There are a lot of suggestions for ways to increase the “zen” in your living space. Run a quick search on Pinterest and you’ll find DIY bundles of magic twigs, Shaman-approved sage burning rituals (that’s an actual thing), detailed instructions on how to make your new furniture look really old (?), and tons of advice on how to carefully select and give away everything you own so you can achieve a blissfully empty closet. The subject has been touched on once or twice.
While the advice below hasn’t been written by a tantric meditation guru, they are all easily achievable without setting off your smoke detector. Creating a calming, relaxing space where you can focus or unwind doesn’t have to be complicated. We think these 5 picks are simple ways to set the mood in your space.
Organize your entryway.
It’s the first room you see when you walk through the door and the last room you see when you leave. If your entryway is chaotic -- mail slumped in a pile by the door, shoes scattered across the floor -- you’re going to carry that chaotic energy with you. It sets the tone. Organizing can be as easy as purchasing an inexpensive bench with storage for shoes, hanging a wall-mount mail sorter with key hooks, or buying a cheerful welcome mat to greet you every day.
Stop buying flowers and start buying succulents.
A few months ago my home looked like a hospice ward for terminally ill houseplants. I could only seem to remember to water them when they were drooping or turning various shades of crunchy brown. Not the “zen” atmosphere I was going for. After switching to low-maintenance succulents -- plants that practically beg to be neglected -- I get all the benefit of greenery, the minimalist flair of cacti, and the added bonus of believing I have a green thumb.
Invest in one ridiculously luxurious bathrobe or throw blanket.
My sheets are from Target, my towels are from Walmart, my couch is from IKEA, and my bathrobe is a sexy faux-fur lined extra-plush monogrammed cocoon from Pottery Barn. And yes, I did get the matching slippers. It is the Ferrari of bathrobes. It is the 12-bedroom villa on Lake Como of bathrobes. I could be knee-deep in mildew and children’s bath toys in my shower, but when I step out and put on that robe I’m transported to a weekend retreat at a luxury spa. If bathrobes aren’t your thing, consider curling up with a wildly luxurious cashmere-blend throw blanket on your futon. Sometimes the idea of luxury is all we really need.
Clean off your desk.
So simple, but it has a huge impact on both your productivity and creativity. Head to your local office supply store and pick up drawer organizers, filing boxes, binders -- whatever will get the clutter and stacks of paperwork organized and out-of-sight. A number of studies have linked clean desks to higher rates of productivity. The productivity doesn’t come from actually knowing where your 2014 tax returns are, but from eliminating the visual distraction of the mess on the desktop which makes us feel unorganized. Clearing the clutter is sure to make your home feel more “zen.”
Use essential oil diffusers to give your room a calming scent.
Smell has the ability to transport us back to a specific time and place. For example, childhood and the smell of cookies or rain in the summer. It’s no surprise that scent has a powerful effect on our mood because there’s a hard scientific reason for it: the limbic center, or the area of the brain that processes emotions, is tied to the brain’s olfactory bulbs, which process smells. If you feel anxious after a long day, try diffusing ylang ylang. This essential oil is considered a nervous system restorative and can be used to alleviate anxiety, depression, and even panic attacks. This is one of the six essential oils found in our new Zen Synergy Blend.
The Zen Synergy Blend combines the anxiety-busting power of ylang ylang with essential oils that promote mental alertness and clarity: sage, orange, frankincense, patchouli and thyme. The combination of these oils makes it the ideal choice for your diffuser if you’re trying to unwind, sitting down to your yoga practice, or preparing for a big presentation at work.
Even if you do nothing else we strongly recommend coming home after a long stressful day, shutting off the lights, and letting the Zen Synergy Blend wash the anxiety away. Because if the lights are off, the clutter isn’t there.
Check out the Zen Synergy Blend and browse for other mood-enhancing essential oils here.