Imagine the situation: You have had a stressful day at work, and you’re looking forward to coming home. When you do eventually step through the front door, your heart sinks as you think to yourself that you should probably have stayed in the office. Your stress level rises as you realise your home isn’t what it should be: that quiet haven where you can unwind. You decide an extra hour in the office may not be such a bad idea, and you turn your stress into flight mode and escape the chaos that is your home.
Do you identify with the above? Sadly you’re not alone. According to research, clutter and noise pollution are two of the leading causes of stress in the home, ramping up our cortisol levels, and causing us to enter fight or flight mode. Instead of running away from the problem, you need to tackle the issue head on. Here are some tips you may find useful.
Stress 1: Clutter
Do you risk your life every time you try and navigate your home? Are you unable to find the tv remote because it’s buried beneath the piles of clutter that dominate your living room? It’s time to do something about it, and pronto.
Tip: Stacks of magazines, piled up dishes in the sink, kids toys all over the floor… you need to do have a clear up. They won’t magically disappear by themselves (unless you hire a cleaner and maid) so you will have to face them.
Studies have suggested our stress levels rise when we have a high-density of objects in our home, so we need to find ways to manage them. Coffee tables with storage are one way of managing the mess in our living rooms, and underbed storage is great for the bedroom. However, any extra storage space you can create in each room is useful. You could also get rid of anything you don’t need, by selling your stuff online or donating particular items to charity shops on your high street. You will feel better as a result, as a tidy home does lead to a tidy mind. Oh, and even though you will find the tv remote again, be mindful of the next stressor in this article.
Stress 2: Noise
From the noise of the TV, to the pitter-patter (clatter) of tiny feet, we do experience a lot of noise at home. Then there are the external noises outside of our house, such as traffic or annoying neighbours. When you are looking for peace and quiet, you are going to struggle to get the solitude you need when you are surrounded by noise.
Tip: It doesn’t matter who creates the noise in your home, whether it’s you or somebody else, your stress levels will rise due to the ramped-up levels of stress hormones. So, if it was you who turned the TV on, turn it off. Alternatively, lower the volume, or if you are looking for background noise, put on some calming music instead.
We can’t do a lot to control your kids (or other family members), but the least you can do is ask them to be quiet. Adding soundproofing to your walls is a good idea, as not only will it drown out the noise in other rooms of your home, but it will also block out the sound of your neighbours.
Double-glazing also helps to block out other external noises outside (as well as reducing your heating costs). You might also consider finding a space or a room in the house that you can call your own, creating your own haven of solitude away from the rest of the world. If noise still persists outside your walls, wear a set of noise-reducing headphones to help you wile away your time in peace. Remember to add a ‘do not disturb’ sound on the outside of the door as a warning to other family members or housemates.
Clutter and noise may be the biggest stressors at home, but consider what it is that affects your stress level in the house. When you have found the source, do what you can to reduce the problem. Your health matters, so do all you can to ensure your home is the relaxing place it is supposed to be.
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