Creating Your Summer Sanctuary
'You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make' – Jane Goodall
Longer days, more sunshine, fresh sea air, bountiful fresh foods, and lush green growth. We all intuitively know what feels good about the warmest season of the year. Nature is changing, and so are our bodies, as we transition into this new season.
How you live your moments add up to how you experience your weeks and months. Here are some small steps that can create a significant difference in your body and your home, inviting more attentiveness to the experience of your summer sanctuary.
Here Are Our Top 10 Tips:
1. Let There Be Light
Warmer seasons are marked by a lengthening of daylight hours, so why not make the most of it?
Make sure to let in the light each morning. Now is a really nice time to reconsider your window dressing for the summer months, depending on the direction they are facing.
You may want to keep opaque curtains or blinds for your east-west facing windows, to help keep your home cool when needed. However, for north and south facing windows, mesh or lightly woven natural fabrics make a beautiful, semi-transparent veil, allowing light to filter in all day, but maintaining an aspect of privacy.
Natural light not only regulates our bodily rhythms, it also helps cultivate a sense of wellbeing. So let the light in, and enjoy the warmth of Summer!
2. Make Space For Clarity
As light eradicates shadows and doubts, so space can enhance cleanliness and clarity. A physically tidy space promotes a sense of peace - something we can all do with in the holiday season!
Consider how you would like each space to feel - what kind of energy do you want to promote in the bedroom, the study, the lounge? It helps to close your eyes, and then open them as if seeing the room as a visitor. What do you notice? What is important to keep, and what might be cluttering your space?
Removing objects, colours and memories that no longer serve us can help make room for novel ideas and perspectives, allowing us to see, hear and feel more.
3. Clean Away The Cobwebs
Decluttering your space often means discovering hidden balls of dust and silhouettes of untended corners. Whether you take to the broom, duster, or vacuum, seeing to these neglected corners offer a kind of small yet significant relief - like a gentle detoxification of nooks and crannies within your self. Breathe easier knowing that the air is cleaner, fresher and clearer.
4. Move The Air, Move Your Breath
We all know how important fresh air is to our health and wellbeing, so let the fresh air in! Invite the cooler early morning breeze through the window, and switch your ceiling fan to the anticlockwise downward air flow; both will help move the air through the rooms of your home.
The same goes for inviting fresh oxygen into your body. As the temperature rises, it is important to stay aware of your breath, and how it moves through your day.
To help cool yourself down - mentally and physically - try this:
Find a quiet space, corner, patch of green, where you can focus for a few moments. Take a full, slow inhalation, sensing the flow of air through your nostrils and all the way down to your belly. Lightly part your lips, and allow a sigh out on the exhale. Repeat 3 times, or as many as you need.
The exhalation is a passive relaxation, an antithesis to the action of doing. By physically letting go, you encourage the release of stagnant air and energy from your body, and make room for the vitality of the new.
5. Cool With Colour
Consciously or not, we are all attuned to the effects of colour. Cool, light, neutral tones can invite a sense of expansiveness into your living spaces. Consider replacing heavier, hotter colours with blues, greys and whites; if you’re into bright hues, this is also a great opportunity to invite an accent of brightness with cushions, pots, lush green plants or other adornments.
6. Choose Organic Cotton
Part of the popularity of cotton comes from its versatility through the seasons, keeping you warm in Winter and cool in Summer. Because we interact with this fabric so much, choosing certified organic, fair-trade cotton becomes even more significant - for more you can see the impact of Seed to Shelf here.
Not only does it feel great - on your body, as sheets, towels, cushion covers - you can breathe easy knowing that your choice is serving the comfort and health of you, your family, and our shared planet.
7. Cultivate Greenery
Bringing nature into the home is a beautiful way to soothe our souls, especially after days of craning over computers and tapping away at screens. Not only do they calm the senses, plants literally extract the toxins from the air, refreshing the vitality of the energy around us.
See our previous EarthLifeBalance blog post for some tips on choosing easy care plants that help detoxify your space.
8. Invite Native Scents To Ward Off Bugs
Eucalyptus, tea-tree and citrus are all natural repellents with fresh aromas, perfect for sending little critters away. Have some of sprays hand (we love these) or make your own spritz from essential oils, and spray around doorways, windows, outdoor living areas and other entrances to your home.
9. Dine Alfresco
There’s something special about enjoying the outdoors as you feast on summer’s colourful abundance. It extend the space of your home for this season, and also offers a novel environment in which to really appreciate the food we have to share.
Don’t have an outdoor area? Set up a little cushion or seated area next to a window! The ledge can become a decorative shelf for candles, flowers, cups and cutlery. Be playful and explore how you can make your next meal just that little bit special.
10. Get Earthy
Getting your hands into the soil, or bringing more elements of nature into our home, is a nourishing way to ground ourselves as the year draws to a close, and a new year begins. You might like to repot those plants that need a bigger home, or collect extra shells on your next trip to the beach. There are infinite ways to create sculptural displays from smooth river stones or enigmatic driftwood. Found objects carry memory, so let them have a pride of place, as we move into a new season, and a new opportunity to experience the world.
About the Author: Lucy Lawes is an advocate for mindful living.