People with mental health issues are more likely to dwell in a rental. This is partly because of their lower income, but even so, they deserve a place of sanctuary. A poorly-maintained home, one that’s plagued with mould, electrical problems, and safety and security issues, can exacerbate their mental health issues, which may also occur if they frequently relocate and disassociate themselves from social circles.
What they need is a healthy home, a shelter that has a sound structure, adequate facilities for sleeping, personal hygiene, dining, relaxation, leisure, and privacy, and no hazards. The place must also possess facilities for socializing and a local environment that’s free of crime.
Sadly, many people with poor mental health aren’t getting the space they need. Women, in particular, are more affected by poor housing conditions than men, with 10% of them clinically depressed. Children are vulnerable as well; those who have lived in temporary accommodations for more than a year are thrice more likely to suffer mental health illnesses, compared to their peers with better housing.
That said, if you also live in a rental, here are the ways to make your space better for your overall well-being:
Check the Housing Situation
First, assess if you are living in a healthy home. Aside from checking if your abode possesses all the qualities mentioned above, assess your neighbourhood as well, ensuring that you aren’t surrounded by hostile, unruly, or suspicious people. An overcrowded flat building may also affect your mental health, so note whether your neighbours like to party frequently.
Inspect the building itself too; there should be no vandals, dilapidated units, and other signs of neglect. If you’re just about to rent a flat, the landlord or property manager must be able to show you an EICR for domestic properties, a document that proves the electrical safety of the building.
Research shows that people in great neighbourhoods feel more cohesion, contentment, stability, and a willingness to help others, all of which you deserve, no matter how much you make for a living.
De-clutter Your Space
You may live in a decent neighbourhood, but if your own space is untidy and disorganized, your mental health will continue to decline. Make time for getting rid of the things you don’t need anymore, and for rearranging your stuff to establish order back.
Clutter is often a key source of stress, so if you’re wondering why you still feel exhausted when you’re at home, chances are it’s because of all the mess in your space. Thus, develop a system for organizing your belongings, and you’ll gain more control and relish a greater sense of peace and stability.
Don’t Focus on the Trends
Browsing home decoration ideas on Pinterest can distract us from what we truly need in a space. Our ideal space is the one that will appeal the most to our neuroaesthetics, which is the impact of sensory input on our minds and bodies. This means that whatever texture, finishes, colours, and design cause our brains to respond most favourably, then those are the things we need in our space.
The effects of neuroaesthetics were studied by Google, in partnership with the Arts & Mind Lab at John Hopkins University. The visitors that inspected the three rooms designed by Muuto wore a band that tracked their physiological responses as they explored the spaces. They were encouraged to stay silent, to touch the objects, breathe in the scents, listen to the sounds — basically, to notice everything in the space without speaking.
When the visitors’ results were revealed, they were surprised to discover that their neuroaesthetics responded most favourably to the rooms that weren’t necessarily the ones that liked best visually. This means that just because something looks pretty or trendy, it’s automatically what we need. Therefore, focus on what makes you feel good, rather than what makes you feel in tune with the trend.
Make Room and Incorporate Natural Elements
Utilize natural light, mirrors, small tables, and cosy rugs to create the illusion that you have more space. Fill the corners with indoor plants, so that your home will adopt an organic feel. This will benefit your mental health because plants remind us of nature and all the pleasant senses it gives us.
Plants also improve indoor air quality, reducing the risks for respiratory diseases. Moreover, natural elements like water features and organic textures decrease psychological distress. Therefore, stock up on as many houseplants as you’d like; a rainforest-like home in fact looks healthier and more inviting, as they add life and interest, and help you centre yourself.
It shouldn’t take much to make your space beneficial for your well-being, so don’t be fooled by the latest trends or whatever you see from social media influencers. All that matters is what you truly want and need. So adorn your space to impress only yourself, and you’ll become a lot happier.