Feeling Anxious? Try Nesting!

May 12, 2020

We often associate the term “nesting” with the burst of energy that pregnant women experience in the weeks leading up to labour and delivery.

But it can be more than that. Anyone can nest!

In animals, the nesting instinct is all about preparing a home and making it safe from predators. For humans, nesting can mean creating a living space that provides warmth and stability in times of danger and stress.

As the old expression goes, “Home is where the heart is.” It’s only natural that we intuitively want our personal space to resonate with us and provide a sense of calm, comfort, and belonging. Our need for comfort is intensified when the outside world is full of change and uncertainty.

Whether you live in a studio apartment, a high-rise condo, or a larger house, here are a few simple things you can do to help feather your nest and lift your spirits.

It’s easy being green

House plants were out of vogue for awhile, but thankfully, they’re now back in style! With a greater life span than cut flowers, plants provide a sense of longevity and dependability. As well, house plants can benefit our health by reducing levels of toxins in the air. Some, like rosemary and lavender, can potentially lower blood pressure and relieve stress. There are lots of plants to choose from. Many local florist shops will deliver green plants to your door.

Safe space

While isolated, we might tend to spend hours watching the news and surfing the internet. For a change, why not create your own, personalized “escape zone” where the focus is on just you? Your space could be as basic as a favourite chair draped with a warm quilt, or one part of the sofa set aside with puffy throw pillows. Dedicate that space as a place to read, nap, meditate, sip a cup of tea, or simply sit in quiet for awhile. Your soul will thank you.

Mini make-over

Depending on your energy level, you may feel an urge to move stuff around and re-do your space. In fact, many people find it therapeutic to rearrange furniture in times of stress! Of course, to avoid injury, you will need to wait until you have help to manage any bigger pieces. But if the spirit moves you to move things, keep in mind that you don’t have to do a total reno – just the simple act of repositioning a few pieces of furniture (think: end tables) or hanging a new picture on the wall can freshen up your place, create newness, and provide a sense of accomplishment.

A box filled with clothes labeled "Donation"
Donate items that may be of use to someone else

A sound decision

Music sets a mood. Tunes with a fast tempo can make you feel energized, while slower music can quiet your mind. Find a favourite station on your radio or television or download your favourite tunes and create a personalized play list on your cell phone or digital media player. Some people find that sounds of nature – rain, wind, birds chirping – are relaxing when mixed with other laid-back music.

Nesting to relieve stress

Change can trigger anxiety in many of us. And our world is certainly stressful these days.

Research shows that having a comfortable and calm home environment is important for good mental health. Nesting is instinctive to us as living beings, and it’s important that we honour the way we feel.

While it’s unlikely that the tips we’ve shared here will totally rid you of anxiety, the very act of nesting – taking the time and making the effort to create a comforting and calming personal space – might help to reduce your stress level and provide a sense of accomplishment.


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