The plethora of news stories on school shootings makes us reevaluate the safety of our surroundings. If even children are in danger when going to school, how are we to feel secure? Creating a safety plan is an integral part of mental health recovery for women.
Mood, mental health and housing safety are closely connected. A woman’s living environment is a strong contributor to her quality of life; her home is the first thing she experiences when waking, the last thing she sees before going to bed and affects many other aspects of day-to-day living. For women with illnesses such as bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders and PTSD, a feeling of safety is crucial to wellness.
We owe it to our mental health to create an environment in which we feel safe. There are three things women should focus on when evaluating the safety of their living space: home interior, relationships and neighborhood safety.
An analysis of home environment, including the kitchen’s impact on our nutritional habits and the bedroom’s impact on sleep hygiene allows us to identify the environmental factors that can hinder emotional wellness. Such an analysis allows women to create a home that encourages the healthy habits that support mental wellness.
Exploring how family dynamics within the home affect mental health allows financial or emotional concerns within these relationships to be targeted in therapy. Resolving issues within the home and identifying relationships that are destructive to recovery helps women create supportive environments.
Finally, in order to choose an optimal home environment, women can analyze neighborhood location and safety, taking nearby hospitals and schools into consideration. Whether or not a woman feels safe in her neighborhood impacts recovery: frequent crime or poor neighborhood lighting can create anxiety and emotionally devastate a woman recovering from mental health issues. Sometimes small changes can fix this. Other times, a move may be necessitated.
Our home is the basic foundation around which our lives revolve. Every woman’s individual recovery plan should explore the unique facets of her home life in order to ensure a safe environment in which to continue recovery.