One of the biggest changes this year brought us is the amount of time we have to **spend at home. For many of us, the line between our work and home lives has blurred with one world merging into the other. Besides working from home, our celebrations, heart-to-heart conversations, entertainment and hobbies have all moved online. Spending so much time being cooped up at home can be frustrating and mentally taxing.
For better or worse, the ‘new normal’ is going to involve staying in a lot more. Learning to adapt to it seems to be the best way to keep ‘lockdown fatigue’ at bay. Our surroundings and routines have a big impact on our mental health. So, caring for the space we spend most of our time in is now a big part of self-care.
Here are a few things you can do to create a peaceful home environment:
Have you ever felt frustratingly stuck in a task that you usually find simple to do? Try reattempting it after you clear out your workspace and your mind. It turns out that the ‘clutter effect’ can block your mental ‘flow’ and ability to think clearly. They say that the rule of thumb is that if you don’t love it and don’t use it, it’s clutter. Sort through crowded work desks, overstuffed drawers and messy rooms. Clearing out and donating what you don’t need can give you a sense of agency. Taking control of your space helps steer you to a better state of mind.
Reduce toxicity – in products and habits
Overdoing the cleaning is just as bad as doing too little of it. Before you go on a cleaning spree, check the ingredients in your cleaning products. Some cleaning agents may have components that can cause irritation or mild headaches.
Also, recognise the toxic habits you may be practicing. Do you fall asleep late, in front of the TV and wake up tired? Or binge eat to a point where you feel sick? Is spending so much time in front a screen straining your eyes? These habits can disturb your peace of mind. Once you’ve identified the habits that aren’t working for you, try to mindfully edit them out of your routine.
Create a corner to unwind
If you work from home, you’ve probably created a corner with the appropriate background for video meetings. It’s a good idea to create another corner for relaxation. It could be your kitchen where you unwind as you bake or the balcony where you sip your tea as you enjoy the view. A reading nook works for some people or just a quiet spot to dabble in your hobby of choice.
Keep up with routine
Even if you’re not going in to the office regularly any more, it helps to keep up a routine. Get dressed in the morning and change out of ‘work clothes’ at night. At a time when one day is very similar to the next, sticking to a schedule can keep you grounded. Some also find it soothing to spend a little time pampering themselves after work. It could be with a face mask, a hair mask or just a relaxing foot massage – whatever floats your boat!
Find ways to bring nature in
Spending time in nature refreshes our minds. But since we can’t go out, bring your green fix indoors! Nurturing a plant is a great way to feel connected to the natural world. Don’t worry if you think you don’t have a green thumb. Set your self up for success and start off with plants that are hard to kill. There are plenty of gardeners easily accessible via social media for useful tips!
Create balance in your routine
Work, play, therapy, chilling, chores etc. are all important aspects of your life. When you compromise one for another, imbalance is created. By keeping away from distractions, you can work more efficiently and get it done in time. Then, turn your ‘work brain’ (and email notifications) off. Try to be more present in the time you’ve reserved for self-care, conversations and leisure.
Self-care certainly includes indulging yourself with relaxing activities but it goes beyond that. It’s about creating a life that you can derive joy and satisfaction from in a sustained manner by consistently choosing what’s good for you. Ultimately, living a fulfilling life helps you be more compassionate and considerate of others.
Caring for yourself is a necessary part of caring for others– Robyn Conley Downs