Ciara Doran, one of our regular contributors here on Happy Magazine, writes for us today about how to make your home a harmonious, comfortable place.
Restoring the balance between mind, body and home is the ultimate wellness practice, in my opinion. Looking after our mind and body as a whole, rather than separately lets us feel at one with ourselves and can lead to a feeling of deep satisfaction. There are many ways in which we can restore the balance between body and mind that I will show you in this post. It can be so liberating and peaceful to feel consciously and subconsciously complete and at ease with ourselves. There are many steps you can take to achieve this balance and all are easily incorporated into your life. It can be completely life-changing.
Firstly, I believe that creating a harmonious space in which to live is very important. We spend 90% of our lives indoors so we need to be focusing on our interior surroundings in order to feel more in tune with our senses. By decorating to inspire wellness, we are helping us find what feels good and inspiring ourselves to feel good daily, on a deeper level.
Comfort is extremely important, primarily. We should choose comfortable seating and create a nice flow throughout the home so that we feel the flowing energy as promoted in Feng Shui. Obstacles should be removed or placed in areas where they are unobtrusive so as not to affect the pathway throughout. It is a good idea to follow Feng Shui guidelines in order to restore balance between mind and body. You don’t have to follow all the rules but as far as spatial planning is concerned, Feng Shui really works in creating a good energy.
Decorating should involve using your senses. Touch, feeling, warmth, comfort, happiness and cosiness. Think of all the beautiful tactile surfaces and textiles you want to incorporate. We can really provoke the senses by having nice surfaces such as wood, glass, stone, metals and upholstery. When shopping for decor, really take care when choosing these and be sure to feel, touch and get to know which ones make you feel good. When choosing seating and beds, be sure to try them out properly by sitting in or lying on for a few moments and choose carefully and mindfully. Don’t be afraid to ask for samples and take them home when deciding, as it is sometimes hard to know unless you are in the comfort of your own home. Take your time and don’t be rushed or pushed into buying anything. The same goes for clothing. Try on the garments, make sure they are comfortable and make you feel good. If you feel confident and sure of your choice, you have made the right one.
Comforting fabrics such as fluffy cushions, soft velvet, linen, bamboo, cotton and silk are all unique in the feelings they provoke. One thing in common is they are all comforting and evoke a sense of warmth and familiarity. If it gives you a good feeling to touch and hold a certain fabric, then by all means have it in your home. You will feel that way whenever you see and touch the fabrics, surfaces and materials that you choose. This helps to balance the mind and body as one.
Natural fibres, materials and plants are usually a good choice. They are in tune with nature, therefore provoke a deeper familiarity and comfort. Being at one with nature is a feeling that is within us, as it is in our genes. I always like to have foliage around the house in the form of plants. I prefer using wood over plastic and manmade materials. I guess everyone has their own ideas as we are all unique individuals with different needs, feelings and comforts. Whatever makes you feel good is the best way to choose the furniture and decor of your personal space.
Plants are a great air purifier so it is great to have at least one in each room. If you happen to be away a lot, you can also buy self-watering and air purifying plant pots. Feng Shui also promotes having plants so they do help improve the energy of a space. They are tactile and look great, can be put in any style of house and bring a sense of calm. They can purify toxins in the air so in general they are a welcome addition to your home.
Your home should provoke good emotions such as happiness, warmth, love, contentment, fulfilment, satisfaction, relaxation, energy and positivity. You should have your home promote these feel good emotions by decorating in a way that helps you feel that way. The bathroom and bedroom should be relaxing and peaceful, like an oasis of calm. A sanctuary where you can relax, unwind and feel satisfied. The living area should be decorated with souvenirs, accessories, books and photos which bring happy memories, feelings of love, positivity and contentment. Having some framed photos of family and loved ones, places you love visiting, motivational quotes and souvenirs that bring happy memories and sentimentality are always good. Looking at them will make you feel happiness, love, sentimentality, joy and warmth. Your comfortable seating and flowing pathway will give a sense of satisfaction, energy and comfort.
Changing up your home accessories with the seasons helps us feel more in tune with our body and nature too. The feeling of warmth that our body needs in winter can be influenced by our interior decor. Having warm coloured accessories, blankets, cosy fabrics and nature-inspired ornaments can help us feel warm and cosy. As the opposite in summer, cooler fabrics, lighter throws, brighter colours and cool tones help us cool down and feel refreshed. As Autumn approaches, we can start the transition with the atmosphere of candles, richer colours and tones, warmer fabrics. The same goes for Spring when we are changing with the seasons, our bodies are adapting to the different weather and changes in nature. Moving away from the heavy, rich fabrics and into the lighter, cooler fabrics. It is reminiscent and comforting to feel the seasons within the home as well as in nature. The popular concept of “Hygge” is a fantastic ritual and way of life, which I wrote about in this post.
