Several years ago, I experienced a toxic living situation that taught me one enduring lesson in particular: The health of my home environment has a direct, profound impact on my overall well-being. Since then, I've made it a priority to come home to an atmosphere that allows me to leave stress at the door. My apartment is my personal sanctuary, filled with plants, records, and all-around good vibes.
Marie Kondo really was onto something. Research tells us that maintaining a clean, minimalist space can actually have a parallel impact on your brain: Your stress levels plummet and your mind feels clearer and more organized.
Or think of it this way: "Nothing lives forever," says Lili Pettit, professional organizer and healer. "Nothing. The more comfortable you can get with the idea of losing everything, the more value you place on the simple pleasures in life."
Whether you prefer essential oils, incense, palo santo, or fancy candles—or all of the above, in my case—scent is a really easy way to amp up your home base and make it your own. Plus, certain scents are scientifically proven to boost your mood, lower your cortisol levels, and more. (More on that here.)
Urbanites, take note: When pollution is part of your daily life, it's important to be proactive about the air you breathe. I'm a huge fan of Dyson's Cool Link, which monitors your air quality for you to see as it clears out the grime. (It's also a wonderful fan—and the gentle white noise of it always lulls me right to sleep.)
Whether you're on your own or share your home with four roommates, do your best to designate a cozy retreat for yourself—even if it's just a corner of your bedroom. This will be your go-to spot when stress levels are high or you just need a little clarity. Outfit your spot with a cozy floor pillow, incense, a journal, or whatever else makes you feel zen.
Your body temperature plays a huge role in how well you sleep at night, which is why it's important to choose sheets that keep you from overheating. Opt for cotton or linen since these fabrics tend to be the most breathable.
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions. See our full health disclaimer here.