I may come across as put-together, but trust me, all you have to do is feel my tense shoulders to know that a very different story is going on in my body. I am constantly stressed and anxious about everything from work and finances to whether or not I'm doing all that I can to create a happy life for my family.
One thing I've learned is that no matter how busy I am or how long my to-do list is, I am much more productive when I make a conscious effort to de-stress. For me, the best place to start is my house! I've found that surrounding myself with things that give me an opportunity to breathe and ground myself helps me to maintain my stress level. I highly recommend creating a calming space that encourages you to relax and remember what's important in life!
Do you notice a difference in the quality of your work when the sheer quantity of it has started to get to you? I know that I'm not alone in my stress level, and Art Naturals has asked me to share some tactics that have helped me.
Here are my top five tips for creating a stress-free home:
1. Everything in its place. After 30+ years of never having proper homes for all of my belongings, I had had enough of the guilt and frustration that comes from searching endlessly for an elusive item only to end up repurchasing it. I finally realized that I am heavily influenced by my surroundings and when my living space is in disarray, my mind is in disarray. Now I consider myself to be an aspiring minimalist so I try my hardest to keep clutter to a minimum and only bring in pieces that I absolutely love. I am a work in progress and always striving to improve myself, so when I slip up, I let it go and start fresh the next day. I hope to instill this quality in Jack so that he learns the value of being organized from a very early age.
2. Create a cozy space for relaxation and reading. If you're like me, you're probably never further than a stone's throw away from your phone. As much as I love Instagram, I know that I can get easily pulled in and suddenly realize that I spent the last hour or so scrolling mindlessly through my feed instead of paying attention to what was happening in front of me. At night I make a conscious habit of putting down my phone and picking up a book instead. The act of reading instantly relaxes me plus there's nothing better than getting lost in a good story.
3. Choose your favorite photos that remind you of happy times and display them. We have framed images of Jack as a baby on the wall, photo booth strips of me and JC tacked to the fridge, and a handful of other small family pictures on the dressers in our bedrooms. The nice thing about having these photos in frames is that you can easily move them around too. Create little vignettes of happy in various spots. I love when in the midst of a busy day, one of my treasured images will stop me in my tracks and allow me to relive that special moment all over again.
4. Invite only what you love. We enjoy entertaining and try to make our home as comfortable as possible for family and friends to drop by and share a meal with us. One of my favorite ways to foster community within our home is to have unique conversation pieces that cause others to take note and start a discussion. Since we decided when we bought our house in 2013 that we would only bring in the things we love, our home is full of the things that bring us joy. We have a bookshelf in our main living space that holds some of our favorite books in rainbow order and nearly every person that enters our house makes a comment about it. We also have an owl collection throughout our home that also makes for interesting conversation.
5. Think about all five senses. Not only is important for your surroundings to appeal to you visually, but they should also bring comfort to your other senses as well. I love having soft textiles underfoot, calm or upbeat music (depending on my mood) playing on our speakers, lots of healthy foods in the kitchen, and soothing fragrances permeating throughout our home. One of my favorite ways to achieve the latter is by diffusing essential oils in this Art Naturals Blue Tooth Oil Diffuser. My go-to essential oil mix is 1-2 drops of tea tree oil, 1-2 drops of eucalyptus, and 3 drops of lavender essential oil. Talk about instant relaxation!
If you're feeling overwhelmed by the notion of overhauling your home into a spa-like experience, don't panic. My advice would be to be to START SMALL. Choose one area in your living space that already makes you the happiest -- perhaps the room with the best light or the one that is used for savoring your morning coffee -- and tackle that room first. If a room is too large and intimidating, simply start with a smaller spot like an entry way table. Then you can move onto a different area. Once you have created a calming environment in one room, use that momentum to propel you to the next room until you have worked your way through your entire house.
And if it would make more sense for you to wait until your schedule calms down before you tackle anything on this list, I made a little piece of art that will keep you from forgetting about it. Pin this graphic on Pinterest to remind yourself to take the time to de-stress when you have a chance to!
Now, I'm going to turn it over to you! How do you de-stress when the weight on your shoulders is getting to you? And what are some ways that you're hoping to make your home more relaxing?
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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Art Naturals but all opinions and experiences I mentioned are my own. My creative partners and I really appreciate your continued support!