Each May, the National Alliance for Mental Illness, also known as NAMI, sponsors Mental Health Awareness Month. This month is dedicated to raising awareness and breaking the stigma around mental illness—something that’s been brought into greater public awareness than ever over the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The isolation that many people have experienced over the past year has contributed to NAMI’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Month 2021—You Are Not Alone. COVID-19 has disrupted the patterns that helped many people sustain their mental health—like spending time with friends and loved ones.

All the time spent at home in 2020 made some feel alone—and some people might have felt the impact of their homes on their mental health. Yes—your home can have a big and real impact on how you feel. Here, we’ll break down the connection between home function, appearance, and mental health, and let you know how we can help.

What do the terms mental health and mental illness mean?

Mental health refers to your social, emotional, and physical well-being. While often less visible than physical health, mental health is very important for general well-being—it impacts how you deal with stress and interact with others.

Many people’s mental health suffered during the pandemic, and is continuing to pose problems even as restrictions loosen. The extended stress of the pandemic led many people to experience increased anxiety and other symptoms, like difficulty sleeping, and problems with eating or with increasing alcohol consumption. This extended stress even caused physical symptoms for some—like headaches, nerve pain, or stomach problems.  

While stress is not the same as mental illness or a mental health condition, the strain of the past year has made many with those conditions struggle more than usual, and has increased the prevalence of symptoms in those who didn’t have diagnosed conditions before.

That’s because mental illnesses or mental health conditions aren’t caused by just one factor—they’re often a combination of genetics, environment, and lifestyle—and the lifestyle of many people has changed recently. But even in other years, millions of Americans have mental health conditions—as many as 1 in 5. These conditions can vary in severity and presentation, but all deeply impact day-to-day life and can impact behaviors and relationships with others.

How can your home impact your mental health?

Your home, a big part of your daily environment, has a major impact on mental health. Maybe a dated kitchen makes you avoid cooking meals, or damage to your bathroom makes it an unpleasant place to be. These factors raise stress levels, which increases cortisol, or the stress hormone, in your brain. This additional cortisol can trigger conditions like anxiety or depression. Even without triggering a condition, it can increase moodiness or irritability, or cause pain.

The stress of looking at or living in an unfinished or damaged space, or of thinking about repairs and cost, can be more than annoying—it can hurt your health. But finishing your space—knocking items off the to-do list and making those needed changes or repairs—can help counteract this.

The added comfort of doing things like repairing a kitchen or bathroom can help lower stress levels and make you feel better. Taking control of your space and making decisions can also help to make you feel better by taking control of your environment and decreasing feelings of helplessness. While tackling projects in your home is not a cure for mental illness, and can’t replace professional help, it can have a big impact on your mood and well-being.

How can interior design impact mental health?

It’s not just big projects—interior design can impact your mental health, too.

Lots of clutter, or rooms packed heavily with furniture can appear dark and small, and can make you feel confined or stressed. Narrow halls or features that are hard to use can also contribute to stress and frustration.

The principles of Universal Design can help in organizing a space that feels good to be in. This system aims to make a space accessible and usable by everyone—regardless of age, strength, size, ability, or disability. Among other principles, universal design is equitable, flexible, requires low physical effort of anyone in it, and is tolerant of error, which minimizes hazards.

These principles all emphasize ease of moving around in and being in a space. These ideas when applied to home design might suggest—along with accessible building specifications—things like cabinets placed at a comfortable height, bathroom features that are easy to use and reduce risk, and light furniture that’s easy to move around. 

How does accessibility impact mental health?

For those with disabilities that impact physical mobility, some updates to bathroom spaces can have a big impact on mental health. Handicap bathroom fixtures like the Tub Step or a shower chair make it easier for those with mobility issues to shower or bathe on their own—something that boosts independence and confidence.

Maintaining privacy and dignity can definitely have an impact on mental well-being and can make you feel better about yourself. Grab bars or textured shower floors can help, too—as can repairing any damage to the tub through reglazing, which can cut down on areas that might be easy to slip or trip on.

Where can I find accessibility installation, kitchen sink reglazing, and tub refinishing near me?

When you’re looking for help with a bathroom remodel, Memphis residents—and residents of the greater Memphis area—turn to the Tub Pros. Whether you’re looking to install a Tub Step or a grab bar, to update dated sinks or counters, or you’re wondering; why is my bathtub cracking or simply need repairs, we’re here to help.

Our factory-certified professionals and written warranty bring you peace of mind as we work on your project. Our tools and experience help us get the job done right the first time—which means that your project is done sooner, and your home is a nicer place to be in even faster. When you’re ready to get started, give The Tub Pros a call at (901) 871-8827 or look at our color chart and  contact us today to get a free estimate and get started on your project.


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