These days, switching off can seem almost alien. The idea of simply whiling away the hours doing nothing is something that many can now only dream of.
But did you know that there are a number of health benefits associated with allowing yourself that spare time? Creating space in your home where you can really kick back and get cosy, is something that will not only look great (especially in winter) but can make you feel good, too.
It's a well known fact that the cold winter months, which bring long nights and very little sunlight, can have detrimental effects on your health. With mental health issues such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) on the rise, it's important to ensure we look after ourselves - and doing so doesn't need to be costly or time consuming, either.
As a result of this need for change, cultural phenomena such as the Danish art of Hygge and celebrity decluttering expert, Marie Kondo, have drawn attention to what a difference our homes and in particular, interior decor, can make to our health and well-being.
So, we've put together this fact-based infographic that's loaded with information to think about, including how we need to be more conscious of our busy lives and what we can do to introduce some much needed calm this winter time.
It's said that the average working week is now around 60 hours, and working 100 hours a week isn't uncommon. In the UK, this equates to the same number of hours that miners worked before working week limits were introduced in the mid-twentieth century.
Add to that our growing obsession with technology and the ability to "switch off" and focus on ourselves is almost zero. This ever-increasing technological world that we now live in, also means that much of our working life is accessible at the touch of a button - blurring the lines between work and rest even further.
So, how do we strike the right work/life balance?
The first thing to consider is what we come home to at the end of the day. Making a conscious effort to remove technology from your regular routine is a great first step. Next, you want to create an inviting home, one that feels relaxed and feeds into a calming atmosphere that sets the tone for a good night's rest.
"A healthy home is a happy home"
It's an old saying, but it's true. A recent medical study in America found that happier, safer homes had fewer instance of asthma, and this was the case for adults and children alike.
You may have also heard the expression "tidy home, tidy mind", and sticking to this old adage can massively improve how you feel. Chaotic environments can have a negative impact on your mental health, increasing stress-levels and depressive symptoms which can interfere with day-to-day life, stability and organisation within your home. This vicious cycle can be difficult to break, but in removing the clutter and staying on top of routine chores, the differences in your mental health are likely to be noticeable almost immediately.
Getting Cosy Around the World
Well-being and comfort play a big part in many cultures around the world. Whether that's ditching tech for 24 hours as part of the Jewish faith, or the Danish art of "Hygge" as we mentioned before, which in basic terms, acknowledges that cosy, special feeling of being all warm and fuzzy.
The Danes aren't the only ones to appreciate these special moments, either. The Spanish have "Sobremesa", which refers to the time enjoyed at the table after eating, simply chatting to your friends and family - a dying tradition for many households in the west.
The Japanese refer to being too busy to stop and appreciate the small things as "too little tea" or "the beautiful foolishness of things, which comes from The Book of Tea. It's a mantra that's designed to bring you back down to Earth when the all-consuming trials and tribulations of life start to get too much.
In Croatia, you might decide to partake in "Fjaka", which basically refers to down time - the simple art of doing nothing.
How Can We Make Our House Feel More Like a Home?
If you're struggling to come up with ideas for how you can make your home more "Hygge", here are a few simple steps you can take, that don't need to cost a pretty penny or take up too much of your time.
Personalise - A house isn’t a home without the things you love. Select a few treasured bits and pieces that hold fond memories for you, such as pictures, postcards and collages. These personal touches will always bring you joy and they can really add a touch of your own personal style to your decor, too - Let your house tell your story.
Cosify - So no, that's not really a word but we're certain you'll know what it means. Your home should be all about comfort, use throws, blankets and cushions to add a sumptuous, inviting touch to your space, especially living areas such as the lounge and bedroom.
Illuminate - Lighting plays a key role in how we perceive a space. Softer, warm white lights will create ambiance and add a comforting glow. The blue tones of cool white lighting can be too harsh and can make a space seem more clinical than it needs to be, it can make it difficult for you to relax as the lighting can make a space seem colder than it is. Opting for warmer lighting will make you feel more relaxed, and make your home appear more cosy.
Declutter - Marie Kondo suggests that you keep only what brings you joy, and we'd have to agree. The frustration of having to fight your way through unnecessary clutter is not only time consuming but mind consuming, too. Having more space in your home will alleviate stress and help make you feel more comfortable in your home.