When life gets busy, it helps to have a calming place to relax. We asked two experts for tips to create a Zen environment right in your home.
“Our external world is a reflection of our internal world,” says Saskatoon-based life and health coach Angela Cooper.
“The key is we want to start to create our world to reflect how we want to feel on the inside.”
She follows the ancient feng shui principle of energy in the external environment impacting the energy of our internal self, and vice versa.
“If it’s chaotic energy [in a room], that’s how you’re actually going to feel. Most people want to feel more peace,” Cooper says.
So how do you go about changing the feeling of a room to something more Zen?
“I think one of the first things is de-cluttering,” says Kristin Price, a health coach who lives on Vancouver Island.
She explains when you designate specific places for things, even seemingly insignificant things like your bills, your home becomes tidier and you start to feel tidier mentally, too.
Whether it’s your whole house that feels “off,” a single bedroom, or even just that one cluttered closet or pesky drawer, Cooper suggests doing a mental walkthrough of your living space. Picture your home in your mind, and wander through it, taking note of how your mood shifts as you move through each room. You’re looking for the place of least satisfaction – that’s where you’ll know you need to make a change.
“Even if you really love your home, there’s going to be something that just feels a little off. For me, it’s usually my garage,” Cooper says.
How do you want your home to feel?
Next, connect to the feeling you want to experience in your home. You might describe it as Zen, peaceful, bright, warm, or a combination of feel-good adjectives, Cooper says. Think about something that makes you feel this way – perhaps a walk through the woods in fall makes you feel peaceful. The next step is to find a way to bring that feeling into the home – so you could put up a painting of a fall forest or start using candles with crisp, woodsy scents.
It could be a paint colour, a pillow, or a knickknack, Cooper explains anything that connects to the energy you want to bring about in your space. Think about how a spa instantly relaxes you when you walk in – how is that energy and ambience created?
Change is good
The final phase of Cooper’s approach to “Zenning” your space is to take out the things that don’t represent the type of energy you want to create. Organize the clutter, as Price advises, move the TV out of the bedroom, and get rid of the red throw pillows you can’t stand to look at.
“Letting go actually becomes quite an issue for people,” Cooper says, but “change is good.”
She reminds people not to get overwhelmed thinking they have to create an entire meditation space in order to feel “Zen.” Start with one area, even just that messy kitchen drawer, and you’ll create a small ripple effect that can change your whole home.
“It’s actually really fun to do this,” Cooper says.
Create your home on purpose
Price believes part of creating a Zen space for yourself requires bringing meaning to your home, whether it’s with photos, art, candles, motivational quotes, or plants (which are also great for oxygenation). She recommends making your home feel like it was created on purpose, as opposed to being a stark environment you just happen to live in. Decorate with things that make you feel good, so “everything you see around you brings you a sense of peace.”
If you want a peaceful place to de-stress, you have to make it happen.
Make Zen part of your routine
Her advice? Make your Zen time part of your routine. Make it a habit that at, say, 8 or 9 o’clock every night, you begin to unwind. Make a cup of calming tea, such as chamomile, listen to meditation music, read a book in bed, or, Price’s favourite, take a relaxing bath with Epsom salts and/or soothing essential oils, like lavender. Most importantly, Price says, use this time to avoid electronics, particularly because of the blue light of your phone or tablet signals to your body that it’s time to be awake, affecting the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates our sleep/wake cycle. If you want to have a Zen space to de-stress, you have to make room for it.
“I think it’s really important to intentionally create space for it,” she says.