A homestead is many things to many people. It’s a source of self-reliance and independence. It’s a return to a healthier and more eco-friendly way of living. It’s an opportunity to ensure that your whole family gets to enjoy living on fresh, organic, home-grown produce. It’s a never-ending quest in which you’re always learning new skills and capabilities.
But… above all else, your homestead is also a home. Yet, when we spend so much time and effort on the more functional aspects of the homestead, the “home” part can often get lost in the shuffle. And when this happens it can become harder to relax in our homes and this can prevent us from being able to switch off and contribute to rising stress levels.
Here are some ways in which we can put the home back in homestead.
Invest in better storage to clear away clutter
There should be some spaces within the home which are your sanctuary from the world and all its issues, including those presented by running your agricultural pursuits. Yet, it can be hard to relax in these places when there are clothes on the floor, belongings bulging from the shelves and plates balanced precariously on the arms of sofas.
Clutter can have a surprisingly detrimental effect on our mental health. It can distract us from what we’re doing, prevent us from being able to relax and unwind and make us feel alienated in our own homes. Thus, clearing it away is one of the most powerful steps we can take towards making our homes a relaxing place in which to spend time.
Sure, you could throw a yard sale or donate some of your surplus belongings to charity, but if you don’t want to part with your belongings, it may simply be a case of investing in smarter storage solutions.
Compartmentalize living and working spaces
When you’re busy managing the more functional aspects of the homestead, it’s easy for the lines to blur between home and homestead. You may find yourself leaving equipment in the living room or eating lunch at your desk or out in the fields. You may find that you never quite feel at home, yet you always feel like you’re at work.
For this reason, it’s important to compartmentalize your living and working space and stay vigilant in ensuring that one doesn’t seep into the other. This goes for both the interior and the exterior. See a residential lawn care company to make sure that your lawn looks and feels like a relaxing place to spend time outdoors rather than just another part of the farm.
Differentiate with decor
One way in which to do this effectively is to try using contrasting modes of decor. Keep functional areas just that… functional. Decorate them in a way that is pleasing to the eye yet spartan, while focusing your more luxurious efforts on the parts of the home that are intended for relaxation.
Avoid shop talk wherever possible
Finally, try and keep conversation about the homestead out of the home proper. Try and keep the conversation at the dinner table and on the sofa light and happy and free of worry and stress. Where conversations like this are unavoidable, it might be worth scheduling family meetings and holding them in a neutral space that’s comfortable yet not associated with the home.