1 ADD PLANTS
Working from home can get the best of us - and for us Victorian, just when the thought things were looking good, we're back in a 6-week lockdown (!) BUT, we like so many others are taking this in our stride and looking at this time as an opportunity to hunker down, ramp up our health and wellbeing and enjoy the slower pace with our families.
Our WFH space must support our wellbeing while we juggle our family life - (and potential home-schooling?!) There's a few easy steps we can all take to do this, with adding plants our GO-TO at the top of the list.
We all know the benefits of having plants in our home; increased creativity and a sense of wellbeing, decreased stress levels, cleaner air etc etc, you know the drill. Studies have also shown having a plant on your desk increases productivity by 15%, so there, you have no excuses now!
2 BE NEAR NATURAL LIGHT
The best position for your WFH desk is right near good natural light. As the Winter days are shorter and darker, we can struggle to get our daily dose of Vitamin D (in the form of sunlight). Even if you can't manage a little direct sunlight, a well-lit position will help your body to naturally regulate your circadian rhythm and contributes to better health overall.
3 TAKE BREAKS OUTSIDE
WFH can often mean hours in front of the computer, or other devices. Blue light emitted from these devices can take its toll on our circadian rhythms - our bodies can get confused as to what time day it is, and when to secrete the appropriate hormones (anyone had trouble falling asleep after watching too much Netflix)?
The other reason it's a great idea to take breaks outside is so our body can experience sunlight; see No.2 above!
4 OPEN A DOOR OR WINDOW
Biophilia is the theory we all have an innate connection to nature. By opening a window or door, you're literally increasing your connection to nature; you might feel the breeze blowing indoors, or smell the grass outside or even hear the birds; these are all elements of biophilia in action.
5 SURROUND YOURSELF WITH NATURE
A key element of Biophilic design is the process of incorporating natural materials within your home that speak to, or directly connect with nature.
'See' Nature (Eg; artworks, paintings, photos etc)
'Smell' Nature (E.g; burn candles or diffusers with essential plant oils, or Palo Santo, incense or smudge sticks)
'Hear' Nature; (E.g; Open the doors and windows, listen to the birds, hear the breeze blowing your curtains etc)
'Touch' Nature; (E.g; use natural materials like stone, timber, linen, wool, leather etc)
'Taste It'; (E.g.; Drink plant-based teas and elixirs, eat plant-based meals etc)
Given the current climate and the fact that so many of us are WFH, we all could do with increasing our health and wellbeing. Nature is an undisputed gateway to increasing this.
Keep safe and well,
Alana & Jacqui
1. GET SET UP
The ceremony of burning plants can be cleansing for the mind, body and spirit (and home) and is recognised as a beneficial wellbeing practice across many differing cultures. We're big fans over here and cleanse our homes around once a month. There's no right and wrong schedule, just go with what works for you.
1. You'll need a sage smudge stick - we love Crown of Thorns
2. Something to light the sage with
3. Vessel to hold your sage, this one works well from Addition Studios
4. Something to fan the smoke, we often just use our hand
5. Open a window in every room you intend to cleanse
02 SET AN INTENTION
Setting an intention before smudging helps to identify what it is exactly that you'd like to cleanse or release from your home. Is it someone else's energy who visited? Is it to purify your own and start afresh? Set your intention and then consciously reflect on it as your are smudging. You can even decide on a mantra to say aloud which supports your intention. The ritual of burning sage is sacred in many cultures and we should always remember to respect the practice and be grateful for its wellbeing benefits.
03 BURN, BABY BURN
Light your sage, let it flame for a few seconds then blow it out. It should now billow smoke quite well (you should see it lit up orange at the ends). Walk around your home (either hold the smudge stick or keep it held securely in the vessel) and let the smoke get to work. Let the smoke waft around slowly, use your hands or fan to guide it around and out the open windows.
Don't get distracted during this part; you need to watch for any falling embers and be careful not to drop the smudge stick itself as it is a fire risk! Also don't inhale the smoke directly, it can irritate your lungs and eyes.
