Create a Mental Health Recovery-Friendly Home
Having a mental health recovery-friendly home is important because an important piece of mental illness recovery is feeling safe -- and if you're lucky -- relaxed. We can't always control our environment and surroundings, but I do think there are ways to arrange and organize your home to aid your mental health recovery. Here are seven ways to make your home more mental health recovery-friendly. They are not major changes, just simple ideas that might make a difference.
Your Mental Health Recovery-Friendly Home
Use totes to reduce visible clutter.
I've discovered that using totes and baskets to pick up my living room is an easy way to help ease my anxiety. It is hard to keep my house clean with a two-year-old running around, but messes increase my stress and anxiety. We store my daughter's toys in the totes which is a way to keep things off the floor. It's not perfect. I can't promise you that the contents of the totes are organized, but they're out of the way. Seeing less clutter helps me relax a little.
Where you keep your medication matters.
I've always kept my psychiatric medications on the kitchen counter in every house and apartment we've lived in. It's someplace I see every day, but not completely obvious when we have guests over. It's also too high for my daughter to reach. Make sure you store your medication in a safe place out of the reach of children, but in a place you will remember and be reminded to take them every day.
Do-it-yourself projects can reassure you with a sense of accomplishment.
When I come home and see my husband's favorite painting of mine hanging on the wall, I feel proud. On a bad day, it can restore my faith in myself. Having something you made -- a painting, craft, piece of furniture, etc. -- makes your house yours. It's nice to be reminded of what you can do in a world that often tells you that you can't.
Houseplants have mental health benefits.
I have never been good with plants until I was given a couple as gifts the first year we were in our current house. I've never had a green thumb, but these plants are actually still alive. I give them the care they need thanks to their sentimental value. I like them in our house mostly because they look nice, but it turns out there are actually mental health benefits to having houseplants. They're proven to reduce stress and make us feel calmer.1
Keep your kitchen sink empty.
I know this can be really difficult when you're struggling with depression, but I'm sure we can all agree an empty kitchen sink is a wonderful sight and creates a sigh of relief. Washing dishes is a daunting chore for me even with a dishwasher. I tend to put it off until later. However, when I finally get it done, I wonder why I didn't do it earlier. An empty sink puts me at ease.
Brighten your space.
I prefer bright, naturally-lit rooms. We have light-colored walls and sheer curtains. We don't always get a lot of sunshine in Toledo, so I want every little bit I can get. Letting in the sunlight can provide vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to depression.2 I've been treated for vitamin D deficiency twice, something that's extremely common here. The supplements I was prescribed definitely made a difference, so I know vitamin D is extremely important to our wellbeing.
Display affirmations for daily reminders of your worth.
Affirmations have been suggested many times in my recovery, and I know many people swear by them. I never actually used them until I started hanging up hand-written quotes in my office where I work on my graphics business. My two favorite are "under promise, over deliver" and, "There are no saturated markets, only undifferentiated products." I have seen these quotes used online a lot. I find them motivating in my work life, so maybe I should give it a shot in my personal life, too.
Medication helps me function by reducing my symptoms, but recovery requires a lot more than taking pills every day. Recovery is a whole lifestyle. Making a few small adjustments to create a mental health recovery-friendly home could make a big difference. It's worth a try.
How do you make your home recovery-friendly? I would love to read about it in the comments.
- Lohr, Virginia I., "What Are the Benefits of Plants Indoors and Why Do We Respond Positively to Them?". Acta Horticultae. 2010.
- DeNoon, Daniel J., "The Truth About Vitamin D: Why You Need Vitamin D". WebMD. November 2010.
Rahm, M. (2019, February 17). Create a Mental Health Recovery-Friendly Home, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, August 3 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2019/2/create-a-mental-health-recovery-friendly-home
Author: Megan Rahm
I think this is such a wonderful read. It's so important that our homes feel safe, soothing, and a place of comfort and solace. Keeping things clutter free is of the utmost importance. I love your suggestion for DIY and being mindful of your medication placement. All little things add up to create a whole.