Do you yearn to feel more energized, but live and work in a space that lacks lights or looks like a play room after a 4-year old children birthday party?
While decluttering may seem like an obvious problem to tackle around the house, we are all too guilty of accumulating clutter in our home and workspace.
Feng shui is the Chinese practice of trying to create balance with the natural world in our interior spaces. It uses energy forces to create harmony between an individual and their environment. It is based on simple common-sense practices that make our homes healthier and more organized, and reveals how connected we are to our homes – and in turn, how they can affect our mood and well-being.
There is generally a correlation between the clutter in our physical space and our mental clutter. Clutter is more than just visually unpleasant.
When in excess, it stops us from having clarity of thought and can weigh us down emotionally.
Decluttering your mind will lead you to wanting to declutter your environment and vice versa – and overall it will lead you to feeling better and having more mental space to enjoy and focus on everything else in your personal and professional life.
For most people, order in our physical space leads to mental calm and focus.
Many people do not realise how much the clutter is sapping their energy and contributes to keeping them stuck and mis-aligned.
Clearing the clutter gives you the energy to attract and respond to new opportunities: you are freeing up the energy attached to your belongings, allowing room for the new.
As you focus on what gives you joy in your physical space, by letting go of some things, it also is easier to let go of other things (e.g. an unfulfilling job or relationship).
Re-vitalizing your home and workspace with minor changes can make a massive difference in how you feel and give you a burst of energy which you can use as you re-vitalize your personal and professional life.
And Spring is just right for this: it’s renewal, rebirth. The perfect time to refurbish our environment, make room for novelty, make space in our life! Spring, a chance to replenish and be reborn again.
Here is a little 4-steps ritual to “spring clean” your physical environment for positive energy boosters, less stress and more productive time in flow.
STEP 1: Clear energy drains in your home and work space through the “joy filter” using Feng Shui tips
Declutter your physical space from all the things you don’t really need. While this may seem like an obvious problem to tackle around the house, we are all too guilty of accumulating clutter in our home and workspace.
Marie Kondo in her book The life-changing magic of tidying up recommends to make deep clutter clearing a special, once in a lifetime event.
“Unbelievable as it may sound, you only have to experience a state of order once to be able to maintain it.”
Clear your home space
Go room by room, category by category, and only keep what gives you joy.
This is the “joy filter” of decision making, which is amazing as a skill to develop (e.g. wardrobe, decor, papers, furniture, jammed filing cabinets, overflowing shelves).
- Don’t worry if you discard a lot, this is the perfect way to start re-designing your life in alignment with your authentic self, choosing only that which gives you joy in every area.
- Ask yourself, Is this expired? Do I use this? Do I need this?” If not, get rid of it.
- Make sure there is always space for the new (e.g. bookshelves for new books, closets for new clothes.
- Put everything that is out of place into a basket – and take the basket into a room to sort through its content.
Give away any undamaged item.
A double positive energy booster by both decluttering and helping others. You can give away to charity or organize a gathering where you let all your friends can take-away anything they want from the things you are giving away.
Repair, replace or discard anything that is broken or damaged in your home or office.
Remove negative symbolism.
There are often emotional issues being displayed in our physical space (e.g. lack of clarity or overwhelm and stuff all over surfaces).
Declutter your work space
Declutter your phone and computer (e.g. contacts, backlogs of emails to reply to or delete, files to put in appropriate folders).
Declutter your desk space (e.g. paperwork, training materials, electronic documents, books, materials linked to “some day projects” that you never used in years).
STEP 2: Revitalize your home and workspace to boost your energy and make it a sanctuary with Feng Shui tips
Revitalize your home space
Balance the five elements to re-align your state of being.
The five elements (earth, wood, fire, water, and metal) can be present in your home either physically or symbolically.
A lot of times, people are drawn to elements that they either need more of or that they lack in their lives. For example, personality types lacking energy should infuse more of the fire element in their homes to give them a boost – such as warm tones, like reds and oranges, or actual fire with a fireplace or a burning candle.
Maximize natural light.
Unsurprisingly, natural light can make us feel happier and more positive, and increase productivity.
Mirrors can be a quick adjustment when you want to expand a space and bring in more light. The key here is to be very mindful of what the mirrors reflect. When you hang a mirror, make sure it reflects more light, a serene view (vs. clutter), or a nice part of the room.
Make sure you have good air circulation.
When the weather is good, try to open up the windows, and if you can’t, consider buying an air purifier (especially if your home office has no windows).
Bring greenery into the room.
Add fresh flowers and real plants to enhance your office energy by naturally cleaning the air, reducing stress and injecting a sense of calm, and improving communication.
Surround yourself with happy and positive memories and replace clutter with your joy triggers.
Examples: photo or postcards frames; objects, paintings or other pieces brought back from holidays, an app like TimeHop to show you what you were doing [x] years ago today; hand-painted pictures from your children; a heirloom from your grandmother or pencils desk pot from your grandfather; a good luck charm; a painting you love.
Revitalize your work space
Position your desk in a commanding position.
