Sheltering in a Haven

While your home has always been your haven, recent events are making it your place to shelter as well. We are all getting to know our homes, well, very well lately.

With the new restrictions, fears and sense of helpless isolation, even the largest of homes can start to make us feel a bit claustrophobic. So how can we continue to treasure our homes as a special place, when they’re the only place we’re allowed to go for quite a while? How do we keep from resenting the very walls we so lovingly painted, or avoid growing to hate the sight of the countertops we were so proud to install?

How can we avoid thinking of our houses as places where we’re stuck, and learn to reappreciate them as places where we’re lucky to be?

We know that right now each of you is experiencing your own trials and tribulations, and our tips are not here to condescend or trivialise those daily realities. But if our ideas on how to lift the mood of a home can serve as a catalyst for your own, then we’re happy. And, no, we’re not trying to make a sneaky segue from kind-hearted advice to hard selling. If you want to buy our flooring, great! There’s a whole website about our antimicrobial flooring attached to this blog. But this particular post isn’t about to say that flooring, or any one thing can improve your life right now; it’s trying to find ways of helping to make your life a little better by using what’s already right in front of you. So, let’s give it a shot.

Here are ten ideas for enjoying your home right now.

1. Dig deep

Now’s the time to use your time to tackle that to-do list of “less” important items. Consider finally decluttering, organising, even getting rid of the extra things around your house that get in the way more often than they get used. Start small or do a full Marie Kondo overhaul – up to you. The point it that by reorganising and reprioritising the things inside of your home, you may be able to find new appreciation for the sentimental, precious or useful things that are brought out to the forefront.

2. Create zones

Your home has suddenly become your office, your partner’s office, your kids’ school, the playground, the dog park, the gym, the restaurant…the everything. If possible, create “zones” to accommodate and respect the many different activities housed inside your one house. If there isn’t enough physical space to dedicate one whole room to the “classroom” and another to the “workout space”, then try creating zones with a schedule – the living room is the gym, open only from 8AM – 10AM; the dining room is the kids’ study area between 10AM and noon, and again from 1PM to 3PM. Break it up in ways that make sense to you and your family or roommates, and in ways that will help keep your frustration from mounting.

3. Separate

Yes, you love your loved ones. And they love you. But no one loves anyone all the time. Since you’re now all stuck together without the normal breaks and chances to let absence make the heart grow fonder, create opportunities to separate within your home. If you have the space, use it. Let the guest room become HIS personal space and the extra den become HER refuge. If you don’t have the room to physically be apart, utilise the most isolating of all accessories to create alone time: headphones. Discuss it beforehand – and before anyone is too much on the other’s nerves – that this time apart is not a slight and doesn’t mean you don’t like each other; it’s a way of keeping you liking each other for the long haul.

4. Remember to breathe

The unprecedented uncertainty of now is enough to make anyone feel uneasy. Whether you’re struggling to fill the long days, or feeling overwhelmed by new roles you’re expected to fill, it’s ok to not be ok. Remember to carve out a place in your home, or a time in the day, to just step back from the chaos and breathe.

5. Healthy routines

Sweets and wine (if you’re lucky enough to have any) can be an immediate pick-me-up when you’re feeling blue. But establishing, or maintaining healthy routines is all the more important right now when days, nights, weekdays and weekends seem to blur together in one day-pajama/night-pajama sludge. Let your home help you with those routines. Rearrange the lounge by clearing away the extra chairs for guests (you won’t be needing those for a while) and bringing out the exercise bike. Or use that newly freed space to establish a gym with what you have. Canned goods can be hand weights. Small children work as kettlebells. In the kitchen, stash away the unhealthy treats in hard to reach and other inconvenient places, and rotate the healthier snacks to areas of higher visibility. Restock the ever-diminishing bar with bottles of water or juice.

6. Work with your space, don’t fight it

Unless you are an out of touch celebrity singing Imagine, your house is probably lacking in…something. We don’t all have luxurious lawns and full-sized basketball courts to Sam Smith cry in. But what does your home have that you love? In those moments when you feel like all you want to do is get out of the house, take a moment to remember just one thing that initially brought you into it. What was it that made you sign that mortgage or lease? What is one thing you’ve done to make it yours? Corny as it sounds, taking a moment to reappreciate what we have might just be what gets us through these strange times.

7. Lighting

Light has the power to completely change a mood and make the same room feel like a brand-new space. So, when you’re limited on the space you can go, change how that space is presented. Use candlelight for a romantic date night in, or soft lamps to create a makeshift restaurant ambiance. Remember that routine we talked about? Use bright lighting as a cue for when it’s time to move and exercise, and dimmed lighting when it’s time to calm down and wind down.

8. Keep it safe and clean

There’s a lot that we can’t control right now. But you do have some level of control about the safety and cleanliness within the boundaries of your home. Take the necessary precautions to keep your home spick and span. Wash your hands regularly (not obsessively). Thoroughly wash items coming in from the “outside world” – wipe off boxes and rinse off fruit. Vacuum your carpets or wipe up your floors. Oh, and make your bed. It might not do anything for germs, but it just makes life better.

9. Have a swear pillow

You’re doing your best to keep it together for the sake of your kids, your partner, your friends (and boss) on Zoom, and your own sanity. We already suggested taking the cool, calm, collected approach to letting out your inevitable frustration by breathing. Now we’re suggesting that you have a good old-fashioned temper tantrum once in a while. But do it discretely. How? Choose some poor, unsuspecting pillow from around the house as your “vent” item. Then, when you feel the need to yell, just yell…into the swear pillow. Let that 100% cotton or goose down know what you really think of COVID-19 and how it’s messing up everyone’s plans. It’ll be the best %$&*!^$ moment of the day!

10. Bring out the photos

Use photos to help you feel connected to those you can’t be with right now. Give pictures prime space on the shelf, or on the fridge. They can help remind you that you’re not alone, and that at the end of all this there are wonderful people waiting to see you. Rotate the photos you already have out to spark memories of old trips, past parties or otherwise forgotten special moments. You don’t have to make elaborate collages or worry about how fancy the frames are. The photos will just be glad to get a break from the box under the stairs where they’ve been stored in for the last six years.

Here at TIER flooring we are looking for ways to make your life a better. In normal times, we work to make our products do that for you, but in these strange times when low-maintenance flooring is quite simply not everyone’s top priority, we hope that these ideas can be of some small value. We know that these tips and tricks are not going to end world hunger or jumpstart a vaccine, but we also know that if they can help make your home feel like a haven again, they were worth sharing.

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