04 OUR GO-TO SMUDGE STICKS
Crafted by hand in the Tweed Valley, Australia, we're pleased to be now stocking Crown of Thorns smudge sticks. Choose from two types, one for sleep the other a more general purpose cleanse.
Organically, sustainably and ethically grown plants including Organic White Sage, Rosemary, Lavender and Orange/yellow Straw Flower combine to create a calming and cleansing bundle to release negative energy and to promote luck, unity, longevity and a state of calm. Lavender has strong antiseptic qualities and is also known to promote sleep.
Hand-bound with various natural Australian Quartz stones for cleansing, protection and promoting positivity - every Smudge Stick is bound with a different stone, no two are the same.
Now more than ever we need to turn to the nurturing benefits Mother Nature can offer us.
Keep safe and well A&J xx
The restorative effects of Biophilic Design; Five steps to increase your wellbeing at home.
1. SEE NATURE
Biophilic design can be incorporated into any home; whether it's a new build or you're looking to retro-fit your existing home. Aesthetically speaking, plants enhance spaces, softening them while counterbalancing the increased use of technology within them. Plants actively reduce air pollution, whilst also decreasing our stress and improving our creativity and productivity, generating an overall sense of increased wellbeing.
Even if you don't have the luxury of having the forest at your doorstep, you can create your own connection to the outdoors by ensuring clear sight-lines to gardens outside, views of nature in the distance, or even create your own indoor jungle with house plants. Not only that, but being able to see images of nature (e.g. photographs and artworks) inside can have a beneficial impact on our health and wellbeing. You can also incorporate shapes, patterns, colours, forms and finishes found in nature into your home (e.g. in your furniture choices, paint colour choices and materials etc).
02 SMELL NATURE
The ritual of burning incense, aromatic plant oils, smudge sticks or even candles is one that many of us hold dear. Connecting to nature using our olfactory sense can conjure up treasured memories and evoke a sense of grounding to our environment. The ceremony of burning plants can also be cleansing for the mind, body and spirit (and home) and is recognised as a beneficial wellbeing practice across many differing cultures. Scents like lemongrass, lemon myrtle, rose or jasmine and even Palo Santo incense can be beautiful.
03 TOUCH NATURE
Using natural materials throughout a home further creates a sense of connection to nature. Texture, variety and and depth of selections that replicate those found outside are all effective. Consider incorporating timber floorboards and furniture, rattan detailing, stone bench-tops, linen curtains and bedding, cotton and bamboo clothing, even animal furs for added texture and warmth. The key is to create comfort and coyness through the layered use of plant-based fibres and natural materials - the list of ways really is endless.
04 HEAR NATURE
Surround yourself with nature by listening to the sounds that cocoon your home. This might be birds chirping or animals digging about in the garden, buzzing bees by an open window, a curtain blowing gently in the breeze or leaves rustling in the treetops. If you're lucky enough to have a real water feature nearby, the sound of running water can also be immensely calming to the nervous system; you can use small desktop ones or create landscaped versions outside. If you don't have access to a garden, you can also listen to digital pre-recorded natural soundscapes like the gentle lull of crashing waves, rain falling on a stormy night or animal sounds like the bird calls of a forest - a popular choice for good reason.
05 TASTE NATURE
There's a growing movement towards eating a plant-based diet these days, the benefits of which are well documented. Plants offer us a plethora of beneficial vitamins and minerals and it really is second nature for us to rely upon them so regularly in our daily practices when it comes to cooking and eating. When the luxury of growing vegetables outdoors isn't possible, anyone can strive to have an indoor herb garden at the very least. As well as making the kitchen smell lovely, not only are herbs great for cooking with but you can even make your own smudge sticks from their dried leaves. Tea rituals are also a wonderful practice that inspires a grounded connection to nature.
Biophilia is humankind’s innate connection with nature. It helps explain why crashing waves captivate us and why we're drawn to spend time outdoors and feel restored after doing so. By designing homes and spaces with it in mind we're improving human health and our overall wellbeing as a global collective.