As a self-proclaimed overachieving stress-head, I’m no stranger to the odd guided meditation session. However, since flying the coop, I’ve come to appreciate that your space, whether it’s a room in your parent’s house, a corner of shared accommodation, or a place of your very own, is sacred. This precious space can provide some much needed tranquillity for the grind of a part-time working, full-time studying, social life having and fitness maintaining, modern student. Tried and tested (and tested and tested), here are some ways to bring some Zen into your space.
If you happen to spend a lot of time alone, like me, then you’ll probably have also found yourself in a relationship with music. Music is hands down my go-to way of alleviating loneliness and putting a spring in my sleep-deprived step. My favourite album to cook, eat, sway and study to right now is Scenery by Emily King. Oh and even if you’re not musically gifted, having an instrument around to tinker with is literally Zen on strings. Experiment with the notes of your musically talented housemate’s ukulele or harmonica … just don’t tell your neighbours it was my idea.
Natural light: it makes flowers bloom and birds sing, so there’s no surprise it’s a real mood booster for us humans. Allow the sun into your space and feel positively invigorated for it. Alas, at this time of the year old mate sunshine doesn’t seem to want to spend as much time with us, and for that we have the humble (and affordable) salt lamp. Let the crystallised honey-orange glow become your very own makeshift sun. Whether or not you buy into the associated health benefits of this Himalayan creation, it’s deffo a must-have addition to your calm. I don’t think I’ve turned mine off since May 2017. Hello ambiance.
You know who loves catching dem rays as much as us? Our foliage friends … so next time you’re at your local market or Bunnings, why not snatch up a five-dollar succulent? I promise the accomplishment of nourishing life into your friend will make you hella happy. There’s definitely some truth to all that our primary school teachers told us about plants using carbon dioxide to release oxygen. