When the outside world forced us to retreat inside, our homes became more of a safe space than ever before. As the ‘stay at home’ message crawls into the cosy corners of yet another year, Jessica Bantleman reminds us why it’s important to create a sense of zen inside those familiar four walls…
Our homes are our safe space. When I think about some of the times I’ve felt most at peace, they often centre around the home. Not necessarily the physical space itself, but the safe, cosy feelings that the memories of those spaces evoke. A favourite bedtime story read by the lamplight of my childhood bedroom, a cosy evening spent laughing with treasured friends, or simply coming home after a long day of work to the promise of a warm drink, a hot bubble bath and the comfort of my beloved skincare shelf – such memories are melted into the paintwork of every room.
Over the last year, we’ve spent more time indoors than ever before, and although our retreat was not by choice, I think you’d agree with me in saying that we’ve made a conscious effort to appreciate and curate little comforts that we may have previously overlooked in our busyness, and in doing so, it’s brought a small sense of peace to some of the chaos.
You may have heard of the Danish term ‘Hygge’. It’s been described as ‘cosiness of the soul’, ‘taking pleasure in the art of soothing things’ and ‘cosy togetherness’ but ultimately, it’s a way of describing the atmosphere and emotions of an experience, rather than the things themselves (Meik Wiking, 2017). It’s a word for that full, warm feeling in your heart that you can’t quite put into words. It’s the feeling of home.
And what if we choose to hold on to the feeling that the little things bring us, not just now, but in the future, when daily commutes make a comeback and ‘work from home’ houses across the country are left hankering after their inhabitants?
Below are some small steps that we can all take to curate our safe spaces, reset our minds, relax our bodies and bring the zen home…
The first step to bringing happiness to your home is to create a calm atmosphere to unwind in. Your space doesn’t have to be big, but just uncluttered enough to feel inviting. Your bedroom, a small corner of the living room, your favourite armchair or a clean tidy bathroom can work perfectly as a safe haven. I find it best if this space is only filled with things that bring you joy and enhance your experience, such as your favourite skincare treats, books or candles (more on that later!) Too much clutter can distract your brain, so keeping things minimal, cosy and calm is key.
If you’re like me, you won’t feel truly relaxed until you’ve rinsed the busyness of the day away. A hot bath or shower is one of the best ways to distinguish between day and evening and leave you feeling refreshed and relaxed. Biomedical engineers at the University of Austin have suggested that the ideal time to shower is around an hour and a half before you go to bed, they claim that enjoying a shower or bath at the optimum temperature of 40-42 degrees Celsius can help to speed up the time it takes to sleep by roughly ten minutes on average (UT News, 2019)!
I’m sure you’ve heard this all before, but it’s time to step away from the digital devices. How many hours have you spent scrolling through cute animal pictures on Instagram, saving delicious recipes on Pinterest, or checking emails that can wait until the morning? Instead of reaching for a luminescent screen, why not switch to paper instead and start that book that’s been staring at you from the shelf. If books aren’t your bag, then cosy up with your favourite film and a warm drink instead. Giving our brain time to slow down – away from the outside world is key to feeling zen – so trust me when I say that the WhatsApp groups will still be there in the morning!
Surrounding your space with sights, scents and sounds that make you happy is the easiest way to make you feel at home. Switching off the bright lights and opting for cosy candles and warm lamps in a room will help create a sense of relaxation. Aromas are also really powerful when evoking memories and nostalgia, so by scenting your cosy surroundings accordingly, the mind will instantly connect calm environments with those familiar, soothing smells. An easy way to do this is by adding a few drops of your favourite essential oil (our Signature Oil is amazing for this) into a running bath or spritzing your space with So Sleepy Spray to prime your senses for a replenishing night’s rest.
Filling your space with plenty of plants is one of the best ways to bring a sense of clarity and life to an area. Studies have shown that having plants in the home can lead to an improved mood, reduced stress levels and decreased susceptibility to fatigue and headaches (Royal Horticultural Society, 2020). So, why not treat yourself to a bunch of your favourite flowers or a new succulent and bring some of the tropics to your home.
Think about three things that made you smile today. It could be an unexpected call from a loved one, a grin from a stranger, the sunshine creeping through the curtains or hearing your favourite song on the radio. Taking a moment each day to be present and thankful will help realign your focus while appreciating the little things around you, and in turn, will set a positive tone for your home.
There truly is a song for every scenario, and you can never underestimate the power of an acoustic rhythm or a beautiful soundtrack to create a calming atmosphere. Take a little look at our carefully curated Tropic and Chill playlist, which is perfect for unwinding at home. Hit shuffle, sit back and enjoy.