While we are trying to adjust to a “stay at home” order, spring vacations for rest and renewal have been cancelled. Many of us depend on getaways to balance our stressful lives. Now add on a pandemic and it’s clear we need to tap into our R&R skills! So what exactly changes for us when we are on holiday? The landscape is different but we also experience new feelings and are stimulated in fresh and exciting ways!
Now more than ever we need to rejuvenate, so here are some tips to create Paradise at Home!
1. Get rid of items you haven’t used in years. When we are in “paradise” we feel free and unencumbered. To create this feeling at home we need to get rid of things we no longer use. This includes miscellaneous artifacts that signal complacent feelings and not a clear “I love this!” If it’s hard to get started with “the purge,” take small steps and just try one room or area at a time. Turn on music, breathe, cry, do whatever it takes to let stuff go! A good rule to consider is only keeping items you’ve used in the past few years. Another tip is to allow yourself to store just a few trunks of memorabilia. “Things” can weigh us down, when we are on vacation we feel liberated, free~
2. Only keep things that make you happy. Now take a deeper look at what’s left in your home and consider who you truly are. Do certain photos, clothing or collectibles trigger unpleasant memories? Everything in your home should reflect who you are NOW or at least be a positive attachment. Giving away items that invoke negative memories can be a cathartic process and creates space for new experience. When we’re on vacation we leave our “stories” behind and enjoy being present! A journal entry reviewing why you hold on to useless or burdensome items is an excellent way to explore and develop a new version of yourself.
3. Don’t think of it as cleaning. Think of it as transforming. We rarely clean on vacation! Instead, we enjoy the care someone else has taken for our stay. A scrubbed dwelling is essential, if you have resistance to cleaning try a shift in process. Turn on some tunes, open windows, wear bright colored rubber gloves and give your home a scrub! I use coarse sea salt mixed with liquid lavender soap for the tub and usually jump in for a soak when I’m done! Perfection is not the goal here, transformation is. Do just a few hours each day and move through your household. After the initial resistance, you will feel more positivity as you complete each room. In the words of Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, “leave no drawers untouched, shed light everywhere.”
4. Establish an area or room in your home exclusively for relaxation and renewal. Since your home is purged of negative items and scrubbed with your hard work, it’s time for R&R! Is there a place in your home to designate as a “R&R” room or area? A place to meditate, stretch, light incense or pray. Are you unsure of how to cultivate daily peace? This room is the perfect place to explore yourself!
When you are troubled by the uncertainty of this pandemic or are anxious this type of room can be a good place to spend 5 minutes to reset at any time of day. Over time, we may associate this room with peace and can just “peek in” to trigger our positivity. While some of us have transitioned to working on-line a designated space to experience our calm self is especially beneficial even for our kids! A morning or evening routine for longer stays in the “quiet room” could leave you feeling as relaxed as you do on a R&R retreat, no travel needed!
5. Tune in to what excites you. Understanding what excites you on vacation can be fun to contemplate in a journal. Is it the art, music, vivid colors or exotic foods? What can you do to inspire yourself in this way at home? I created a rejuvenating oasis in my bathroom, complete with shells, live plants, essential oils and feel especially peaceful when I’m in my attic meditation area. A favorite example of mine for transformation at home was created by my grandfather. At the hospital he was an accomplished physician, but at home Grandpa was a “master” Chinese chef! His modest kitchen was stocked with woks, chopsticks, cleavers and Chinese cookbooks. When grandfather’s busy work week ended he shopped for unique foods and cooked intricate Asian feasts on our Sunday visits. He loved to prepare them and we were happy to partake!
Do you have a secret creative passion? Have you wanted to paint, play an instrument, dance or bake? Trying a new passion stimulates different parts of the brain and can also take the edge off our tension. Furthermore, including our kids in new family hobbies during this pandemic is especially helpful in diffusing the stress of close quarters.
At my home the other day we made a campfire which was a first for us without the BBQ! Our 12 year old roasted veggies, buns and burgers and the teenagers managed the s’mores. It was a welcomed break from cooking in the kitchen and we all sat by the fire for hours… laughing, connecting. We never left our backyard, but it was a fun family getaway!