Why Inspiring Design is Vital for those Undergoing Chemotherapy
The way our surrounds look and the ambiance they exude, have a direct impact on human thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. Our hospital room, or relaxation area, far from merely being a place to rest or receive life-saving treatments, is our home for a specific period of our lives, one that can be challenging when we are undergoing chemotherapy. In this post, we discuss why creative design can uplift our spirit, help us deal with stress, and inspire us to a peaceful place that enables us to cope with chemotherapy in a more positive way.
Why Do We Need to be Uplifted during Chemotherapy?
In addition to feeling fatigue and other physical symptoms, many people who undergo chemotherapy also undergo mental stress, especially in the days immediately following chemotherapy. They may feel greater anxiety or depression, which in some cases requires counselling or medication.
How Can Our Personal Environment Increase our Sense of Wellbeing?
Research has shown that home and hospital interiors have an important effect on mental health and wellbeing. For instance, rooms which let in floods of natural light can help patients feel more uplifted, while excessively dark interiors can lead us to a depressed or anxious state.
Rooms can also make people feel secure or insecure, and the issue of home safety is particularly important for seniors undergoing chemotherapy. For instance, when a room is cluttered and full of furniture that can be a source of falls, it can fill the elderly or those who are not feeling their best, with fear. This may impact their behavior and motivation to walk or move through the home, and an untidy space can inadvertently trigger more mess to pile up.
The way one’s home or hospital space is designed can also facilitate or discourage social interaction. For instance,having a comfy spot where people can sit and share stories or play games, leads to more social gatherings.
Finally, the nature of interiors (design, colors, textures, etc.) can increase or reduce stress, which affects one’s physical and mental health.
How Can Creativity Improve our Chemo Experience?
Specialists in design for public and private spaces in hospitals and homes for patients undergoing chemotherapy enhance space in many ways, one being art. Numerous studies have proven that both the creation and contemplation of art soothes stress and anxiety, providing us with a surface to ignite our imagination and bring us to a an inspiring place.
Nature (in the form of indoor plants or tranquil outdoor gardens) is another powerful way to encourage mindfulness (being ‘in the here and now’) and thus reduce stress. Studies have shown that nature can soothe anxiety and depression, increase vitality, and even improve cognitive function.
The design of a space; furniture layout and choice of color and material is also key. Thus, imagery of plants and animals on walls, accessories or furniture, the use of cool hues such as blue, and the use of functional yet aesthetically pleasing furniture, can do plenty to make a public space feel like home.
For patients who have to spend days or longer in hospitals, the right design can do plenty to remind them of the beauty of the world that surrounds them. Design is so much more than a pleasure; it is a necessity in so far as mood, comfort, and practicality are concerned. It is necessary at all times for human beings, but all the more so when we need to feel our very best while we overcome a challenging health hurdle.
By Jane Baker