We all have been forced to stay indoors for almost more than a year now. Though until last year, it seemed like a good idea, people soon started to miss the active life and the liberty to step out. Social life also went for a toss, and we people started to experience setbacks. Stay indoors began taking a toll on people both mentally and physically.
Though the new year bought some amount of hope for a new beginning, the situation soon took a turn for the worst. With the rising caseload, the country is now experiencing a second wave of Covid-19. Blame it on the complacency of the government or the people, but we are back to where we started.
However, what is different this time is that we know better how things work. The pandemic has given us a chance to take a pause, and take a look at how our lives. For years, mankind has been busy hustling and living to make a living. But the pandemic has taught us that living doesn't necessarily mean sacrificing every living minute hustling. It means making more of the time we have and learning to appreciate life without the external world. It means being comfortable in our own space and making the most of the time we have with our immediate family and close ones.
But this feeling does not stop only at people around us, it goes rather beyond that. The space we live in also makes a lot of difference to how we feel while being confined indoors. Take the living room for example. Our living room is supposed to feel pleasant and lively. While our bedroom on the contrary should feel like a comfort zone that helps us unwind and relax. Especially when working from home, it is important to keep work away from the bedroom, to ensure that our work-life feels separated from our regular life. But how do we achieve this?
It is understandable that some of us might not have the luxury to dedicate a separate room for everything. But there is a science that goes into making our house more liveable.
Enter apartment therapy! Though it a relatively new concept, apartment therapy has gone into designing some of the best homes in the world. And while it might not be possible to redesign our complete homes during a pandemic. The Bridge Chronicle bring to you effective ways of rearranging your home to make it more positive.
Oxford Languages defines therapy as treatment intended to relieve or heal a disorder. And hence, we can categorise it as a means of bettering our mental and physical health by optimally using our living space. But no, you do not need a doctor but just small changes to your house.
The Bridge Chronicle spoke to Natasha Shah, the founder of Between Walls, an interior designing firm to understand apartment therapy better.
What is apartment therapy? The concept of Apartment therapy has never been more important than these unpredictable times of pandemic.
Just like our personal wellness like exercising, eating right, having a nutritious meal and a peaceful mind, Apartment therapy talks about having a joyful experience, healthy and slow living and a balanced environment to reside in. It is a wellness-focused interior design and is growing momentum. It makes you aware of your surroundings and influences one’s physical and emotional health. It is about making small changes/choices towards a healthier life and environment.
How does it affect our daily life?
Research says that on average one spend around 80-90 per cent of the time indoors. Be it at the office, in the house, at school/college/institute, or a gym, spa or yoga studio. We spend more times indoor than in the natural surroundings. One needs to be connected to nature as it inspires us and boost our productivity. We belong to nature but these days spend more time indoors. We need to create spaces that nourish our body and mind and contribute to a stronger sense of well being.
Between Walls is a Pune based interior design studio known for its aesthetics, detailing and craftsmanship. Founded in 2014 by Natasha, this full-service firm creates one-of-a-kind designs.
Why does it become important in situations like Covid-19, pandemic, lockdown? In a situation like a lockdown, we are indoors more than ever. It becomes very important to have an environment that makes us feel happy and at home. It has a psychological impact on us. As I mentioned earlier, just as we need to eat and exercise right, we also need to live right in a healthy atmosphere.
What are the mental health benefits of apartment therapy?
Apartment therapy would be different for every area. A study room, home office or kitchen has to be active and task-oriented and hence these areas should create such ambience. Whereas, a bedroom or living room needs to be warmer and welcoming and the area should be treated as such. If we fail to do so, we are just creating confusion within ourselves and this eventually affects our health. An extremely vibrant space will give a very contrasting experience that a space that is calmer and more zen. Every person relates to colours and textures differently and as designers very need to find the right balance between to two and create a space that is comfortable for the one’s residing in them.
How can one bring in small changes in the house to make their living spaces more therapeutic?
Clutter is very distractive and makes us feel tense. Organising it with storage cabinets, shelving, baskets, chest of drawers do wonders and make the space look neat. It is the first step that one should take.
Natural daylight is another very important aspect of a healthy space. If there is not sufficient daylight then the space looks dull and gloomy and so do the ones residing in them. The best way is to open up and let more natural light come in. If there is a constraint to this and the windows are smaller or few, one way to bring in light would be to use mirrors on the opposite walls. This trick would reflect sunlight and double up space. And a mirror on the wall is also a great add-on to the aesthetics. Also, proper artificial lighting plays an equally important role and affects our sleep.
Bringing in nature is like therapy. Planting and seeing them grow is meditative by itself. Seeing a plant bloom with the changing weather and growing each day makes us connect to them. Apart from planting, designs that connect us to nature are also important. Options like ensuring ventilation, wall textures etc also bring a sense of well being. It affects our concentration, inspires us and boosts our productivity.
Every space should shout out the personality of the user. It should reflect the type of life you want to lead. It has to be unique and surrounded by art that connects to the user. It could be as simple as a wall filled with personal pictures/travel picture, things that bring a smile to your face and dive you thru beautiful memories and the journey of your life.
Does apartment therapy affect our holistic wellbeing?
Yes, it does. The moment you have the above and a personal touch to space you feel at home and it would have a positive impact on our wellbeing.
It is hard to tell how long will we have to live through the pandemic. But it is natural to experience anxiety and fatigue as we go on endlessly living indoors, in constant fear of the virus. But to protect ourselves, we must stay indoors. And while we do that, let us ensure that our living space is a haven for our mental and physical health.