How can we cultivate surroundings that deeply nurture our health and well-being?

At Lady Farmer, we talk a lot about how as a culture and as humans, we’ve lost so much of our connection to the sources of our daily needs – our food, our clothing, our shelters and tools for everyday living. In terms of our living spaces, our ancestors would create for themselves what was possible according to their circumstances, from choosing the location and materials to designing exactly what worked for them.

Until quite recently in human history, people planned and built their own shelter and its contents from what was around them. Fast forward to the present, where the creation of our living spaces is relegated to an industry that few of us know anything about, and we know even less about where the materials of our everyday living come from. Yet, as members of a consumer society, we find ourselves filling these spaces with countless objects that we’re led to believe we need. What do we really want in our surroundings, and what comprises a space that facilitates comfort, ease, and restoration?

Commit to going the entire week without buying any nonessentials.

The impulse to “run out” and get something might come up a few times, but see if you can consciously avoid bringing anything unnecessary into your home. Check your thoughts about what is really “necessary”. Consider that every object in your house uses a precious resource, which is space. When you take a pause from going out and bringing things in, it’s surprising how much expansion you’ll begin to notice in your living environment and your life!

Practice tuning in to how your surroundings might be affecting your feelings.

Are there areas in your living space where you feel irritated or ill-at-ease in some way? On the other hand, are there spaces where you can go to feel more relaxed and peaceful? Your challenge is to bring awareness to these situations and notice what is contributing to your experience, whatever the case. Notice the furnishings, the objects and the availability of natural light.

Pick an area of your home or work space where you’d like to increase a sense of ease and calm…

…and see if you can make a few simple adjustments that will shift the feeling. This could be a whole room, or just a book shelf, a side table, your desktop, or any space. For example, a few minutes of decluttering, dusting, rearranging, or careful placement of visually pleasing objects can transform your experience. Consider adding plants, natural materials and pleasant aromas such as flowers or pure essential oils. Any of these factors can have a significant impact on your thoughts and mood.

Once you’ve accomplished these adjustments in one small space…

…perhaps move to another. See how many areas in your home you can recreate and “elevate” this week. Continue moving forward and notice how these changes in your surroundings have affected your feelings or mood. Share your observations with the Lady Farmer community and use the hashtag #SlowLivingChallenge

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