As December begins, the allure of a well-organized home becomes more than just practical and aesthetically pleasing, it also is key to enhancing our overall sense of well-being.
Filled with festivities, December can be an exciting month, but it can also be an overwhelming time, which, along with the short days and cold weather, means ways to improve your wellness this season is undeniably important. From decluttering to creating zones for relaxation, there is a range of ways to organize your home to contribute to a more harmonious home and lifestyle.
'The psychological ties between order and emotional calm run deep,' explains clinical psychologist and founder of US Therapy Rooms. 'Visual clutter overwhelms cognitive processing, hampering contentment, and disarray breeds physiological stress according to research, whereas organization elicits relaxation and control.'
Our experts have explained the different ways to organize your home to improve your wellness in December, prioritizing functionality, aesthetics, and mindfulness, this season.
Ways to organize your home to improve your wellness in December
'Let’s face it, December can be one of the most chaotic, challenging, exhausting yet beautiful times of the year,' says Suzanne Butler Feng Shui and manifestation expert from Harmonising Energies Feng Shui. 'But there are a few ways to ensure the entire festive season goes without a hitch, eliminating that ever common stress that creeps in when spirits are high.'
'Taking a couple of hours now at the beginning of the month to organize your home prior to the craziness in a few weeks will ensure your family stays fit and well physically, mentally, and emotionally through the festive season.'
1. Increase light
'Prioritize natural light by maximizing it, as it can profoundly impact your mood and energy levels,' advises Sam Romain, CEO of Hemponix, a company focused on enhancing wellness through sustainable solutions. 'Open curtains during the day and position seating areas near windows. If you have limited natural light, consider using full-spectrum light bulbs that mimic natural light,' such as this GE sun-filled LED light bulb, from Amazon.
'Another little hack I like to increase natural light in your home is reflecting in the natural sunlight with mirrors, and rearranging the space to maximise time spent in sunlit area,' says Aaron Christensen, cleaning expert at Homeaglow. 'To ensure that as much sun gets in as possible, give your windows a spring clean.
'The other most important thing is keeping a healthy circadian rhythm since December means a reluctant goodbye to natural light. So, you'll want to mimic its presence as much as possible.
'When you first wake up, soft, dim, warm light bulbs (2,000 – 3,000k intensity) are preferred. During the daytime, brighter light with an intensity of 4,500 – 6,500k is good. In the evening, you want to return to the softer lights so that harsh brightness doesn't interrupt your natural wind down to healthy sleep.'
Be mindful of blue light exposure, especially before bedtime to avoid disrupting sleep cycles, and consider implementing some smart lighting that can improve your well-being into your home.
2. Declutter with purpose
'Approach decluttering as a means to create an environment that supports mental clarity and emotional balance. This involves more than just tidying up; it's about mindfully removing items that no longer serve a purpose or bring you joy,' says Bayu Prihandito, certified psychology expert and founder at Life Architekture.
'This process is both therapeutic and also allows for more intentional living spaces, reducing the mental load and stress associated with a cluttered environment.'
'Tune into the Feng Shui of your home and declutter the entire central area,' recommends Suzanne Roynon. 'This is the part of every home that relates to health and well-being, so if it’s cluttered or messy, you’re more likely to experience tension, exhaustion, and those inconvenient illnesses that show up just when you want to be on top form.'
Creating a regular decluttering routine can create a more peaceful space and become a therapeutic routine. These are a few thing to get rid of in December that can help to make the month more enjoyable and stress-free, improving your well-being.
Donate anything in good condition that you want to declutter, helping others in need.
3. Create relaxation zones
'Designate a specific area in your home for practicing mindfulness and relaxation,' advises Bayu Prihandito. 'This could be a cozy corner with comfortable seating, soft lighting, and elements that promote tranquility.
'The aim is to create a space that encourages reflection and provides a peaceful environment to ground yourself during the festive season's hustle and bustle.'
