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Over the last couple of years, due to the pandemic, our homes have become one-stop shops; a place where we work, teach our kids, eat, sleep and relax. If you haven’t created the right environment, it can be hard to switch off. If you associate your home with working, teaching, cooking, cleaning and tidying up it is easy to feel burnt out and stressed.
It’s helpful to turn our homes into a place where we like to spend time, our own little sanctuary. This doesn’t have to be your full home or even a whole room, it could be a small personal hygge den. Creating a safe, serene space will help to combat stress and allow a more enjoyable and relaxing experience at home.
Speak to everybody who lives in the house, even the youngest of children, and find out what they need from the home and what a sanctuary looks like to them. It’s good to communicate about everyone’s needs and create spaces where each family member can feel at ease in the comfort of the home.
Create a hygge space; a specific spot in your home, solely for relaxation and “me time”. This space can be anywhere – your bedroom, living room, the bathroom or even a small nook or corner of the room. You could use this space to read, journal, meditate, enjoy a hot drink or simply a space to just ‘be’ and to relax and switch off from the stresses of every-day life. Focus on the senses and think about the following elements:
What scents do you particularly love? It could be the smell of fresh coffee in a morning or the scent of freshly washed linen. Candles and diffusers can recreate these scents or even a freshly washed blanket ready and waiting for you in a wicker basket. Does the smell of coconut remind of you your last sun holiday? Perhaps a natural coconut-based body lotion will help to evoke the memories.
What sights help you feel calm? Perhaps it’s photographs of good times spent with loved ones. Could you find photographs or posters of your favourite places to visit and put them in frames to remind you of the place and evoke warm memories?
What do you like to feel? Do you like enveloping yourself in a warm blanket or the feel of a soft rug underneath your feet? If you have no plans to leave the house again that day and the Zoom meetings have finished, would you feel more comfortable in your lounge clothes or pyjamas? Do you find comfort from the feel of your cat or dog? Invite them into the space!
What sounds help you feel safe and connected in your hygge space? Do you like to hear the wildlife outside? Does soothing music help you feel more relaxed? For me, I love the sound of running water, so I switch on a small indoor water feature whilst I pack the previous day’s orders. If you need to venture out of your hygge space to prepare dinner or sort out the washing, can this be made more enjoyable by playing your favourite tunes? I find unloading the dishwasher and cleaning the kitchen is much more enjoyable if you pretend that you are back in a nightclub or even performing on stage to a crowd of adoring fans!
What do you love to taste? Could you grind your coffee beans to get the full sensory experience of a fresh coffee? Perhaps a freshly baked loaf of bread from the bakery rather than a shelf-bought loaf? The scent of a basket of fresh fruit may also leave you feeling brighter.
Focus on lighting. During the day, especially now we are enjoying some sunshine coming from the approaching Spring season, open the blinds and curtains to allow the natural light in. In an evening, use candlelight or soft lighting to increase a sanctuary-like atmosphere.
Turn your bath into a luxurious experience. Light a candle, play some relaxing music and use a range of natural products for a head to toe pamper. Make sure you have a soft, fluffy towel and a robe waiting for you.
Make a soothing sensory box. This is such a great idea and perfect for creating a hygge experience no matter where you are in the house. Create a box or a wicker basket filled with your favourite things. Some great ideas of things to include are: a book, a blanket, a journal and a pen, make-up remover, a moisturiser, foot lotion, soft socks, lip balm, a photo album filled with great memories, pillow mist and perhaps a little sweet treat?
Bring the outdoors in. What natural objects can you bring in from the outside that ground you? Plus, houseplants really brighten up any room in the house.
Finally, contain clutter with baskets and bins. This is perfect for if you cannot keep certain things away in cupboards, if they are regularly used, or if you just don’t have the time or inclination to do a full throttle tidy up. Baskets and storage bins with lids can easily hold the kids’ toys, paperwork, things you haven’t got around the sorting out yet etc. It’s hard to de-stress in a chaotic, cluttered space.