As part of my slow living journey, I’ve been thinking of ways to make my new home more mindful. We’ve already made a huge lifestyle change by uprooting our life in the city and moving out to the countryside, but any home can be mindful, regardless of its location, style or size. Some decisions I have made for our new home have been pretty drastic – knocking down a wall to allow natural light to flood into our kitchen – but others have been as simple and replicable as removing unnecessary clutter.
Here, I have outlined ten tips that anyone can follow to help to avoid stress and anxiety and create a more Zen home, where you feel relaxed and inspired.
Make your bedroom a technology free zone
Our lives are constantly filled with devices, and it’s important to find a space in your home where you can disconnect and live in the moment. I love the idea of making your bedroom a technology free zone (yes, even your phone) as this gives you a break from screens first thing in the morning and before you go to sleep at night. Once you’ve removed the temptations, your bedroom can be a place where you relax by yourself or connect with your partner. Read a book, meditate or simply have a conversation, rather than reaching for your phone or laptop.
Remove any items that you don’t love or need
Or in other words, abide by that old William Morris quote. Fill your home with things that you love and are useful, removing anything that counts as ‘clutter’. You don’t have to be a minimalist but by removing unnecessary objects, you’ll instantly make your home feel like a more relaxing space. If you have fallen out of love with essential items such as dining chairs or a chest of drawers, consider upcycling rather than throwing away and replacing. And always donate unwanted items to friends or charity shops, rather than taking them to the tip.
Bring nature into your home
An easy way to a mindful home, and one that requires very little money or effort, is to fill your rooms with nature. Bring plants, flowers, fresh herbs, wreaths and foraged objects into your house, displaying them on shelves, window sills, mantelpieces and walls. Being around nature can help us to feel calm, boost creativity and help with concentration – and you don’t even have to step outside to enjoy these benefits. Plants are also great for detoxifying the air and filling your home with greenery can even improve your health.
Open the windows
Did you know your home is filled with pollutants? Fumes from cleaning products, materials used in the building itself, natural gases that seep up through the ground and mould from damp patches are all bad for you. Open your windows on a regular basis (mine are constantly open when I’m at home during spring and summer) and allow fresh air to circulate around the house.
Use natural materials in the home
Wood, linen, raffia, wicker, clay, stone and marble: all natural, earthy materials that can be used instead of man-made alternatives around your home. Embracing natural materials can help to connect you to the environment and ground you, while also creating timeless objects that you won’t have to replace or send to landfill. During the colder months, there’s nothing cosier than swathing yourself in layers of sheepskin and wool and snuggling up on the sofa.
Keep a tidy home
If you’re anything like me, the sight of a pile of dirty dishes stacked up in the sink is enough to get your heart pounding. Alleviate stress and make yourself feel calmer by doing the dishes immediately after eating, putting everything back in the cupboards, folding and putting away your washing, and tidying up your children’s toys. A cluttered home equals a cluttered mind.
Remove the curtains
This may seem drastic and likely to disturb your sleeping patterns, but do as the Scandinavians do – there’s a reason they’re always named as the happiest nations. If you take down your curtains and allow natural light to flood into your home, you will wake up with the sun each morning. Not only is this the natural way to wake up, but it will set you up for a calm and productive day. You’ll also be able to admire the views from outside your window and embrace the way that the light moves around your home during the day.
Spend time in the garden
If you don’t have a garden, create a small area on a balcony or patio, or even just plant herbs on a window sill. The act of gardening is meditative and can help you to calm down while losing yourself in your own thoughts. It’s also a great way to be more sustainable; growing your own vegetables, fruit or herbs and cutting your own flowers.
Use natural cleaning products
Do you have to wear gloves when handling it? Then why would you want it in your home? Remove any toxic cleaning products and replace with natural alternatives – or better still, make your own by researching recipes online. Our homes are filled with chemicals and choosing to use natural cleaning products is an easy way to make your home more organic and mindful.
Think about colour
You may be drawn to bold, vibrant colours or dramatic dark paint, but they won’t help you to relax in your home. If you want to create a calm and mindful space, choose light, natural colours that instantly make you feel relaxed. Shades of white, cream and beige are the obvious option, but muted colours such as pale green, blush pink or soft grey can also work.
Emma Lavelle is a freelance writer, keen photographer and slow-living enthusiast with an endless wanderlust. Based in the north of England, Emma writes about slow travel, a relaxed pace of life and timeless style.