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Style That Sooths

Recuperating from an injury doesn’t just involve physical well-being. Here’s how home decor can help ease you through the healing process

If you’re a regular reader, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been MIA for some time. No, I did not take an extended family vacation looking for inspiration for this column. Sadly, I took an extended vacation because of an injury.

About a year ago, I tore my shoulder, and over time it just got worse — even with physical therapy. I lost 60 percent of my range of motion and was in chronic pain. I notified the paper that I needed surgery and would have to take a break from writing. Everyone was so understanding.


My recuperation at home not only gave me some much needed time off, but it also gave me the idea for this week’s column. For those of you who are going through physical or emotional pain of your own, here are tips for creating a healing environment in your home.

You know by now that colors can evoke emotional responses. Although you’re not going to repaint your bedroom or living room, it’s good to keep in mind which colors can help in the healing process.

Hydrangea Flowers

Cool colors can calm and relax. Blues, lavenders and greens are very restful and healing. Bring them into the space where you spend the most time with throws, art, photos or greenery. And while yellow is warm, the color of sunshine, when you’re healing and need an uplift, the sight of cheery yellow flowers or happy yellow lemons can help.

It’s amazing the effect that noise can have on recuperation. Think of the drones and hums in a hospital and the stress they can cause. Try to minimize harsh, irritating noises and bring in soothing sounds. Better yet, if you can spend some time on your lanai or in your yard, or even if you just open a window, the sounds of nature are a form of healing therapy.

I found that sitting outside and listening to the rhythmic sounds of the ocean did so much for my senses. If you’re not close to the sea, get a CD of sounds from nature. Did you know that the sense of smell is more entwined with the memory of emotion than any of our other senses? Try not to keep medicines on your bedside stand. Instead, replace them with the scent of fresh flowers or aromatherapy.

I especially love gardenias. Their fragrance takes me back to a very happy place for me. Surround yourself with smells that make you feel good or bring back a certain childhood memory. Soft, sumptuous, breathable sheets also will soothe. So will fluffy pillows and furry friends. Surround yourself with those things that feel good and lift your spirits.

And finally, cut clutter. If you’re going into surgery, about to have a baby or just know you’ll be laid up for a while, prepare your room by decluttering. Piles of boxes, dust-gathering knickknacks and stacks of mail can leave you feeling anxious and irritable.

All these tips have helped me. I hope they can help you, because after all, celebrating style is not just about creating a beautiful space. If you don’t feel good, nothing else matters.

Cathy Lee is a home style expert, speaker, president and designer of Cathy Lee Style. Her redesigns of residential and business spaces have been featured in local and national publications and on HGTV.

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