Feeling stressed and need a stress-free sanctuary? Not surprising since according to a 2020 survey, 78% of us are stressed out from Covid..and all its by-products.
I’d like to offer you today five ways to create a stress-free sanctuary. And by sanctuary, I mean your bedroom.
But first, a look at the impact long-term stress has on the body.
Long-Term Stress Effects
As discussed here, some stress can be good for you. However, too many of us stay in the fight or flight arena. Which causes our bodies to work harder than they need to.
When you have stress, your heartbeat increases, you breathe quicker, the pressure of your blood climbs, sugar is created for a boost of energy, and your muscles tighten to help you fight or run. If you stay in this stressed area, all of this can cause long-term problems.
And while you won’t experience all of these at once, more than likely you’ll experience several of them together.
Your Mental State
Your brain becomes fatigued from constantly being on the lookout and planning. You forget stuff even more than usual. It’s hard to concentrate on anything for long. Anxiety creeps up on you. Then depression comes around to hang out for a while…or longer. Close friends and family may notice you have undergone a personality change.
Your Body’s Function
Your heart can experience abnormal rhythms, different types of heart disease, even heart attacks. You may suffer from high blood pressure.
And in an effort to control something in your life, your eating can get out of wack. You will either eat too much which leads to obesity. (Generally, overeating is a calming of your mind, since your brain figures if you’re eating, you aren’t under attack). Or you won’t eat enough, because that takes too much time and you need to be ready for action.
There is a loss of sex drive. Again, if you’re constantly ready to run or fight, there’s no room for sex in your life.
Your skin may break out with acne (hello high school, again). Or some more problematic issues like psoriasis or eczema.
And sleep. That ever so important daily requirement to allow your body to rest and for your brain to function better is impacted. You sleep less. Or you sleep more but never feel rested. Or your dreams become a place you fear to go. So the tiredness leads to caffeine dependence or other stimulants. Overeating to try and boost your energy levels with food…but that can also leave you feeling tired.
Who knew a little un-dealt with stress could lead to so many things?
Finding Your Stress Trigger
While I don’t know your exact stress trigger, I can bet it’s one of these as they were the leading causes of stress in 2014 and 2017, and 2020.
- Covid-19 restrictions. Vaccination.
- The future of our nation. (Hello 2020 elections, anyone? It wasn’t that long ago.)
- Money. One could argue this could be called debt since 8 out of 10 adults are in debt.
- Work. So many of us hate our jobs, but we need the job to pay the bills and keep the creditors off our doorstep a while longer.
- Political climate. (Where to even start on this one?!)
- Violence and crime rates.
- Health and nutrition. We all know we need to eat better and exercise, but…
- Relationships. They were hard before we were told to stay home.
- Media overload. So much news and information – all the time. Everywhere.
But if you’d like some quicker wins for a stress-free sanctuary, see below:
5 Ways to a Stress-Free Sanctuary
Some of these tips you may be able to implement today. Some might take a little bit of planning, but are still achievable fairly quickly. Ready? Let’s go!
This one may seem a bit woo-woo. I get it, I thought so several years ago. My bedroom walls used to be this deep purple called Cleopatra’s Gown. I loved it.
However, I noticed as the years went on my room always seemed dark. This was very odd as there aren’t any shade trees on that side of the house and I have two windows in the wall. It should feel bright in there.
After some research (did you know purple can cause violent dreams?), I picked pale blue paint. So pale I thought it was white until the first coat of paint dried.
Blue is one of the primary colors in nature. Blue sky and blue waters. It’s a relaxing color.
I have to say, my bedroom is much more relaxing and airy now with its Ice Drop walls. This color also helps enhance the relaxing scenic landscapes I’ve hung on the walls.
There isn’t much in my bedroom. A wooden chest, a trunk on end for a bed table, a dog crate, and the bed. The chest of drawers and my clothes are in the closet. While the room isn’t always spick and span clean, it is typically clutter-free. Nothing piled here and there that is stressing me out because it’s not where it’s supposed to be.
“Clutter is anything that doesn’t belong in a space – whether because it belongs elsewhere in your home, or it doesn’t belong in your home any longer.”Chrissy from Organize My House
Use softer lights in the bedroom. This is the room where you sleep – not where you’re hosting a quilting bee party where everyone needs bright light to see their stitches. Go for the soft white light bulbs. Soft white mimics the early morning or late evening warmer colors. Save the daylight bulbs for your kitchen and office.
You may also want to invest in black-out curtains. If you live where there are a lot of street lights or traffic on the road outside your house, or the neighbor has lots of outdoor lights on all night, black-out curtains can help. It’s easier to sleep when the room is dark. So get rid of the nightlight too. (By all means, have a nightlight in the hallway or bathroom, just not in your bedroom.)
One of the best purchases I’ve made in the last ten years is a sunrise alarm clock. Instead of being scared awake to BEEP BEEP BEEP every morning, I wake up gently to a glowing light. The alarm light turns on at a dim setting 30 minutes before my alarm time. As the set time draws closer, the light gets brighter, mimicking a sunrise. When the designated time arrives, then a sound plays.
Are there days I sleep until the sound comes on? Yes, especially if I haven’t been getting to bed early enough. But most days I wake to the light and am much more relaxed and less stressed. The alarm clock is especially great in the winter months. If I wake up and the room is dark, then I know I have time to go back to sleep instead of stressing about what the time is, but not wanting to wake up enough to put my glasses on to see the time.
Get rid of the electronics in your room. No TV. No iPad. No cellphone.
So many studies have been done on how the blue lights emitted from our computer screens, TV screens, cellphone screens are bad for us. Don’t go immediately from watching TV to trying to sleep. Take a break and get ready for bed. Or read for a few minutes (even six minutes is helpful for relaxing). But get the TV and other electronics out of your bedroom.
Don’t worry, all the electronics can be used in other rooms of your house.
Have you tried any of these five tips before? Were they successful in helping make your bedroom a sanctuary and stress-free zone? If you haven’t tried before, which will you try first? Let me know on FaceBook!