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  • Writer's pictureDonna Baker


Home. That word has so many meanings to people. Now, more than ever in recent history your home has likely become your one-stop: workplace, educational setting, place of religious services, yoga studio, gym, restaurant and for those brave souls, a hair salon. It is the place you live, eat, sleep and relax (maybe?).

As the world moves through the process of re-opening businesses and figuring out the “new normal” it is still important that your home replace a lot of the feel-good emotions we previously gained from going out. The added benefit: you save money!

According to mental health experts, “Creating a safe, serene space combats stress and hyperviligence. The COVID-19 pandemic is causing our brains and bodies to be in a constant state of fight, flight, freeze, as we are experiencing ongoing trauma, fears of scarcity, and feelings of helplessness on a personal, professional, and global level.” According to Katie Lear, a therapist in Davidson, N.C. “it’s hard to de-stress in a chaotic, cluttered space.” Many of her clients have reported that rearranging and redecorating their homes has helped to boost their mood. “It can feel empowering to take control of your own space and make something new and different out of the familiar,” Lear said. This doesn’t have to be a complicated, involved process.

Here are some simple tips for making your home into a sanctuary that supports your family’s mental health.

Create a dedicated workspace. As we noted in our previous article “HOME OFFICE ANYONE” the home office has taken on a whole new meaning in 2020. Creating this separate space can enable you to manage a better work/life balance and leave the worries of the office at the end of the day.

Communicate with the people you share space with. Talk to everyone in your household about what they need from the space you have. Ask them what a sanctuary looks like for them. Tell children about the importance differences of your work space and their place space.

Add meaningful touches. By looking to your senses, you can add things that may not have previously been in your home. Live flowers, framed quotes, music to set the mood of what is happening at any given time are all options. Ask yourself:

▪ What scents do you love? This might be anything from the ocean to freshly baked banana bread. Using a diffuser and essential oils may be a great option. ▪ What sights help you to feel calm? This might be a photo of your loved ones and a bowl of bright navel oranges. ▪ What do you love to feel? It could be your beloved pet and a soft blanket.

▪ What sounds help you to feel safe and connected? It might be listening to church music or the wind. ▪ What do you love to taste? This might be anything from your grandmother’s cookies to a juicy grapefruit.

To create a sense-based space, you might play jazz while cooking dinner, spray lavender on your pillows before bed, bake Grandma’s cookies, and put wind chimes on your patio.

Create a relaxation zone. Creating a specific spot in your home solely for relaxation helps you cultivate a habit of relaxation, said Andrea Travillian, a life and business coach who helps women transform their lives into the happy successful dreams they crave. This space can be anywhere—your spare bedroom, bathroom, walk-in closet, balcony, or screened-in porch. She suggests adding soft blankets, fluffy pillows, holiday lights, and plants or flowers.

Dedicating a chair and side table in your bedroom that’s dedicated to journaling, meditating, and drinking your morning coffee, may be all you need.

If your retreat is your bathroom, make your bath or shower into a luxurious experience. Use candles, which add aromatherapy and a soothing glow to the space and put towels in the dryer for a warm, sensory experience. Make a soothing sensory box if you can’t dedicate a space. You can use this in your anywhere in your house. Use any storage container to house items that calm and comfort you—the container itself may be part of that if you choose to select one you have or purchase a pretty one. Having all of these items in one place will take away the pressure of finding a way to decompress at the end of the day, when decision fatigue has set in. Focus on lighting. During the day, open up the blinds or curtains to let in natural sunlight. In the early morning and evening, use candlelight to “increase a sanctuary-like atmosphere” .

Use special-occasion items. Create that special night on the town experience at home by taking out the fine china, cloth napkins, pretty placements, and linen tablecloth. Put on your favorite perfume or silk shirt. Many restaurants are providing curbside pickup so you don’t even need to cook every night and you have the added bonus of having supported a local establishment! Burn the good candle you’ve been saving. This may seem frivolous, but little joys go a long way during times of stress.

Bring the outdoors in. Warm weather is here and with it, beautiful plants and flowers are easily at hand. Cut some fresh flowers or prune some branches from a favorite shrub or tree to arrange in a vase. Try your hand at growing a new plant.

Use your favorite places as inspiration. Reflect on how you can channel the atmospheres of your favorite places into your home. The places that bring you a sense of peace when you enter are the best places to start. Maybe your favorite brunch spot has comfortable seating and

the scent of sweet, strong coffee. Maybe the yoga studio diffuses calm-inducing lavender and has a minimalist esthetic. The sky is the limit, use your imagination to re-create these sensory feelings in your home.

Contain clutter with baskets and bins. Make sure everyone in the household has a space for their “clutter”. This will make 5-minute de-cluttering session a breeze and leave everyone feeling better.

Home. It is and always should be your sanctuary no matter what life brings. The DREAM Team of RE/Max Preferred wishes you much health and happiness.

For other articles about home decorating, home maintenance, home staging and real estate related topics be sure to check out our blog at . As always, Donna Baker and Delores Doussard are here to assist with all things real estate!

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