Is your home healing or hurting you? When it comes to our health, we often look for cures and causes outside our four walls—and overlook the space where we spend most of our time. Our homes shape the habits of our daily routine that create what Pope Francis calls a “culture of prevention.”
“Prevention involves taking a farsighted look at human beings and the environment in which we live,” he told attendees of the Unite for Cure Fourth International Vatican Conference in Rome.
Now that almost everyone is staying at home, it helps to have a relaxing space. Start with these room-by-room tips for creating a home with wellness, wholeness, and all-around health in mind.
#1: Follow Your Flow in the Bedroom
Sleep should be king in the bedroom. The bedroom should be a sacred space where we can recharge mentally, spiritually, and physically. Keep the bedroom an unplugged zone as the light from even your phone’s screen can interfere with sleep.
Pinky Peralta, who designs model homes for some of the Philippines’ top housing developers, suggests keeping decor neutral and simple—with paint colors referring to nature, such as the ocean or the sky. “Have blackout curtains so that you have the option to sleep without the glare of the sun any time of the day,” she advises. (Read: Check Out These Affordable Stay-At-Home Outfits With SM Deals!)
While quantity is important, so is the quality of our sleep. If you find yourself tossing and turning during the night, and waking up tired even after a full night’s sleep, consider replacing your mattress. A well-chosen mattress can prevent or relieve back and joint problems.
Your bedroom should be restful at night, yet energizing in the morning. Think of natural light as a free design element—it makes everything in your home look better while making you feel better. “Have a picture window where you can always see the sun rising and look out to see a garden or the blue skies,” suggests Pinky.
#2: Return to Restfulness in the Bathroom
Have adequate storage for toiletries to minimize visual clutter from all your commercial grooming products in the limited space. Removing products from their packaging or transferring contents to uniform bottles and dispensers is another way to achieve a visually relaxing space. (Read: What Is ‘Functional Water’ and Why Is It the Next Big Thing?)
But more important than improving what you can see, consider what you don’t see. The bathroom, because of its relatively small size and high humidity, is the perfect place for bacteria and viruses to thrive. And overindulgent cleaning with harsh chemicals to eliminate bugs is no better. Keep the space clutter-free and use more natural cleaning products. Make sure your bathroom has good ventilation (a window or an exhaust fan) for air circulation—this will keep the bathroom dry and minimize mold and mildew growth.
#3: Feed Your Soul in the Dining Room
Social hubs, such as the dining room and kitchen, are where color and pattern are welcome. “Play with lively and active colors like yellows, oranges, or a bit of red,” says Pinky. An open-plan kitchen and dining area also invite family members into the process of food preparation and encourages people to flow in and out of each area. (Read: Is Food a Love Language? We Asked Chef Jackie Ang-Po!)
#4: Have a Fresh and Functional Kitchen
Design your kitchen as a hub for delicious home-cooked meals. Invest in quality cookware and a well-planned and labeled storage system so food prep is a breeze, not a chore.
Make your space not just efficient, but enticing as well. “Your kitchen must be airy and well-ventilated,” says Pinky. “Situate the sink in front of a window, so the most dreaded task of doing dishes is lightened by the view of nature and the sunlight streaming in.” In decorating, avoid synthetics like plastic and opt for wood, stone, and eco fabrics such as cotton for a warm, natural, “lived-in” feel. (Read: The Bergoglio Family Kitchen)
#5: Make Room for Laughter in the Living Room
Let your living room be used for what it was meant for: living. The heart of your home should be a welcoming space. “Foster great conversations by having [a variety] of comfy seats,” advises Pinky. Position the couch so it faces other seats rather than the TV—if there is a TV in the room.
Better yet, move the TV to a separate room set aside for entertainment. Rather than the noise of the TV, your living room should be filled with laughter—scientifically shown to be good for your health! (Read: 5 Ways to Strengthen Relationships While Social Distancing)
#6: Give Space for Your Soul in the Prayer Room
Making room for prayer and silence doesn’t require a physical room. “Establish a place with comfortable seating where you can do solitary reading and contemplation,” says Pinky. If space is limited, designate a place or a regular time of day where and when you will be undisturbed. Position seating areas by large windows or have a seating area in your lanai or backyard to encourage you to spend your mornings in quiet reflection. (Read: 4 Easy Ways to Find Peace in Solitude)