Battling Depression With a Change of Environment
You have locks on your doors to keep out unwanted guests. You put up baby gates and cover the electrical outlets to protect your little ones. You have smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms to maintain your health and safety. You even check for mold because you heard it can make you sick. With these interventions, your house is a safe place, right?
Your house might not be as safe as you would like to think, though. The biggest danger could be lurking in plain sight in your living room. It could be resting in your refrigerator without you even knowing it’s there. It has the power to turn your life upside down and dramatically impact your wellbeing.
The risk is not burglars, smoke or mold. The risk is depression.
Your home is the place that you spend most of your time, and if it is not configured ideally, it could make your depression worse. If depression is a part of your life, chances are great that there are aspects of your home that reinforce and support depression, rather than reduce it.
It is time to begin the process of looking at your home as something that can work against your mental health, but don’t worry. You do not have to move to improve. With a few simple modifications, you can depression-proof your environment. Here’s how:
Take an Inventory
When beginning this process, take a look around your environment. What places trigger feelings of sadness and despair? Which places have positive or happy connotations? Create a list of your feelings room by room while being thoughtful and introspective. If you state only that your depression follows you everywhere, you are missing the finer details.
Since you will likely have some degree of bias, bring in a friend or family member as a consultant. Ask for their feedback about your home. What aspects would they change and what would they allow to remain?
Many times other people are apt at picking out characteristics that you will miss. After all, you spend so much time in your home it is difficult to be objective. Consider the following facets of your house to reduce depression.
Adjust Lighting/ Colors/ Textures
When you think about the stereotypical person with depression, you probably think about someone in a dark, drab room. The reason this stereotype exists is because people with depression tend to avoid bright light and bright colors. How does your home compare?
To depression-proof your home, open all blinds and shades when you wake in the morning. Even if it is a dark and gloomy day, let it in. Blocking out the outside world only increases the focus on you.
Turn on your lights and upgrade to higher wattage bulbs to increase the intensity. Additionally, invest in a few items for around the home to accent or change your color scheme. A new pillow or wall decoration can go a long way without being too much of an expense.
Consider adding a variety of textures and patterns to provide a different sensory experience. Rid yourself of the olives, browns and greys while you bring in oranges, yellows and sky blues. These colors will help bring needed positivity into your life.