5 steps to reducing stress on the home front

Small changes at home can make a big difference to your stress levels (Picture credit:Thinkstock/PA)

Small changes at home can make a big difference to your stress levels (Picture credit:Thinkstock/PA) - Credit: PA

Wish you could feel a little more calm and in control? Start with a few simple tweaks at home, says Abi Jackson.

Here are five things you can do to make your life less stressed (and no, we haven’t mentioned baths, plants and candles - although we are huge fans of those too...).

1. Have a ‘frequently misplaced items’ place

Always seem to be dashing around at the last minute, rummaging for misplaced keys or hunting down your bus pass? An easy solution is to have a dedicated place for ‘frequently misplaced everyday essentials’ - perhaps a ceramic dish, or a little shelf - where you put said essentials every time you enter the house. It’ll soon become a habit you barely notice you’re even doing. That way, every single time you need to grab them quickly, you’ll know exactly where they are. Who knew it was that simple?!

2. Make storage solutions your best friend

Now, we’re not claiming to be neat-freaks (my bedroom still frequently looks like a tornado’s passed through). But that said, the power of decluttering should not be underestimated. I mean, entire global movements have been dedicated to this topic, and it’s proved to be a goldmine for book publishers in recent years, so there must be something to it.

Being more mindful as a consumer (basically not buying tons of stuff you don’t actually need), and having regular charity shop clear-outs are two great ways of keeping clutter levels in check. But do yourself a favour and kit your space out with adequate storage solutions too. If space is mega-tight (hello fellow renters!), then head to one of those budget homeware shops and stock up on sturdy boxes that can go under the bed/stairs/sink/atop bookshelves - anywhere, so long as you’re concealing the chaos. You will feel calmer and more in control. Honestly, it’s amazing how much lighter you feel when your space isn’t full of mess.

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3. Start labelling (or at least sorting)

How many times have you bought something you know you already have somewhere at home, but just can’t find? (Sellotape and adapter plugs are my guilty items.) Here’s a little weekend project that’ll make this a thing of the past and invite a new sense of stress-free order into your home and psyche. So, rather than having drawers and boxes stuffed randomly with bits and bobs, sort them by theme and then get labelling (or just add a discreet tag inside the drawer or box if that’s more your style).

So it might be ‘Travel Items’ (adapter plugs, noted), ‘Stationery’ (Sellotape, yep), ‘Electrical-stuff-you’re-not-even-sure-is-for’ (all those extra cables and bits that come with new phones/laptops/etc). This probably sounds like a no-brainer to some people, but if you’re the sort of person whose whole household organisational system resembles Monica’s ‘secret closet’ on Friends, get on it.

4. Print a ‘power picture’

Feeling strong and confident isn’t something that just magically happens; sometimes you need to work at it a little - and a touch of DIY home decor could be just the ticket. Pick a photo that reminds you of a moment in time, place or people that makes/make you feel amazing and powerful. This might be from that time you completed a charity run, a holiday when you felt utterly free and on top of the world, or a snap with family and friends that floods your heart with joy. Get it printed, frame it, and hang or place it somewhere you’ll see every time you’re getting ready to leave the house. Then, as you’re about to head out and face the day, look at your ‘power picture’ and take a second to drink it in and go back to that place: You’re ready.

5. Invest in health-enhancing purchases (like a great mattress)

It’s tempting to spend a fortune getting your home looking stylish - but racking up huge credit card debts to do so really isn’t going to help those stress levels. Make your home cosy and personal, but do so within your means and accept that the ‘dream home’ might be a long-term goal.

When you are able to make some splurges, start with the ones that are truly going to make a difference to your life and wellbeing - like an amazing mattress. They don’t come cheap, but quality sleep is so important. Switching to a really well-made mattress with the right level of support - no more tossing and turning trying to get comfortable or waking up with knotty shoulders and sore hips - can literally change your life. Surely that’s worth way more than upgrading your TV or having a slightly more Pinterest-worthy sofa?