Our homes are meant to be a sanctuary for us and our brains, but for many reasons (such as children, housemates and renting), it can be hard to make our brains feel at home.
In a crazy world, it is so important to be able to go home to a safe space where you can unmask.
So here we have compiled tricks and tips we have found helpful:
Go colour crazy (or don’t!)
The colours in your room can dictate emotions and moods. For me, the magnolia hell of rented homes I live in is very unsettling and I can’t change it. It makes my space feel unfinished, not permanent and like I don’t belong there. It took me five months to stop acting like I was a guest. To beat this beige crisis, I filled my spaces with Lego flowers, colourful and vintage furniture, art from markets and fares!
My bedroom has thrifted orange and yellow floral curtains (yes, the 80’s monstrosities you’re thinking of), lots of crocheted blankets (the texture is very calming to me), colourful bedding and of course, my rainbow window light crystal that chucks rainbows everywhere! This is referred to as ‘dopamine decore’!
Dopamine decore is all about decorating in a way that expresses you and sparks joy! Furniture, walls, clutter- it’s all game!
However, I was very careful when choosing the colours of the room: it’s a minimal neon zone! All the tones are muted or pastel so I don’t get overstimulated and I’m able to be peaceful. Too many patterns and bright colours can be quite overwhelming when you’re trying to come down from a day.
All colours can provoke emotions, and there are lots of blogs and images and all that explain those, but for me, it’s essential that the colour makes you feel how you want to feel.
WAIT NO DON’T CLICK AWAY! I’m not about to tell you to fold your clothes and never make a mess ever!
I have three words: open plan storage.
Being able to see things is amazing- tubs for kids’ toys, boxes for makeup, a tray for all those remotes (why does one tv need so many remotes??). The aim is to lose less, know where to put things away and not forget about it the moment the door closes!
You can also try things like having a set menu, freezing portions so you only have to cook once a week or putting the panini maker you use in phases off the counter and into a cupboard or box (I say this as the owner of a used once rice cooker).
Embrace that mess will happen
By saying things like “I will never have piles of dishes again” or “I will keep this room tidy”, you can be sitting yourself up for guilt. Embrace the mess and the fact that disorganization happens.
The half-worn hamper is the preventer of the chair-drobe. Take all those clothes and put them in to be worn again! Just make sure to empty and evaluate every so often!
The kitchen can be small, especially here in England, so chuck those plates in the sink until you can clean them, maybe have a dedicated washing-up bucket.
Put your bin day in huge, massive letters on the fridge so you don’t have months’ worth of trash mounting in your bin!
Controlling bubbles of change
Bathrooms are full of change; especially showers and baths. I find myself procrastinating getting in because I have to get undressed and under the water, then getting out because it means having to get out of the water and then drying off because I have to get re-dressed. All of these parts include so much change.
Doing little things to make the change as smooth as possible, and the bathroom as comfortable as possible help keep the change smooth is most important to me.
It’s the little things like getting changed in the bathroom, keeping skincare in there and not having the fan going because if I’m stressed it becomes too much and I shut down. This keeps the possess smooth.
Alternative exercise items
Rather than tripping up on exercise bikes, rowing machines and your guilt from never using them, why not try out things like weighted hoola hoops and skipping ropes? Not only do I find these take up way less space, are easier to put away and are much more interesting but there also fab sensory-wise.
When you go to a gym you will see massive mirrors and lots of people doing stuff in front of them. This isn’t because they like to look at themselves but it’s to check they are exercising right and it also helps to motivate. I personally find it great with things like weights but this one really isn’t for everyone.
ADHDing your Desk
This space should be kept as a calm space that leans toward what you need to do. Do you need to be creative? Clearheaded? Confident? Peopley? What do you need for it to feel that way? Can you use colour to evoke that feeling? Blankets? Curtains? Extra shelving?
If I were to say no knickknacks and trinkets I would be a hypocrite. I think I would also be less productive. I talked earlier about how the blank spaces felt very unnerving and having a healthy scattering of figurines and pens makes me feel calmer.
A corkboard behind me has been an absolute game-changer. My brain operates on the “can’t see doesn’t exist” system so having the papers behind me keeps them relevant and real.
I also like to keep at least 100 coloured pens to make sure my notes don’t just meld and I never look at them. Sticky notes are also a particular favourite for note-taking.
Snacks. Are. Essential. Nuts, seeds, berries, skittles, chocolate buttons. For some of we just gotta snack. I know I focus much better when absent-mindedly eating grapes like the Roman empress I was meant to be. It’s like stimming, so I ensure I have something to graze on handy.
On the computer, try things to reduce unnecessary stress: use an email unsubscription tool, put on timers and do not disturb! It may be online but it’s still in your sanctuary.
Don’t be afraid to keep changing it up! Lots of us thrive on constantly switching things around and keeping it interesting! If it’s not working, just trying to make it work probably isn’t the way.
By Holly Knight