According to Feng Shui principles, that might mean having a solid wall behind you, as well as some plants (wood element) for support. This commanding position allows you energetically, and metaphorically to see and feel who and what opportunities are approaching.
Use natural elements, materials and views.
A wooden desk (whether standing desk or not) is the best recommendation in Feng Shui. The material brings natural energy into your space.
Consider a standing desk to have the option to stand up and move around, and a supportive office chair, especially if you plan on sitting for several hours in a day.
Curate your color choices.
For writing and analysis, consider colors in shades of blue, green, or even beige. For energy and creativity, implement touches of warm colors like red, yellow, and orange.
Nurture your goals visually.
Create an environment that reflects you professionally and personally. Your selection of décor on a subconscious level is an energetic extension of what you are attracting. Defining what you want to attract and visually displaying those goals in your space have beneficial psychological cues and can impact your overall motivation and subsequent success. Choose a new desktop wallpaper to re-align your energy with who you are and what you want to achieve (e.g. an inspiring or energy boosting photography, mantra or quote).
Get supported visually.
Including images of supportive family members or other individuals who inspire you is another great energy booster.
STEP 3: Enhance your sensorial environment for greater well-being, performance and energy.
Intentionally sound design your environment, at home and in the workplace
Music has the ability to affect your energy level, both at home and in the workplace.
- Different genres of music have varying effects on our brains. What boosts productivity for one may be distracting others, and likewise for relaxation.
To ease stress and rest, choose what you find relaxing (e.g. check out YouTube or InsightTimer, for a lot of inspiration for relaxing playlists including some with the sounds of nature or sounds of rain mixed with classical music such as piano).
- To boost your focus and productivity: Design a playlist that can work for you.
- Experiment with “binaural beats”. When you hear two tones, one in each ear, that are slightly different in frequency, your brain processes a beat at the difference of the frequencies. This is called a binaural beat. Binaural beats are considered auditory illusions, and have been connected to potential health benefits (e.g. reduce anxiety, increase focus and concentration, lower stress, increase relaxation, foster positive moods, promote creativity).
Intentionally select what sound you want to wake-up to.
Find a song that has an upbeat melody or mimics nature (e.g. birds, waves), enables a slow transition out of sleep, and that brings out positive moods. You can find a lot on Spotify or iTunes. Consider renaming the alarm in your phone with an empowering and motivational message or quote.
Intentionally design your aromatherapy environment
Aromatherapy is a healing and relaxation technique that makes use of the scent of essential oils. Something as simple as breathing in a calming aroma can induce relaxation and soothe emotions.
There are several ways you can implement essential oils into your routine, such as sprinkling drops onto your pillow, applying them directly to your skin, putting oils in a diffuser, which has the added benefit of promoting quality air to help you breathe better.
When you are using essential oils, intentionally choose some associated with good memories or think of a memory that this oil induces for you (e.g. rose or lavender essential oil might remind you of a garden in summer; frangipani, coconut or ylang ylang might remind you of tropical holidays). Essential oils known to foster relaxation are: lavender, rose, peppermint, jasmine, rosemary and chamomile.
Be creative to further enhance your olfactory environment (e.g. with incense, candles, fresh flowers, dried orange slides, dried lavender).
Get some panoramic view, perspective / somewhere where you can see the horizon
Does just looking at the endless sky and open ocean make you relax a little? Do you even notice these? Or maybe you have had the experience of spending a long time indoors and then stepping outside to feel both your mind and body loosen? This is not our imagination or the magical effects of nature. Instead, this is telling us something powerful about our autonomic nervous system and how it responds to certain visual stimuli.
Claustrophobia, the sensation of being suffocated, is not just about lack of oxygen or proximity to other people in subways or crowded spaces in your environment, it is about the fact that we cannot see very far, we are in a small visual box.
In our Western society, we get used to what is known as “foveal’ vision”, where we concentrate on one point in front of us and notice all the details about that one point (e.g. watching TV, looking at a computer screen, reading, talking to someone) but ignore everything around it. We often get out of a meeting and rush straight to the subway, or walk whilst looking at our smart phone or talking to another person, slaloming between buildings.
Another kind of vision, “peripheral” vision, takes in the whole panorama of what is happening in front of us and around us. It uses different light receptors in the retina and different neural pathways in the brain.
Foveal vision is linked to arousal of the sympathetic nervous system (associated with adrenaline and stress) while peripheral vision is linked to the parasympathetic nervous system (associated with relaxation, calmness and healing).
To the extent that you are truly in the “peripheral vision” state, you can block anxiety or stress: the two states are physiologically incompatible.
STEP 4: Write down your Spring intentions
- Which chapter do you close with the end of winter?
- What renewal do you want to create in your life during this Spring / second quarter?
- How do you want to feel in 3 months, when comes the Summer / third quarter? What do you want to have accomplished by then? (in your personal and professional life)
- What is something new that you have always wanted to try but have not, that you could try this quarter?
For more inspiration and practical tips, check our Holistic Life & Work Assessment and other relevant articles such as