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Ariel Emrani

Home is a Sanctuary

A sanctuary is defined as “a place of refuge or safety.” When you are in your own home, you should feel safe and protected, away from the stresses of life. Creating a peaceful home is more than designing a comfortable space. It means shutting out the noise and confusion of the outside world to rest and restore. 

Set Aside the Stresses of the Day

When you return home after a long day at work, try to set aside the stresses of the day. Clicking on the news is typically a poor way to restore your energy, and in fact, could increase anxiety, as you will hear about every alarming thing that has happened on the planet that day. It is good to be informed, of course, but consuming news can increase stress, rather than giving your mind and body the rest it needs. It is unfortunate, but news outlets rarely report good news. It may be surprising to discover how much better you feel after being screen-free for several hours! 

Turn off the Screen

Rather than turning on the news, take a walk, read a book, cook a healthy meal, or have conversations with the people you care about. Disconnect mentally from your work, put your phone down, and do something you enjoy. Everyday tasks such as gardening, cleaning, laundry, cooking, and organizing can be surprisingly therapeutic!

Our homes should help us stay sane in a crazy world. Creating a sanctuary home is more than interior design – it is a vibe you infuse into the space. A sensation of peace and serenity is enhanced by interior design, but it all starts with you and what you decide to do with your free time.

Venture Out

It can be a good idea to take a long walk at the end of the day to breathe fresh air, exercise your muscles, and wash away the stresses of work. Rainy? Time to pull out your rain boots and grab an umbrella. Snow? Enjoy the fluff of the white stuff before it turns into muddy slush, with warm boots, a hat, and cozy mittens. A walk outdoors restores your enthusiasm for life and can remind you that the world is a beautiful place.

The Scents of Home

What is more enticing than smelling a delicious dinner cooking on the stove, or the scent of cookies, muffins, or another treat baking in the oven? Your feelings of peace and serenity come through all your senses, including the sense of smell. The scent of a bouquet of roses, or the fresh air of the garden drifting through an open window can help inspire feelings of wellbeing. 

Enjoy the Journey of Life

We could take guidance from cultures like Japan, where the seasons are celebrated, and the worship of the natural world is part of everyday life. Every meal is prepared with care and is a feast to both the eyes and the palate. Nothing is wrong about grabbing a burger and fries, but there is something truly rewarding about creating a recipe at home, sitting down with your loved ones, and enjoying the food, the give and take of conversation, and a sense of relaxation and wellbeing. We all need a sanctuary, whether we find it in our homes, our gardens, on a hike, or whatever we choose to experience a sense of peace.

Exercise…. Love it or Hate it

Exercise is easy when it just happens, such as when you are hiking a glorious mountain trail, walking through the park, dancing, or swimming. More focused traditional exercise, performed indoors, is a little more challenging. Thankfully, the more you do it, the easier it gets, and the more you can enjoy the process. 

Yoga

Yoga is great for flexibility, core strength, muscle tone, balance, and improving your overall energy. The exercises can be traced back to India more than 5,000 years ago. With varying beliefs about the origin of the practice, there is no question that yoga is good for the body! The discipline of moving through the series of poses stretches all the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, enhances overall core strength, and as a side benefit, gives you a better night’s sleep.

Pilates

Pilates is named after its inventor, Joseph Pilates. Mr. Pilates was born in Germany and then moved to Britain. In WWI, he was interned by the British, as an “enemy alien.” His internment was the beginning of the development of the Pilates techniques. He was serving as a nurse and began attaching springs to hospital beds to help his patients restore muscle strength and tone when they were restricted to a bed. The very first version of the reformer was a sliding bed. 

When the war came to an end, Mr. Pilates worked with movement pioneers such as Rudolph Laban, known for developing the dance notation used in choreography. The Pilates reformer was born, which he called “the apparatus.” He opened his first studio in America in 1923, which soon became popular with the well-known dancers of the time, including Martha Graham and George Balanchine, followed by hordes of others. Originally, Pilates was called “Contrology.” It builds long, lean muscles rather than bulk – the ideal exercise for dancers – and ideal for anyone who wants strength without bulky muscles. 

Barre

Another favorite exercise is Barre – a combination of ballet, yoga, and Pilates. A low impact technique, it strengthens the body, increases physical agility, flexibility, and is a muscle endurance style workout. Small motions work to sculpt and strengthen various body areas, including arms, butt, legs, and core. Every Barre studio is slightly different, but you can trust that by the end of the workout, you feel it. 

A Long Walk

Walking is an ideal exercise as it gets you out of doors to enjoy the sights of your local neighborhood, a park, along a river path, or wherever you choose. Depending on where you live, at some times of year it could be too hot, too cold, raining, or snowing. When the conditions are right, strolling around the local neighborhood to walk the dog is low impact, doesn’t cost anything, and no equipment required. You can take it to the next level with a power walk, swinging your arms and moving at a faster pace, or walking with wrist and ankle weights. One person who loves a walk is Frankie, my French bulldog.