When you need a sanctuary, not a staycation.
I’m sure you’re having similar conversations like I am – about going nuts while stuck at home, given the COVID-19 lockdown. About the kids or partner being constantly in your face. Or about the fact that working from home has meant weekends feel like weekdays…and vice-versa. Or even that staying at home is compounding the stress of whether your job will be impacted directly or indirectly by COVID-19.
While the mental frustration is slowly easing as things start reopening, things at home probably won’t revert to what they were pre-pandemic. As a result, many of us are trying to figure out how to ‘escape’ at home, even for a few minutes. To have an alone-moment and re-ground our self… and BREATHE!
Does it start with defined spaces?
In trying to wrap my head around this struggle, I realized that this begins with defining spaces at home. Each specific role they play in your new work-home life needs to be established. Yes, your laptop is portable and you may want to start your work day answering emails on the patio – while enjoying your second cup of coffee! However, if that’s the same space where you want to relax with a glass of wine after work hours, before you know it, that laptop is also still open – on the patio – and you’re spending an extra hour doing work stuff.
Contrast this with having a dedicated space ONLY for work. The laptop (or whatever that work tool may be) stays there. When you’re in that space you’re focused on being the most productive, creative and resourceful income-earner you can be. But when you leave, you try hard to transition your mindset to the role of the spaces you are going to spend the next few hours in. Just like when you drive away from the office!
And this can work in smaller homes like high-rise condos! If the kitchen counter is your workspace, that laptop shouldn’t be with you on the couch at the end of the day.
Is it time to (finally) explore meditation?
Defined spaces could still be hard to achieve if, for example, the above kitchen counter example is the only viable space for both you and your partner to use computers for your jobs! What then? Well, may I suggest considering the attraction of meditation or a ‘mindset’ space. I have to smile as I write this. It has long been on my bucket list, but my super busy life could never make the time to explore this. Fortunately, working from home has freed commute time for other things! ?
One of my exes lent me Kabat-Zinn’s bestseller “Wherever you go, There you are” many years back (hmm…what if she calls asking it back!?). But I had a tough time reading through it (refer to “super busy life” above). However, we are in the glorious age of ‘there’s an app for that’, and there are some really good apps to ease someone into trying meditation – one of them is even called Headspace! ??
Find your meditation Fire
However, I also have to give a shout-out to Evan (our West Coast fireplace specialist) for introducing me to the meditative powers of fires! He learned humans are attracted to fires, not only because of the warmth, but also because they flicker at the same frequency of the human brain.
The brain actually functions at different frequencies, depending on what a person is doing. The perfect frequency range that fireplaces and firepits can help the brain achieve is between theta waves (4-7 hz: when we are sleeping or deeply relaxed) and alpha waves (8-12 hz: when we are calm and relaxed)! Digging deeper, even I was surprised to find many ancient meditative practices using a flame or fire!
So, consider using a firepit or fireplace to help create that sanctuary. Not only to help complete the physical space, but also to help attain a more rewarding, mindful escape space!