We are all spending more time at home these days, and our home environment can really impact our psyche and mental health. Our home environment can be a reflection of our internal state (and vice versa). If you are feeling stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, or scattered, pay attention to how your living space or external environment may be reflecting this. Are stacks of papers piling up on your table? Are your closets bursting with unorganized stuff? Is your pantry scattered and full of unused or expired items? Is your kitchen sink full of unwashed dishes? Our home is where we accumulate all of our “stuff”, including our material items, and our own (and our families) energy. Now may be a very supportive time to take inventory, and cultivate a home space that is reflective of how you would like to be feeling during this time. “Stuff” can occupy both our physical space, and occupy our energetic space as well. Clearing and making space is both a practice of physically removing or organizing things that no longer serve us and tidying up our environment, and a practice in occupying our space more freely and comfortably.
What are some areas where we do have some control, and can enhance our personal living space? To be clear - this is not a call to make your home a picture of perfection. That’s just not realistic. We all have a different dynamic at home, and demands on our time. Some have small children or are caretaking family members. Some have no home office. Some have no space of their own at all. The beauty of Ayurveda practice is that everything is personalized to you, including your daily habits, routines, and health practices. It’s a one-step-at-a-time approach, doing what is feasible, comfortable, and manageable for you to achieve even the smallest extra bit of balance.
One room at a time. The whole house may seem overwhelming, but claiming one room at a time is more manageable. Spring cleaning is still a helpful practice this season. Are there spaces in your home that need to be tidied up, refreshed, and aired out? One room at a time, go through your spaces, surfaces, and closets and tidy up areas that are feeling scattered, cluttered, or un-used.
Keep your routines simple and realistic. We often feel anxious and overwhelmed because we do not know what is coming next. Even in our day-to-day, having a routine that is simple, predictable and manageable can be very grounding, especially for the Vata dosha. What are 2-3 things you can keep constant during your day? Perhaps allowing 20 minutes for an afternoon tea break? Always taking that 5:30pm walk? Allowing 5 minutes for stretching or meditation first thing in the morning? Keep your routines consistent and manageable for these grounding and centering moments during your day. In Ayurveda, this is called Dinacharya - the daily routine.
Create a space for rest. Is your sleeping space conducive to getting the best night's sleep? Take some time to notice what is not serving you in your sleeping space, and make necessary adjustments. Is there too much light coming through the windows? Is it too noisy, too cold or too hot? Is your mattress uncomfortable? Sleeping and resting is essential to our mental, physical and emotional health. One step at a time, adjust your sleeping space to support what you need to achieve a peaceful night’s rest.
If feasible, create small spaces for each person to have private alone time. We’re all spending more time together at home now, which means we all may be needing a little more alone time for our mental health. Are there small areas in your home that you can claim for each person to have quiet, peaceful alone time? If so, clear this space and make it as conducive as you can to cultivate a calm atmosphere.
Notice the places in your home where you feel the most comfortable. What qualities of this space are especially peaceful for you? Our home is our sanctuary, and how we fill it energetically and materially matters. Our home can easily become a place for things to pile up, and corners to be neglected, especially when we are overwhelmed and stressed. The practice of cultivating space, spring cleaning, and creating ritual in our day has a big impact on our mental health. This week, take a few moments with a cup of warm Turmeric Glow tea to go through your space, and take several deep breaths. Turmeric Glow contains turmeric and lemon, two cleansing and grounding herbs that offer us a sense of uplift and refreshing flavors. Turmeric is such an all encompassing, supporting herb, especially for maintaining a healthy inflammatory response (something that can be increased during times of stress). Lemon is gently cleansing and rich in the antioxidant vitamin C to support our immune health, and support cellular function. This elegant blend should leave you feeling renewed and refreshed. Remember that your mental health, physical health, and emotional health deserve tending to, just like your home space.