The holidays are always a stressful season filled with family and friends and loaded with work and travel obligations. Having a personal haven at home to unwind and restore your mind, body and soul is key to staying sane and on top of it all. Even if you’re renting or moving soon, it’s important to have a space to de-stress on busy days. Make the most of your nooks and crannies at home with these ideas for a rejuvenating retreat.
Set Your Focus and Intentions Upfront
Decide what’s most important to you and what you want to achieve in these personal sessions. It doesn’t have to be an ambitious goal; a simple wish to rest is perfectly valid. Alternatively, you can use this time for spiritual exploration or to work on your craft. Jot down your thoughts in a journal before, during and after the experience, and keep it nearby to reflect on in future sessions.
Make it Yours
However nice a personal corner is, it won’t mean much unless you can connect with it on a deeper level. Place special mementos around the area that are extremely significant and meaningful to you. These could be pictures of your loved ones and favorite places, or trinkets you’ve collected throughout your life and travels. Store a couple of your favorite books nearby, light candles, start an aromatherapy diffuser and brew a hot pot of herbal tea to add to the ambience – whatever speaks to your heart.
Turn on the Tunes
The right music has the power to immediately energize or stabilize your mood and take you to a place of idyllic tranquility. Before indulging in a personal retreat session, put together a playlist of your personal soundtrack or download a relaxing podcast. Invest in a white noise machine to set the mood if words are too distracting to you.
Layer it Up
If the only free space you have left is a spare corner of a room, don’t fret. Turn it into a cozy comfort zone by adding as many pillows and throws as your heart desires. They will immediately warm up any space and serve up a whole lot of style. Winter is the perfect season to snuggle up with lots of layers, especially if your retreat space ends up being your bed, as many are.
Practice Meditation or Yoga
Once you’ve set up your space and are all ready to go, you may begin to think “now what?” and you certainly aren’t alone. Having moments of silence are key to self-reflection but can also get boring fast. A wonderful way to combat this is to set up an activity such as meditation or yoga that keeps you focused while also allowing for room to unwind and relax. Lay down a yoga mat and get started with a couple of beginner stretches.
If your home is simply too stuffy, step outside for a breath of fresh air. Bonus points if you have a lush garden to retreat to. Hang a hammock or set up camp beneath a shady tree for a place to call your own. Being surrounded by greenery and basking in natural sunlight will immediately elevate your mood and induce relaxation. Furry friends are always welcome too, like the cat seen on this Australian patio.
If you’re in a highly urbanized neighborhood, you can still reap Mother Nature’s benefits by taking a stroll to a nearby park. If you’d rather keep it all indoors though, pull up a chair near a sunny window and add a few low-maintenance houseplants. Succulents are great for first-timers and come in a variety of eye-catching arrangements. This welcome addition of life amidst the bleak winter landscape will keep you happy and healthy this season.
Source: CB Blue Matter Blog
Outdoor living can be constrained due to seasonality, but it doesn’t have to be– especially if it means you’ll utilize your patio area longer! As the temperatures get cooler and the days get shorter, it becomes harder to create a space outdoors that is comfortable and inviting. Here are some tips on how to continue to enjoy your outdoor living space indefinitely.
1. Outdoor Heater
Perhaps the more obvious of cool weather accommodations, adding heat to your outdoor space will allow you and your guests to relax in fresh air with warmth. Whatever your budget may be, there’s a heater that will work for your space. Ranging from less than $100 to well over $1,000, they come in many varieties and power sources such as a table-top gas heater or a standing solar-powered heater.
Standing heaters are great for heating up a patio space, typically running off of propane or natural gas. Using natural gas is the more efficient of the two and you’ll never run out of fuel. You also have the option of an electric heater, that has a lower upfront cost and costs less to run than a gas-powered heater. If you’re looking for a cost effective and eco-friendly option, a solar-powered heater is just right for you–providing all the warmth from the sun’s energy.
2. Fire Pit
Creating a space with warmth is key, but adding that element with an extra emphasis on aesthetic appeal is a bonus. You can easily create your own using bricks or large rocks to create the pit or purchase one installed by professionals, depending on your budget. Similar to outdoors heaters, there are a variety of fuel source options. If open wood burning isn’t allowed, you can install a fire pit that is fueled by gas. One advantage is that you can fire up your pit in an instant.
Not only can fire pits add warmth and depth to your patio’s hardscaping, but it also creates a collaborative social atmosphere– there’s nothing more nostalgic than roasting marshmellows or telling scary stories around the flickering blaze of a real fire.
There’s nothing that really outlines a space like adding coverage by way of roof or walls, such as a pergola. As LawnStarter says, “pergolas give that “room” feeling to an open space.” Adding in a pergola or retractable awning can definitely help curate a more suitable ambiance in the winter months. If you already have a covered patio, you can hang outdoor curtains to contain heat and to help keep out wind or rain. Hanging up curtains will also add a whimsical, potentially romantic look to your patio space, softening the corners and rigidness of hardscaping. With the selection of colors, patterns and styles, you won’t have to sacrifice your fashion sense to keep the patio warm!
4. Cozy Fabrics
Creating an extra comfortable outdoor space means adding textiles that will repel warmth from their materials. These textiles include getting cozy outdoor couches, warm blankets, and throw pillows—all items that you or guests can curl up on and into. A couch with cushy cushions and throw pillows sure beats your run-of-the-mill patio furniture. Have a stack of low-cost, but decorative, blankets on hand when additional warmth is needed.
5. Hot Tub or Spa
Relaxing in a steamy hot tub or in-ground spa feels great all year long, but in cold weather, the temperature difference can make it feel even better. Although, using it during the cool months may require a little preparation before stepping out into cold weather in a swimsuit. Keep snow and ice off the path to the tub and the top of your tub or the spa cover to make it accessible whenever you want to use it–plus, it will help keep heating costs down.
To experience ultimate luxury post jacuzzi bathing, keep a towel warmer next to the spa. It’s actually more practical than it sounds—a warm towel will keep your body temperature from dropping too quickly when you step from the tub.
6. Hot Beverages
Hot chocolate will always be the quintessential winter warm-up, why not be a bit more exciting? Take the time to create a personalized hot beverage that you, your family or guests can enjoy to help withstand the cool weather.
- Warm Mulled Cider – Simmer apple cider with mulling spices, orange zest, and ginger. It smells as good as it tastes.
- Mulled Wine With Cranberries – Simmer cranberry juice cocktail, cinnamon sticks and star anise for 15 minutes. Stir in the wine and cranberries and bring back to a simmer before serving.
- Warm Hazelnut Toddy – Stir hot water into Frangelico and spoon that dollop of whipped cream onto the top.
7. Winter Grilling
Grilled meats and kabobs don’t only have to be a summer food item, enjoy summertime barbeque inspired flavors in the winter months by utilizing your grill. For that matter, grilling can be done year-round, all you have to do is keep a pathway cleared if you’re in a location that experiences snowfall. You might want to move the grill closer to the house for the winter to save yourself some steps when it’s really bitter out.
If and when the temperatures are below freezing, it can take twice as long to preheat the grill and cook your food. Keep the lid closed as much as possible when cooking, the more often you open it the longer it will take due to the release of heat.
When preparing your home for winter, whether it be indoor or outdoor maintenance – save the storage time and carry summertime outdoor living over into the cooler months using these tips!
Source: CB Blue Matter