Our individuality and personality should play a lead role when decorating to inspire and create balance between body and mind. Home is the one place where you can call your own. Put your own stamp on it, by choosing decor that matches your own personal style and find things that excite and delight you in terms of decoration. These are personal choices that only you decide. This way, when you arrive home, you feel it is your own special place. Your home is familiar, personal and authentic to you. You don’t want to live in a showroom, you want to live in a homely space that is truly your own. This way you can really relax and enjoy the feeling of satisfaction, contentment and comfort.
Our sense of smell is extremely powerful. Having scents that evoke happy memories in your home are wonderful. Scent can be in the form of flowers, plants, herbs, essential oils, soy candles, coffee beans roasting, home baking, anything that gives you that warm cosy feeling inside. I often heard of a trick that estate agents use to sell homes is to roast coffee beans or have some cupcakes in the oven baking. This automatically gives a feeling of comfort, homeliness and warmth. If you are looking to enhance your mood, such as relaxation, motivation or wellness, essential oils in a burner or diffuser are fantastic. It is a great way to restore balance between body and mind by enveloping the senses.
Filling your kitchen with healthy, nourishing foods relaxes your body and mind. Having a fruit bowl and a pitcher of water on display will help inspire healthy habits. The healthier our body is, the better we feel. Having an exercise or meditation area is another way to inspire healthy habits and promote wellness in the home. Designating a specific area or room in the house for exercise such as Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi and meditation is a great idea. Actually having that space allocated will make you more inclined to keep up the habit. Physical and emotional wellness are connected so by looking after your body physically, you are balancing the mind and body as one.
De-cluttering is paramount to having a space you can really relax, in my opinion. A cluttered space is often a nuisance and our minds cannot fully wind down and relax when we have too much of it around us. By de-cluttering, it is therapeutic and mentally stimulating. It is positive and gives a feeling of satisfaction once it is done. Out with the old and in with the new. I don’t mean throwing stuff away as that is wasteful but perhaps giving to charity, packing the things away in the attic or basement or giving away, selling or swapping. Minimalism is thought to give a feeling of wellness so try to minimise as much on clutter as possible. Spring cleaning is popular for the same reason. Changing seasons is a good time to do so. See my post on de-cluttering your life here.
A relaxing atmosphere is created by aligning the senses and giving a feeling of ambience, relaxation, good vibes, positivity and happiness. Using mood lighting (table lamps, candles, ambient light), scents (lavender, vanilla, citrus), tactile fabrics, good vibes, soothing music and relaxing decor helps to build this atmosphere in your home. Appealing to the senses through touch, smell, sound, vision and comfort. Celebrate relationships, friendship, love and happiness regularly by inviting family, friends and loved ones for dinner, evenings and coffee mornings. This will connect you with your loved ones and also connect your home with feelings of happiness, love, trust and comfort. Having a comfortable seating arrangement is necessary when relaxing or dining so keep that in mind when you choose your seating. Having a date night at home should be intimate and cosy so having a smaller table for two can be a nice idea.
Envisage what would be your dream home and start working towards it. By visualising your ideal space, you are in a way creating it! Imagine how your perfect home would look on the inside and try to recreate that. You home should be your happy place, your comfort zone and your sanctuary. You should feel comfortable, relaxed and welcome at all times. Create a mood board with fabrics, pictures from magazines, materials and visual aspects of your perfect home that you can touch and see regularly. It will help you envisage it more.
Being free and confident in your own skin is important and so, decorate on your own terms. Of course you will probably have to take into mind others when designing your home but it should be appealing to you as well as everyone else. It can be a fun family project where everyone has a say and gets to decide on certain aspects. Such as choosing a favourite chair, cushions, bed, etc. Kids rooms should reflect their personality so by letting them choose items, they will have those same feelings we are hoping to achieve. The balance of body and mind at home.
Finally, when it comes to decorating your space to help restore the balance between mind, body and home, be mindful of the importance of self-care rituals. Everyone needs to incorporate areas of relaxation, comfort, down-time, escape from the daily grind and peacefulness. An area where you can get away from it all and completely unwind is important. Communal areas should be relaxing also but those are for entertaining and spending time with family. Create your sanctuary and use it regularly for practicing self-care rituals and encourage others to do so also. These can be reading a book, meditating, listening to music, having a foot spa, painting your nails, doing a face mask, sleeping, hypnosis, the list goes on!
Even your office space can be a relaxing and inviting one. Once you have the proper storage and organisation, it can be a motivational place where you can enjoy spending time. This can be even more productive than ever, as you will enjoy being there more. Here is an example of what can be achieved –
I hope you get to enjoy the feeling of restoring the balance between body and mind at home. For more self-care ideas check out this post.
This post first appeared over on Ciara’s blog, Cool Things I Love, on 29 October. Re-published here with Ciara’s permission.