How to inspire and engage the 5 senses, to create a mindful home
Could you have ever imagined just how much time you’d be spending at home during 2020? The covid-19 lockdown has brought about a revolution in the way we think about our living space and the new need to create a mindful wellness haven.
The need for a mindful home
As the majority of the country continue to work from home during the new normal, many are re-thinking their use of space and looking at how it could be improved. Our homes have recently had to adapt to become multi-functional by being a workplace, classroom, gym and much more. As a result, making your living space a mindful and calm sanctuary to enable you to unwind at the end of each day has never been so important. Mindful homes are not about appearances, the focus is on how they make you feel, so sprucing up your interior space to foster positivity and to create a haven of tranquillity is one of the best ways to ensure you can find comfort at home and nurture wellness for your whole family.
In creating a mindful home, we can take inspiration from many countries and cultures; it’s worth considering how the concepts of feng shui, hygge and lagom could enhance your living space.
The Swedish concept of Lagom
Lagom is the Swedish way of living and means “just right”, so not too much, or indeed too little, by keeping everything in moderation. It’s about creating an effortless life in balance by having just enough possessions and stripping back accessories or unessential items so that everything is functional. A lagom living space is minimalist, incorporates natural materials, understated and focuses on bringing the outdoors in.
The Danish concept of Hygge
Hygge, pronounced ‘hue-guh’, is a Danish word used to describe the enjoyment of life’s pleasures; it’s the acknowledgement of a feeling or a moment that is cosy or charming. The concept translates into interior design through the art of creating a feeling of intimacy and togetherness within a home. The glow of soft candlelight around a room or the use of candles in the centre of a dining table are often used to form an area around a group to create a sense of togetherness.
The Chinese philosophy of Feng Shui
The philosophy of feng shui is the practice of looking at the energy of our living spaces and working environment so that we are connected to our close surroundings. The principle aim is to create a safe space and strike a balance with the natural world, so that we can live well and achieve balance, harmony and relaxation. ‘Feng’ translates as ‘wind’ and ‘shui’ translates as ‘water’; three of the feng shui concepts are:
Qi (Chi) – qi is one of the central concepts of feng shui; it relates to non-physical entities and the forces of energy that can influence how a space feels i.e. the amount of sunlight, the air quality, or the flow of water.
Yin and Yang – this concept considers the balance of two opposite but complimentary forces to create harmony, stability and achieve a natural equilibrium i.e. the right balance of light and shade.
5 Elements (wu xing) – the 5 elements are: jin (metal), mu (wood), shui (water), huo (fire), tu (earth). It’s useful to note that the elements should not necessarily be taken literally as each one has a complex series of associations with corresponding colours, shapes and seasons, all of which interact with each other to beneficially influence a living space.
How to create a mindful sanctuary
You can create a mindful sanctuary within your home by combining elements of hygge, lagom and feng shui to engage each of the 5 senses:
Increase the levels of natural light - exposure to natural light is strongly linked to energy and mood, so increasing the level of natural light in your home will help you to regulate your circadian rhythmsand be more productive, happier and healthier as a result.
Light candles on an evening for the hygge effect – placing a candle in the middle of your dining table will create a sense of togetherness and using candles around the home will provide softer lighting, so that you can relax and unwind during the evening.
Colour - colour has a powerful effect and can evoke certain moods or feelings, so it plays a crucial role in creating a mindful home. Using a lighter colour palette of calming colours such as grey, white or pale blue on the walls of your home can help you to feel centred. Stronger colours can be used through soft furnishings and artwork to create a harmonious space between your walls, floors and furniture.
Bring the outside in – incorporating natural elements into your living space such as the inclusion of plants, wooden textures, natural fibres and materials or green tones are all excellent ways of bringing the outdoors in. Exposure to nature is great for our health and wellbeing; air purifying indoor plants can help to detoxify the air in your home, are often included in zen décor and will make your living space a healthier place to relax.
Reduce clutter – in the words of Marie Kondo “does the item spark joy?” If the answer is ‘no’, then it’s time for it to go! Clutter prevents relaxation, so clear your rooms of as many items as possible and only hold onto the pieces that are essential or give you comfort (that’s where the spark joy question comes in!). The minimalist style will allow the energy of the room to flow freely and the items that you do have will add value to create a positive space.
Inspiring pieces – keep your home functional (think Lagom) and only decorate it with items that are meaningful to you, such as wall prints that display motivational quotes to inspire you, or artwork that you love.
Create an intimate cosy corner – if you have a spare corner, consider turning it into a cosy nook by adding a luxurious rug, a chunky-knit throw or a comfy cushion; it can then be used for mindful activities such as reading, meditation or yoga practice.
3. Smell – scents produced by incense, linen sprays, scented candles or by using essential oils on an aromatherapy burner can really enhance the rooms within your home. Calming scents such as lavender, vanilla or jasmine will help you to relax when it’s time to sleep, whilst citrus (lemon, orange and grapefruit), peppermint, rosemary and ginger are invigorating, so are a great way to help you wake up each morning.
4. Hearing – music and mood are closely related, so playing music that you enjoy, or listening to relaxing sounds or guided meditations, will all contribute to creating ambience and a mindful space.
5. Taste – healthy food provides us with nourishment, helps to boost our immune system, and in turn can support our emotional and physical wellbeing too, so there’s a number of ways in which it can contribute to creating a mindful home:
Grow your own food – eating offers us an opportunity to connect more deeply to the natural world. Growing your own food is a great way to connect with nature; if you live in a small urban space you could still grow microgreens or herbs like rosemary, basil, mint or parsley on your windowsill, or if you have a garden then there’s an abundance of produce that you could grow.
Keep healthy foods handy – when spending so much time at home, it’s easy to raid the cupboards as when food is around, we eat it. Consider what kinds of foods are in sight within your home and aim to ensure that they are healthy.
The pandemic forced us all to take stock and determine what’s really important in our lives. During life beyond lockdown, it’s undoubtedly an opportunity to design our homes for the future, and there’s no doubt that creating a more mindful home is a change for the better.