Secrets to a Stress-Free Home

Ever wonder how spas are able to strip your stress away? By the time you get to the receptionist, you’re already feeling more calm and relaxed. That’s no accident.

Mike McAdams, the owner and designer of the ultraluxurious Lake Austin Spa Resort in Austin, Texas says, "We use whatever sensory cues we can to get each visitor to leave her stress outside."

And your home should create the same feeling.

Their secret? It’s all in the orchestration.

Cary Collier, principal of Blu Spas and Collier and Collier Spas, part of the award-winning design team behind the Four Seasons at Bali, Alvorada Spa at Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix, and others says, "It’s about thinking beyond how your room looks and paying more attention to how it makes you feel."

With that, these experts offer the following tips, via, into giving your home that relaxing and calming spa feel:

Create an entrance. Creating an entrance doesn’t entail creating a Zen garden overnight or any other night. Rather it’s about choosing the most-stress free route into your house. For instance, shares the experts, if coming in through your cluttered garage causes your BP to spike up, choose come in through the front door instead.

Calm the clutter. Entries into our homes are home to our clutter: shoes, mail, umbrellas, etc. And that chaos, Anne McCall Wilson, vice president of Spas Fairmont Raffles Hotels International says, "creates an immediate sense of being overwhelmed and buried by your life." Instead of letting all that junk welcome you after a long stressful day at work, stow them away in baskets or drawers.

Let there be light. Collier says that aside from clutter, another common mistake in entry halls is lighting – or the lack of it.

"They’re either too dark or too harshly lit-because of a big overhead fixture," Collier says. "The most soothing lighting tends to be a combination of ambient and overhead."

McAdams shares this opinion. "If you do nothing else, just layering the light with lamps or sconces can make a room so much warmer and more inviting." The experts suggest opting for a dimmer switch and adding a table lamp into your entrance hall.

Enter gently. Sure you’re as grumpy as an ogre after a stressful day at work, but there’s no point in taking it out on your door or your family. Experts suggest that instead of slamming the door or barking orders at your family, take the time to greet each member of your family warmly. Robbie Hudson, spa director at Lake Austin Spa Resort in Austin, Texas says, "That warm behavior can cause a positive ripple effect."

Treat your senses.  The last step to creating a de-stressing home is to create a soothing ambience. McAdams says, "The more you can engage your five senses in a positive way and eliminate any sensory disturbances, the more relaxing your reentry is going to be."

So, short of buying a table top fountain, spa experts suggest doing the following:

  • Add a cushy rug to absorb some of the echo effect of hardwood floors.
  • Bring in fresh flowers or a flowering plant (that doesn’t need to be replaced weekly) for a pleasant aroma.
  • Introduce some kind of natural texture such as unfinished wood, metal, stone "so everything’s not hard and slick," McAdams says.

These are what experts call "subtle-but-soothing sensory cues" that send subliminal messages to your brain to help you relax.



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