All of us deal with own share of stress in our everyday lives, whether that’s from work, or travel, or family, or current events. And so it’s completely understandable that some days, you just want a place where you can go to get away from it all. A place where you can go to calm down and recharge your batteries, so that you can come out again ready to tackle whatever life throws at you.
Your home is the most obvious setting for this sort of mindful space, and with just a few minor changes, you can easily transform an area into the perfect place to de-stress. Here are our top suggestions!
Start by de-cluttering for a clean and clear space
Clutter probably stresses many of us out much more than we might realise. We won’t go too deeply into the psychological reasons why; the simple version is that too much ‘Stuff’ kicking around essentially bombards our mind with stimuli – whether that’s visual, tactile, audible and olfactory. Sometimes all at once! That means our senses are working overtime on things that aren’t necessary or important, which can make it harder to focus on what actually matters, and leading to feelings of stress as a result.
So if you’re sizing up an area to serve as your new relaxation space, one of the very first things to do is clear it out as much as you possibly can. Start with a blank canvas, and build it up from there.
Silence is golden
Now, we should say here that we’re not necessarily saying that your space needs complete silence at all times to be a mindful space. But we’ve already mentioned audible stimuli above, and the same principle applies – generally, the quieter your space is, the more relaxing you’ll find it. By all means listen to music, or podcasts, or even watch TV if that’s what helps you to chill out. The main thing is just to introduce these stimuli one at a time, and try to keep them to a minimum.
Modern electronics and communications devices like iPods, mobile phones and wearable tech like smart watches are classic culprits for causing this sort of overload. It’s hard to relax when you’re surrounded by chimes, chirps and chirrups, and the blue light from screens has been known to disrupt sleeping patterns too. (Not to mention the pervasive temptation to zone out on social media.)
Instead, fill the gaps with quieter and more soulful things – things that make you happy. That might include photographs of treasured family memories for example, or your favourite books, or the tools to engage in some more creative hobbies. (Even something as simple as an adult colouring book can do wonders for letting those worries just float away.) Plants are an excellent choice too. In fact, on that note…
Have plenty of natural lighting and greenery
Humans are at heart daylight creatures, which means we’re biologically programmed to get a significant boost in mood and energy from natural light. Similarly, we evolved in fields and forests rather than surrounded by concrete walls, so natural surroundings can help us feel more peaceful and at ease. All these are great reasons why it can be so calming to have as much natural light and greenery in your mindful space as possible.
As for exactly which plants to have, the choice is entirely up to you! You could opt for a single large succulent, or several smaller plants dotted around you. You might want to consider moving some of your furniture so that you’re exposed to more natural light throughout the day; such as moving bookshelves and other blockages away from the windows. Just don’t forget to keep upholstered furniture like chairs and sofas directly out of the sun’s rays, as the UV light can start to break down the chemical bonds in the colour of your fabric, leading to the colours fading over time.
Choose calmer colours to soothe your spirit
Just as we respond psychologically to changes in daylight and weather, humans are also deeply affected by colour, so you can use that to your advantage when settling on the scheme for your space. Muted colours like blush pink, lavender, mint green or baby blue are all excellent potential options. If you’re spoiled for choice, you don’t even have to settle on a single option if you don’t want to. By opting for loose sofa covers for your furniture, you can fit them and remove them at your leisure, so you can switch up the shade of your sofa whenever you’d like – whatever best suits your mood!
This is far from an exhaustive list, of course; you might well have plenty of your own ideas for how to make your space uniquely relaxing. Feel free to use these as handy starting points for getting creative – when all’s said and done, the ultimate choice is all up to you!