A Haven of Rest: The Nurse’s Guide to Building a Soothing and Comfortable Home Sanctuary

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Natural materials, indoor plants, and essential oils are simple yet effective ways to turn your home into a soothing and comfortable sanctuary. Even the simple addition of houseplants has been found to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve overall state of mind. Unfortunately, chronic occupational stress and burnout occur daily among nurses due to long shifts, high workload, and low staffing levels, with difficulty relaxing and disconnecting from work being a key symptom, a study in Human Resources for Health reveals .

But here’s the good news: By transforming your home into a relaxing haven, you can facilitate stress reduction and mental and emotional rejuvenation after your shifts. And—in turn, you can prevent burnout and better navigate your demanding role with greater resilience and overall well-being.

Opt for Natural Materials

Natural materials like jute and sisal are minimally processed and low in toxic VOCs (volatile organic compounds), improving indoor air quality. Incorporating natural materials into the home can enhance respiratory health and overall wellness for nurses, who often experience the physical and mental demands of long shifts.

Notably, almost 50% of homeowners say having natural materials instead of artificial materials makes them feel discernibly happier. Natural fiber rugs, in particular, can add warmth and texture to the floor and offer a plush surface for tired feet after a long shift. Jute (derived from the Corchorus plant) is soft, flexible, and feels like a dream under bare feet. As such, jute fiber rugs are an excellent choice for your bedroom, living room, or anywhere you walk barefoot or on the floor. It’s important to note, however, that heavy furniture does leave permanent dents if left standing on jute.

On the other hand, in high-traffic areas like your hallway or entryway, sisal fiber rugs are a great choice as they’re robust and resistant to wear while also being soft and comfortable. You’ll appreciate the soothing texture that greets you after a demanding day. Derived from the agave plant, sisal has coarser, straight fibers that are also relatively low-maintenance, requiring occasional vacuuming to keep clean. This simplicity is ideal for a tired nurse who may prefer easy-care furnishings, allowing you to focus on relaxation rather than upkeep.

Bring the Outdoors In 

When nurses spend time in nature, they become less stressed, happier, and more relaxed, and provide patients with a better quality of care. Unfortunately, the nature of shift work often means you may not leave the building — or see the outside — for around eight to sixteen hours at a time. Yet, fortunately, even indoor plants have been found to impact stress and anxiety positively. So, when it comes to home interior design, bringing the outdoors in is one of the biggest trends right now, and the addition of indoor plants can successfully create a calming and peaceful ambiance in your home. Indoor plants also improve air quality, creating a healthier and more rejuvenating space. Fresher and cleaner indoor air can also help decrease stress levels, promote better respiratory health, and enhance overall well-being.

A peace lily is a great option when choosing indoor plants to add to your abode. With elegant, dark green leaves and pristine white blooms, peace lilies are beautiful and can add a touch of serenity to your space. They’re also air purifiers — proven to remove toxins, like benzene and trichloroethylene, commonly found in paint, varnish, adhesives, and synthetic fibers. Even better, peace lilies are low-maintenance, known for their resilience and adaptability, and require only infrequent watering.

The most appealing aspect of peace lilies is their smell — a soothing scent with calming properties similar to lavender. This relaxing scent can help create a stress-free home environment for nurses, improving mental and emotional well-being after demanding shifts.

Alternatively, snake plants also have powerful air purification properties that can keep your indoor air fresh and help you get a better night’s sleep. Unlike other plants, snake plants emit oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide at night through their unique process of CAM “Crassulacean acid metabolism” photosynthesis. Ideal for the bedroom, snake plants also come in sizes compact enough to fit snugly on your nightstand, where they can help create a conducive sleep environment. They’re also low-maintenance, requiring only occasional waterings — around every 10-14 days, but can go as long as three weeks between waterings. This ease of care ensures that nurses enjoy having a green companion in their living space without adding significant demands to their busy schedules.

Elevate Your Home Sanctuary with Essential Oil 

Essential oils can also play a key role in creating a peaceful ambiance and soothing your mood and emotions. A study in the International Journal of Nurse Practitioners found that nurses who inhaled lavender oil throughout their shifts experienced less job-related stress than the control group. So, by infusing your home with lavender essential oil, you can successfully calm your nervous system, reduce stress and anxiety levels, and return to work refreshed and rejuvenated.

Reed diffusers, for instance, are a stylish and practical way to disperse essential oils into the air. At the same time, ceramic candle diffusers are just as effective and add a comforting, warm glow. In the bedroom, you can also sprinkle a few drops of lavender essential oil on the corners of your pillowcase. Lavender is known for its sleep-inducing properties, as it reduces anxiety and promotes relaxation. Creating a sleep-conducive environment can help ensure quality sleep, improve your mental and physical health, boost concentration, and enhance resilience to cope with the demands of your challenging profession.

As a hardworking nurse, your well-being is paramount, and you deserve a home sanctuary where you can relax and recharge after your shifts. Using natural materials, adding indoor plants, and diffusing essential oils are simple yet effective ways to build a soothing and comfortable haven tailored to your unique needs.

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