There is no doubt that 2020 didn’t pan out as planned. When the New Year celebrations began when the clock struck midnight on the 1st January, nobody could have predicted the twists and turns that would unfold in the months to follow. As many of us look to prioritize health and happiness in 2021, this guide contains useful tips and tricks to turn your home into a haven.
Creating inspirational, functional workspaces
By April 2020, millions of people all over the world were working from home. Without notice, office workers started life at the kitchen table, paving the way for new models to emerge. Although it is likely that some businesses and employers will return to workspaces in 2021, studies indicate that many employers and employees would prefer to continue embracing a more flexible approach. If you have been working from home, and it looks as though this is set to be the norm for some time to come, it’s crucial to create an inspiring space that enables you to concentrate, to escape distractions and to focus on the task on hand. There are several options when it comes to converting existing rooms or making areas more versatile, including using spare bedrooms, attic rooms and basements or using furniture or innovative storage solutions to utilize spaces for dual purposes. If you have a guest room, for example, and you don’t want to lose the freedom to host friends at the drop of a hat when social distancing measures are lifted, you could swap a traditional bed for a sofa bed, enabling you to work and offer visitors a place to rest.
Extending properties and embarking upon renovation projects, such as converting lofts and basements, can offer an option for homeowners who have space and money available to create new rooms, but these are not the only solutions. If you’re short on space indoors, it may be possible to explore outdoor structures, including a garden room or even a glorified shed or log cabin. Installing an office or a studio in the garden will enable you to design a suitable workspace and add value to your home without taking up room inside.
Once you have established an area for working in your home, take steps to enhance the visual appeal and ambiance. Try to angle desks and chairs towards windows and doors to maximize exposure to natural light, declutter and add houseplants to create a fresh feel and boost productivity. Research suggests that natural light and plants can help to improve mental health and increase output.
Embracing home workouts
Working out at home has been one of the revelations of 2020. With many of us spending more time at home than ever before and gyms and other leisure facilities shut for long periods during lockdowns, people turned to technology and simple, accessible, home-based solutions to get fit. Exercise is known to benefit physical health, reducing the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer, but it can also provide a natural means to tackle and prevent stress, increase energy levels, boost self-confidence and aid sleep.
If you’re keen to embrace a more active lifestyle, or you’re going to be spending a lot of time at home for the foreseeable future, and you’d like to make home exercise sessions work for you, there are multiple options to explore. If you have the luxury of spare rooms or a garage space, for example, you could consider setting up your own mini gym. For those who are tight on space, it’s possible to establish zones within living areas to promote and facilitate active living. You could section off part of a living room with access to a TV to follow online workouts using basic equipment like dumbbells and a mat, you can invest in second-hand or new home gym equipment and turn a guest room into a versatile workout space, or you could make use of a garage or exterior structure like a shed to work out without taking up valuable living space indoors. You don’t need to have an array of machines or gadgets to get in shape, and you can become more active without designing a home gym or trying to cram a rowing machine or a treadmill into an attic or a dining room.
Health experts recommend 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. This can include a range of activities, from walking the dog to doing a dance class or an online personal training session. If you find that you usually get bored easily when starting a new fitness program, vary your workouts, get friends and family involved and try to make exercise fun.
Cleaning and hygiene
Cleaning and hygiene have always been important, but it has never been more critical to be aware of the benefits of breathing clean air and maintaining high standards of personal hygiene. With the pandemic continuing to dominate headlines, many of us are looking for ways to reduce risks. Cutting down on social contact and staying at home as much as possible are effective strategies, but there are also additional ways to lower the chances of contracting illnesses, including washing your hands on a regular basis and purifying the air in your home. Innovative technology can help you eradicate airborne pollutants, improving your health and wellbeing. You can follow Molekule on Instagram to learn more about purifiers for homes and businesses, and there is also a wealth of information about hand hygiene and stopping the spread of illnesses available via public health websites.
Cleaning is a chore that many of us dread, often because we don’t have the time or the energy to dig out a mop or a vacuum cleaner at the end of a busy day or a long week. If you find that your schedule means that you don’t clean as often as you’d like, you could investigate solutions like advanced automated appliances or hiring a professional cleaning company. Keeping your home tidy and free from pollutants and practising good personal hygiene will have a positive impact on your physical health, as well as helping to reduce stress. Clutter can affect the visual appeal of your home and hinder productivity.
Self-care has become a topic of great interest, with most people facing unprecedented challenges in 2020. Self-care is all about looking after yourself and taking steps to protect and improve your mental and physical wellbeing. Our homes should be special places, which make us feel relaxed and calm. If you find it hard to switch off, or your home is more hectic than heavenly, there are ways to create more serene spaces and facilitate self-care.
Firstly, think about how you like to spend your time and try and make space for activities or hobbies that enable you to unwind. Perhaps you enjoy meditating, or you find creative activities help you express your emotions or enjoy a release after work, for example. You don’t need a huge house to establish an area where you can indulge your interests. Set up a quiet corner in a living room, use your guest room as a retreat for reading or listening to music or turn your garage or loft space into a studio or a writing room. Try to separate work and free time. It can be difficult enough to leave work at the office in ‘normal’ times, but if you’re working from home, it’s often even more challenging to turn off and mentally shut down. Get into a routine, try and stick to core hours and give yourself time to relax, have fun and enjoy your time off.
Getting out and about is incredibly beneficial for mental health, especially at a time when most of us are spending hours in front of a computer or on the phone at home. Take regular breaks, stretch your legs and get some fresh air. Even a quick walk around the block or a 30-minute stroll in the open air will help to clear your mind and give your energy levels a boost.
Another essential aspect of self-care is enjoying good quality sleep. Statistics suggest that over a third of US adults struggle to sleep, with insomnia a common side-effect of heightened anxiety levels during the pandemic. If you do find it hard to get to sleep, or you don’t get enough rest, it’s vital to try and eliminate causes of sleep disorders. A lack of sleep can elevate the risk of developing physical and mental health issues. One of the most effective ways to improve sleep quality is to get into a routine, which allows time to unwind and enables your body clock to adjust. Aim to go to bed and get up at the same time every day and make sure you take time to rest your body and mind before you climb between the sheets. Reading, listening to music, watching TV or running a warm bath can all help to lower stress levels and prepare you for sleep. It’s also beneficial to ensure that your bedroom is a restful haven. Block out light, leave devices outside of the room and use colors that induce calm, such as neutrals, pastels and soothing shades of blue and green.
The importance of good health has come to the fore in 2020, and many of us are eager to try and boost wellbeing in the year ahead. Take these tips on board to turn your home into a haven of health and happiness in 2021.