The spaces we inhabit influence how we act and how we feel. It’s like visiting a place and feeling immediately drawn to it and then disappointed when you have to leave, like the space was an extension of your very being in ways that you yourself didn’t understand. But in the same way spaces can make us feel content, they can have an adverse effect. A space can one day feel inviting and the next completely wrong. This comes down to each individual’s perspective towards a space, and the feelings we bring into it.
Weeks into isolation, places that once felt comforting often now feel cramped and uninspired. And while our movements remain restricted, we’ve put together some small changes you can make today to improve your long-term happiness, wellbeing and breathe new life into tired spaces.
Cleanse your space
The ancient ceremonial ritual of smudging is a tradition dating back thousands of years, where indigenous people in South America, Canada and America burnt plants, herbs and resins over coals to cleanse a space or ward off disease or bad spirits. Now, particularly in the West, smudging has been adopted as a means to cleanse a space where negative energy is perceived to be. Depending on its purpose, there are different herbs that can be burnt. The most common smudging herb is sage, which is said to bring about clarity and purification. Cedar is used to clear negativity and bring positive energy; sweetgrass for happiness; frankincense for healing; palo santo for creativity.
During a time when the outside world feels so distant to us, what better way to bring some life back into our homes then with some new plant friends? From the robust rubber plant to the humble Monstera, there’s options for even the most neglectful plant parent. Aside from the obvious health benefits of indoor plants (oxygen production, toxin reduction, etc.), they’re relaxing, meditative, and provide a sense of purpose and routine for days that feel as if they roll into one another. One of our favourite plants is the Peace Lily. Not only is it a lush dark green colour, but it’s the one of the best plants for air purification as it releases oxygen throughout the night (unlike most plants, which release carbon dioxide at night).
Rethink your space
If being trapped inside is starting to feel a bit claustrophobic, a little space refresh is not such a bad idea (if space permits, of course). The benefit of staying home is being around our spaces 24/7 have given us a new outlook and we’re able to determine what’s working, and what isn’t. Maybe your dining table set up doesn’t make sense anymore or things feel cluttered. We recommend starting with a focal point, like a centrepiece coffee table or an accent wall, and working backwards. From there, position your furniture around it and add interest with varying furniture heights. Be sure to also consider the lighting, especially if you’re in a living space as poor positioning can result in glare at certain points of the day.
Introduce a new scent
One of the most powerful senses, our sense of smell and the olfactory system is closely linked to our memory and has the potential to unlock forgotten moments in time (the good and the bad). If you’re like us and have a habit of burning the same scent over and over again, bringing a new scent into the home is like breathing new life into your space. Plus, certain scents can have incredible effects on your wellbeing and have been proven to increase productivity, aid restlessness and improve immune function. For the bedroom, scents with notes of rose, ylang ylang and patchouli all have a softer, calming aroma and can set a romantic mood. For kitchen, living and shared spaces, scents with pine, sandalwood or clove are revitalising and can help ease fatigue. As well as candles, essential oils are a good option for the bedroom and bathroom and can improve cardiovascular health. Plus, their gentle hum is an added bonus and has a meditative effect.