I’m delighted to be partnering with Habitat on this post as part of their mental health and wellness campaign. Regular life has been put on hold and we need to take extra care of ourselves. Even though we’re going through a difficult time, there’s lots of little things we can do to help.
I’m a big believer that there is a connection between our home environment and wellbeing. With so many people now working at home, the lines between work and life can become a little blurred. So, here’s a few ideas for finding a space away from your desk and creating a calm sanctuary to relax in.
Create an Outdoor Living Room
If you have an outside space, are you making the most out of it? Being surrounded by fresh air, plants and nature is good for the soul. Also, our bodies create Vitamin D from direct sunlight on our skin. Outdoor areas are often uninspiring and underused, but even the tiniest terrace has potential by adding some festoon lights and planters on a wall, for example. This season the flowers are starting to blossom and bloom, so perhaps you could get busy growing some seedlings or bedding plants in a few stylish planters.
Even if you don’t have an external space to utilise, you can bring some of the outside benefits in, by nurturing houseplants in colourful plant pots, like this statement pair of Nashville planters in clay and black. Because they’re suitable for indoor and outdoor use, they would be ideal and are so eye-catching they’re guaranteed to brighten things up.
Personalise your Space
Have you identified your would be ‘sanctuary’? For me it was my tired wooden deck which was in need of a makeover:
With some accessories kindly gifted by Habitat and a bit of upcycling, it has become a much nicer and more usable space for my family to enjoy.
The first task is always decluttering and cleaning your chosen spot to refresh it. Too much clutter impacts on your mental clarity and sense of calm. A tidy oasis will help you relax. A fresh coat of paint may help you create the sort of ambience you want. Arrange favourite items that make you feel comfortable; these could be much loved books, framed photos, a cosy cushion and lighting and vases or candles.
With my garden deck, I wanted to stain it black to give it a completely different look. Black always looks smart, timeless and makes a great backdrop for plants. Foliage and flowers really stand out against it. Keeping with the black theme, I chose the black ‘Pallas’ long metal planters that come in a set of 2 from Habitat. Minimal and contemporary, with a smooth matt finish, they look amazing with a few ornamental grasses and flowering annuals in them.
A comfortable place to sit is a must in any sanctuary and these stylish rattan garden chairs fit the bill perfectly for our deck. Ideal for compact spaces, the Tara set comprises two stacking chairs with a matching natural rattan side table for drinks. Made of synthetic rattan, they can be left outside and give a casual, boho feel that reminds me of sun-drenched holidays abroad.
We are often at our happiest on holiday, so trying to recreate a little of that relaxed, sunny vibe can only boost your mood, don’t you agree? On your patio or deck, you could add an exotic palm plant and even a hammock or a canvas sail style awning – wouldn’t that be fantastic?
Find your Creative Spark
As well as showcasing some of Habitat’s gorgeous garden furniture and seasonal accessories, I wanted to show that you can make home improvements that improve your mental wellbeing by being creative. I am convinced that having a creative outlet, now more than ever, is vital. Using whatever materials you have at hand and some imagination, you can find ways to pass time in a productive way and to focus away from what’s going on in the news for a little while.
When I first started my blog, I was quite keen on upcycling junk furniture. I don’t tend to do this much anymore, so I really enjoyed getting stuck into a little pallet project during lockdown recently.
I had an old pallet board hanging around and after seeing a cushion design I really liked on Instagram, I used it as inspiration. Firstly I created the design using masking tape, then painted around the tape with my decking paint. The stain bled under the tape in parts, but I don’t really mind that it looks rustic and weathered. I’ve used it as a piece of garden art, but it could be varnished and upcycled into a garden side table, with the addition of some hairpin legs.
Pallet wood is brilliant for all sorts of things. I’ve seen people build furniture, coffee tables and outdoor bars with them. If you have one lying around, you could transform it into a vertical plant wall. Not only is it rewarding to make something practical with your hands, these kinds of projects don’t require a massive budget to enhance your space. Just a few clever ideas and creative touches can boost your mood and lifestyle.
What else can we do to maintain our wellbeing?
Although life has been turned upside down and we’re adjusting to a new normal, we shouldn’t forget the importance of connection, nutrition and sleep. It can be too easy to fall out of our normal routines. Exercise can drop-off, a proper sleep schedule can go adrift. We might not be as sensible about what we eat. This is the time to prioritise our health and wellbeing the most.
Below are some more tips to help you feel calm and positive:
Keeping fit and active is key to staying happy
Set your alarm early for the dawn chorus
Create a barista style coffee at home
Take an online course/learn a new skill
Read, cook or bake a cake – especially if you never normally do!
Why not start a blog?
Connect with friends and family via technology (but cut down on social media and rolling news)
Take things a day at a time
Remember pampering is self-care, not self-indulgent
Volunteer – helping others feels good
Watch a box set, listen to music
Take a nap
Look for the positives & opportunities in the everyday