We were very lucky to have spent Christmas in one of my favourite places on the planet. Club La Santa, Lanzarote. If you like sport then this place is heaven. All activities (Over 80 sports), group instruction and equipment hires are included in the cost of your apartment. I can’t begin to list the vast array of opportunities that are there as this is not really a post about this amazing destination but more about how your surroundings matter and the influence they have on us.
In this very special place Christmas takes on a whole new meaning. There’s a 7.45am triathlon to get the day going, an invigorating “Body Combat” class at the lawn or a relaxing stand up paddle board on the lagoon. And it’s all done in a very pleasant 20 degrees and light breeze. It is hard NOT to want to be active here. Everything is made incredibly EASY to do. There’s also plenty of time for connecting up with others and resting. This is quite the opposite of some of the more stressful festive periods we’ve had at home.
The space around us can inspire, lift and support us OR it can drain, exhaust and deplete us. We often use holidays as a way to “escape” our usual surroundings. I feel there’s an awful lot of good we can take from them and apply to our homes.
One of the statements I’ve frequently heard said to me since becoming a professional organiser goes along the following lines “I love the feel of a holiday home, it’s just so clear. It makes me realise I don’t need as much as I do”.
There’s pretty compelling scientific evidence that clutter causes anxiety, inhibits our ability to focus and leads to an increase in stress levels. Neuroscientists at Princeton University established that a disorganised space overloads the senses and makes any tasks much more difficult to undertake.
Of course, most of us can’t stay on permanent vacation. We have to return to obligations and routines. But perhaps we can bridge the gap a little, make our houses more enticing, reflect some of that feel-good factor into our homes. I’m not talking about turning our dwellings into 5* luxury hotels. Although some people have done and love that option. First and foremost for me it’s about simplifying.
Here’s a few ideas to assist with this:-
· Unsurprisingly, my number 1 tip is declutter, declutter, declutter!*@ Asking ourselves what we want to get out of a room is important. Is it primarily for relaxing, being creative in, bathing etc. ? Once we’ve got clear on this, we can start to decipher the important elements that are key and those items that get in the way of the prime purpose. Hotel rooms and apartments tend to have just those items that are necessary and not a whole bunch of extras.
· Let’s get into the bedroom. Ensure your bed is made. It only takes a minute to straighten up the duvet and arrange the pillows. The reward here is far greater than the effort. When you return to the room later it will be an instant mood lifter. Whilst the bed is the star of the room in our home we’ve also made space for an open shaggy rug. This provides a really important area for wake up stretching in the morning and at night as part of a delicious sleep routine.
· Clean up on a Friday. (Or whatever is the day before you are not working). If you are off work on the weekends then aim to have a good clear up before you are going to be spending the most time in your home. This upfront investment will pay dividends.
· Ensure your entrance is welcoming and functional. Keep it simple with perhaps just one or two pieces to focus on. This is the place that sets the tone the moment you walk in.
· Leave work behind you at the end of the day. Whether you have a home office or bring work back to your kitchen table ensure there is a designated area that it is returned to daily. The act of putting “jobs” away allow you to distance yourself from all that needs doing and enables you to relax or change tack into “home” mode.
· When we’re away there are often some beautiful smells that we want to linger in and wish we could take home. Some of those can be recreated using essential oils, cut flowers or baking & coffee making! It feels great to walk into a space and want to breath it all in.
To sum up, whilst there are some fundamental differences between our homes and our holidays that cannot be altered there are many ways in which we can interweave the best of both worlds.
As with all decluttering and organising there is no destination, it is a continual pursuit. With a little creativity and energy, I do believe we can have a dusting of the holidays enhancing our homes so there is less need to escape and more reason to relish.
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