Hello, and thanks for your home questions!
Even if you didn’t ask a question, I think you’ll find these helpful. The questions I’ll be answering today address the following:
1. Improving the home work environment – design tips
2. Reducing isolation & attracting romance – feng shui tips
So lets get started…
I work from home in a studio apartment with virtually no room to designate a separate work space. Now I feel like I live at work and I HATE it! How can I create harmony, openness, boundaries and balance within a small space?
First of all, this is a great question. This brings to mind a wonderful saying: “Don’t Resent and Set Boundaries”
Usually this is in regard to a person or a relationship, but the slogan can also be applied to our home.
A house without designated areas for each part of our life can be as distracting (and annoying) as that person who doesn’t have healthy boundaries.
In a small space you can still define specific zones for different activities – even if some of those spaces need to serve more than one purpose.
Here’s my 6 step formula for setting healthy boundaries when working from home:
1. Select one (or at most two) spots in the house where you will do your work, and stick to those areas for ALL work (I have a home office and I sometimes set up at the dining table). Otherwise you run the risk of feeling like your entire home is just one big office…ugh!
2. Once you’ve selected your one or two work zones, decide which one will be your primary office and will hold your “stuff” (files, printer, office supplies, power cords, etc.). If it is in a communal room of your house, I recommend the primary office space be in an area that is easier to visually close off. Which leads to the next point…
3. Invest in an item that will allow you to hide the office from view when not working (a folding screen, drapes, a bookcase, tall plants etc.
I love the soft privacy screen shown at the top of this letter, or there are budget versions like this hanging screen from amazon.
4. Also, select office furniture that can easily hide your work items when not in use. Think of pieces with solid doors and drawers, versus open shelves.
5. To create clear “mental boundaries” around work, define your working hours – and stick to them. It can be very helpful to have a ‘WFH Buddy’ – somebody to check in with daily via phone, email or text. You can commit your working hours to each other at the start of the day, and give a little report at the end (this can be nice for combatting feelings of isolation as well).
6. Make a physical ritual of “closing shop” at the end of your working hours. For example, you can shut the door to that room, or you can spread the screen that blocks the view of that part of your space. You can also turn off the desk lamp if the office is in a more communal area.
Healthy boundaries around your work – physically, visually and mentally – go a long way towards creating ease and clarity in your space, and life.
I feel cut off from deeper social connections due to pandemic restrictions. How can I welcome love and connection energy in my home?
A few people sent me this question, and since I’m offering useful slogans right now, I’ll add another:
“Act as If.”
In order to bring something into our lives, we have to act as if we already have it. Feng Shui really succeeds in this realm, since we not only “act as if” but we “design as if”. We set up our space to match our vision, and this combination has powerful results.
For example, this Christmas I thought: “No one is coming over this year, so why should I even get a tree? And if I do, maybe I’ll just get a tiny, scrawny one. Honestly, why bother at all?”
But then I realized how sad those thoughts made me feel, so you know what I did? I got a BIGGER tree than I ever have before. It’s ridiculously tall and bushy, and I love it!
When I see that big, green friendly giant, all colorfully decorated with lights and ornaments, I feel like a holiday party is about to break out at any moment, and that thought makes me smile.
This technique really works, because it shifts not one but two important parts of our life:
How we think AND how we live.
When these two things are in alignment – our thoughts and our space – it won’t be long before the universe brings us proof that we are moving towards what we want.
Oh, and in the meantime, we will be a lot happier.
Thank you for your questions. More answers to come next week!
Warm holiday wishes,
PS: Your comments and suggestions mean a lot – so go ahead and hit reply now and let me know what’s useful, and what else you’d like to know. Thanks!