As H&G’s resident Feng Shui expert, I have clients around the globe, and while some are in the southern hemisphere delighting in the fusion of spring into summer, many more are preparing for, or already experiencing the cold, darker days of winter.
When the days are short and the nights are long, it’s all the more difficult to find the motivation to get out and about. The health benefits of moving, clean, oxygenated air through the lungs are well known, but you may not be aware of the importance of moving fresh new energy, also known as Qi or Chi in Feng Shui, into and around the home.
If you do yoga or Pilates, or maybe you dance, swim, take part in a synergistic sport, or are a runner, you’ll understand the concept of getting into ‘flow’. If you don’t participate in any of these things, imagine being so engrossed in an activity that you lose track of time, you feel a surge of energy and pure enjoyment as you dive into whatever you are doing. This psychological state is called 'flow,' or simply being 'in the zone.' It's when you're fully immersed, completely focused, and loving every moment of the task at hand.
How to keep energy flowing in winter
When energy practitioners talk about flow in homes (Feng Shui) or the body (acupuncture, reiki, seitai, chi gong) it’s the ‘feel-good’ energy we can all benefit from, provided it is able to meander freely throughout our living space or body. However, when there are obstacles in the path of this vital life force flow, it slows down or stops the energy moving and creates areas of stagnation or stuck energy. This leave you at greater risk of headaches, stress, and tension – and of course with that comes irritability, insomnia, and a multitude of other niggles.
So what are you going to do about it?
1. Open the front door and windows for 10 minutes
Brace yourself! I’m going to start by suggesting you turn off the heating for a while, open the front door, all internal doors and also a window in the least used part of your home and force a stream of fresh air through the entire place. If you can do this for just ten minutes during the day, you will boost the energy flow.
Whenever you can, open a window in the bedroom. It’s not good to sleep in a hermetically sealed space, because throughout the night humans breathe out carbon dioxide. If a room isn’t aired sufficiently during the day by leaving the door open, you will go to bed in a room with an already depleted oxygen supply. Cue sore throats, snoring and a muzzy head in the morning. My amazing grandmother always slept with a window open, even on bitterly cold nights.
She was incredibly healthy well into her 90s. Our brains need oxygen to support our bodily function and to rebuild the cells that maintain wellbeing in body, mind and spirit, so please make sure you have access to fresh air day and night.
2. Involve your children (and pets)
Another way of increasing energy flow is to activate pets and children! One of my clients encourages her kids to run into each room in the house waving their arms around on days when it’s too cold or wet to go outside. She knows this will stir up any areas of stuck energy and she’s made it a game for the children. You can also do this with some obedient pets.
Speaking of pets, cats like to sleep in an area where the energy is very still. In the old days these places were called ‘witch spots’, so if you are a cat lover, notice where they curl up, and be sure to swish the energy around them, so it doesn’t get too settled and slow things down for you.
Doing more than the basic housework can also help to move sticky energy around and enrich the flow of energy. Aim to use organic products during winter months when doors and windows are closed to reduce the level of toxic particles hanging around in the air afterward. Some of the most efficient products are great at keeping our houses sparkling, but not so good to breathe in for hours after use.
Deal with laundry efficiently rather than allowing mountains of garments and bedding to loom over you. Better to have clean washing drying on a rack than block your energy flow with festering gym gear!
Because dust settles in areas where there is energetic stagnation, this can aggravate asthma, coughs, and lung issues. Dust can harbor bacteria and virus particles, increasing the risk of infection and flu, so be sure to remove dust effectively and consider investing in an air purifier to reduce allergens in the air.
This smart purifier learns the layout of each room it cleans to deliver consistently high performance, whether it's placed in a 150 sq. ft. nursery or a 400 sq. ft family room.
This air purifier detects and destroys formaldehyde, a toxic substance found in home goods and household products, so that you can breathe easy.
Best for large spaces
Best for large spaces
The Molekule Air Pro cleans more than twice the square footage of a standard purifier, covering spaces up to 1000 sq. ft.
4. Do a simple energy-cleansing ceremony
If you’ve had a period of bad luck or just feel as though you’re surrounded by bad vibes, consider doing a very simple energy-cleansing ceremony for your home. This is a centuries-old practice to refresh a space after emotional upset, illness, or misfortune or just to welcome a new season. It’s also perfect if you’ve just moved into a new home to banish the energy of the previous owners.
You’ll find lots of examples of space-clearing ceremonies on the internet. I like to use one that includes sound, smell, intention, and light, as well as a special 'thank you' to the home and an option to manifest brighter, happier days. I find it rather more powerful than simply wafting a sage stick around. You can find details of the ceremony I recommend on my website. For more details on sound cleansing, you can check out our feature.
What are the negative impacts of a lack of flow?
In the body, stuck energy causes illness, and in homes, it puts pressure on health, relationships, success, and general well-being. For sensitive children, this can be especially disconcerting.
You’ll find stuck energy in unused rooms, alcoves, cupboards, and corners where doors or windows aren’t regularly opened to exchange the air. Let’s be honest, if you pay a fortune to heat a place, it’s not logical to let the warm air out, even if it is a bit stuffy. By the time the ice and snow arrive, some homes have been closed tight for so long, they are suffocatingly airless.
Effectively sealing ourselves inside prevents positive energy from circulating and is incredibly bad for our well-being. Another major impediment to flow is clutter, and while this feature is specifically about the challenges to keeping the energy flowing around a home in winter, if you have clutter you will very efficiently block the good stuff from reaching you year-round!
I may sound like a broken record when I talk about the devastating impact of clutter, but you only have to watch shows like ‘Sort Your Life Out’ or ‘Get Organized with the Home Edit’ to see how much emotional damage living with clutter brings. Side note: you don’t need to put all your stuff in a warehouse to deal with it, but if you struggle to make sense of the piles, it’s often helpful to invest in detached expert help to deal with clutter quickly and efficiently.
Remember, your winter home doesn’t need to be a fuggy soup of dormant energy, it can be the vibrant, sparkling place you would choose for yourself and the people you love with just a little effort on your part.
Keep your space fresh, clean and bright using these simple tips and you’ll find the rest of the winter season slips neatly into place. Enjoy!
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Suzanne is an Interiors Therapist, Feng Shui consultant, and author of Welcome Home, how stuff makes or breaks your relationship. She specializes in understanding the energetic impact of homes and certain possessions may have on all aspects of life, health and relationships, and the ways in which ‘stuff’ can actively prevent people and families from thriving and enjoying the lifestyle they deserve.
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