“The idea of coming home to this sounds pretty dang fantastic.”
When I originally sat down to write this post, I planned to talk solely about cozy homes and their impact on our mental wellness. It’s kind of a no-brainer that you’d be happier returning to a comfortable home at the end of the day. But the more I thought on the topic, the more I realized our home should do way more than just that. Our place of residence should not only be cozy but should set us up for success in our life goals.
Why is it I can feel fatigued and uninspired but then become completely revitalized after scrolling through pages of Pinterest pictures? It’s because of the pictures we see. Like I point out in my post How to Crave Healthy Foods: Including ones you used to hate! – what we surround ourselves with can change us. Our homes are where we spend most of our time, so it’s really not at all surprising that they greatly impact our mood and motivation.
There are a lot of little ways you can tweak your home set-up to set you up for success! Are you still wondering what the heck I’m I talking about? Keep reading to see what I mean!
Let’s start with cozy
As I’ve already said, making your home “cozy” can make it a million times more comforting to you.
For instance, imagine you walk in the front door after a long day of work. First you take off your shoes and slip on a pair of fluffy slippers. Then you cross the room and sink into a squishy couch, snuggling up in a pile of soft throw blankets and bright colored throw pillows. Finally, you light a candle on the coffee table next to you and inhale the sweet scent of baking cookies…
While maybe a little too perfect, you get the idea. The idea of coming home to this sounds pretty dang fantastic. There are a few things that you can do to make your home a calming, peaceful place. Blankets, pillows, and rugs are great ways to add texture and comfort. Incorporating warm lighting and candles can greatly impact a space, as well as using warm color tones. Adding pictures of family and friends is another way to make the space your own. As I’m currently living far from family, I love putting pictures around my living space so I can feel like they’re much closer.
To sum it up, a lot of these things can be encompassed under the Danish notion of hygge, or the feeling of contentment you get by appreciating the little things in life. Hygge, which I finally learned not long ago is pronounced “hoo-ga” not “higg-ie”, also applies to other non-material things, but it proves that other people all across the world recognize the importance of cozy little home items.
Set it up for convenience
Maybe this is more of a #adulting tip, but my goodness why do I sometimes make life so hard on myself? One thing you can do to make life easier is set your home up so it conveniences you. Find a stylish way to put the Keurig pods by the Keurig machine (not hidden in the pantry for grumpy morning digging), put an extra roll of paper towels under the bathroom sink for easy grab-and-wipe cleaning (not solely in the kitchen), and get a big enough organizer to throw your important papers into (so papers don’t end up in ten different spots). There must be so many more tips out there I’ve yet to discover but holy crap – I often make life so much more difficult than it needs to be. Minimizing these little stressors will help make your days go smoother, make you more productive, and increase your mood.
Keep it clean/practice minimalism
It’s no new concept that having a clean home improves mood and motivation. When I have a long list of chores lined up – laundry, dishes, clean out fridge, take out trash, etc. – I don’t want to do anything. Even the other, more enjoyable to-dos are squashed by this feeling. And of course, having lots of clutter makes your space much less inviting and not at all cozy.
I’ve learned a lot about minimalism over the last year and have started to incorporate it into my life in order to de-clutter. By refraining from buying unnecessary things, getting rid of old clothes, and tossing out old knick-knacks (seriously, when did I become such a hoarder??), I’ve slowly begun to lighten my living space. Even just a little bit goes a long way. Make a schedule for cleaning and tackle a new de-cluttering project every week. Your life will be peachy!
Vision boards and pictures
One thing I want to try this year is making a physical vision board. This is a collage you make to visualize your goals – kind of like an adult arts and crafts project. Some people also put quotes or even just pictures of things that make them content. If this isn’t your thing, you can just put up pictures around your home instead. It can be just a pleasant image or maybe even a place you want to travel in the next year. For example, this year I’d like to travel to New Orleans; to remind me to work hard and save up money, I could put a picture of New Orleans up in my living room to inspire me when I feel unmotivated. Vision boards and pictures are amazing ways to put our ideas into focus.
Calendars and notebooks
I’m a huuuuge fan of notebooks. I love to write lists and keep myself organized – definitely not something I always achieve, but something I’m striving towards. To do so, I like to keep notebooks around my apartment. I write down schedules, to-do lists, and things I remember on the fly that I don’t want to forget. My little “Notes” notebook (which you may recognize if you’re subscribed to my email list) is the home of all thoughts Content With Coffee-related. Plus, it’s a bright, pretty addition to my living room coffee table.
Having living things in your home is probably the biggest thing to making a space more positive. When I started decorating my own spaces in college, I quickly learned that having a plant makes all the difference. It can be hard staying indoors while you work on a computer or do your chores, but having a plant inside is like bringing a bit of the outdoors in with you. I love getting something green that doesn’t need a lot of sunlight for the indoors. While I’m not a big fan of buying real flowers that often (dude, they’re expensive!) I’ve found that even fake ones can really liven up a space. Year round, I have a vase of fake flowers on my kitchen table.
Speaking of living things, pets make a space so much homier too. As I type, I have a dog lying next to me on the couch and a cat sleeping across the room. They make the space feel even more like a home.
Healthy food in easy to reach places
Another way to set your space up for success is by placing healthy food options out in the open. Not only does having a fruit bowl on the counter add more nature to your kitchen, it is the first thing you see when you go for a snack. Once again back to my post on cravings, the more we are exposed to foods the more likely we are to crave them.
Another option is to make nonperishable snack bags for a basket on the counter. Fill it with pre-portioned foods like nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. Healthier granola bars are another great option, such as Rx Bars and KIND bars. You can also make a fridge snack drawer with portioned bags of grapes, strawberries, carrots, bell peppers, or celery. Not only do these snacks minimize daily food prep time so we can be more productive during the week, but they also keep our healthy eating on track. No excuses for grabbing that bag of chips! (Tip: place less nutritional foods out of sight in cabinets.)
So those are my tips for making your home a peaceful yet productive and inspiring spot! And truly, having a cozy home is not something to overlook. When you have a place that regularly prompts those warm and fuzzy feelings – both literally and figuratively – it does wonders for your mental wellness.
Just think about having dry skin in the winter and how much it makes you cringe to touch a tissue. But when you take the time to exfoliate and nourish your skin with a moisturizer, you no longer have that cringe-inducing feeling multiple times a day. Just like your hands, you should nourish your home with a cozy set-up so it can comfort you in return. A little cheesy, I know. But it works, doesn’t it?
So take this week to think about your home set-up! See if there are any ways you can make it more comfortable and more conducive to your life goals.