Some of us get home from work or school, and find ourselves feeling the immediate need to turn on the computer or television to decompress from the day. It's as if we want to forget all that happened.
Other times, we may binge on food (or an entire TV series) to numb emotions like sadness or loneliness. When we wake up the next day we may continue to be filled with stress and worry from the day before, which over time, can take a toll on our minds and bodies.
And to be sure, our homes should be a place to unwind from the day. With a few adjustments, we can create spaces that help us truly relax from the day — instead of trying to forget everything.
Here are a few tips to start to use your home as a place to grow and heal, as well as a place of comfort:
1. When you first enter your home, try not to run to the TV or the fridge.
We tend to think of the things we want to do the second we walk through the door. Maybe it's fix a snack. Maybe it's checking our computer. Maybe it's walking the dog.
But what if we committed to checking in with ourselves, before doing anything else at home? I'd argue that this is an essential step in making your home into a sacred, stress-free space.
My advice? When you first enter your home, try not to run to the television or grab something to eat. You may even want to avoid immediate long conversations with your spouse and children.
Instead, try to ease the transition a little by taking a few deep, mindful breaths and if possible sit down in a chair and breathe slowly for a few minutes. This can create some presence in your mind instead of descending into “avoidance mode.”
2. Try to remember that all that matters is the present moment.
As you move about your home and interact with anyone there, stay with your breath and try to be mindful of your attention to the ones you love. Life can sometimes fool us into thinking or acting like the moments at work are more complex and important than our simple moments at home. Every moment matters so try to allow yourself the joy of what is in front of you.
3. Realize the profound comfort in the word "maybe."
Think about whether something is nagging you that triggers your impulse to binge on some unhealthy food or turn on the television. Recognize that you can rely on what I call "the mindset of maybe," if you are being challenged. Say to yourself: Life will change and ... MAYBE whatever is bothering you will not be as bad as you are projecting ... maybe it will ultimately be good, get better or you will find a way to be OK.
In short: don’t expect to have all the answers the minute you have a problem. Let the word "maybe" comfort you and bring you back to the moment where you can use your sacred home to build strength.
4. Commit to activities you enjoy, and do them.
Make a list of things that make you feel good and appreciate being alive. Maybe you enjoy reading, physical activity, crafts or just spending time with your family. When you wake in the morning try to commit to these activities when you get home at the end of the day. Make sure what you need is available in order to enjoy the time. There is nothing wrong with some computer or television time, just be mindful whether you are avoiding your thoughts or just enjoying the moment.
5. Clear the clutter.
This one is simple, and yet so essential for creating an energy that will serve you at home. Don’t let papers accumulate and try to pay bills on time. Coming home to clutter and late bills creates a burden in the home that can be an obstacle to a happy and energetic household.
6. Try a mantra, remembering that our mental space affects our physical space!
Before you go to sleep and when you wake up, commit to a simple and quick meditation by following your breath for 5-to-10 minutes. If you like, try the mantra “Maybe” on your outgoing breath to remind you to stay hopeful of what is still possible in your life. Don’t worry if your mind wanders. Stay with it. Over time this practice will help you find a calm place within to return to no matter what is happening in your life, and that will become your most sacred home.
With this practice, you can stop using your home just as a place to hide from the world and rest your tired soul, but also as a place where you can gain insight and strength and enjoy more of your life. Your home can become a beautiful sanctuary to grow, explore and share with loved ones.