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Mindful Homes, A Sanctuary For Uncertain Times

The pandemic has turned our homes into our sanctuary. Author and blogger Dr Nandita Iyer tells us how to infuse mindfulness into your space.

Anubhuti Krishna

It is great to be safe at home, however, the fatigue of being confined within four walls is also real. How can we then avoid this fatigue of staying put and working, studying, and even playing indoors? The answer lies in creating mindful homes. And no, it does not have to be another refurbish that costs an arm and a leg. You can create a calming mindful home in some easy, economical, and effective ways. We talk to author, columnist, doctor, and mindfulness exponent Nandita Iyer to find out how.

Nandita started talking about mindfulness long before it became fashionable to do so. One look at her Instagram feed, posts, and columns tells you that she not only preaches but also practices mindfulness in every aspect of her life. Her home meanwhile exudes a clean, calm, and almost meditative vibe. The space is a great example of aesthetics coming together with practicality.

1. You have been talking about mindful spaces long before it became a trend to do so, was that intentional?

I have always liked emptier, cleaner spaces with light and versatile furniture where I can move things around. I also find negative space in my home calming. It gives me an opportunity to relax and breathe. So, I think this has always been my style, even though I have never thought of giving it a label.

2. Since you talk about cleaner aesthetics, are there any tips you have to help people declutter their surroundings?

The easiest way to declutter is to let go of everything that you have not used for one full year. You do not have to trash it or throw it out. Things like bedsheets, curtains, and beddings can be donated to hospices and orphanages while appliances, furniture, art, etc can be exchanged with like-minded people in your community or friend circle. In this process, no one throws or buys anything new, and yet everyone has a new set of things. We have such a group in our community (neighbourhood) where we exchange and give away things we love but do not need to those who need them and will use them. There are many such groups in every city, you can connect with them. 

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3. Many of us live with families and changing everything around the house is not an option. What’s your advice to them?

You can always create a small corner for yourself that can be your retreat—your comfort zone. Again, you do not need much to do this. If I were to create a corner, I would start with a really comfortable chair—you can reupholster an old one with good cushioning to ensure it is comfortable and lets you sink in. The next thing will be a few small tables. You can repurpose what you have at home and use them to keep some of your favourite books, candles, and a speaker for music. A tall plant will add both life and fresh air to the space, and a rug—even an old one—will create a perfect corner for anyone to retreat into. Again, you do not need to buy anything for this, you can just repurpose what you have at home.

4. Your gardens are a source of joy, not only to you but also to your followers. Do you have any tips on getting greenery inside smaller homes or balconies?

Plants add life to the tightest of spaces and you do not need much to have them. For homes with restricted floor space, you can look at placing trailing plants in glass jars or bottles on shelves, pelmets, or even hang them with nice hooks. Here again, you can use old bottles, tap water, and borrow cuttings from neighbours or friends rather than buying them. In just six months you can have a thriving garden. 

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5. Are there any daily rituals one can practice to be more mindful at home?

I would say invest time in doing mundane things like deep cleaning your space. Cleaning may be a boring chore but it is deeply satisfying, grounding, and meditative. You can also start creating something with your hands—make candles, learn crochet, or up-cycle things. Some people find lighting a diya or a lamp, burning camphor or incense calming. It also purifies the home. Ultimately whatever you choose to do, give it your total attention for at least 15-20 minutes. 

6. Anything else you want to share with our readers?

Your home is your safe space and I’d only suggest you keep it the way you like it and not run behind trends. You do not need to spend money to make it beautiful—you only need to love it like a living thing and it will love you back. 

Photo: Instagram/Saffron Trail
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