There’s a lot of buzz around wellbeing these days as our 24/7, tech-heavy, time-poor world threatens to taint our mental and physical health. We’re encouraged to indulge in yoga and meditation to soothe the mind and calm our stressed-out souls, we’re urged to pack-in sufficient beauty sleep, to exercise regularly, and eat a healthy, wholesome diet.
When I first started my interior design blog, Spotdeco, I was juggling founding a business, with a full-time city job, and a freelance career on the side. As a stressed-out, grey hair sprouting, irritable ball of lack lustre fuzziness, I learnt to cling to the green juice, decipher my maca from my matcha and conquer the sugar devil. Boy does it work.
Yet I’ve also learnt that wellbeing extends beyond the “inside out” nourishment of mind and body. The piece of the puzzle that’s missing and which receives little attention is “outside in” wellbeing. By that I mean two things: our home and our surroundings.
Our home is our sanctuary from the outside world. The place where we shed our woes, recharge our batteries, re-energise and rejuvenate. Yet too often, we fail to consider how our spaces can cater to our needs. This is easy to fix. Take every room in your house and think about its purpose. For example, are you someone who uses your lounge more for reading than watching television? Are you someone who loves a long soak in bath to unwind? Do you need a place to work?
With this in mind, design the room around the need. If you’re a reader, don’t make the television a focal point. Instead pile up the sofa cushions and invest in lots of lamps. If you love a long soak in the tub, opt for soft lighting and warm fixtures in the bathroom, rather than bright white. If you need a work area − be it a dedicated room or a pocket of space − consider how design can feed into productivity. Google, for example, heralds the use of bright colours in boosting productivity.
By designing the room around you, your needs and what you want it for, you’ll create spaces that play to your wellbeing and enhance your mood.
The local area is the first thing most of us consider when deciding where to live and we all have our own criteria. For example, is it safe, is it accessible, and is it green? Happy, safe areas don’t happen by accident. Instead, they are nurtured and maintained by the people within them. Yet globalisation and terror threats are increasingly fragmenting and fracturing our communities at a time when it is even more vital that we pull together.
So what can we do to make our streets happier? It really is simple and a little goes a long way. Say hello your neighbours, shop at local retailers, buy your coffee from independent cafes, and use the services of local businesses. Plant trees outside your home, join local clubs, and if you’re really keen, lookup volunteer opportunities at community projects. If all of us paid a tiny bit more attention to the streets and parks that surround us, the world would get better village by village, town by town, city by city, country by country!