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Therapists share 5 things in your tiny home that could be causing you stress — and how to handle them

Summary List PlacementFeeling cramped? Amplify natural light and get outside. Living in a tiny space is the most common home stressor because it's full of limitations, Stephanie Rojas, an New York City-based therapist who is on the media advisory team for a Hope For Depression, said in an interview with Insider. Therapist Cecille Ahrens previously told Insider that living in a tight space without a window "can create anxiety and trigger a panic attack." If you live in a space without a window, therapist Ariel Sank suggests going outside to boost your mood.  There are also ways to bring light into a small space....

Mother and son cutting out pictures in camper van X's and arrows over 4 spots that are cluttered and stressful

Summary List Placement

Feeling cramped? Amplify natural light and get outside.

Living in a tiny space is the most common home stressor because it’s full of limitations, Stephanie Rojas, an New York City-based therapist who is on the media advisory team for a Hope For Depression, said in an interview with Insider.

Therapist Cecille Ahrens previously told Insider that living in a tight space without a window “can create anxiety and trigger a panic attack.”

If you live in a space without a window, therapist Ariel Sank suggests going outside to boost your mood. 

There are also ways to bring light into a small space. Tiara Christian, who used to live in a 400-square-foot apartment, used mirrors to amplify natural light and keep her space from feeling cramped.

Combat daily clutter with the three-minute sweep.

“A dirty space can signal chaos and discomfort to our bodies which in turn create stress and tension,” therapist Weena Cullins previously told Insider.

Therapist Mark Loewen previously told Insider that clutter gives our minds more visual information to process.

“By freeing up space, you are giving your mind a break too,” he said.

It can be hard to keep a small space clean, but the three-minute surface sweep can help reduce daily clutter. All you have to do is set a three-minute timer and declutter surfaces until the timer goes off, Taryn Williford, lifestyle director of Apartment Therapy, previously told Insider.

Not enough space? Invest in multi-use furniture.

To maintain order in a small space, finding ways to store items can be extremely stressful, Cullins said. 

To combat this, Cullins recommends investing in furniture with multiple functions, like pieces that double as seating and storage.

Anju Abraham, who rents a 400-square-foot studio apartment in Washington, DC, uses this tactic to reduce home stress. Her bed and her couch have hidden storage compartments.

Don’t work where you relax.

Working from home can make it difficult for people to separate work from their personal life, Sank told Insider.

“By creating a separate area where you work versus relax, you are not only creating a physical separation but a mental separation from the two,” the therapist said.

Sank noted that separating your workspace from your “chill” environment could be tough when living in a small home, so even little changes can have an impact.

“Even changing up the chair or table you sit in to work versus relax can make a big difference,” she added.

Try to finish home-improvement projects quickly.

Anywhere in the home, unfinished projects can create stress — especially in a small space, Ahrens said. 

“When we are surrounded by things that do not feel inviting or soothing or invokes some kind of a stress response, we tend to spend much less time in that space,” Ahrens said. 

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