How to Make Your House a Stress-Free Environment for Those with Anxiety
By Kay Carter
Kay Carter is a freelance writer and mental health advocate. When she isn’t writing about how to improve your health or the latest wellness trend, she enjoys reading, traveling, and practicing yoga.
If you, your child, or another family member has an anxiety disorder, creating a calm and inviting home environment can help with the daily stressors that bring on this anxiety. Not only can facilitating a stress-free environment help with reducing anxiety, but it can also lead to more productivity, organization, and energy. Here are four ways to transform your home into a stress-free environment.
- Declutter your home
Clutter has been shown to affect a person’s physical and mental health, bombarding our minds with excessive stimuli, making us anxious because we’re never sure when we’ll have time to address the mess, inhibiting creativity and productivity, and creating feelings of guilt. Fortunately, clutter is one of the easiest stressors to fix. To remove clutter from your home, start by organizing everything you have into three piles: one for keeping, one for giving away, and one for throwing away. Create designated spaces for frequently used items and don’t let junk mail pile up. You could even tackle decluttering as a family and give each person a room or section to own.
- Create a conducive sleeping environment
New research has shown that not getting enough sleep can cause anxiety. The risks of inadequate sleep go far beyond just experiencing tiredness and increased anxiety levels—it can cause poor performance at work or school and an increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.Adults should aim to get between seven and nine hours of sleep a night, while children need at least nine to 11 hours for the most optimal sleep experience.
To create a sleep environment that promotes healthy, uninterrupted sleep, turn off electronics two hours before bed, set a consistent wake-up and bedtime schedule, and try practicing meditation or deep breathing to wind down. Make sleep a priority and you will most assuredly institute more calm in your life and your home.
- Consider adopting a pet
Pets and therapy animals can help alleviate anxiety, stress, and depression. According to a survey from the Human Animal Bond Research Institute, 74% of pet owners reported mental health improvements from pet ownership and 75% of pet owners reported a family member’s mental health had improved from pet ownership. Some other health benefits to having a pet include: lower blood pressure, improved heart health, improved mood, and reduced feelings of loneliness. If adopting a dog or cat isn’t an option, consider going for a smaller pet like a hamster or fish.
- Address sounds that could lead to anxiety
Some people who have phonophobia, an anxiety disorder, may experience anxiety attacks after hearing sudden loud or unexpected sounds. Having a leaky faucet that continues to drip or hearing the dryer screech as it cycles through another pile of clothes can trigger anxiety, no matter how minor these sounds seem. If something in your home needs to be repaired, get it fixed as soon as possible. You can also help make your house more peaceful by placing sound-absorbing rugs around the home, installing a white noise machine in the bedroom, and sealing holes or gaps in your walls, doors, and windows to prevent exterior noise from drifting inside.
If you are in a crisis, dial 2-1-1, in Connecticut. If you are outside of Connecticut and need support now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or, text “HOME” to 741741 to get help 24/7 from the Crisis Text Line.
If you or someone you know needs help, visit the Jordan Porco Foundation’s resources page.