When jam-packed work schedules and the pressure to succeed prevent us from relaxing while we’re at home, something needs to be done. Find out ways you can achieve a better work-life balance through some simple interior design techniques.
Do you leave work at work? Or do you come home – perhaps after a 9 to 5 office job or an odd-hours shift – and find it difficult to settle down, relax and unwind?
If you’re struggling to find work-life balance, you’re certainly not alone. A 2017 study found that the UK ranked as one of the worst countries for work-life balance among OECD member states.
Unfortunately, working too long hours and not being able to ‘switch off’ at the end of a stressful day could be wreaking havoc with our physical and mental health. From being at higher risk of heart disease, stroke, depression and anxiety to experiencing higher levels of the stress hormone Cortisol levels, when our work-life balance suffers, our bodies and minds suffer too.
So, is the work-life balance attainable in the busy modern world? How do we create an environment where we can be free to not work, after a long day on the daily grind? Here are three simple but very effective ways interior design can help aid that all-important down time.
1. Create a ‘Relax’ space
Sometimes it’s hard to turn ‘work mode’ off when you get home. Busy thinking about the packed schedule or tense meeting you have to deal with the next day, you’re unable to be fully present during your family dinner or become properly immersed in the latest Netflix offering your partner is hooked on. But, it’s important for your overall wellbeing to be able to do just that, so be prepared to try. And it does take practice.
One of the ways you can encourage your body and mind to relax into your free-from-work time is by creating a snug, relaxation zone within your home. This can be in the living room, bedroom or even a small den or nook area, but should be a dedicated space created for the sole purpose of making you feel relaxed and at ease.
From paint colours to lighting schemes and from materials to layout, choose items that make you feelhappy, calm and comforted. Whether that’s decorating with soothing blues, calming pinks or uplifting yellows, placing desktop lamps and floor lamps at easy-to-reach distances, adding in aesthetically pleasing art, or inundating yourself with lush pillows, throws and fluffy rugs, tailoring the space to what you find soothing is key.
A crucial component to creating a comfortable ‘chill out’ zone is seating. Go high on comfort here to give yourself the greatest chance of being able to relax at the end of a long day. If your after-work priorities revolve around spending time with family, one of our cuddle chairs, built for cosy two-person comfort, might be the perfect size for you and your partner (or kids) to curl up, unwind and relax on. Our Copenhagen Fabric Snuggler Armchair is a wonderful example of a sofa built for roomy snuggling, although it’s just as useful as a spacious armchair for one when only a bit of ‘me time’ will do.
2. Chaos does not equal balance
You’ve got your Relax Space all set up, and you’ve even spent several blissful hours immersed in its tranquil vibes. But, what happens when you step back into all too harsh reality? If your switched-off mood gets a rude awakening the moment you leave your chill zone, your quest for work-life balance will need to continue.
If the rest of your home feels chaotic and disordered, it can be difficult to hold on to that all-important calmness you’ve worked so hard to cultivate. Take a walk around your home and assess how you feel as you enter each room. If any of the spaces cause you to feel anxious or stressed (an increased heart rate, sudden tiredness or rapid breathing could all be indicators), consider how you can change things around to create a calming atmosphere.
One of the things that can cause havoc with our sense of calm is clutter. Clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli and causes us to think about obligation and chaos rather than focusing on ‘Zen-ing’ out. Taking the time to reduce clutter in your home and creating dedicated storage spaces in each room can make a world of difference when it comes to being able to switch off. Having specific spots for specific items can also make it easier to keep on top of your daily debris, so you can continue to enjoy an organised, chaos-free home that is easy to relax in – and it makes it easier to find things too.
Organising or cleaning your home can often feel like work, so if you can prevent too much clutter cluttering up your mind, you’ll be left with a lot more time to embrace your ‘out of work’ mode.
3. Soak up the benefits of nature
Picture the scene: you’re cuddled up on the gorgeous Alexander and James New Romance Giselle Leather Pillow Back Snuggler Armchair. The sun streams in, gently warming you as you relax with a book or a movie. Or, as you unwind on one of our comfy snuggle chairs, the pitter-patter of rain on your windows gently soothes you to sleep.
Nature can have a powerful effect on our mood, so when you’re looking to create the haven needed for a healthy work-life balance, you’ll need to think of ways to include natural elements in the equation.
Whether you love the sun or feel joyful when it’s raining, think of ways to bring nature into your home. This could be anything from ensuring there’s plenty of natural sunlight streaming into your home with light, breezy curtains and well-placed mirrors, to buying a sound machine to simulate the sound of rain or birdsong. Need a quick fix? Why not move your furniture to face the windows?
Another proven way of reducing stress through nature is by introducing greenery into your home. Not only are plants aesthetically pleasing, they also purify the air and introduce relaxing scents. Go for something low-maintenance such as aloe vera or a spider plant (they’re not as scary as they sound, we promise!) so you can enjoy a boost to your happiness levels without having to worry about any extra work.
So, there you have it. Three ways you can use interior design to help encourage a better work-life balance. From utilising the benefits of cuddle chairs to letting nature do some of the leg work, having these tricks to hand could make all the difference when you’re chasing that elusive ‘chill out’ mode. Then you can put your feet up, relax, unwind and enjoy being blissfully work-free for a few hours.