When people say they are feeling anxious, worried or depressed this cannot be viewed in isolation. There will be factors that have a direct bearing upon such an experience. When someone is struggling at home, it’s important to identify the causes in order to propose a solution.
This article discusses six areas where our homes can affect our mental health.
The Covid-19 crisis has meant that millions of people across the globe have been in lockdown, with a lifestyle that may be very different to before. If someone rarely sees other people day after day, they will turn in on themselves and become depressed. Without other people to communicate with, we focus on our own problems and forget those of others which may be far greater.
It is hugely important for people to keep in contact with friends and family each day, using whatever means they have available. When there is the need to speak to someone from home, professional psychiatrists can also be of help. They can provide confidential conversations by video, and even prescribe medication. If someone is experiencing acute symptoms such as suicidal thoughts, the therapist is likely to recommend a face to face meeting urgently.
2. A small living environment
If there are too many occupants in a home and not enough rooms, it can be a recipe for frustration. If there are two occupants in a studio flat there may be literally nowhere for a person to isolate themself indoors.
Some people don’t help themselves either, and choose to have more children than they can house comfortably. Pet lovers may fill a home with cats and dogs when there is limited-enough space already. If the furniture choices are wrong, this can add stress too. Rooms can start off large but end up small if there are too many furnishings.
3. An untidy home
If children have nowhere to keep their shoes or toys or are not trained to be tidy, they may end up strewn across the floor. Parents can feel overwhelmed when they enter a room, tripping over things and feeling their children are lacking in respect.
If a home is full of clutter, the cabinets may be heaving with junk. Cupboards that pour out their contents every time the door is opened will feel like a bridged-up dam. If there are too many ornaments in the lounge or pictures on the walls, it will feel cluttered and overbusy.
If paperwork is disorganised, it will be needlessly time consuming to find things. When a home is tidy and under control, however, it is easier to feel that one’s life is the same.
4. A dark living space
People may experience symptoms of SAD during the winter. It isn’t good for one’s mental health if the home is lacking in windows. Any garden that is perpetually dark because of high walls, neighbouring houses or trees will feel gloomy.
If low wattage bulbs are used indoors, it will be harder to read in the evenings. Once again, the cave-like sense experience can be bad for peoples’ mental health.
White coloured walls look brighter and make rooms look more spacious. If dark walls and furniture have been chosen, this will have the opposite effect.
5. A poor sleeping environment
If the curtains don’t exclude the sun, the bedrooms will become light too early in the morning during the summer.
Living in a flat can be far from ideal if there is inadequate soundproofing. There may be noises above, below and at each side during the day and night.
Noisy or aggressive neighbours bring a lot of anxiety to people. Late night parties and music can rob people of their much needed sleep.
Even wonderful life events like having a baby can create months or disturbed sleep. Years later, teenagers may be keeping their parents up, while they await their safe return.
6. Relationship issues
Many of the things we have already discussed have a direct bearing upon this. Partners cooped up together for hours on end may get on each others’ nerves. If one person is tidy and another messy, that is a recipe for friction. Nasty neighbours or angry teenagers can bring anxiety into peoples’ lives.
All the above factors can adversely affect peoples’ mental health. By way of contrast, imagine a spacious home with considerate occupants. Everyone communicates with friends and family on a regular basis. The home is bright and tidy. Everyone gets on well, and night times are quiet and peaceful.
We live in an imperfect world, but once we have identified the issues, we can take steps to resolve them. Then once again, it can become a case of ‘home sweet home’.