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Revamp your living spaces for a brighter, healthier winter

Winter quilt collage

John Touhey | Aleteia

John Touhey - published on 01/05/24

Wintertime can be a challenge, especially for those who suffer from a seasonal affective disorder. These simple changes to our living spaces can help.

Winter can be a challenging time of the year, particularly for those of us who live in chillier climates. Cold, snow, and shortened daylight hours mean more time spent indoors. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) causes many people to feel a loss of interest or enthusiasm in life, along with numerous other symptoms. Remaining inside and relatively inactive can affect one’s physical health as well.

The good news is that there are simple changes we can make to our living spaces that can help alleviate some of these problems.

Here are some tips to make your environment a little brighter and healthier:

LIGHT

It is important to bring light into your living spaces during the winter. Light exposure has been shown to play a key element in physical and mental health.

  • Cleaning windows, removing screens, keeping shades open, and using sheer curtains will help increase the amount of sunlight entering your rooms.
  • Consider changing the lightbulbs in your lighting fixtures. Full-spectrum LED lights are worth considering, though you may want to try different bulbs to find bulbs that suit your taste. Adding a small lamp to a dark corner can make a dramatic difference.
  • Use softer lights at night and avoid blue light from laptops and phone screens.
  • Some people who suffer from SAD find the use of lightboxes helpful.
Painting by Fabiana Touhey, Detail
Painting by Fabiana Touhey, detail

COLOR

Add some color to your living spaces, with an emphasis on brighter colors. Your rooms don’t have to resemble a circus tent, but even small touches of bright colors here and there can dramatically alter the psychological feel of a space. You can repaint an old chair in a primary color, put some bright pillows on your sofa, hang a colorful poster or artwork on your wall, etc.

MIRRORS

The addition of a full-length mirror in a corner or even a medium-sized mirror on your mantle will help the space you are living in feel more expansive. Many restaurants use this trick, but it works just as well in your home. Mirrors also reflect light, brightening rooms even further.

Purple flower houseplant

PLANTS

Bringing houseplants to your living spaces will help clean the air and also add a sense of life during what often seems like the dreariest time of year.

  • Try not to buy plants on the coldest days and if it is nippy outside, ask your retailer to wrap up the plant for you so that it will better survive the trip home.
  • Cut flowers are also a wonderful way to add nature and color to your interiors. Follow these tips to keep your flowers looking fresh for longer.

SACRED SPACE

Of course, the most important winter alteration you can make is within, making a space for God in your own heart. That process can be helped, however, by making physical space for Him in the place where you live. This informative article by Aleteia’s Tess Barber will tell you everything you need to know about setting up a small sacred space in your home.

Hopefully these tips will help you make your journey through winter just a little sunnier. And remember, spring will be here before you know it!

Tags:
HomeMental HealthPsychology
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