Habits, rituals, and routines, imagine what your end result will look like

These are anxiety producing times, indeed. The happenings over the past few weeks have caused disruption on so many levels it can be hard to keep everything in check. Since staying home is our new normal (for now), it makes us think about how our environment can either stress or help ease our minds. How can you think critically about your home to produce healing spaces for you and your family?

Does this story sound familiar? Everyday you or your small loved ones (hello kids) walk in the front door with all their gear. They immediately dump everything they own directly on the floor then run away from the crime scene. You are left facing backpacks, shoes, jackets, a random art project, and a snack wrapper scattered around the floor. This caused me anxiety every. single. day.

Despite the fact that my children are messy tiny humans with no sign of changing, I had a solution to this. I can change the environment to better suit my needs and maintain sanity. I can create an orderly drop off zone in our underutilized hall closet where everything has a place to go besides the floor. Yes, I did have to clear out the fifty jackets that no one ever wears to create space for this, but it's a small sacrifice for daily sanity.

Kylee Shintaffer

Maybe you are spending an extra five minutes hunting down your keys or phone before you leave the house for a walk. Or perhaps you have a habit of turning on the news every morning and getting caught in a media frenzy that sets the tone for the rest of the day. I’m challenging you to move slowly, see where tension or unrest exists in your day, and question what is causing it. Small shifts in our environment can cause large behavioral changes that will benefit our mental health.

After you’ve identified some triggers of anxiety and tackled those spaces, think about possibilities for how to proactively produce healing in your home. What heals you? It could be communal meals with your family around the dinner table. Or maybe quietly diving into a book in a cozy nook with a cup of coffee. If centering yourself with nature is more your speed, access to views outside might work wonders. The fact is, personal healing is as individual as your fingerprint and no one can tell you what is best for you. A little bit of introspection will pay off to help you prioritize which spaces should receive more attention.

Design by Wilk Design Workshop, Photography by Miranda Estes

Once you’ve identified those habits, rituals, and routines, imagine what your end result will look like. Without sounding too out-there, visualization is key. Literally close your eyes and picture what your activities look like and how you will feel afterwards. The more you can actually see it the easier it will be to manifest in your home. Really tune into all your senses -sound, smell, and touch matter! Then pick out one or two of most impactful sensations and try to recreate them in your space.

We all understand the importance of mental health, but we underestimate the role our environment plays in it. When we say, “we just need a vacation”, or “I need an escape”, why don’t we strive to create this feeling in our daily lives? No, we can’t import white sands and crystal waters to our backyard. But just maybe we can recreate this sensation in other ways that will produce a more lasting effect than a week long trip to Hawaii. And if travel isn’t on the table for the foreseeable future, this exercise will become even more important.

We fully believe in the healing power of design for mental, emotional, and physical health. Wellbeing isn’t a nice to have, it's a necessity- now more than ever. So take some time to slow down, reassess, and plan for your own wellbeing. Your future mind will thank you for it.