5 home relaxation ideas to improve mood and libido

DDecades of research have shown that our living environment (among many other factors) plays a huge role in our mental health. Living in a cluttered and stressful environment has been linked to higher levels of cortisol (the stress hormones) and increased depressed mood among women, while tasks like tidying and organizing improve brain function.

How your home is set up (and what’s in it) also plays a role in your mood. If you’re constantly staring at a sad wall, sitting in an uncomfortable chair, surrounded by clutter, chances are you don’t feel as good as if you were in a comfortable chair, looking at things that bring joy and feeling cozy and yummy in our environment.

This can have ripple effects on other parts of your life, including your libido. As a sex therapist, I like to think of our libidos (aka our sex drives) as a “check engine” light for your entire being. You may have heard old jokes from the 50’s (or your older uncle) about how housewives can’t have sex unless the sink is empty. While these jokes are rife with patriarchal and misogynistic overtones, the lesson remains — and not just for women. When our environment is creating stress, it’s hard to want to have sex.

Now, we can’t control everything in our environments, especially things like the culture or the people around us. So it’s important that we start with the things we do Does have control – such as lighting, cleanliness, sounds and other things that affect your senses within your spaces at home or at work. To make the biggest impact from the start, start with the room you spend the most time in and organize it, add yummy colors and smells, and add things that bring you joy.

I started doing this in my own home, where three out of four of us live in the home, often WFH, and I found the impact incredibly significant. Here are some of the things I found worked best for me and my well-being.

Relaxation ideas at home to boost your mood and libido

1. Deal with your clutter

As mentioned, clutter can be a big mood wrecker and can add to your stress at home — the last thing anyone needs for a happy family life (or sex life, for that matter). If you struggle to keep up with clutter, try keeping a daily checklist of small tasks and dedicating just 15 minutes to them each day. I also swear by the Open Spaces Entryway Rack ($189), which adds a bright splash of color to my space while helping to corral my stuff in a visually friendly way.

2. Snuggle up

There’s nothing like blankets and pillows to instantly make a space more comfortable and relaxing. I personally love cute lumbar pillows (like Pillowpia Chindi Lombar Pillow, $88) for providing great back support (ideal for working at home or sleeping) while still making your space look nice. The right kind can brighten up a room and feel amazing to sit on a sofa or chair. Hello relaxation.

3. Add plants to your space

The mental health benefits of vegetation are well established. Gardening and caring for plants improves physical and mental health, while the plants themselves can help improve your concentration, make you more compassionate and calm. Another study found that your sympathetic nervous system (which controls your “fight or flight” response) is actually calmed by time with plants. (Take that, stress levels!)

Even if you don’t have the greenest thumb, this all seems like more than enough reason to add some houseplants to your space. Personally, I’m a big fan of Urban Flora House Plants, which sends plants straight to your home. Other similar companies in this line include The Sill, Bloomscape and Easyplant. (And if you’re totally new to plants, check out these easy-to-care-for indoor plants.)

4. Surround yourself with photos of loved ones

Are you someone who likes to see pictures of you and the people you love? Little wonder: A 2021 survey found that looking at old photos is more relaxing for your system than meditating. Plus, revisiting nostalgic memories (like those captured in photos) helps you feel connected to loved ones and triggers feelings of warmth and comfort. This does not mean that you should abandon your meditation practice. Instead, consider a sign to print out some old photos you love, place them in the room you’re working in, and feel the relaxation melt over you.

5. Light some candles

Specific scents can trigger powerful memories and emotions – and lighting a candle (or a few) can help you change your mood almost instantly. The candle look itself can also be incredibly calming for people. Add in scents that are proven to alter brain chemistry (like lavender, for example) and you’ve got a great combination to help lift your mood. (It doesn’t hurt that candles also engage your senses, which is great for setting a more sensual mood when you want to get busy.)

These are just a few suggestions, but I hope you get this idea and find things that fit you and your home. Do you want to have cute sex toys because they bring you joy? Great. Is it a specific color of paint on the walls? Amazing. Do what is good for you; a healthy mind and libido will follow.

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