Home Renovations Can Be Seriously Stressful—Here Are 5 Tips for Managing Anxiety
Life presents some inevitable, difficult events that impact our mental health, be it a job loss or divorce. During these moments of tribulation, it can be easier to identify why you're not doing well and admit that you could use some extra support. But what about those confusing times when something good is going on, but your mental health is suffering? Planning a wedding, starting a new job, or even completing a home renovation are just a few examples of this phenomenon.
It probably seems counterintuitive to experience poor mental health while your home is being renovated. After all, it's a privilege and luxury to have the means to renovate, and the end result will be a beautiful new space to live in. But no matter how many times you remind yourself of these definite positives, experiencing home renovation burnout is very real and totally warranted, especially if you're more prone to being overwhelmed by unexpected challenges, decision fatigue, major life changes, budget anxiety, or other sneaky triggers. Know this: It's nothing to feel guilty about.
As it turns out, stress, anxiety, and frustration are all very common feelings to experience when undergoing a home renovation project. A recent survey from Toolstation revealed that 60 percent of home renovations affect general well-being. Study participants shared that their biggest regret was "underestimating the likelihood of problems arising that require more time and more money." Women's mental health seems to take an even larger hit, with 65 percent of female respondents noting their well-being decreased during renovations, compared to half of men. (And the most stressful room to renovate, according to the 1,003 people surveyed: the kitchen!)
It's an overwhelming process.
Anita Yokota, interior designer and licensed therapist, is here to validate that stress, saying that, while home renovations can be an exciting process, they can absolutely get overwhelming. "There are a lot of decisions to make, big expenses to prepare for, and it doesn't happen overnight," she says. "There's bound to be some feelings of uncertainty and impatience." Not to mention that recent shipping delays, supply shortages, and pricing increases have piled on even more stress.
It disrupts normal routines.
Another major stressor of a remodel is that it creates disruption in the homeowners' lives and daily activities, says Jill Croka, a principal interior designer at Jill Croka Designs with a background in psychotherapy. Even if you tell yourself these blips are insignificant, self-inflicted, or worth it, it's normal for even small shifts in familiar routines to make you feel frustrated, out-of-whack, or unsettled. "Renovations can be especially challenging if the project is taking place while living within the home or on a tight deadline to move into the home," she says.
It can lead to some relationship tension.
While home renovations can certainly cause individuals to feel stressed and anxious, they can also impact relationships, either with a partner or with a whole family. This can be particularly true if you're taking on the renovations yourselves. This can be brought on by issues regarding budget, design choices, and timelines, Croka says.
But there's no reason to suffer in silence through a project that's affecting your mood (even if it's meant to be a fun thing!). It's a big change in your life, and something that necessitates self-care and addressing your mental health. To feel better as you go through this process, try following these five tips from the experts who've seen it all.