In the fast-paced and digitally connected world we live in, the importance of mindfulness has become increasingly evident.
As the boundaries between work and personal life blur and with constant demands for our attention and never-ending to-do lists, it can be challenging to find a moment of peace. However, practicing mindfulness at home can help us slow down, tune out distractions, and focus on the present moment.
Promoting mindfulness in a home office
Below are five ways to promote mindfulness in your home office based on expert advice:
1. Essential oils
‘Use a diffuser and essential oils to create a calm environment for deep work,’ suggests interior designer Elizabeth Grace. Eventually, this association of scent will instantly cause you to relax and concentrate.
Essential oils are proven to increase focus. You can also use the oils topically, such as the Breathless Body & Hand oil from Aesop, providing a smaller radius of scent and a more individualistic approach.
Elizabeth Grace is an interior designer and furniture expert. She received her degree in Interior Design from the University of Notre Dame. Elizabeth landed her first job as an intern with a leading firm in New York City, learning from some of the city’s top designers. She currently works as an interior designer for both residential and commercial clients.
2. Declutter the space
We've all heard the expression 'a tidy home equals a tidy mind' and this perfectly summarizes how you should approach your home office organization.
This space probably has lots of papers, pens, and sample materials taking up space. Learn how to organize your desk for a better work-life balance and find appropriate storage to close out office clutter.
Cluttered areas tend to increase stress levels and distract from mindful focus. By maintaining order in this space, you can foster clarity of thought and mental calmness.
3. Incorporate plants and natural materials
The use of natural materials in indoor settings has calming effects on the mind and simplifies all of the information your sensory system needs to process and take in. So, find opportunities to introduce natural elements to the design and layout of your home office.
We like the Ottilie 3 Drawer Storage Drawer from Wayfair, which combines a natural wood frame with rattan baskets to help you store away your office supplies and clutter. Other ways to incorporate natural materials include a cork desk mat, wood floors, and bamboo desktops.
If you're wondering what shade to paint your home office, Green is a calming color that produces the least eye muscle strain compared to other colors. You could also invest in houseplants to introduce natural green elements into your scheme.
‘Having a few plants on a surface near your desk provides an outlet for your eyes to reset and your mind to recalibrate,’ says Dr. Melissa Gentry. ‘Plants reduce stress and anxiety and increase concentration and mindfulness.’
Choose low-maintenance houseplants like snake plants or succulents. Indoor plants not only enhance air quality but also contribute to a visually soothing and calming atmosphere, fostering a connection with nature indoors and boosting your mood.
Dr. Melissa Gentry is a Doctor of Applied Clinical Psychology, Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and Certified Tantra Educator with a deep passion for understanding human relationships and fostering healing. With over a decade of experience and an extensive educational and training background, she specializes in a wide range of psychological and neuropsychological concerns.
4. Play calming background music
Calming background or ambient music assists in creating an atmosphere that can increase productivity and drown out distracting noises.
In our homes, we often have many appliances running at once – from fans to dehumidifiers and washing machines – and this isn't always conducive to getting work done. Ambient music can help to cover this noise, and like essential oils, an association can be established that once the music plays, the body and mind are trained to know deep and mindful work is going to occur.
5. Natural light
According to licensed psychotherapist Margaret C. Wang, natural light is a big factor in boosting mood and fostering mindfulness. Harsh fluorescent lighting can cause eye strain and increase stress levels, so opt for natural light whenever possible. Natural light increases serotonin and also assists the body in syncing up with waking times and rest times.
Position your desk near a window or invest in light-filtering blinds to allow natural light to enter while minimizing glare. If natural light is limited, invest in customizable lighting solutions that mimic natural light patterns throughout the day. Dynamic lighting not only influences your circadian rhythm but also promotes a sense of calm and focus, aiding in mindfulness during your work hours. Try smart bulbs from Amazon that come with pre-set lighting modes for different activities, including meditation and relaxation.
Margaret Wang is an Asian-American psychotherapist in San Jose, California, specializing in anxiety, depression, and women in the medical field
Promoting mindfulness in your home office is not just about creating a serene physical space; it involves a holistic approach that addresses psychological and neuropsychological aspects. By being considerate of factors such as mindfulness and office feng shui, you can cultivate a work environment that supports your well-being, enhances focus, and contributes to overall productivity.
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Seraphina is a contributing editor at Homes & Gardens, writing Solved features on organizing and storage. She loves to decorate and also grow her own produce from her home in London. Her previous experience includes working at Women's Health and Fabulous Magazine.
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