Note: This article was originally published on the Redfin Blog on January 30th, 2022.
We all strive to have a haven that brings us peace, security, and tranquility. However, amidst all the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities that pop up in our lives, oftentimes it can be hard to take a break, center ourselves, and focus on mindfulness. Having a dedicated space or bringing in items and decor that inspire mindfulness into our homes can serve as a reminder to take a breath and focus on what is going on around us. To help you get started, we reached out to mindfulness experts across Chicago, IL to Kelowna, BC to give us their best tips to inspire mindfulness at home. From emphasizing things that create heat to incorporating plants into your decor, keep reading to see what they had to say.
1. Choose quality items and decorations that make you happy
Don’t buy into short-term decor trends, instead choose what makes you happy, invest in quality items, and play with the idea of creating mini zones throughout your space such as a meditation, reading, or yoga corner, always ready for you to plug into. – Sabrina Weber of Femme Du Soleil
2. Identify a designated mindfulness space
The first step to cultivating mindfulness at home is identifying a designated (and nonnegotiable) mindfulness space. Intentionally creating a special space for mindfulness will help you practice it more consistently, effectively, and comfortably. So, whether you're designing an elaborate meditation loft, or just trying to make the corner of your bedroom a little more zen, it's important to make that space sacred. – Loretta Turner, MA, CNP, Certified Mindfulness Coach
3. Emphasize things that create heat
Heat is pleasant and regulating for our mind, body, and spirit, and brings us back into the present moment. Emphasize things in your home that bring you heat. For example, the bathtub, a fireplace, heated blankets, or a tea kettle. Bring more things into your home that can provide you warmth when you need it. – Kerry J Heckman, Therapist
4. Try sound healing
Sound healing is an ancient healing art that is making a modern resurgence. Having Bluetooth speakers in each room of the home playing calming, peaceful, or joyful music can bring mindfulness to whatever you’re doing.
– Empowered Meditation and Sound Healing
5. Try a diffuser, soft textures, and energizing plants
Though our minds may wander throughout the day, our external space can serve as a reminder to mindfully reconnect with our internal space – a diffuser with your favorite scent, soft textures around you, energizing plants, and objects that remind you of our values. A space created with mindful intention has the power to bring us back to the here and now and to experience life more fully and peacefully. – Elizabeth Alli, Founder at DesignerUp
6. Incorporate natural elements into your home
Be sure to add natural materials, plants, and water features to your designs, keep clutter to a minimum, and consider carving out a comfortable spot to create a relaxation retreat. There are even products that can help you see how your brain responds to different paint colors, scents, views, and decor as you plan your new, calming designs. – FocusCalm
7. Introduce mindful self-compassion into your space
Turn your home into a sanctuary by introducing mindful self-compassion into your space. Add elements that soothe and comfort – faux fur blankets, a warm fire, comfy pillows, an essential oil diffuser, gentle music, warm lights, and soft colors. Place a hand over your heart as you listen to soft sounds, take in the healing scents, and sink into the comfort you’ve created.
– The Counseling and Mindfulness Group
8. Incorporate house plants into your decor
Bringing a snippet of nature indoors by incorporating houseplants into your decor is a simple and easy way to create a mindfulness space. There are many options to complement your personal style. – Mindful Modern Living
9. Create mindful living by decluttering
Clutter in the home can be distracting. My favorite way to create a mindful living space is to simplify it without limiting the colors, textures, or designs.
– Alex G Shearer
10. Make sure your space reflects your personality
Create a home that is true to who you are. Mindfulness begins by being in tune with things that speak to you. It’s easy to fall into design trends, so always make sure that it is true to who you are so that your space reflects your personality and in doing so, creates a peaceful retreat. – Emmygination
11. Incorporate natural surroundings to help you be present
Creating a dedicated spot in your home for contemplation and meditation is a simple way to commit to daily mindfulness practice. Incorporating your natural surroundings can help you tune in and become fully present, for example, placing a chair in front of a sunny window. You can devote time to paying attention to the sensation of the sun on your face as a focal point for your meditation. – mindful.nyc
12. Declutter and organize your home
Clutter and disorganization can cause stress and anxiety. You may be able to improve your mood and mental clarity by simply removing things that no longer fit your home and making space for things that do.