This space can be used as a reading nook, an aromatherapy nook, or for activities like journaling, yoga, meditation, practicing mindfulness, or simply for taking a break from the holiday hustle and bustle. Incorporate elements that appeal to the senses in this area.
Add soothing holiday scents by including items that promote relaxation, such as essential oil diffusers, scented candles, and incense.
'Incorporating aromatherapy with subtle scents like lavender or cedarwood can have a profound impact on one's mood and stress levels, creating an atmosphere of tranquility and comfort,' explains Yuuna Morishita, interior designer and wellness advocate at The Japanese Way.
'Lastly, organizing essentials within reach of this space using aesthetically pleasing storage options can also reduce the physical and visual noise in your home.'
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4. Incorporate color psychology
'Utilize color psychology to influence your mood in different areas of your home,' recommends Bayu Prihandito. Choose fabrics, art, and paint colors that improve your well-being.
'In contrast, warmer tones can energize spaces like the living or dining room.
'This strategic use of color can create an environment that supports your emotional well-being and balance.'
Avoid colors that cause anxiety, and choose those that you feel are synonymous with boosting your well-being. I personally find that bright and warm colors are the most beneficial to my mood during this season, making my space feel brighter, and contrasting the dark and cold tones outside during December.
4. Organize your pantry and fridge
Organizing your pantry and refrigerator can reduce the stress of last-minute Christmas shopping, ensuring you have all the comfort food you need stocked up.
'If you are going to be entertaining during December, then the kitchen is your next port of call. There is nothing worse than getting halfway through cooking a certain dish, and you are missing an ingredient, and have to head to the supermarket or store. It just creates unnecessary stress,' says Suzanne Butler.
'A decent clear out of your pantry and fridge prior to the big grocery shop will ensure you have what you need, are not buying to excess, and will have eliminated items that have become out of date which could be harmful to anyone who consumes them. It will also provide you with the space required for those family treats that only come out at Christmas.
'Additionally, pre-cooking meals and freezing them will make sure those nights you are out at social events, school plays or concerts, there is something nutritious and warming on offer that can be heated up quickly upon your arrival home.'
This organization saves time and reduces anxiety
5. Introduce indoor plants
'Adding indoor plants can improve air quality and bring a calming, natural element to your home. Studies have demonstrated that indoor plants reduce stress and boost mood,' explains Sam Romain.
These plants improve air quality, regulate humidity, and provide a mood-boosting effect. Additionally, plants such as orchids and aloe vera can even emit oxygen at night, benefiting sleep environments.
How do you organize to improve your well-being?
Organizing your home can improve your well-being through the act of organizing itself and the benefits of creating a space that can reduce stress and is engineered to your needs.
'The process of list-making, sorting, and thoughtfully arranging kindles momentum actualizing your ambitions, says Dr Daniel Glazer, clinical psychologist and founder of US Therapy Rooms.
'Organize belongings worth keeping and declutter those that do not improve your space or well-being.'
Finally, create a positive mindset towards organization, seeing this as a process to enhance your well-being.
'Approach organization not as drudgery obligation but as a ritual rediscovery of people and principles grounding your best self,' advises Dr Daniel Glazer.
Organize a sleep-friendly environment in your bedroom to enhance your well-being at home. Ensure your bedroom is a dark space with soft lighting and at a comfortable temperature.
Establish a bedtime routine that promotes relaxation and good sleep hygiene.
In December, when it is darker for longer in the morning, incorporating a sunrise light can make waking up easier, and help to regulate your body's circadian rhythms for better sleep and overall well-being.
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Lola Houlton is a news writer for Homes & Gardens. She has been writing content for Future PLC for the past five years, in particular Homes & Gardens, Real Homes and GardeningEtc. She writes on a broad range of subjects, including recipe articles, reviewing products, writing ‘how to’ and ‘when to’ articles. Lola now writes about everything from organization through to house plants. Lola is a graduate student, who completed her degree in Psychology at the University of Sussex. She has also spent some time working at the BBC.
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