You + Nature = A Healthy Home
by Laurel James
My name is Laurel. My parents named me after an oak tree, and yes, I love trees! In my formative years, I had the privilege of growing up on Tampa Bay here in Florida and spending my summers at my grandparent’s farm in the mountains of North Carolina.
As I became a young adult, I loved to study, create art and photograph nature, while hiking in the mountains. My mom would mention that, when I came back from the farm, all I did was take pictures of trees, flowers, waterfalls and an occasional black bear sighting. I was so immersed in nature that I felt at home there, connected and peaceful, filled with wonderment for the world. In my 30s, I didn't get outdoors as much in my everyday world because I was busy guiding and supporting my clients as an interior designer. However, I remembered how nature and beauty had influenced me in the past.
Incorporating what my clients loved from the natural world was a key factor in the design process as they moved through a life change. After years of designing, I moved through a life transition of my own, so I took a deeper look at the universal principles I had helped my clients walk through in their home designs. I found there are certain tools which can help us move through this fast-paced, technologically advanced world.
From these thoughts, came a book I titled Interiorology: How to Create a Living Space that Reflects the True You. It is a simple book to start the process of transforming your home in order to support who you are becoming as you transition through life. One of the principles from the book is how to connect and remember what you love in nature, then bring it into your home and lifestyle to flourish.
There are two ways to support a healthy home in this regard. The first is to connect with the outdoors in your everyday life, as the mind, body and environment are all interconnected. When we breathe fresh air, our thinking is clearer, and when we stretch or move, our minds and emotions feel lighter. My father in-law was an orthopedic surgeon, and he would often quip that “motion is lotion.”
Where are places you can go outside to move, breathe, walk, bike or practice yoga? Visit a park and walk under the trees. I heard recently that a new trend (backed by scientific and psychological studies) “taking a forest bath” can reduce stress and health issues. How about our beautiful beaches? Did you know that our heartbeats take on whatever sounds we hear? Imagine what positive effects the ocean waves must have on our emotions and bodies.
The second way to support a healthy home is by bringing nature into the living space. What natural elements do you love? Think of your five senses and how you could bring them into your living space. For example, consider smell which is our first sense coming into any environment. What aromas can support your mood? How can you improve air quality?
Live plants bring in oxygen and are a natural air filter. Pure therapeutic grade essential oils can support your mood and health. Consider the whole foods you enjoy eating and integrate them into every meal. What colors or textures do you enjoy looking at from the outdoors, and how can you bring them into your living space? What do you love to touch? What kind of natural sounds invigorate or relax you?
When we connect with nature in our lifestyles, we root ourselves to the earth that sustains us. It can maintain our physical, mental and emotional selves by providing the elements we need to thrive. Like the roots of a tree, our homes encourage us to grow with new possibilities when we incorporate what we love about outdoors into our lifestyles. Just as a flower needs the right environment to bloom, we need the right living space in which to flourish.
Laurel teaches monthly workshops at Four Pillars in Lakewood Ranch. On May 2, noon, she will lead an Aromatherapy Kundalini yoga class for the Chakras. On May14, 7 p.m., she will lead a Mixology night, featuring mixed drinks made with healthy essential oils. On May 17, she will lead her Interiology workshop, helping attendees discover how to clear and design their homes to bring in nature and reflect their true selves. Participants will learn how and why to choose the right colors and textures in a home environment.
Laurel James is a National Interior Designer and author of Interiorology (mind, body and home wellness). She is an Essential Oil Wellness Advocate who loves to bring nature into living spaces to help her clients’ flourish in their environments and lives. In addition, she is a Kundalini Yoga Instructor (as taught by Yogi Bhajan). Four Pillars is located at 8209 Natures Way, Suite 221, Lakewood Ranch. For more information, call 941-373-3955, email [email protected] or visit FourPillarsFlorida.com.