– Kady Brown Interiors
13. Pay attention to the purpose of your spaces
Mindful design is about paying attention, tuning into what each room within the home’s purpose is, and how it supports those living in the home. Mindful design is about creating a sense of balance within each room and the home as a whole. We can use elements like plants, natural lighting, scents, and colors to create the feeling, look, and vibe we each need to balance and thrive in life. – Nourished Home
14. Find a corner where you can set up items that make you calm
As a business owner, movement instructor, and busy mom, creating space for a mindfulness practice has been key in keeping me balanced and grounded. To help set the tone for a mindful practice in your own home, find a corner where you can set up a few things that bring you a sense of calm such as a yoga mat, candles, and a journal. Even placing these items in a small basket in the corner of your bedroom will remind you to take 5, get down on the floor, and breathe. – Mindful Movement with Maggie
15. Create tech-free zones
Allow your home to be as conducive as possible to living mindfully, create zones within your home that are completely tech-free, and give you the opportunity to “just be” rather than always doing. This could look like the kitchen bench or breakfast bar, so you enjoy present conversations with your family to start the day while making breakfast or your morning brew or a nook complete with a rocking chair facing a window or door with a view or a leafy outlook. Have a side table for your drink or journal, a plant to inspire mindfulness, books or mags within easy reach, a lamp, and even a cozy blanket. – Slow Coaching Co.
16. Use the three-step mindfulness practice – Pause, breathe, and notice
At each step of the decorating process, whether you are sitting down to begin planning your project or deep in the midst of making final color and layout choices, pause and breathe, feeling sensations in your body as you take three, slow, deeper breaths, then notice what decor choices feel truly pleasant and supportive to you. Try this practice to tune into your own natural, inner wisdom or home designer, to let go of ideas about how your space ‘should’ be, and discover how to create a space that supports the authentic life you dream of. – Julie Woodward, MSW
17. Keep mindfulness practices accessible
If it's out of sight, it may very likely be out of mind. If you love to practice seated mindful movement, you might try keeping your dedicated chair where you can see it often, free of any clutter. If you work from home and struggle to make time for breaks, you might try keeping a mindful chime on your desk to remind you to take an informal 5-minute mindful moment. If you want to be more intentional in practicing compassion mindfulness, you might try keeping your mindfulness journal on your coffee table where you sit and drink your coffee in the morning. – Mindfulness First
18. Embrace indoor-outdoor living
For decompressing, we have a sauna and a steam shower, as well as a saltwater pool that we keep on the warmer side to float in for relaxation. I also think it’s important to embrace an indoor/outdoor connection not just with plants, but with a design element that feels like you’re bringing nature in. For example, we have a large accordion door that opens up to the backyard from our main living space and in our bathroom, we choose a tile that looks almost wood-like surrounding the bathtub that I like to soak in after a long day. – Mindfulness Matters
19. Keep a pen and notepad close to you
Place a pretty jar or container with a notepad and pen in a central location in your home and take the time to jot down simple words and phrases that represent moments of gratitude or creativity, brilliant ideas, sincere emotion, and affirmations. Multiply these "mindful moments" by designating a time each week to reflect on the notes in your jar, recalling how you felt about each one at the moment you wrote it, and noticing how you feel about it now. Living mindfully often requires a willingness to slow down and capture these small, yet meaningful moments amid the busyness and to-do lists of every day, which in turn helps cultivate a sense of ease, accomplishment, happiness, and peace. – HomeGirl by Design
LEGAL: This article is for informational purposes only. Individual results may vary. Redfin is not affiliated with nor endorses or guarantees any of the individuals, resources or websites mentioned.
Redfin does not provide medical advice. This article is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on Redfin’s blog.
"Adopt the pace of nature: Her secret is patience." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
This article was first published on the Global Lyme Alliance blog on January 8th, 2021. Most of the links on this post are informational, but a few are affiliate links to help maintain this website.
There is a new chronic illness emerging throughout the world. People with this illness are being referred to as "COVID-19 long haulers." The term is used to describe COVID-19 patients with ongoing and persistent symptoms, such as fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, increased heart rate, and decreased lung function. Coincidentally, the term is applicable to those of us with chronic Lyme disease. We’re "long haulers," too—just infected with a different pathogen.
Even though it's common knowledge that COVID-19 long haulers exist, there is a public perception that if you are lucky enough to beat the virus you are "fine." Eventually, the pandemic will pass, but the long haulers will remain, and my fear is they will be forgotten. Why such a cynical view? Because I live with a chronic illness and I know what it’s like to be forgotten. But don't lose hope. There are millions of us with chronic pathogenic illness who see you. We will welcome you into our community and encourage you to create a community of your own.
A little history, Lyme disease is similar to COVID-19, because some people have acute illness and others develop chronic illness. People with chronic Lyme disease are misunderstood by conventional medicine. Their symptoms are labeled as "Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome" and there is no conventional treatment or cure. Despite the growing number of people suffering long-term symptoms from tick-borne disease, few resources are allocated to finding a treatment. My hope is that with the number of people who have been infected with COVID-19 and the worldwide focus, that more resources will go to finding treatment for long haulers. Treatment developed for long haulers may also shed light on treatment for other chronic pathogenic illnesses.
