Create a Nurturing Home Environment This Winter

If you haven’t already packed away your string of lights, you might consider using them to add some light to the dark month of January. Did you know that while we’re gaining minutes of sun, twilight is shorter. That’s why it’s not feeling any lighter–yet.

Since long evenings on the deck are still a few months out, next best is to make the great indoors an enjoyable place to be.

Of course, that’s easier said than done when every inch of your home has become someone’s office, classroom, or home gym. If you’re feeling boxed in, consider decluttering to make your home what you need it to be, said Premera Blue Cross case manager Andrea Donovan-DuPont, a licensed social worker.

One way to feel inspired and comfortable this winter is to reimagine your space.

“Create an environment for yourself that feels nurturing,” Donovan-DuPont said.

Cozy Elements for Winter

A home to support your emotional well-being plays off the five senses. Five elements will transform your home be a place of refuge from the outside world and envelop you in comfort.

Touch

If cuddling on the couch with a soft blanket sounds good to you, you’re not alone. Studies have shown that we find comfort in feeling soft things.

“Put out tactile soft blankets and pillows,” Donovan-DuPont recommended. “Make it feel like a sanctuary.”

Feeling the world around us can help reduce signs of tension. You might also appreciate feeling the warmth of a cup of tea on your hands or a heating pad on your feet. If you tend to be on the warm side, perhaps you’d prefer a soft fan nearby.

Taste

Comfort food is nothing new. It makes you feel good for a reason, so work with it instead of against it. Comfort foods don’t have to be unhealthy. Look for ways to incorporate veggies into your favorite meals to nourish your body. You might also appreciate your favorite hot beverage or a little snack.

Smell

Make your home smell nice with something baking in the oven (store-bought works just fine!), a scented candle, or fresh evergreen decorations. When it warms up a little, it’s also nice to swing a door or window open for a few minutes to circulate the air.

Aromatherapy can also bring a sense of calm to your home.

“Aromatherapy is amazing for stress relief, anxiety, and agitation,” said Habitude Spa lead Kailey Smith. “Heck, it can even help your quality of sleep. Plus, it can help fight bacteria, virus, or fungus and is great for tension headaches.”

Hear

Music can help reduce feelings of stress. Turn it on however you like: fill the house with soft classical music all day or turn up the pop for an impromptu home dance party. There’s a song for every mood.

See

Last but not least, pay attention to your view. A cluttered home is anything but peaceful. If you can, stash the excess in boxes in the garage or closet. Instead, position holiday décor or artwork in places where you can most enjoy them. Nature makes beautiful and calming scenery, so consider positioning your couch so you can gaze out the window or have a clear view of your houseplants.

Light It Up

Don’t underestimate the power of light either. Take the time to open the curtains and let some daylight in. Turn on the overhead lights. Switch on a table or desk lamp to add layers of light. For more, add some cute fairy lights to your décor, light some candles (carefully!), or sit by a therapy light.

“Look at your space and find ways to make it lighter and sunnier,” Donovan-DuPont said.

Here are some fun ideas:

Fairy light branch

String light crafts for teens

Under counter lighting

Image by Alina Rosanova

Candace Nelson

In the mountains or water debate, Candace Nelson, MS, CN chooses water every time. She is a licensed nutritionist and loves taking any fitness class that makes her forget she's working out. Read more at candacenelson.net



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