So often we talk about whether your work is impacting your personal life or vice versa, your personal life affecting your work. What we don't ever talk about is whether your home is impacting your life.
Close your eyes and picture this:
You come home after a long day at work. You kick your shoes off at the door, toss your jacket over a chair, tread over to the fridge and pour yourself a glass of wine. You turn the music on to your favorite station, curl up on your couch, take a deep breath in..........and out............ Your body instantly feels more relaxed and the stress of the day begins to melt out of your being. You feel at peace, centered into yourself again and wholly able to enjoy the rest of your evening.
When you open your eyes and look around, does your home support this exercise? Or does your home create more of this image:
You come home after a long day at work. You kick your shoes on top of the pile of other shoes that are gathered at the door, doing your best not to trip over any strays that managed to sneak out of the array. You toss your jacket over a chair, on top of the other two or three already there, taking care not to blow the papers off the seat of the chair, and you walk over to the fridge, being careful not to step onto any less-than-pleasant things. You reach into the cupboard to pull out a wine glass, only to realize it's probably still in the dishwasher and lord help you if it isn't clean. Thankfully, the dishes are clean so you start to unload the machine. As you put dishes away your mind starts to think about all the things you have to do tonight: clean the bathroom, file your taxes and oh man if I don't do my laundry I'm going to work naked tomorrow. Your partner walks in and asks what's for dinner. You are already at the end of your rope after a stressful day and you mutter that you don't know. He or she walks over to the fridge to assess what's available and starts to download their day to you.
Which of these scenarios does your home support?
If your home looks more like the second than the first, take a minute to breath deep and remind yourself it's going to be ok - we're going to get you closer to the first. Here are three key items you can easily do to help your home support you rather than drain your energy away:
#1 - Clean the Obvious
You're probably thinking, Amy, if I had the TIME to clean the obvious, it wouldn't be there now would it? Trust me, my home isn't always clean either (in fact right now, it's a construction zone!). However, the first thing I realize I instantly do when I am beyond stressed out is clean. My Mom's voice rings in my ears as I work singing, "We just live like pigs!!" And truthfully we don't. Pigs are often cleaner ;P
What happens when we are busy is that we put things down saying to ourselves, "I'll deal with this later" but 'later' is always another day away. The key here is to simply STRAIGHTEN. Tidy up similarly to if company was coming over in 5 hours and you have time to clean up. That means, organize the papers on your counter; assign piles to each member of your household and ask them nicely to please put them away. Don't get too bent out of shape if they just dump it on their desk; just close their door. If there are jackets lounging around, hang them up. Straighten up the shoes. If you still have winter shoes out and it's 30 degrees outside, put them away. Pop loose kitchen appliances back in their space and run a cloth over the counter to clean any debris. Straighten magazines into one pile and place the remotes on top.
Helpful Tip: IF YOU LIVE WITH A SPOUSE/CHILDREN/PARENTS/ROOMMATES be sure to inform them that their help is required and that there will be a bowl of chocolate/popcorn/chips/candy (whatever your family likes) at the end to celebrate.
#2 - Open a Window
Even if it's -30 outside, open at least one window that is central to your main living space. If it's really cold and windy outside, open one on the side of the house where the wind draws away from the house. The idea here is to bring some fresh air and fresh energy in. Yes our HVAC systems are designed to bring in fresh air to maintain a healthy air quality but nothing is quite as good as just opening a window. Be sure to take 2-3 big deep breaths in while you're standing there. If it's cold out, leave the window open for 15-20 minutes. If it's beautiful out, leave it open as long as you like!
When I do this activity, I often open windows in a few rooms, namely the kitchen, our bedroom and my office. These are the three key places I spend my time and having fresh air move through not only cleanses the home, it refreshes and uplifts my energy.
#3 - Add Natural Happiness Boosters
Flowers, I'm talking about flowers. Scoot out and pick up a bunch of your favs or just a bundle that's on sale and puts a smile on your face. Better yet, ask your partner or kids to pick some up for you! Place them in a vase, glass is best so you can see through and see the stems, and put them in a key location in your home. In my home, I always have them in the kitchen for two reasons: 1) the most sunlight comes through the kitchen window and 2) then everyone gets to enjoy them.
If flowers aren't your thing, bring in another natural element. You could place a small water fountain on a side table somewhere, a potted plant - even a cactus counts, or something as simple as a wooden bowl with a few rocks inside. The idea here is to add an earth element into your home. Adding elements that recall nature reminds us subconsciously of the grounding force nature has on us. And personally, I love the fun pop of color that flowers bring, nevermind the fact that I bury my nose in them regularly as I pass by.
These three steps should take you all of about an hour, maybe two if you allow yourself to get dragged into dealing with each item you're cleaning up in step #1. This is not a whole home clean and sweep, it's simply an energy refresh so that your home supports your positive energy.
What To Do Next...
If your home still needs some work and you know that there are updates you'd like to do, start creating a list of "I Would Like My Home To Have/Embody/Support" and ask other members of your household to do the same. As you move forward, think about engaging a designer to help you create those changes in your home.
At Dutch Touch Interiors, I am always working with my clients to ensure we create a home that truly supports them. If you'd like to book a consultation, please call me directly at 1-403-702-3412 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, if you want to learn even more and be inspired by other projects from the Dutch Touch design house as well as others, please sign up to be a Diamond Elite member today! See you on the sparkly side!
Until then, here's to creating your own beautiful, personal spaces.