‘You have to stop and think, how does this make me feel?’
- Credit: traumteppich.com
Feel like you need to rid your home of stale, lockdown vibes? Start with a declutter and your sense of wellbeing says north London feng shui consultant.
The spring clean has always been a bit of a metaphor for shaking off the winter cobwebs and heralding in warmer days.
Crouch End feng shui consultant Chrissie Parker says the desire for giving your home a cleanse and a zhuzh this time of year relates to spring’s rising energy.
“Spring is a great time,” she says. “You just have to think about nature. Everything is going like crazy to get going – plants, birds, everything wants to press on with life.
“It’s no accident people have been spring cleaning forever,” Chrissie goes on to say. “The light is good, the days are longer, and you can open up the windows.
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“You have lots of sunshine, and the light and breeze bring a change to the energy in your home as well.”
As we come out the other side of winter and a third lockdown, we might be feeling a little conflicted about our homes. They have been both our prisons and our protectors, and so maybe it’s time to say goodbye to the last few months and look forward to the better – warmer – days ahead by welcoming new, fresh energy into your home.
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In feng shui terms, the energy of a home is dependent on what sort of opportunity chi (the energy that moves around us and is present in all things) has to come in and flow around.
The energy of the people who reside in the house also impact the property’s energy too. “People have been clumped up in their homes more than they normally would, for school and for work,” Chrissie says, “and the energy can become quite hectic and acrimonious - we haven’t been allowed to go out and get rid of our stresses in life.”
If you feel like you need to purge the lockdown from your home but don’t know where to start, Chrissie suggests trying a good old fashioned declutter, as mess impacts our sense of wellbeing.
“We’ve not had people in our homes so it’s so easy to accumulate clutter,” Chrissie says. “But just because no one else sees it, it doesn’t make it alright. The clutter will affect you.”
If decluttering your entire home is too big a job, pick the space that is most important to you and focus on that. And don’t forget the wardrobe.
“We’ve all been living in elasticated trousers,” says Chrissie. “If we are preparing ourselves to come out of hibernation, think about how these clothes make you feel.
“You might have one or two pieces of clothing which have done you service, but if you keep wearing them, they will remind you of a time when you had to wear them.”
Also take note of the things that aren’t working around the house and which slightly annoy you. If it is possible, change them.
“It could be as simple as one shelf,” says Chrissie. “Everything on it could annoy you.
“Take everything off and put back the things that make you feel good, and this can change how you feel immensely.
“You have to stop and think, how does this make me feel?,” says Chrissie. “If it makes you feel excited or elated or good, then great. But if it makes you feel depressed or sad, then maybe it is not the best thing for you to be looking at all the time.”
In the kitchen, get rid of things that don’t help you cook and prepare food. While art, flowers and plants are fine to stay, often kitchen workspaces are crammed with unnecessary things.
Give your lounge a good hoover, shake out curtains and dust off surfaces and soft furnishings. Also take the time to sit on your sofa and look objectively at what you’re seeing.
If you don’t feel relaxed it could be because you’re looking at something that doesn’t relax you. While the lounge is often a social room, it should also work as a comfortable nurturing space for you to enjoy on your own.
In the bedroom, Chrissie suggests opening the window every day and keeping the room as minimal as possible. She also recommends bringing in something to “harnesses your energy” and which makes you feel nurtured and cosy – a painting, photograph or ornament. Place it in the room so you see it when you go to bed and again when you wake up.
Treat yourself and your home to some fresh flowers - nothing says spring quite like a vase of daffodils or tulips, and a simple bunch of flowers can lift spirits and mood.
Also consider bringing in a few green plants. As living things, they come with an energy of their own, and a lot of indoor greenery works hard to purify air.
Looking after plants can also engender positive feelings but be mindful of your care factor and skill level. “A lot of people avoid pot plants because they think they are no good with them,” says Chrissie. “Don’t get a plant that needs more attention than what you can give it. Find something low maintenance.”
After decluttering, you might want to light some incense, or try a smudging ritual (burning sage with the window open), which aims to remove heavy or negative energy from a space. Here, it’s not so much the incense or sage’s fragrance that is important, rather it’s about the intention of what you’re doing.
As a final touch and to encourage new, positive feelings and energy into your home, a couple of sprays of an orange essential oil mix could do the trick. Although it does smell lovely, again, this is not about the scent but about the intention you set when spraying it.
“Once you’ve done those things,” says Chrissie, “it’s quite nice to sit quietly and think about how everything feels and connect with the space.
“If it makes you feel good, then you know you’ve done half the job right.”
Working from home vibes
Not only have we been living on top of our families in new, unexpected and probably irritating ways, we’ve brought our work and school lives into the home, also in new, unexpected and probably irritating ways too.
This has made it harder to switch off, leaving us feeling much more tense than usual.
“It is very difficult to separate work from your relaxation and leisure time if you are working from home but don’t have an office space apart from where you sleep, eat or relax,” says Chrissie. “It’s a constant reminder you’ve got work to do.”
Of course, most of us don’t have a spare room to convert into an office, so we have to do the best with what we’ve got.
If you have commandeered a part of your kitchen, lounge or dining room into a work or school zone, then Chrissie recommends keeping the workstation contained and very orderly.
She also stresses not to work out of your bedroom because “it is your sanctuary and a sacred space where you rest and relax”.
“If you have work stuff in your bedroom, then you have no time to relax; you wake up seeing it and go to bed seeing it,” she adds.
“It’s all about being able to rest and prepare your body, which improves your wellbeing.”
Orange essential oil mix
A couple of mindful sprays of this essential oil mix may welcome in positive energy into your home.
Sweet orange essential oil releases stresses and stagnant chi. It eases tension and frustration and enables us to relax and let go.
Add the following oils to a 50ml base of water or lavender water
9 drops lavender (aromatic rescue remedy)
9 drops orange (uplifting, joyous)
2 drops peppermint (awakens, refreshes and stimulates new ideas and creativity)
Use a little travel size bottle to spray around and store away from direct light or heat. Shake well before each use to mix the oil and water.