So, 2021 is here! After a lovely Christmas with my family in Ireland (following a period in quarantine in a portacabin on my sister’s farm, and a negative Covid test), it was back to London and the New Year with a bump.
So here we are, in yet another lockdown. How are you all doing? I definitely have my moments! Towards the end of last year The Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen published a report on Wellbeing in the age of COVID-19. In producing this report, The Happiness Research Institute concluded that “It does not take big data and a team of happiness researchers to understand that the pandemic has undermined our wellbeing.”
Their report ended with a list of key activities to focus on to increase your wellbeing throughout the remainder of this pandemic. I thought I’d share these with you, as well as ways to create a home environment that supports these activities.
SPEND MORE TIME OUTSIDE
Spending even just 15 minutes per day outside was associated with the largest positive impact on life satisfaction. And for regular readers of my blog, this should be no surprise given how often I stress the importance of having a connection to nature on our mental and emotional health. A previous blog post that I wrote outlined how to introduce this connection to nature, otherwise known as biophilic design, into your home. You can read that post here.
ENGAGE IN ARTS AND CRAFTS OR DIY PROJECTS
The happiness report suggests that “Knitting, painting, baking, gardening, and renovating are all useful activities to try out during lockdown”. I have certainly engaged in a lot of different DIY projects in my own home throughout lockdown, and it is very satisfying to look back and see what I have accomplished. But not all of us are designed to do DIY (which I’m very grateful for, otherwise I might be out of a job!).
I’ve been thinking about this though, and remembered a quote by David Hume, who said that “Anticipation of pleasure is, in itself, a very considerable pleasure”. Research has found that we enjoy an experience more when we wait for it, probably because we create detailed mental simulations filled with rich sensations and exciting possibilities. Ingrid Fetell Lee says that “Anticipation lets us bring our future joy into the present, and the longer we plan ahead, the more time we have to enjoy it.” So why not use this time during lockdown to start planning a future renovation of your home. Renovations are always much less stressful if everything is decided up front, and I’m here to help you every step of the way!
Meditation practices, such as mindfulness, teach us to be present in the moment and meet challenges with openness, acceptance, and curiosity. I have to admit that this is one thing I am not very good at! Possibly because I don’t have anything purple in my house – the colour which is psychologically associated with contemplation and the search for higher truth. But if meditation is your thing, then carving out a quiet space where you can practice this, and incorporating some purple, be it lilac, violet, aubergine lavender, mauve, or whatever shade takes your fancy, will help you to get in the zone.
This recommendation definitely goes without saying. We all know that keeping fit is good for our health and wellbeing! So, if you’re trying to carve out a space in your home for exercise, then red is a good colour to use in this space. Red lies at the opposite end of the visible colour spectrum to purple, and having the longest wavelength, it is the colour that makes us pay attention. Red affects us physically, raising our heart rate. It is the colour associated with energy, excitement, physical strength and stamina, so is the perfect colour to get your fitness training off on the right foot!
The other recommendations from the Happiness Research Institute are to lend a helping hand to friends and family, and to keep in touch with those close to you. If you would like to read the full report you can access it here.
Creating a home that makes these positive choices easy, natural and enjoyable is not frivolous. It is fundamental to our health and happiness, and therefore to our wellbeing! Get in touch if you need help creating your own personal sanctuary.