It might be time to rethink your space.

Kitchen Wellness by Anita Yokota
"Home Therapy" Copyright © 2022 by Anita Yokota. Principle photographs copyright © 2022 by Ali Harper. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.

There are a lot of factors that contribute to the state of your wellbeing. Of course, getting regular exercise or movement in, eating a balanced diet, and taking care of your mental health are the big ones. But one thing we might not think of when it comes to improving our wellness routine or wellbeing is where we live. 

Yes, our homes can also play a role in it all. Setting your home up to optimize your wellbeing has the power to make a big difference. And licensed therapist-turned-designer Anita Yokota is working to help people achieve that in her new book, Home Therapy. In it, she walks readers through her unique method for setting up your home to boost your mind, body, and spirit.

Home Therapy by Anita Yokota

“Home Therapy” Copyright © 2022 by Anita Yokota. Principle photographs copyright © 2022 by Ali Harper. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.

Home Therapy by Anita Yokota, $28

“As a therapist, you realize fairly quickly that humans have a universal need to be seen,” Yokota explains. “We feel our value most when we are heard by others and heard by ourselves, as well. The same thing applies to our homes. When our spaces reflect who we are outwardly, they support who we are inwardly. That connection of space to soul is huge at helping us thrive.”

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Yokota’s method includes four “domains” that need to be addressed in order to create a space that will make you feel good—The Individual Domain (getting to know yourself and what you need in your home); The Organization Domain (decluttering and ensuring your space is efficient); The Communal Domain (planning an optimal layout and spaces for gathering); and The Renewal Domain (creating the right energy so you can feel rejuvenated and recharged).

For those getting started on their wellbeing at home journey, Yokota shared some of the home design factors that might be disrupting wellness. Take a look at her tips below and you can delve into her book for more advice.

Bedroom Wellness by Anita Yokota

“Home Therapy” Copyright © 2022 by Anita Yokota. Principle photographs copyright © 2022 by Ali Harper. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.

1. You Moved in and Decorated Too Quickly

“As humans we always want to skip to the good part. We fast forward to the reveal. We look up the score before we watch the game. The same goes in our homes,” Yokota says. “We feel this desire to move in and design immediately. I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned as an interior designer is to be in the space before you finish it. It’s okay if you can’t renovate before you move in. You might find that there are areas of the home that move up on the list. You wouldn’t have known that if you hadn’t given yourself the chance to discover it.”

2. You Didn’t Reflect Before Designing

“In Home Therapy I start with my four domains because, like actual therapy, there’s work to be done before the healing,” she explains. “I think the number-one way we disrupt our wellness at home is when we don’t reflect before we design. There should be a certain level of vulnerability in your home. I should see you in your space. That comes with giving yourself permission to live with what you love and what will help you become your best future self.”

3. Your Space Is Cluttered

“There’s an old saying that when your house is in order, your life is in order,” Yokota says. “I don’t know if that fully holds true, but I do know that something magical happens when we sort, declutter, and donate. Unused objects, unwanted items, stacks, piles… they all become energy barriers. You see them and groan inwardly with, ‘I’ve got to take care of that.'” Instead of thinking that, just do it and clean up your mess. Yokota adds that cleaning can help you feel renewed.

Container Store White 3-Tier Shelf

Courtesy of Container Store

Container Store White Multi-Purpose 3-Tier Shelf, $120

4. Your “Home Loops” Don’t Work

“I talk about home loops in the book—patterns of thought that play out in our lives,” she says. “Maybe it’s working in bed all day and not being able to sleep at night. If we move the energy of work to a separate space—an area that you can get up from and punch out of at the end of the day, you’d be surprised how that signals to our brains what this space is for.” Yokota says she asks clients to review their “home loops” and together, they map out what isn’t working and how the space can be reimagined and improved. She gives the example of an artist who doesn’t have time to paint but has actually stowed away her easel—if you bring it out and define a space, you can support a new habit or routine.

5. You Don’t Have Your Goals or Intentions on Display

That doesn’t mean you have to make a vision board or put up an inspirational quote. Yokota recommends putting out an intention tray and placing a few items on it that are a daily reminder of your goals and wants—and you can edit it or add to it as things change. When you pass by the tray you’ll be reminded of your intentions.

West Elm Leather Tray

Courtesy of West Elm

West Elm Made Solid Hand-Shaped Leather Tray, $55

6. Your Layout Isn’t Optimized

“If you’ve ever moved and suddenly your new home gets more or less light, you know how deeply you feel that change. It’s immediate. Our furniture layout is having a similar impact on us,” Yokota explains. “We just might not be as aware of it. The items in our homes can sometimes work against us, like a treadmill we’ve stopped using triggering our self-frustration. I encourage you to audit your rooms. Think about how you want to move through your home. Think about what matters to you. If a formal dining room is wasted in your home, turn it into something of use. Define who you are and how you want to live. Then assign the spaces in your home accordingly.”

Bathroom Wellness by Anita Yokota

“Home Therapy” Copyright © 2022 by Anita Yokota. Principle photographs copyright © 2022 by Ali Harper. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.

7. You Haven’t Created Moments of Joy

“If you’ve ever been on a vacation at a resort or stayed with a friend who is an exceptional hostess, there is a certain level of considering and forecasting your needs that makes the stay a delight. We are worthy and capable of doing that for ourselves,” Yokota encourages. “Personalize your space to create moments of joy. If you love iced coffee, install the ice maker that will make the ritual feel special. If you are bath person, outfit your bathroom with apothecary vessels filled with bath bombs. When we make choices today that will serve us tomorrow, we are our future selves, and that’s what homes are for. They are the backdrop for the people we are growing into.”

8. You Aren’t Using Color Correctly

You might want to think about how the color in your home is affecting your everyday life. “There is a whole psychology to color. In fact, people who love color sometimes find that they can’t live with it in their house,” she explains. “It’s because it signals the brain to react. There is a reason that spas use soothing tones. They lower our blood pressure and cortisol levels. So, even if you love red. Save it for a powder room. Reach for something more muted for the bedroom or your office.”

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