How to Create Serene Surroundings

Feng shui is real – and even if you don't know what that means, you've probably felt its effects. This line of Chinese thought suggests that laws of spatial orientation affect energy flow, which in turn influences the way we feel when occupying a given space. I can attest to the validity of this concept as someone who is very connected to the environment; I find that I cannot focus optimally if something around me seems unbalanced. Consequently, I try to employ the principles of feng shui in my home, and even if I'm not adhering to specific rules I like to set up my space in a way that allows for positive vibrations.

Of course, it’s impossible to always control the atmosphere around you – sometimes, you have to change your own mindset directly in order to adjust to a space (but that’s a topic for another blog post!). If you are able to modify your surroundings, however, doing so can yield amazing results for mental clarity.

Some of our favourite ways to detoxify your environment:

1. Natural light

This is a huge one for me; I am obsessed with natural light (everyone can thank my mother for drilling that into me). Not only does natural light save energy – cheers to benefiting the planet and lowering electricity bills – but it has been proven to increase productivity and brighten your mood. Light also helps to govern your circadian rhythm and thus can optimize your relaxation; the sun beginning to set is a great sign that it's time to power down. And did I mention that light and shadow flirting on the walls is just gorgeous?

2. Fresh air

Crack open that window and take a deep breath! The buildings we live, work, play, and study in are often stuffy and full of dust and chemicals that have accumulated over time. Therefore, whenever possible I open up my windows to allow the outside air to circulate indoors ... I especially love doing this as it gets chilly – it's so invigorating! Fresh air strengthens the microbiome in your home, actually aiding your immune system, digestion, and metabolic function.

3. Plants

The power of plants in the home is remarkable – think about it, you're literally adding life to the space around you. In fact, to continue from the last point, plants automatically cleanse and oxygenate the air. Their humidifying properties decrease dry skin and colds, and the simple presence of nature puts us at ease and improves attentiveness. Try a spider plant or philodendron to get your green thumb going. I also like to keep a vase reserved for fresh flowers – they're beautiful, and I always look forward to rotating in a new bouquet. 

4. Scents

The nose knows! Diffusing essential oils, simmering spices and dried fruits on the stovetop, and lighting scented candles (opt for non-toxic varieties, I love soy wax-based options) are great ways to infuse your home with peaceful energy. Scents like lavender, jasmine, and chamomile are naturally soothing; scents like lemon and peppermint stimulate clear thinking.

5. Decluttering

Last but certainly not least (in fact, I might argue that this is the most important of all), is decluttering. Admittedly, it's difficult to keep the little things from piling up here and there, but making an effort to clear your surroundings of unnecessary "stuff" on a regular basis goes a long way, because having constant physical clutter around you leads to clutter in the mind, too! This generates stress that often goes unrecognized. Every time I clean up my apartment, my body palpably releases tension, enabling me to be more calm and effective in my everyday life.

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