Home + Health 1

Jun 17, 2021

interiors, living, wellness

Home + Health 1:
Home is a Feeling

An Intro to the Home + Health Series

When studying at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to become a health coach, I learned the IIN Circle of Life. This is key in their holistic health approach. It is a pie divided into twelve sections, each representing a different area of your life. There are a few you would expect, like physical activity and home cooking, but one of them is the home environment. This is one you may not have anticipated. 

IIN Circle of Life

As an interior designer, I work with clients to make their homes more beautiful. However, the most critical questions I seek are to make their home more functional for them. Balancing form and function is key! For example, on discovery calls, my questions include, “do you have pets? do you have kids?” These answers dictate the design and intent in creating an environment that functions better for my client. I see the relief and hopefulness from my clients as their space transforms. So to me, the home environment as a factor in your health was not that surprising. I’ve seen the connection. This article is the first of a series that will help those that feel a disconnection between health and home find the importance of the link.

What Does Home Mean to You?

Let’s start with the cliche… “what does home mean to you?” This is actually something that has been on my heart lately, especially since March, as we were packing up our apartment in Richmond getting ready to live in other people’s homes for the foreseeable future. In case you don’t know, we currently live in Airbnbs. We move about every month. As we were packing and getting ready to leave, I was towards the end of my health coaching certification.

I was in a phone call session where I had to “play client,” and a classmate was health coaching me. My classmate asked me what was weighing on me during this chapter of change. Since I was in packing mode– literally actively putting my things into cardboard boxes while I had the call playing in my headphones. I answered with “the idea of not having a home.” In a very health coach manner, my classmate followed with, “well, what does home actually mean to you?”

I loved our Richmond apartment and was sad to leave it. If we had stayed in Richmond, we would have continued to live there. It was from 1920 and had ten-foot ceilings and enormous windows that brought in the best light, plus a clawfoot tub! All the 1920s charm. It was the first place my fiance and I had lived together, where we learned how much fun it was to live with your best friend. It was where we brought home our puppy and the only home he ever knew. I had put in the energy to decorate it, and we had it functioning effectively for us and our lifestyle.

Home is a Feeling

When my classmate asked me what home meant to me, I knew where she was going with this… it’s where I would have gone with a client. I had to take the material element out of it. It wasn’t the great morning light and our clawfoot tub. Boiled down, home to me is my partner and our dog. It is when our dog wakes up every morning and stretches out and we both say, “biiiig stretch.” I knew that Taylor and River would be there at every place to make it feel homey, but I needed a way to make the new physical location feel more like home. 

I’m a visual person– can’t you tell? My surroundings do matter to me. The morning light that came in through our six-foot windows was definitely a mood booster for me. So besides my partner and our dog, what in my surroundings brought me joy? To think about this, I did an exercise that I do with my clients sometimes (health coaching and interiors!). 

Your Dream Day

Think of your dream day. For this, make it an average dream day. (You aren’t waking up on the coast of France on a yacht with breakfast in bed) We are thinking of our house and its functioning, so imagine waking up in your home. Picture it in your head. Be specific. When you are thinking of your morning coffee (matcha for me!), is it already in the fridge waiting for you, or do you enjoy the ritual of actively making it in the morning? What container is it in? Are you drinking from a glass mug because you like seeing the rich color or a cup with a colorful pattern you love?

You know going on a walk gets you in the right headspace before work, but you also know if your clothes aren’t laid out the night before, you won’t go for that walk. So, your clothes are laid out. But where are they laid out? It is probably not on the bed because you just slept in it or on the floor because you don’t want your dog to steal your socks… anyone else have this issue? It needs to be on something. So, you have a small stool at the foot of your bed with your clothes on top. That cute little accent stool has a purpose. Without that stool, you may not lay out your clothes, so you may not go on your morning walk that helps you get in a refreshed mindset for the day. That little stool matters more than just aesthetics.

Now, for my situation, I wasn’t going to bring a stool with me to every Airbnb, but it is essential that in the new place that I find a place to lay out my clothes because that leads to me going on my walk and getting into a good headspace before work. And I did bring my glass mug! I love seeing the green of the matcha. However, if you are likely the majority that does indeed have a stable home and you just realized that not having a place to layout your clothes is keeping you from a morning walk, it’s time you get yourself a stool! Maybe even a tiny ottoman that opens, and you keep your walking shoes in it? Now, that is functional design. Oh, and it is also a connection between your health and your home– told ya I’d prove they were connected. 

The “imagine your dream day exercise” is something I recommend everyone does from time to time. Talk out loud and if possible, share it with someone so they can help break it down into actionable steps (that is where a health coach can help!). At Deerly, we are all about living a life by design and making your dream life a reality. Imagining that dream life is the first step in making it a reality. See what little changes you can make to find the alignment between your dream and reality.

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