There’s way more to wellness than just eating clean, so we’re taking a holistic approach to restoring our spaces, minds, bodies, and hearts in small but powerful ways. Introducing The RE:SET Challenge—a 21-day plan to a healthier and happier you. Click here for the full list. Next up, how to carve out a meditation space.
Home should be a calm oasis that brings us happiness, especially when the world is hectic. To me, there’s no better feeling than coming home at the end of a long day to a place that relaxes me. Turning my house into a personal sanctuary has been more important than ever lately.
I’ve rearranged and redecorated to surround myself with objects I love, colors that make me feel calm and focused, and family photos and trinkets that bring back happy memories with friends and family. I know I’m not alone when I say that these past few months have sent my anxiety spiraling in ways that feel a bit out of my control, and one thing that’s helped me cope has been starting a daily meditation practice.
I’ll be honest, before this quarantine, I wasn’t sold on meditation and all the benefits experts say it has for your mind and body. I had tried it before in yoga class and even have several apps on my phone for it, but it wasn’t until I read this quote by Headspace co-founder, Andy Puddicomb that I decided to commit to it for 30 days and see if it could help me with my anxiety. (Spoiler alert: it really does.)
“The mind,” he said, “if we leave it alone, if we don’t take any time to look after it, it will start to break down and we won’t experience life in the happiest way possible. We often think that happiness is somewhere in the future: if we just get that thing, if we get that job if we go to that place if we can just be with that person. We’re always looking to the future and someplace else in the hope that we’ll find it. You’re going to have to give up looking for happiness outside of yourself. The only thing to do is to get comfortable with the mind as it is. Whether it’s a busy mind or a quiet mind. Thoughts you like, thoughts you don’t like. Pleasant feelings, unpleasant feelings—you just have to get comfortable with it.”
Woah. Lightbulb! This is when it all changed for me. I realized after reading this that I needed to stop trying to answer all of the unknowns in the world right now and just sit with my uncomfortable feelings then try to work through them. I needed to be present. I needed patience. I needed stillness. I needed a meditation practice.
Enter my personal meditation space. Having a designated meditation space gives me a place in my home that is dedicated to silence, stillness, and getting comfortable with my uncomfortable, anxious thoughts.
image courtesy of Jeremiah Brent
To design the perfect meditation space, I turned to one of my favorite interior designers, Jeremiah Brent. If you follow his work, you’ll know that he’s a big proponent of meditation and creating morning rituals that set the energy and tone of the home. “Mindfulness has always been a part of my adult life but has looked different in different seasons,” he tells me. “When Poppy came into our world and a few years later, Oskar, morning meditation became a critical part of my routine. There’s something about reflection and breath that resets us and helps us show up as the best version of ourselves for others.” We couldn’t agree more.
In fact, meditation is key to setting his day up for success. He adds: “There are so many roles that I play and people that I interact with, in my everyday life. Whether it’s my design team, husband, children, or clients—I can best show up for them after I’ve sat and reconnected with myself. It all ties together and meditation is the way that I have best found to do that.”
So, how do we carve out that time and space? Well, we asked Brent for a few tips.
Create your own mindful corner.
Brent is all about creating ceremony at home so it’s important to create a special corner or even a room at home to practice a daily meditation; a space that provides you with the opportunity to recharge both physically and mentally, and keep you balanced.
“You want your home to represent the pillars of life that mean the most to you,” says Brent. “By
setting an environment for the ceremony, there’s an invitation to experience continuous inner grounding for yourself and for all those who enter into your space.”
You absolutely do not need an entire room for it—an empty corner, a space in your closet, bathroom, living room, or even a spot in your backyard or garden will work just fine. You just need to set aside a special place that is completely devoted to being still and working out your mind. It’s less about space and more about picking out and prioritizing an area where you can focus on yourself—even if it’s just five minutes a day.
Make it comfortable.
