Stories Supporter blog Seasonal Mindfulness: Turning Your Living Space Into a Sanctuary As the seasons change, what we require from our homes changes also. Being mindful of the changes we experience in energy as the seasons change is really important, and we need to respond to this. For those of us living in Britain’s cool climate, we have an innate instinct to hibernate during the winter. While we can often resist this and plough on regardless of how we feel energetically, this can be extremely detrimental to our health and wellbeing. Particularly if you’re a carer, it is essential that you learn to listen to what your body needs to help you best adapt to the changing seasons. It is more important than ever this year, with the current chaos of the outside world, that you ensure that you are taking care of yourself, too. This is why we have put together this helpful list of little things you can do to make your home a place of refuge where you feel that you can relax, recharge and restore your health this winter. Create a ‘Zen’ Garden No, this doesn’t mean building a rockery and tending to bonsai trees. This simply means creating a peaceful and relaxing space where you can go to drink a cup of tea under a blanket and soak up as many rays as possible from the winter sun.In order to create this relaxing space, you will need to do a bit of gardening work initially to get things in order, but this can be a wonderful mindful activity in itself. Taking time to be with yourself while cutting back trees and pruning hedges can give you that break from the business of life and can allow you to simply be in the present moment out in nature – a deeply beneficial experience. Just ensure that you make the experience pleasant. That means not just struggling on with old or uncomfortable tools and becoming frustrated. Instead, take the time to get the right tools and the right mindset before you start, as this will make spending time in the garden this winter deeply restorative. Get Cosy with Fabrics Tune into your body and you will probably find that you are starting to crave warmth and cosiness as the weather grows colder. Luckily, it’s really easy to add warmth to any living space by the simple addition of some deep-pile rugs and thick throws or blankets. Homify explain that deep-pile carpets don’t just look cosy, but they actually help to keep the heat in too! Turn the Lights Down Low If you want to make your living space magically seem warmer and cosier, without spending a fortune redecorating, you need to know that you can do a lot with lighting. The expert home décor advisers at Ideal Home suggest that the most important thing is to ‘steer clear of blue-tinted or bright white lights, and opt for hues that add a soft glow instead’. Yellow tinted light is immediately warmer and makes any room feel more welcoming and relaxing. You can also do a lot by using paper lampshades, hanging fairy lights and arranging candles around the room. Get a Fire Going There is nothing that beats the crackle of an open fire. Of course, we don’t all have the luxury of a fireplace, but there are now many excellent replicas which can help to transform any room immediately into a true winter haven. If cash-flow is an issue, as it is for many in the run-up to Christmas, consider looking on second-hand sites such as Preloved to find a bargain. Use Heavenly Scents Another key part of transforming your home into a sanctuary is to make sure that it’s pleasing to all of the senses. We’ve already covered how to make your home look and feel cosier, but don’t just stop there. Although we’re not often aware of it, we take in a huge amount of information about our surroundings through our nose. Having a home which smells of something you find relaxing will really help to stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system, making you feel much more chilled-out. Choosing warm-scented candles (perhaps in Christmas-inspired scents) is a great, easy way to get your home smelling relaxing during the winter, but you could also try making your own Christmas-scented potpourri. Dried Flower Craft’s blog has a simple recipe for an orange and cinnamon potpourri that sounds heavenly. If you're an adult carer living in Gateshead, you might be eligible for a grant from the Carer Wellbeing Fund. If you're a young carer, you can apply to the Young Carer Wellbeing Fund. Lily is a freelance writer and a passionate advocate for mental health. From a young age, Lily volunteered her time at local care homes, to help provide some companionship, and was inspired by the dedicated staff she met. When Lily isn't writing, you can find her getting stuck in to a book, or walking in the countryside with her dog Griffin.