Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Self Care & Your Environment

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Last week we talked about self care in relationships and today we’ll talk about self care in your environment. 'Environment' is about that which is constantly around you. Your environment is what you see, hear, smell, taste and feel. It is about your experience of what's around you. As we are all wonderfully different, we all have wonderfully different experiences of the same environment. Some like it bright. Some like it cozy. Some like it hot.

Yes, we are still talking about environment.

The important thing is to know what you need around you to feel ok and to work towards that. I’m going to point out a few areas you can assess in your own environment, but they are by no means exhaustive. These points are the areas for me that I notice the most when I am feeling stressed/sick/fat/bored.

Fresh Air 
With the onslaught of winter I’m noticing the air in our home starting to stale. Eek. I’m feeling congested, sleepy and annoyed. My day job is primarily in an office without windows. The air quality and temperature is all a bit jingly. I feel claustrophobic. I need air. To remedy this, I’ve been heading outside for just a few minutes a day when I get home from work. I leave the doors to the house open and I breathe deeply and slowly. My tension eases. I have time and space. 

Sunshine is something else I miss in winter. My spoilt Australian skin just doesn’t cope with all the winter rain! I find myself sleepy, cold and sensitive. The light quality from the fluro at work is harsh and unnerving.  I need some rays. I need nurturing. I need Vitamin D. In all our fear of prematurely aging, we forget that we are made for daylight. We are not nocturnal (which makes us dayturnal?). Sunshine can heal hearts and bodies. 

Kym, the love of my life and cheese to my sandwich, is a hoarder. I am not. In fact, I am an anti-hoarder. My motto is “use it or lose it”. I hate being surrounded by clutter. When clutter prevails in our home, I act out. I start throwing out things that never belonged to me. I argue. I plead. I yell. I get all passive-aggressive on his arse. My methods are low.

I do not cope with clutter. I don’t cope with bits of food all over the carpet. I do not cope with weird, musty smells. For me, the worst possible end to a day is getting home from work only to find there is something growing in the trash and the dishes haven’t been done from the night before. Oh, and there’s hair in the sink.

It is important for my self care to maintain a certain level of order in the house. That’s not to say we don’t have musty smells in our kitchen right this minute (I just shut the door). What I am saying is that the level of order in my home generally reflects the mindset that I am in. When our home is out of order, so am I. So, when I really need to look after myself, the first thing I do is tidy and clean the house. Clean house smell and roomy couches are the environment I need to start healing.

Between my office and my home, I see all too much grey and beige. I need colour. I need my spirits lifted. Despite all my best intentions to mock colour therapists, I can’t help but acknowledge the power colours can have on our bodies and minds. So here’s an admission: I long for more red in my life. I need more passion, courage and self-assuredness. I also need more deep sea green (for lack of better description). I need more quiet confidence, space for creativity and spirituality. 

Seeing as I am not a cat person, I’m getting in early with my plans to become little adelaide’s first official “crazy indoor plant lady”. Just like fresh air and sunshine, we need life around us. And despite the fact that I have killed more indoor plants than I have managed to keep alive, I am adamant that we all need a little more of the outdoors brought in. Why? Oxygen. Healthy plant smells. Something to love. A wider perspective. Calm. 

Having a garden to nurture - whether it is a paddock or a single pot by the window- teaches you to stop and appreciate what is around you. It reminds you that life is organic, a journey and not an end goal. It reminds you that life will go on without you, even if you don’t water it for a month, and that it is ok to chill out every now and then.

Here's what I want you to do: 
  • Consider if you are getting enough oxygen. Are you breathing deeply enough? Perhaps you need some air.
  • When was the last time you open your curtains? How many hours/minutes have you spent outside in the last week? 
  • What colours are you lacking? What colours are overwhelming you?
  • Buy a plant. If you have plant fear, buy a cactus. 

Finally, buy yourself a bunch of flowers and put them right where you can see them. 

Next week I'll be back to talk about.... ugh I almost can't say it.... diet. There. I wont say any more about it until next week.

Kate xxx


  1. hehe love as usual! so true about getting outdoors and sunshine, last week I felt so stifled being in the house with all the rain and was going to venture out yesterday but thought my limbs might freeze off! I do however have a lovely verandah which is highly underused... you got me thinking now - might sit out there more often and catch the afternoon sun!
    Definitely agree with you about colours! I think you need to cover your walls with lots of artworks and photos! We can't put up hooks because of the old walls and I hate it!

  2. i love this post. we all need to just stop and chill out sometimes. thanks for the reminder.

  3. I know you already follow designsponge (because that's where I heard about it) but just incase you didn't see this blog post I thought it was SOooooooooo relevant!


  4. Ooh thanks :) Hadn't seen it yet- love the colour and also the relaxed way it's been decorated. Cheers xx


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