Article reposted from Daily Telegraph by Robyn Willis
The new year always seems so full of promise but by the time the start of the school year approaches, many of those resolutions have fallen by the wayside.
But there’s still time to put your place on the path to a happier and healthier year.
Rather than aiming for the unachievable, we’ve come up with some simple but effective ways to make 2018 a happy one for you and your family at home.
Whether you’re bursting with energy and ready to tackle the next paint job, or you just really need to find somewhere to relax, we’ve prepared some solid suggestions to help you on your way.
This space styled by Natalie Walton has a calming white palette and layers of texture. Picture: Chris Warnes
THE SIMPLE LIFE
If you finished 2017 feeling a bit frazzled, this could be the year to simplify your life — and your home is the perfect place to start that process.
Stylist Natalie Walton is the author of This Is Home: The Art Of Simple Living (due out in April) and she argues that a happy home is one that is stripped back to what is important to the people who live there.
“Stripping away all that is superfluous is an exercise that can bring clarity and purpose to our everyday living,” Natalie says. “It doesn’t mean we have to live without joy, but rather that we put it centre stage.”
Use the Marie Kondo method of finding joy, the art of Swedish Death Cleaning or any other approach you can think of to sort through the clutter and zero in on the pieces you really love.
Donate or sell what you can and call council to come and collect the rest. Most councils offer a couple of free pick-ups a year to ratepayers in addition to the designated days.
Natalie says you’ll feel happier when you’re done.
“When we simplify our lives we give ourselves the opportunity to focus on what can make us happy,” she says.
More: This Is Home: The Art Of Simple Living, Hardie Grant
Colour is key to making your home feel like a happier place. Picture: Mike Baker for Dulux
We all know that colour can affect our mood so if you want to find your happy place this year, it could be time to head to the paint store.
Dulux creative consultant Bree Leech is responsible for putting together images (such as the Kinship palette above for autumn 2018) for the paint company’s trend forecasts each season but says when it comes to your own home, follow your heart.
“Colour is key to making your home feel like a happier place,” she says. “Although we talk a lot about trends and what colours are popular, it’s not the most important thing.
“Find out what you are drawn to and go for colours that make you feel good.”
Although it’s good to have flow throughout the house, she says that doesn’t mean you have to paint every room the same colour.
“While I’d recommend linking spaces with an underlying colour and texture, each room can still have its own feel,” she says.
“You might want a dark and moody bedroom but not carry that colour on the walls through the whole house.”
Our waste is growing at double the rate of our population, but there are a range of simple measures you can take to reduce that.
REDUCE YOUR WASTE
If you're having trouble sleeping at night because you’re worried about the state of the planet, you’re not alone.
According to ABC1’s War On Waste series, our waste is growing at double the rate of our population.
But there are a range of simple measures you can take to reduce that, from being more vigilant with what you buy in packaging to sorting through your household recycling.
You can reduce your footprint further by installing a compost bin or worm farm to process food waste or a backyard coop with a couple of chickens to eat your scraps while providing you with fresh eggs. Join the conversation on Facebook at #WarOnWasteAU
Break the rules; doing your own thing is the path to a happy life. Picture: Curious Grace.
MAKE YOUR OWN STYLE RULES
It’s hectic trying to keep up with the latest style trends.
Sites such as Pinterest and Instagram as well as reality TV shows such as The Block and House Rules can put us all under pressure to go with the latest styles.
But trade and contract manager for Curious Grace (their velvet chairs are pictured above), Anthony Koletti, says doing your own thing is the path to a happy life.
“There is nothing worse than bland spaces,” Anthony says. “I have been to people’s houses where there is nothing there. The house has beautiful bones but it doesn’t reflect the person who lives there.”
And while symmetry, balance and alignment all have their place when designing a room, Anthony says if it works for you, don’t hold back.
“This year is all about empowerment and doing it for you,” he says. “We have moved on from trying to impress the neighbours.
“Have some fun with it and break the rules.”
Owning a pet can offer everything from improving empathy in children to lowering blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease in adults.
ADOPT THE PERFECT PET
If you’re looking for instant happiness at home, you could do a lot worse than adopting a pet.
According to the RSPCA, owning a pet can offer everything from improving empathy in children to lowering blood pressure and the risk of cardio vascular disease in adults.
While there are plenty of animals for sale from breeders, many vets and RSPCA centres are just looking to place cats and dogs with good families. Choose an animal that best suits your lifestyle and your location.
Find a spot somewhere in the house to truly relax and unwind. Picture: Victoria + Albert Baths
CREATE A SANCTUARY
Everyone needs a little space to recharge the batteries so find a spot somewhere in the house to truly relax and unwind.
It could be your bedroom, a shaded part of the garden or the bath, like the Trivento bath from the Victoria+Albert range (above).
The key is to set yourself up not to be disturbed, which is easier said than done in busy families.
If necessary, let everyone know you’re taking time out for an hour, grab a book or magazine along with your favourite beverage so there’s no need to get up.
A view of nature, even if it’s just an indoor plant, is an added bonus. If you’re outdoors, position yourself to catch the breeze. While indoors an essential oil scented candle will help you relax.
The science is in — digging in the dirt makes you happy...
START A GARDEN
Many of us associate gardening with other outdoor chores such as mowing the lawn, but horticulture consultant to Yates, Angie Thomas, says the science is in — digging in the dirt makes you happy.
“Scientists studied groups of people around the world and they gave half the group some garden tasks and the other half tasks on the computer,” she says. “The group working on the computer were far less happy but the people gardening felt more soothed and comfortable and had a decrease in blood pressure compared with the other group.”
Gardening has also been linked to improvements for people suffering from anxiety and depression and, Angie says, it’s a great community activity.
“I get so much joy from talking to my neighbour and handing over something that I’ve grown,” she says. “It’s a unifying hobby where you’re sharing your produce and knowledge.”
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