Finding Your Calm in the Storm

I have been putting a lot of thought these days into preparing for the long “Covid Winter” ahead of us. My first priority is protecting my family’s physical health, but I’m conscious about not neglecting our mental health in the process. Winters are difficult enough under normal circumstances, and here in the Pacific Northwest, the dark rainy days seem to stretch on forever! This winter will be EXTRA challenging. Many of us are working and/or schooling from home, and on top of that, we can’t socialize or have Holiday gatherings to break up the monotony. In light of these new challenges, I’ve been brainstorming some strategies for making a home into a sanctuary that feels not only safe, but relaxing and calming at the same time…

STEP 1: DECLUTTER

I know, it’s probably not what you wanted to hear. I wish there was a quick and easy fix, but there’s no getting around the fact that clutter adds an unbelievable amount of stress to our lives. You might not even realize how much it’s stressing you out until you clear all those surfaces and put all the things back where they belong. Anything that doesn’t have a clear place to live in your home, probably shouldn’t be in your home. The goal is to be able to easily find the things you’re looking for, and to also have a more visually appealing and cleaner environment.

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to beautiful.

- William Morris

STEP 2: DESIGNATE A WORKSPACE

If you are working or schooling from home, dedicate one specific area for these activities. The idea is to isolate the stressful activities in one area of the home, to prevent that stress from being felt throughout the entire house. Unfortunately, we can’t all be so lucky as to have a home office, so make do with whatever works for you. For example, if you prefer to work from your dining room table, keep all of your work supplies in attractive bins or baskets that can be tucked away out of sight after the work day is over. You just don’t want a pile of projects sitting out at the end of the day, reminding you of your to-do list.

STEP 3: CREATE A CALM SPACE

Just like you designated an area for work/school, designate a spot in your home just for relaxing. This could be a bedroom, a bathroom, a reading nook, or a window seat. Take a comfortable area and make it more comfortable! Think about the places in the world that make you happiest: a vacation spot, a favorite restaurant, or a walk on the beach. Create your own tiny resort. Try to replicate the elements of your happy place within your home sanctuary. Use artwork, photographs, or scented candles. Think about how colors affect your moods. If you love walking in the forest, think about painting the walls a soothing shade of green. If you love the beach, consider painting your bathroom a cool blue with sandy accents. If painting your walls sounds like too big of a project, bring relaxing colors into your sanctuary space through accessories like pillows, throw blankets, or rugs.

STEP 4: BRING THE OUTDOORS IN

Plants, plants, plants! Having plants in your home or office has been proven to reduce stress and improve overall well being, concentration, and productivity. House plants also improve the quality of our indoor air by increasing oxygen and humidity and filtering out toxins and fumes. My goal for my own home is to have at least one plant in every single room, even if that means hanging a planter in a bathroom window! Even if you don’t have a green thumb, there are plenty of low maintenance house plants that will survive all the neglect you can throw at them (snake plant, pothos, zz plant, spider plant, to start…).

Think about how to add other natural elements into your home. Raw wood, stone, or woven baskets are all great options.  And on gloomy days when you need a little extra cheering up, don’t hesitate to pick yourself up a bouquet of flowers from the grocery store for a splash of color and an instant mood boost.

To summarize: Declutter! Isolate your workspace! Create your calm place! Plants!

These small steps could have a big impact on how well we weather this storm. So snuggle in and try to use this winter as an opportunity to relax, reflect, and reconnect with family. 

We’re all in this together so if you need help or advice, please reach out to us! This is what we do!

-Much love, from Robin and the rest of the Organized at Last family