Spending more time at home and having more ‘me time’ has its advantages. It gives you room to think about what you want from your spare time and from your house. Now is the time to focus on your health and happiness, and prioritize them in your daily life and surroundings. The residential elevator experts at Lifton Home Elevators have created a list of projects that put you and your well-being at the heart of the home.
The funny thing is, in itself, finishing a project brings well-being benefits. Completing a task is said to release dopamine into the body which helps boost motivation, makes you more sociable and loving and helps with the sleep cycle. So, whichever well-being project you choose to take on, the good feelings should flow from the very start.
1. Create space to think
It is easy in any home to fill each room with ‘activities’ or the things that you have collected over the years. However by creating at least one ‘calm’ space within the home gives you somewhere to sit and be at peace. The practice of meditation is said to reduce stress, improve concentration and focus, increase empathy and resilience as well as improving physical performance in exercise. There are many guides on line for learning to meditate, and audio or video meditations to get you started. Mindfulness is another set of techniques for bringing in a daily dose of calm to your life.
Once you have your calm space ready, set aside a regular time in the day or week to meditate and clear away the mental clutter. Having somewhere to be able to sit quietly and enter a meditative state can only bring benefits. Having a dedicated room or area in your home for de-stressing means that over time you will start to feel calm just by sitting in that same space.
2. Organize photos and memories
Remembering happy times is not just good for the soul, it is known to actually help release Oxytocin – the love hormone – into the body, helping to reduce stress and anxiety. A life well lived often comes with lots of well-loved memorabilia, and old photos. All too often these go in boxes never to be looked at or appreciated, and often just add to the clutter of the home.
So what could be a better project than getting your old photos out, sorting through them and organizing them into albums, or choosing the best ones to create a photo wall so you have a daily reminder of happy times? If your last ten years of digital photos are stuck in your PC or on your phone, make it a project to create photo books which the whole family can enjoy. You could do these chronologically or for specific vacations, weddings or other special occasions.
For other items such as souvenirs and tickets you can scrap book them so they are in order, or if you do not have the space to keep them, photograph them and add that to the photo books. You can even spread the love by creating books for the special people in your life. Who would not be happy to be presented with a book full of happy memories?
3. Upgrade your house plants
On the list of ways to increase happiness, growing and nurturing plants always scores highly. There is the satisfaction of knowing you are looking after something, whilst feeling connected with nature. Plus plants add vital oxygen to an indoor space, reduce carbon dioxide, and help rid common toxins and pollutants in the air.
Take a look at your indoor spaces and see if they could benefit from some more greenery. Spend time looking at the plants you have, which ones are thriving, and which could do with a little attention or moving to a new position with more or less daylight. House plants not only need regular watering, but feeding too, and quite often a bit of a dust. Each plant will have its own list of preferences and if you are not sure, you can look up what they need on line.
If a plant is looking a bit overgrown some do well being pruned back, and it might be time for a repot, with new soil and plant food. Before you know it your spaces will be filled with healthy thriving plants and you and your home will be reaping all the rewards.
4. Audit your store cupboard
You are what you eat. The old sayings are the truest. We all know what we SHOULD be eating for good health, but it is easier said than done. It is easy to get in an eating rut, serving up the same meals each and every week. All too often our store cupboard is full of easy to grab convenience food, so no matter how good our intentions to snack on fruit, we find ourselves reaching for the potato chips in hunger.
By making a project of looking at your diet, you can actually make a big change, and a big impact on your health. Start by looking at the well-loved family recipes you turn to most regularly, and evaluate how healthy they are. Is there a way to add in more vegetables or fiber, or reduce the sugar or salt? Making small changes like this might make all the difference. If you feel you need to add in a few more healthy meals each week, investigate the sort of foods you like and find healthy recipes. You could compile a family recipe book, so that you have a wider variety of go-to meals, and feel less tempted by take-out or unhealthy convenience food. Finally, take on your store cupboard and clear out anything you do not want to be tempted by. This should give you space for your new healthier ingredients, as well as the satisfaction of a job well done.
5. Create your own fitness studio
Physical exercise has to be the big win for well-being, and by creating a zone in your home for your favorite work out, you make exercise a key part of your life. As well as the obvious benefits that exercise brings: weight management, increased heart health, protection against stroke, and noninsulin-dependent diabetes, and osteoporosis, physical activity also releases serotonin which helps to stabilize mood and endorphins which are a natural painkiller. Exercise also helps relieve anxiety and manage stress.
Choose a sport or activity you love and that fits into your lifestyle and find a place in your home to dedicate to it. You could convert your garage into a weight training room, or a dance studio. Your driveway could be a basketball practice area. Or your guest room could become your new yoga space. The choice is endless, and once you’ve finished your project you can get the feel-good exercise any time you want.