Author Aly Dort / Category Lifestyle / Published: November 2019
How To Create Your Own Zen/Meditation Corner
If you’re living here in Canada, it’s likely that you’ve already seen your first coating of snow this season. Which can mean only one thing: winter is coming.
For many, winter comes with several months of family-filled fun and quality time, holiday tea, decorations and giving.
For most of us, it also means spending more time indoors.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love spending time at home. I’m a Taurus, through and through. It’s warm, cozy and familiar- all things I adore. But there’s a restlessness that accompanies the winter months. Paired with the prevalence of Seasonal Depression, it’s easy for our haven to become overwhelming.
As a freelancer, I already spend a lot of my time at home and I’ve come to find that having designated spaces for both work and self-tending has been an invaluable tool for self-care.
So today, we’re going to talk about the different ways you can create a safe haven within your own home to help you find a sliver of peace in the chaos.
Why Is A Consistent Space Important?
As humans, we thrive on routine and structure and as it turns out, our brains use that familiarity to help strengthen our concentration and recall. You’ve likely heard of the phenomena where students perform better on tests when they take the test in the same seat in which they’ve learned the material all semester. This comes down to an anthropological concept called Territoriality. Many studies have been done within the academic sphere and have found that the familiarity and preservation of mental energy spent on choosing a space made concentrating and absorbing material far easier.
Sitting in the same space to perform the same activities also helps to mitigate new environmental distractions, and helps you access recall more easily. Meaning, you can get into the zone a lot quicker (and stay there longer).
Choosing The Right Space
Choosing the “right” space can feel daunting, but with a few good tips, you can help to lessen the pressure. You don’t need an entire room or even somewhere private. It can be as simple as having your own little corner. What matters most here is that it’s an intentional space for you.
I have a designated space for creating and painting which sits in the corner of my living room. I’ve placed my desk there, along with all of my painting supplies. For me, creating is a meditative practice. It’s a time where my mind is most quiet and where I feel at peace. The last thing I want to do is inundate that space with things that may pull me from that headspace, and so I use this corner solely for that purpose.
Just like how you should use your bed and bedroom only for sleep and sex, your meditation space should be used only for meditative practices. This allows our brains to associate our environment with peacefulness and strengthen those connections.
Another important consideration when choosing your space is to reflect on how you’d like your space to feel. Would you prefer your space to have access to lots of natural lighting? Or would you like to have more control over your light source? I personally feel best in spaces with as much natural light as possible, and so I’ve chosen a corner beside a window. You may choose to have a light dimmer or to have a few fairy lights up. Whatever feels best for you.
Biophilic Design: Just Add Nature
Biophilic Design is a design concept used wherein to increase our connectivity to nature. In modern design, we see this used more and more. Living walls, moss-covered accent walls, indoor “jungles” and more. There has been an abundance of research on the trend, all pointing to the idea that this design concept helps to improve our mental and physical wellbeing.
What are some of the ways that you can implement nature into your little space? There are hundreds of ways you can embrace Biophilic Design in your home- even if you’re a terrible plant parent. Wicker, neutral colours, paintings of nature, terrariums... The opportunities are endless!
Envisioning And Creating Your Space
If you’re not sure where to start in terms of staging and decorating your space, Pinterest and Instagram can be a great vantage point for inspiration.
You’ll want to think about seating first. Some may choose a yoga mat and blocks, others may choose a meditation pillow or cushions. Some may even prefer to have a chair! There really is no “wrong” way to set up your space. In the words of Marie Kondo, what sparks joy? When you close your eyes, how do you envision your space? Minimal and bright? Cozy and vibrant? It should be tailored to your personal preference and intention, and I encourage you to meditate on what kind of space you’d like to create.
Here are some ideas of items you might use to help create your sacred space:
Pillows or cushions
Diffuser, essential oils
Candles, tea lights, fairy lights
Yoga mat & blocks
Your favourite wellness tea blend, like calming chamomile
A sketchbook or journal and pen/pencil
Speakers to play relaxing music
Special ornaments and decor
Paintings of nature
Smudge stick or spray
Stretching bands and massage rollers
A good book
Books on meditation
A personal manifesto
Tips On Keeping Your Space Sacred
As the Mum of an active (and slightly invasive) toddler, I’m all too aware that it’s easy for a space that’s meant to be yours to quickly become just another spot for your family’s belongings. It can be difficult to maintain the sanctity of your space and so I have a small set of “rules” I abide by with regards to my space.
The first of which is to limit technology use in my space.
I get it: Most of us need to use our phone or tablet to play music or look up that yoga pose or today’s Headspace meditation. But limiting your technology use will help you to keep your space free of distraction. Technology can quickly become overwhelming and anxiety-inducing. We’ve all been in the place where we pick up our phone to look for something specific and are suddenly sucked into the vortex of some Buzzfeed article on which tea reflects your zodiac sign. (But seriously... Should we do a blog post on that?)
The second “rule” I try to uphold is to keep my space tidy and clutter-free.
It comes as no surprise that a cluttered space affects your mental wellbeing and peace of mind. When it comes to protecting your special corner or area, keeping it tidy is conducive to the state of mind you’re trying to cultivate. I’d even take it one step further and de-clutter your general space several times per year to prevent your space from becoming overwhelming during the winter months. Not to mention, there’s nothing less motivating than seeing your space cluttered with your toddler’s goldfish and a box of legos.
Finally, my third rule of thumb is that this space is mind. It’s just for me, and it’s a space I come to for reprieve. It’s where I practise being compassionate with myself and it’s where I’m able to let go of anything that isn’t serving me. Your meditation corner should be that same safe reprieve to you- however, you interpret that.
Do you have a meditation space in your home? Have you sought out to create one but got sidetracked? We would love for you to share your spaces with us! I’ll be working on another space in my home specifically for mindfulness meditation, so be sure to keep an eye out in the coming month.
Before I go; I highly encourage you to take a peek through #biophilicdesign on Instagram for some visual green therapy. You’re welcome!
Aly Dort is a freelance illustrator and stationery designer living in Halifax, N.S. She is passionate about mental health, social sustainability and empowering those around her.