As pandemic restrictions and shutdowns continue, the fear and hopelessness of a long winter locked inside may seem overbearing. Though the situation as a whole is beyond our control, the small, consistent actions we take can make all the difference. By creating a stress-free home environment we can combat the quarantine blues. 

1. Declutter Your Space

Without even realizing it, clutter negatively impacts our subconscious. A cluttered space affects sleep patterns and concentration, among other things. It even triggers our fight or flight response, leaving us in a constant state of anxiety. 

To counter the psychological effects of clutter, it’s important to tidy up not just once, but every day. Dedicating a day to clearing out unnecessary objects is great to create a stress-free zone. But make sure every day after that to have a designated place for your things and to put them back after each use. 

Tip: If you don’t want to let go of your belongings, store them in drawers or closets. What your brain needs more than anything is the visual of clean surfaces.

2. Add Plants 

The benefits of plants in the home are already widely acknowledged. But when dealing with a pandemic-induced quarantine, those benefits are tripled. Spending your whole day in the same room with very limited outside time really takes a toll on your mental health. So if you can’t go outside, bring the outside to you. 

Tip: If you’re not up to the challenge of keeping a plant alive, get a fake one. The presence of greenery alone tricks your brain into associating the same benefits to help you achieve that stress-free home environment.

3. Let in the Sunlight

Continuing on the benefits of the outdoors, the sunlight is as important as plants to us humans. Sunlight is known to strengthen our immune systems and fight depression. So open all your windows and let the light in. If possible, spend an hour on your porch or balcony to really soak up the vitamin D. 

Tip: If it’s gloomy outside, too, invest in some LED bulbs that simulate the effect of natural light. 

4. Keep it Clean

It’s not just clutter that drags down our mental health. Shiny kitchen counters, fresh linens, and squeaky clean floors all take their own part in our emotional wellbeing. 

Cleaning releases endorphins and benefits our physical health, too. 

It may be more work to maintain a clean house while you’re constantly living in it. But caring for your space will circle back around to nurture your own health. 

Tip: Set up a cleaning schedule if you struggle to find the motivation otherwise. Not only will you maintain a clean living space, but you’ll help organize and break up an otherwise monotonous day. 

5. Use Color Therapy

Did you know that the color of your walls dictates your mood? If you’ve been feeling particularly pent up, there might be a simple reason why (yellow paint, perhaps?). Look into the psychology of paint colors and take action accordingly. You can even make a fun quarantine DIY project out of it. 

Tip: If you can’t paint your walls, use peel and stick removable wallpaper. Or incorporate the color in other ways, like with throw pillows, blankets, sofa coverings, and the like.

6. Use Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy improves your emotional and physical wellbeing. These days you can reap the benefits of aromatherapy in a variety of ways. Take your pick from incense sticks, bath bombs, diffusers, or good old-fashioned candles.  Any will do the trick in assisting to create a stress-free home environment. 

Tip: Candles don’t only assist in aromatherapy, but also create a calm ambiance with their glowing light to help you relax two-fold.

7. Find What “Sparks Joy”

If you’re not already familiar with the Netflix original Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, allow me to introduce you to her most famous concept. While helping declutter homes, she asks her clients to consider keeping each item only if it “sparks joy”. 

While I completely agree in decluttering and mentioned it above, I’d like to extend the “spark joy” ideal to acquiring new things, too. For example, maybe all you’ve ever worn to bed is old sweats. Now during quarantine it’s a prime time to treat yourself to new pajamas that spark joy as you relax.

Get yourself a unique coffee mug that sparks joy and ignites your mood in the morning. And so forth… you get the idea. 

It’s about finding happiness in the little things this quarantine. Creating a tranquil and stimulating home environment that makes you want to get out of bed every day is the key to staying sane this winter.