Updated: May 19, 2020
What’s happening in our homes right now? We're encouraged to stay inside but how have we changed our environment by being home all the time? What we see and what we hear can affect us.
Sometimes we are put into a situation where we have no control over our surroundings. In our homes, we share our space. With this virus, and home isolation, we are inside our homes with each other much longer than ever before. How are you doing? Really??
How can you create a healthy environment in your home?
1. What we see…
We are seeing more “stuff” all over the house. This may seem out of our control, as everyone is living in the house. The games, the toys, the homework, the work we’re trying to do from home, the puzzles, the snacks… the list goes on. How can we manage all this? First of all, it’s not up to one person. When everyone in the family is in the same situation, everyone can participate and take responsibility in looking after the family home. Here are some ideas:
- Getting the kids to put away their toys, etc before bringing out something else will provide more room for the next activity.
- Creating specific areas for activities, if possible. Eg. Crafts, board games, homework at the dining room table (not all at the same time). Video games could be stored under the coffee table. Food to be eaten in the kitchen and packaging in the garbage. This will just result in good cleanliness throughout the home.
- This might be a good time to recruit the family in sorting through and donating items no longer needed, and outgrown. This will make more room to organize what is being regularly used and worn.
- When the kids were young, they created many drawings and pieces of art work. Our stairway became the “art gallery”. All art work was hung with sticky tack onto the wall, with each child reserving one side of the stairwell. This contained all art to one area, and gave a sense of pride to their accomplishments. Be creative with what is taking up the most space in your home!
- Getting organized is part of cleaning up the clutter that can accumulate so quickly. Learning how to find ways to store items that work for you and your family will help everyone feel less frustration. Often an “out of control” feeling shows up in our homes. One step at a time, we can regain control of our lives, by organizing our “stuff” and our thoughts will become more calm.
2. What we hear..
When the tv, music, and voices are too loud it can affect our emotional health. Like we always said in pre-school – use in-door voices. Everyone will have their favorite show to watch, but limiting screen time may be an answer.
Are we listening to movies or tv shows that provoke fear? Aggressive behavior? Lack respect or use excessive bad language? Or has it been a couple of weeks of Baby Shark, Dora and Disney? We all imitate what we see and hear. Too much of anything is still too much.
If you need some time for quiet, take it. Find a private spot, sit on your step outside or even go to your car for some “quiet time”.
As a coach who teaches downsizing and organizing, I understand how our environment can affect our moods. Instead of being overwhelmed by clutter and a sense of “too much”, our goal is to surrounding ourselves with the things we love! It saves time as we don’t lose as many items, it saves money as we don’t need to buy another item (we can’t find the one we know we have somewhere), and as we clean and organize our homes, we clean and organize our thoughts. This produces a sense of calm and peace in our homes.
If you are feeling isolated, and feeling a bit of “cabin fever”, changing your scenery can help. Delegating a specific area for reading, a different area for watching tv, or an area for office or computer work, can segregate your activities. Having a designated spot for working on a craft or puzzle changes the visual environment and can keep our mood positive, just having a change of scenery. And make a point to encourage a friend or neighbor every day.
This is a difficult time for everyone. Keeping our thoughts positive can be challenging, as the stress we’re living in now is different than the stress we had a month or 2 ago. We’re in a learning curve as we adjust to so many changes.
As the changes happen remember that you do have the ability to find peace in this storm. Some days we just need to look for it.
1. What is one thing you can do to change your environment?
2. How would decluttering one area of your home affect your life?