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These are certainly challenging times. As we practice social distancing for our own well-being as well as for our loved ones and communities, many find themselves cooped up inside their homes most days. While there are of course exceptions like the occasional visits to grocery stores, these are not necessarily the most peaceful or relaxing activities.

Our homes are often a place to unwind, settle in, and escape after a long day out; now we find ourselves negotiating the balance between many concerns, responsibilities, and trying to keep our minds calm through it all. Not surprisingly, our surroundings have such a profound effect on how we feel day to day.

One way to reinfuse a bit of peace and relaxation into your home is by being intentional about your living space. Creating routines, making a few minor changes to decorations, and keeping your senses happy can make all the difference for your mood. And while we find ourselves inside most days, now is a great opportunity to rethink creating a peaceful home environment.

1. De-clutter where you can

An uncluttered home can truly translate to a more clear and calm state of mind. By tidying up the bedroom or simply cleaning knick-knacks off of the kitchen counter, we give ourselves a way to focus when we are feeling more overwhelmed. With less clutter around us, settling our mind is much easier and within reach. We've all likely experienced less memorable nights where external chaos or a mess subconsciously added to our internal stress. A little organization can go a long way to a peaceful home, especially when there are multiple people sharing one living space.

2. Create routines & rituals

Keeping up with routines like getting dressed for the day, cooking healthy meals and sleeping on time remind us of normalcy and motivates us, which is so important in times of uncertainty. If you're looking for ways to adjust to working from home, creating a ritual of walking in the fresh air, afternoon stretching, or tea breaks may help you refocus. And if you have little ones at home, starting simple routines together throughout the day eases stress and adds comfort during the transition. Of course, new rituals such as taking time to check in on relatives or video chat with friends are important ways to stay connected.

3. Use aromatherapy

Filling a room with one of your favorite essential-oil based scents can give you an immediate a sense of peace. A fresh, sweet or woodsy scent is able to boost your mood and can transport your mind to a soothing place in nature.

4. Bring nature inside Besides being a beautiful visual to see and a fresh reminder of spring, indoor plants add a touch of energy and life wherever they are scattered around, whether it is on the coffee table, living room mantle or bedside. On its own, greenery helps purify the air you breathe in while bringing soothing colors. Beyond this, rituals like tending to plants by watering or misting can calm your mind in a peaceful environment. Every newly grown green leaf and flower bud gives a reason to appreciate the little things that continue to spark joy.

5. Be mindful of light

With spring around the corner finally,, we have more reasons to open the windows to let in some natural light. While at home, choosing warm light over florescent light has an effect on our state of mind. In the later evenings and on rainy days, lighting a candle or turning on a smaller lamp creates a cozy feeling of comfort that is much welcomed. And after a seemingly endless day of juggling kids and work, making a practice of adding candlelight to the dinner table can soothe the kids as well.

6. Find a sanctuary

Each of us deserves a small place to unwind and de-stress that we can call our own. Whether yours is the bathroom transformed into a makeshift spa, the porch where while it's quiet in the morning, or a cozy knitting nook upstairs, this is where you go to rest your mind and body. In the midst of chaos at home, you can feel peace knowing this retreat is awaiting you whenever you need it most.

7. Designate spaces

Much like creating a sanctuary, designating a home "office" area can free up your thoughts when you are spending time with loved ones or reflecting. This small practice makes work/life balance easier to manage, especially in times of unfamiliarity and stress. While the idea of keeping piles of work papers and your laptop out of sight seems simple, this habit makes your mind much less likely to wander back to the worries of work. And when it is time to cook and share a meal, you'll feel much more calm and present.

8. Sentimental decorations

One way to create a peaceful home is by surrounding yourself with items that are meaningful to you and remind you of a favorite place or time in your life. Our memories are incredible at influencing how we feel. If you love the ocean, choose colors that complement that palette with a fresh accent pillow, a few serene paintings of nature or by placing collected seashells in your favorite rooms. Now is the perfect time to refresh with calming interior design and put up a few special family photos.

We are all in this together, and everyone can use a helping hand in creating a peaceful environment in our homes. Small changes to our living spaces can make a big difference. Each of us is adjusting in different ways... we would love to hear how you are creating a more peaceful home!

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