Design for Life: A Time to Rest

Create a nurturing environment to pass time and reflect on your life.

| November/December 2002


Cold, dark, stormy winter is the season that makes us glad to live in buildings. This is the time when we want a lot less contact with the world outside our walls—and when the impact of whatever is inside our homes is intensified.

Winter is the season for slowing down, going within, resting, and reflecting; we tend to sleep longer, eat more, be less active, and feel more emotionally sensitive. As we move inward, we aren’t turning our back on the rest of life; we’re doing essentially the same things that the other animals and plants in our hemisphere are doing. When we don’t join them, we deprive ourselves of an important restorative experience.

Satisfy your soul

Winter is a good time to tune in to yourself. There’s no need to keep up the high energy levels of summer. It’s time to curl up on the couch under a lap robe with a mug of herbal tea and reflect on your life. It’s an especially good time to look around and notice whether your home nurtures you, renews you, and provides a safe place where you can hear the still, small voice within.

What do you long to come home to? If you work at a high-pressure job, you may need your home to be soft and peaceful. If your day is spent tending to the needs of others, you may want a corner where you can shut out the world. If much of your day is spent in solo pursuits, you may want your home to be a place for gathering with friends or family. If you have small children, it may seem especially difficult to carve out space and time for yourself—but no one needs it more than parents, and small gestures of self-love can go a long way.

When arranging their interior spaces, people often focus on the more public areas (entry, living room, dining room) and neglect their more private rooms (bedroom, study, bathroom). If your home is to be your place of renewal, your oasis in a crazy world, give to yourself! Think about what elements make you feel most at home: art objects, relaxing colors, sensuous fabrics, warm lighting, good music? Do you have at least one area where you can make the world go away and wrap yourself in love? What really helps you let go of tension? An overstuffed chair by a window where you can read a book and watch the storms rage outside? A steaming aromatherapy bath by candlelight? A homey dining table with warm, intimate lighting where you can share the day’s stories with your family? A sacred place for meditation? Filling the house with the smell of baking bread?

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