While there is still much to learn about how COVID-19 will affect people in the long term, others with long term pathogenic illness may be able to shed some light on how to live with ongoing symptoms.
One of the most difficult things about chronic illness is that most chronic illnesses are "invisible." This doesn’t necessarily mean that you look healthy, it means that you cannot see how bad you feel just by looking at you. When you have invisible illness, it is common for friends and family to not understand what you are coping with on a daily basis. This is something that Lyme disease patients experience frequently. We learn to find ways to explain our symptoms, like encouraging friends and family to read articles about the disease, although it is typically still not understood. We often say, "You don’t get it, until you get it."
If you ever feel like you have been left behind, know that people with Lyme disease see you and understand you. The following is some advice for you as you continue on this journey:
1. Create a Community.
The most important thing with any chronic illness is to not go it alone. As a means of survival, many of us with chronic Lyme disease find our way to each other. The Lyme disease community is a thriving, supportive place that many people with Lyme disease eventually find out of desperation.
You may not know anyone else who is experiencing long-term COVID-19 symptoms, so you will likely need to seek them out. Lyme patients find each other on Facebook groups or other social media. We meet in local or virtual support groups. We follow prominent doctors in the field, advocates, and organizations, which hopefully in the years that follow will emerge for long haulers. There is something comforting about knowing you are not the only person going through something difficult.
2. Learn to listen to your body.
Another thing to pay attention to is how your symptoms wax and wane. People with Lyme disease and other chronic conditions learn to titrate our energy. When we are feeling good (relatively speaking), we try to take advantage of it. When we are fatigued and in pain, we work to find acceptance about our limited capacity and give ourselves permission to rest.
Remember that you know your body the best and even though you are just getting to know your body with chronic issues, you will learn to become intimately aware of your sensations and symptoms. Slowly learning what needs immediate attention and what can wait until you see your doctor again.
Additionally, I’ve learned to write these things down as they happen, because they are much harder to recall when your doctor asks you what you’ve been experiencing, especially with brain fog.
3. Be politically active.
As a Lyme long hauler, we have found ways to keep the focus on finding a treatment, long after the outbreak in Lyme, Connecticut. We have advocates and organizations that provide funding for ongoing research. We have doctors who are willing to consider things outside of conventional medicine and those within the system who are willing to think outside the box. The "good" news for COVID-19 long haulers is that it appears the scientific community is acknowledging the virus causes chronic symptoms in some who are infected. The not so good news is that researchers and infectious disease doctors do not have a good understanding of chronic pathogenic infections. Maybe COVID-19 long haulers will be the push we need to see change.
The Lyme community is known for being vocal, likely out of necessity to be heard and acknowledged. Without the advocacy work of individual Lyme patients and Lyme organizations we would still be suffering in silence.
4. Allow yourself to grieve.
Many of us with Lyme wonder what life would be like if we had never been bitten by a tick. I can imagine right now COVID long haulers are wondering what life would be like if they had never been infected with the virus. Of course, these things are outside of our control and that's why they need to be grieved. We can’t go back, but we can allow ourselves time and space to grieve the loss of what life used to be like. Maybe this looks like crying, journaling, or talking to a therapist. Whatever you need to grieve, find it.
5. Don't lose hope.
A life with a chronic condition is a valuable life. There are still moments good in most days, there are still possibilities, and a future ahead of you. Yes, it looks very different and that is painful to know, but there is always hope.
Having a chronic illness requires holding opposing truths at the same time. Contracting chronic Lyme disease has been my greatest burden and my biggest teacher, it has taken so much and also given so much to me. Part of learning to live with chronic illness is learning both can be true at the same time and giving space for both to be a part of you.
As the world continues to reel from the global pandemic and you continue to suffer from the fallout, know there are people who care about you and are thinking about you.
"Empathy is finding echoes of another person in yourself." - Moshin Hamid
Most of the links on this post are informational, but a few are affiliate links to help maintain this website.
I had my first article published on Additude, a fantastic website I recommend to anyone who has ADHD. They publish informative, compassionate articles on every topic related to ADHD.
In an effort to continue sharing information on body-based therapy for trauma, I wrote this article about trauma and ADHD.
You can read my article here:
ADHD and Trauma: Untangling Causes, Symptoms & Treatments
Feel free to share your thoughts about the article.
"If you understand how your own unique ADHD brain wiring works, you won't suffer, you will learn how to thrive." - Unknown
I'm Kerry (She/Her/Hers) and I am a licensed therapist, group facilitator, poet, writer, & speaker. This is a place to acknowledge and validate our suffering and trauma, while also learning how to turn toward aliveness and spaciousness.