When creating your personal meditation space, Brent tells me there are three essential elements to consider first: Texture, scent, and lighting. “Touching on these three senses can make even the smallest of spaces feel serene,” he says. The space should also be comfortable and calming, yet in sync with the rest of your home.
“There’s an art to creating a calming ambiance throughout your living area as a whole so your meditation space doesn’t feel exclusive,” Brent adds. “I have different vignettes throughout our home where I keep my meditation staples ready for quiet moments.”
Consider loading up on rugs, throws, meditation cushions, or floor pillows to transform your corner into a cozy meditation oasis. We love layering sheepskins on top of rugs and using large pillows to deck out the space. Or, if you have the budget, consider investing in a few meditation cushions—they are designed to help alleviate pressure on certain parts of the body, as I know it can be challenging to stay present if your leg is falling asleep or your back starts to hurt.
We also love using sound baths (if you don’t want to buy your own, there are lots of sound bath playlists online you can play instead), Himalayan salt lamps, and candles are another great, easy way to set a comfy, serene vibe in your space. Infusing these elements will go a long way in creating feelings of zen and help to improve your practice.
image courtesy of Jeremiah Brent
Pick somewhere that has natural light.
Natural light is huge in helping me feel awake, grounded, and focused—you see it everywhere in Brent’s home too. Choose an area in your home for your personal meditation space that has a window or skylight and allows natural light to flow into your space. If you are living in a small apartment or have minimal windows, consider rethinking certain rooms or areas in your home to accommodate—can you sacrifice some space in your WFH area, dining area, or living room to devote to your meditation space? Get creative in choosing the perfect corner—remember, this is a space that you will (hopefully) be using every day, and rethinking areas that may not be getting used as much as you had originally thought maybe the best option for creating your perfect meditation space at home.
Keep it clean and uncluttered.
When it comes to a meditation space, oftentimes less is more. You want this space to feel light, bright, and clean. And, having clutter around you will most likely have you feeling more cluttered in your mind. Try to choose an area that has distractions like the TV or your computer out of sight. Remember, the whole point of meditation is to remove stress from your life, so don’t create extra stress by trying to perfect over-the-top meditation space. You want a minimal, no-frills, quiet, and relaxing space that instantly makes you feel calm when you step into it.
Bring in nature.
Nature is organically relaxing and healing, so it’s important to bring some natural elements into your mediation space. While it’s ideal to meditate on the sand by the beach or another calming, outdoor environment, it’s not always possible if you live in a busy urban environment like myself. But, adding natural touches of plants, stones, and/or greenery to your meditation space will instantly infuse it with harmony and balance.
You can choose any natural elements you like or any type of nature that brings you joy—this can be a potted plant, a vase of cut flowers, decorative branches, a small succulent garden, jars filled with sand or seashells, or even a small electric water fountain that trickles in the corner if you have space—(talk about zen vibes!) If you’re trying to keep things compact, built-in shelving is an ideal way to display lots of little green things without encroaching on valuable real estate in your space.
image courtesy of Jeremiah Brent
Add a personal touch.
When creating your mediation space, you definitely want to include some of your own personal touches. Brent is big on infusing sentimentality. In fact, every inch of their home is layered in meaning. This can be anything from a smell, sound, or object that particularly soothes your body and relaxes your mind. Think of incorporating things like a diffuser with essential oils, candles, bells, chimes, crystals, a statue of Buddha, mala beads, words of affirmation, or artwork. Adding any of these to your space are great ways to create a serene and peaceful environment that feels unique to you, and allows you to get excited and focused on meditating.
Remember, however, that you do not want to overcrowd the space. It is important for a clean and clear environment to keep your mind open. Choose only a few pieces at a time, and swap them out for different ones every now and again if you cannot decide. This is a personal experience and is meant to inspire you to connect with yourself, so have some fun with it!
In the words of Brent:
“When curating your meditation space, all that you really need is to surround yourself with whatever is in your home that you connect to in a calming way.
Below, Brent shares some of the items that always make him feel centered during his mindful moments: