8 Steps to Make Your Home a Stress-Relieving Sanctuary
You've decided what will stay and what must go. Now break out the vacuum cleaner, the wood polish, the iron—and care for your home. Open your windows and let in the breeze. Replace lightbulbs. Rotate your mattress. Tend to necessary repairs. At the same time you're literally cleaning your environment, Balbes says, you also want to clear out any emotional cobwebs. In rooms where you've experienced loss or pain, he recommends burning sage or sweetgrass, an energy cleansing technique favored by Native Americans. Balbes refers to this phase as "spring cleaning for the soul."
You've released the past; this next phase is all about the future. Who are you now and who do you want to become? "Let yourself experience new things," says Balbes. "Go to new restaurants, roam around new neighborhoods—it's about getting inspired." You might make a vision board, filling it not with standard-issue photos of mega-mansions but with images that make your spirit soar. Maybe you dream of sailing, or English gardens, or Bali. "You want to go into a very meditative mode of just flipping through magazines and tearing out things you feel a connection with," Balbes says. "Don't do it from a place of thinking."
Now bring those dreams to life by finding the objects that express your true self. Look at catalogs. Browse flea markets. Surf websites like eBay, Craigslist, and Etsy. "I think people get stuck in routines and styles," Balbes says. "It's important to open up. Let your imagination lead the way."
Your budget will dictate the scope of your improvements, but even minor changes can make a big difference. You might rearrange the furniture in your living room to make it more inviting for friends to drop by, or move your desk next to a window so it gets more natural light. Want to paint your bedroom sky blue? Hang a chandelier in the bathroom? Now's the time. Expert opinions don't matter here; this process, Balbes stresses, is about "you really making your home yours."
Now for the finishing touches, or what Balbes calls grace notes. Often we don't make the effort to add a vase of flowers in our favorite colors, turn on some music, and spritz the air with an appealing scent, yet it takes only a moment—and very little cash—to bring in these uplifting elements.
"For some people the soul space process might take years to fully express," Balbes says. "But if you can even start it, you're beginning to connect to your true essence." It's important to invite people over to share your home's transformation, he notes, "because when you start living in an environment that's more like you, then others can see more of you. And hopefully you're inspiring them to become more of who they are, too."
Xorin Balbes is the author of SoulSpace (New World Library).
Create a Relaxing Space