By Jerry Davidson
You get up each morning, get ready for work, hop on the blue line or the red line and head into the office; you work until the evening, leave the loop and head back to your apartment but instead of collapsing onto your couch and relaxing, you find yourself still plagued by stress, this time from your living conditions.
Everyone needs to be able to distance themselves from the stress of their lives, and they shouldn’t have to rely exclusively on vacations to do it. Making your living space a stress-free environment could be one of the best investments you’ll ever make.
A lot of factors can be considered when talking about a stressful living space. It could be the clutter, the spatial arrangement, the noise (from bars, trains, highways, or your proximity to Wrigley Field); it could be from roommates or pets or simply from yourself- what you’re bringing back with you from the office. In order to make a change, you’ve got to first find out what elements need to be changed.
If the sources of your stress aren’t immediately apparent, if there’s stress you feel but can’t seem to identify, it may help to take an inventory. There are a couple of ways to do this:
The first way is to simply find the area that you feel has the maximum comfort in your home, sit and close your eyes. Imagine yourself coming home from work and think of the place you’d most like to be, the place that would give you the most amount of relaxation. This could be a beach or a snowy cabin in the woods. Now, think of what it is about that environment that calms you and how you can incorporate those aspects into your current living space. If your dream place is a beach, try to incorporate some sand or warm colors into your home. You can even set up a little spot in your apartment or house that’s your own personal Zen sanctuary and go there when things get stressful.
The second useful trick is to create a list of all the things in your apartment you think might be causing you stress, or things you feel you have to do: the pile of bills on the counter, the laundry piled up on the couch, the clutter on the coffee table, it can be anything that you feel may be stressful. Once you’ve compiled a list, start by removing one of these items per day. Find a new way to organize your bills and mail. Invest in a hamper. Keep moving down the list, removing items as you go. While each item removed might not immediately solve your stress issues, organization has been tied to stress and simply having an organized living space should cut down on the levels of stress you feel in your home.
Stress can be difficult to eliminate or identify, especially since it’s an internal conflict. What you’ve got to do is learn how to balance those outside elements in order to cut down on the internal strife. It’s all about you, but hopefully these ideas will help get you started.
About the author: Jerry Davidson believes in healthier living through home design and décor. When he’s not writing, you can find Jerry reviewing products and services for Chicago’s door specialists.
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