If you are feeling stressed, worn out, wired and tired, then chances are that you’re struggling with what is known as ‘21st Century syndrome’. This is the adrenal fatigue that can come from being constantly pushed and pulled in different directions and from struggling with addictions to computer and phone screens.
In short, the brain is always ‘on’ and always stimulated, which makes it very hard to switch off when it’s time to unwind and relax. It also makes it incredibly hard to focus. You may find yourself struggling with anxiety, and if your adrenal glands are overworked, you can eventually find yourself unable to generate the hormones and neurotransmitters you need to feel motivated.
So it’s no suprise that so many people are starting to turn to meditation to give their minds some much-needed relaxation. And while yoga and meditation studios seem to popping up all over the place, the reality is they can be a bit pricey. And why pay for something you can do at home?
The thought of creating a full meditation room like you’d see in a yoga studio seems great.
But can you really fit that all into your one bedroom apartment or studio? Do you have to sacrifice peacefulness and mindfulness because you live in a cramped space?
Creating a Meditation Space With limited Real Estate
Meditation just so happens to be the perfect tonic for the pressures of daily life. But if you’re currently living in a cramped apartment, this can be tricky.
If you’re a busy professional struggling with sky-high rent, then there’s a good chance that you don’t have lots of space to move around and that your rooms are cramped and cluttered. How are you supposed to empty your mind and feel zen when all you can focus on is the pile of clothes in the corner?
How can you relax when your rooms are inherently claustrophobic?
It’s all about smart management of the space that you have. And to that end, here are some tips that will help you to turn even the most cluttered rooms into relaxing zen spaces.
1. A Room With a View
One tip is not to face into the room itself. but rather out of the room. If you live in an apartment with a single chaotic living room, then the site of that space might be stressful to you.
So instead, why not turn your chair around and face out of the window? If you have a nice garden, or even a view of people passing by, then this can serve as something calming to gaze at.
You can enhance this in a few ways too. How about adding some potted plants on the windowsill for instance? If you are looking out into your own garden, then of course it can help to simply think about how your garden is decorated and how it could be made to look that bit more attractive.
Don’t have a great window you can look out of? If you own the apartment then adding a skylight is a fantastic option. If you don’t have the option to go bashing through walls though, then a next-best-thing you can try is to hang a painting of a landscape or similar and to stare at this instead.
Another option is to hang something on the ceiling – such as a star map. Items such as globes, or even candles can be great to lose yourself in and mirrors are also surprisingly effective meditation aids.
2. An Oasis of Light
Looking out the window is a great way to enable yourself to avoid looking at potentially stressful scenes in your rooms. Another way to do this is to create an ‘oasis’ of light.
The right lighting can completely change the entire mood of a room. And in this case, our aim is to try and segregate sections of the room so that we can create separate dedicated spaces for different activities. Specifically, we’re going to try and create a section of the room for meditation, or at least for relaxation.
So, the way this might work is to use a bright but small lamp in the corner of the room and place it next to a chair in one far corner. You’ll also want to dot other smaller lamps around the room, in addition to the main ceiling lamp.
Now, the main idea here is that you’re going to be able to turn off all the other lights in the room and ideally block out light from outside with blackout curtains.
This will then allow you to sit in one corner of the room and to have just the light by the chair on. That in turn will mean that when you’re sitting in that corner, you won’t be able to see the rest of the room – just the bubble of light that you’ve created for yourself.
And this is what we mean when we describe it as an ‘oasis’ of light. It’s like a small land mass in an ocean of darkness.
Tip: There are other lighting tricks you can use too. Using low-level colored lighting can be great for setting an ambience for instance, while rhythmically changing light can help you to get into a rhythm and a state of calm.
3. Create a Dedicated Room or Space
If you have a slightly larger apartment with a couple of different rooms, then this will increase your options slightly regarding what you might want to do with the space. In particular, you may wish to keep one room specifically for relaxation and meditation – or at least make this a primary function (so it can still double as your guest room/office or whatever else).
The simple rule here though will be that you are not allowed to bring anything into this space that will make it cluttered or untidy. So that means you can’t bring food and drink into the room for instance – that completely eliminates even the possibility that you might leave dirty plates, cups and glasses there later.
Likewise, you might make rules that you can’t take off items of clothing in your meditation space. You should also generally aim to keep this room as minimal as possible in the decoration.
Now, no matter how hectic life gets, you’ll still have the option to come in this room for peace and calm.
Tip: Your zen space doesn’t have to be a conventional room. You could choose a garden, shed, large closet or even the bathroom. Bathrooms are actually like pampering spas that we all have in our own homes – so why not give your soul some rejuvenation here as well as your skin!
4. Style Your Meditation Space Like a Minimalist
While all these things can help you to find calm and space in a cluttered environment, the preference of course is that you make the entire room into a relaxing and calm place to be.
And the best way to accomplish that is to make the entire space as minimal as possible. Minimalism reduces the amount of things that can be out of place. It also reduces the amount of work you can do and the simplicity of this interior design approach can be reflected in your mood and state of mind.
Reduce the amount of clutter you have on the surfaces. Make a rule that you can’t purchase new items without getting rid of old ones. And try to avoid busy patterns.
All of this is a part of the reason minimalists experience less stress.
5. Eliminate Technology From Your Meditation Room
Whichever room it is that you’re focussing on, reducing the amount of technology can make a massive difference.
Technology has a bad habit of grabbing our attention and stressing us out. This is true of alarm clocks with LEDs but it’s also true of televisions with their on lights and of course mobile phones.
Creating a tech free area in your room is a great way to avoid the stress that comes from constantly expecting a call from the office and to avoid the subtle physiological impact of blue light.
6. Consider the Other Senses
It’s not just what you can see in your room that will impact your mood and your ability to focus and stay calm – it’s also what you can hear and what you can smell.
To help make the space more zen, try introducing scented candles, consider adding an indoor fountain and invest in a good sound system for relaxing ambience. This way, you set up some relaxing and peaceful music, burn a candle and lower the lights in order to send a strong signal to your mind and body that it’s time to rest and focus.
And of course this is also another great reason that bathrooms work well as zen spaces. Even if you aren’t meditating per se, simply being able to relax in a nice bath, smell some essential oils and enjoy calming music can be a fantastic way to find peace and relaxation and it’s certainly incredibly good for the soul.
Of course, meditation and mindfulness is less about your environment and more about what’s going on inside your mind.
But that’s not to say that creating a relaxing and stress-free environment can’t be a massive advantage. So think about ways to create more space and calm and you can turn your home into a place of restoration and recovery.