul in one go.
3. Rearrange your furniture, try something new. You may be able to let a little more natural light in by moving things around or away from a window. Maybe even just change the direction of your bed or desk. Most rooms have 4 walls, so you have 4 different layouts available to you. Change it up every now and then!
4. Consider the 2 of the most important human senses! Sight and Smell! Pick a colour, maybe your favourite plant or flower. Preserved flowers are a great option as they last forever and it’s a great way to add a natural element into the room, bring the outdoors indoors. Pick your favourite smell, candles and essential oils can change an environment within minutes, they can make a room feel completely relaxed and calming, softening the mood instantly.
I was able to do the above small changes and test these things in my own space, and I am truly in awe of my new environment. My new furniture arrangement has me feeling more balanced. I feel lighter and brighter with the additional light I now have flowing in through my window. I am more motivated to be productive with my days and I enjoy sitting in my space again. My external environment has lifted and it has in turn lifted my overall mood and mental wellbeing with only a few small changes, however it doesn’t take them all, it only takes one! With each change I felt more clarity and with each change my mental wellbeing thanked me!