Mindfulness has been a bit of a buzzword for some time. Of all the trends out there that you might want to get stuck into, it’s undoubtedly one of the healthiest – focused on clearing the mind, living in the present and being more conscious in your day-to-day living.
The idea of mindfulness is all about mental wellbeing, set around participating in calm and relaxing practices such as meditation, self-compassion and sensory awareness. There is no fitness prerequisite, and while practice makes perfect, there is no such thing as doing mindfulness ‘wrong’. What can be tricky is finding a suitable quiet space in which to take a moment to breathe and focus, particularly in cluttered homes or tight living spaces.
If you’re keen to channel your inner Marie Kondo, or simply wish that you could truly relax when you reach the sofa at the end of a busy day, it’s time to bring mindfulness into your home. From decluttering to decorating, here are a few key steps to consider.
Organisation and space
Just about everyone has, at some point, had a moment where they looked at a room in their home and thought ‘what a mess’. At the very least, there might be specific areas that bother you, or cluttered drawers where it becomes difficult to find the things you’re looking for.
Marie Kondo rose to fame for turning tidying into a mindfulness exercise, and it’s a popular idea for good reason. The first step in creating a mindful home isn’t to build a yoga studio in your attic – it’s to clear out the things you don’t really need, and organise and tidy the things you do.
If you aren’t already familiar with Kondo’s KonMari method, try it out for yourself. Consider the items you share your space with and whether they ‘spark joy’ in your day. Kondo’s method includes removing everything from your cupboards and drawers, taking the books off your shelves and so on, so that you can fully appreciate how much you own and start to think about which items really have value and deserve to be kept
Kondo’s beautifully efficient tips for storage organisation and folding clothes can not only help to make your home look more spacious and welcoming, they can also give you the chance to focus on a quiet, simple and satisfying task. This, in itself, is an act of mindfulness.
The digital detox
Home technology is incredibly useful and can make our lives much easier. But it can also be distracting. When there are televisions, laptops and tablets scattered around almost every room, it sometimes becomes impossible to ‘switch off’.
Restricting television and games consoles to one room, rather than dotting digital entertainment around the home, makes it easier to get away from an ‘always-on’ culture and to focus on yourself and whoever you share your abode with.
If you have the space to create a quiet area just for reading, therapeutic colouring or meditation, consider making this a completely tech-free zone. At the very least, it’s wise to keep televisions and tablets out of bedrooms.
Consider the purpose of each room in your home and adjust the contents to suit – in rooms that should be restful and relaxing, the more you can minimise the distraction of push notifications and message alerts, the better.
Gentle sensory stimulants
An area of home design that is individual to all of us: decoration. Being mindful isn’t about clearing out as much as possible so that you’re left with a blank canvas, it’s about thinking through the things around you and engaging with each of them.
Popular mindfulness exercises include sensory awareness walk-throughs; taking a moment to consider how something looks, how it feels and how it smells. You may practise thinking about a set number of items, for example identifying five things you can see, four things you can hear, three things you can touch and so on.
It’s often easier to practise mindfulness in your own home when you have gentle sensory stimulants to engage with, such as scented candles, houseplants and ambient lighting. Natural light has been shown to have mood-lifting qualities, with increased exposure to daylight providing a vitamin D boost and improved sleep.
If you don’t want to worry about remembering to keep real plants alive in order to enjoy the wellness benefits of indoor greenery, you’ll be pleased to hear that artificial plants can also reduce stress levels and help you to feel less anxious after a hard day.
Small changes to your home, like new doorknobs, a fresh coat of paint or a simple furniture rearrangement can be all it takes to leave a room feeling new and rejuvenated. If you’re opting for a thorough redecoration, think about colour psychology as you go. For clear thinking and calmness, cool blue and purple hues may best suit, while for an uplift or to re-energise, warm yellows and orange tones can be preferable.
Think big, start small
The idea of hitting the restart button on your whole home might feel like a bit of a mammoth task. Rather than trying to tackle everything at once, start small.
Picking out that one quiet spot where you think you’d most like to practise mindfulness is an easy way to gain momentum, allowing you to tune in your concentration on a corner or a small room before moving on to the most used areas of the house. Remember that mindfulness and mindful design are not something that you simply switch on overnight – dedicate a little time each day to this area of headspace and focus, and soon you’ll find that it becomes second nature.