Yesterday I was listening to the Business of Design podcast. On it they talked about the importance of interior design and its impact on mental health – its impact on peoples lives as a whole. And that is the thing I love most about my job – the impact I can have on people’s lives in such a robust way that extends so far beyond their home, by focusing solely on their home (or office).
This podcast really struck a cord on how they explained what interior design actually does for people’s mental health, and how it has a ‘ripple effect’ for the greater good – far reaching from that one person in that one room in that one house.
The podcast focused on a few key elements:
- How you start your day dictates how your day will go
- You come home from work and need a positive environment to decompress
- What you do outside of work, and how you feel, impacts how you perform at work
Let me break this down.
Getting up on the right side of the bed.
When you open your eyes in the morning, what do you want to see?
Visualize it now.
Personally, I want to see the ocean out a set of large glass doors leading out to a balcony overlooking our private beach – but within reason, that translates to flowly white sheers overtop of a set of automatic navy blue blackout blinds that open just before my alarm goes off.
But back to you. Inside your room, when you swing your feet over the edge of the bed and prepare to start your day, what do you want to see around you?
- Is it a stunning wallpaper that brings you joy as you look around the room?
- Is it a soft thick-piled rug that your feet can sink into – making getting out of bed an easier transition?
- Is it a large family portrait that reminds you how lucky you are? Or a painting of your favourite place BY the sea, inspiring you to find a way back?
- Is it a large palm in the corner of the room adding life and vitality to the space?
- Is it a tufted ottoman at the end of your bed, giving you a place to sit as you pull your socks on?
Whatever you visualized as the best way to wake up in the morning, that can be your reality. And that smile that crept across your face as you imagined a morning there can be a permanent one.
When you look around now, what do you see? Is it clutter that fills you with anxiety each time you open your eyes? Is it blank or bland walls that leave you feeling less than inspired to start your day? Is it a chandelier that makes you wince at turning on because the light is so harsh and horrible?
Our experience and mindset first thing in the morning carry though to the rest of our day. If we wake up anxious and uninspired that is the side of the bed we are getting up on. But if we wake up calm, happy, inspired, and grateful for another day then that is what we are feeding our mental health with.
Coming home from a hard day’s work
Regardless of what your job is or the challenges you face while there, home needs to be a sanctuary.
When you come home at night and walk in the door, do you sigh a sigh of relief? Or a sigh of grief. Is your home an ongoing to do list? Is it impossible to relax? When you finally kick up your feet in front of the TV or with a good book, is the story the only place you can escape? Or is your home a refuge of its own?
Mental health relies heavily on the ability to turn the brain off and give it a break from anxiety. After a hard day at work, you need to be able to come home and instantly feel room to breathe. When our brains are constantly on and solving problems and worrying about what to do next, our stress levels rise, and the effects of that stress appear in our body’s through illness and pain. The simplest solution that can be implemented immediately and closest to home (literally) is creating a physical space (via interior design) that you truly enjoy being in – where your brain can bask in joy.
Everyone needs their own ‘zen room’. Ideally, each and every room in your house should be a place that brings joy and well being when you open the door, but a great place to start is a single room retreat. This room is free of to-do lists and dirty dishes, where you love the wall colour and the couch is extremely comfortable, where the light is soft and beautiful, and where all of your favourite things are neatly organized and on display for you to enjoy.
Your home should be a place that you look forward to returning to (it is where you live after all). And that sigh you had when you walked in the door? When there is a room (or a full home) that brings you joy, waiting for you to drop your baggage (both physically and emotionally) and sit back and smile in… That sigh is one of relief. And that relief the revitalizing energy you need to shake off the day and drastically improve your mental health!
Mental health and its contribution to performance
You know how when you get so overwhelmed that you have to walk away? How when you do finally walk away and take your mind off of it the answer comes to you, or you at least feel revitalized enough to give it another go – and usually succeed? It’s the same thing with our lives and work on a broader scale. We may think that we are doing our best work and being ultra productive, but if we are not ‘walking away’ and giving our brains time to decompress after work, we really are not capable of doing our best work.
Mental health is a complex topic with so many contributing factors, but the one thing that is common for all of us is that in oder to achieve a healthy mind and increase our performance we need to partake in self care and positivity.
I know… it sounds crazy to step AWAY from work in order to increase performance AT work, but that’s what the science says!
Interior Design -> Mental Health -> Joy and prosperity & Increased performance
You need your space. You need A space. You need a space that brings you JOY and positivity and relaxation and retreat – and you need that every day. And where are you every day? HOME!
(oh… and also at the office… so let’s make sure your office is also a place that supports your mental health through systemization and beautiful and inspiring design).
And you know what? The world needs you to have that a home that brings you joy because when you go out into that world, you have a huge impact on the other people you come into contact with – and imagine if everyone was in a great mood because they woke up on the right side of the bed every day…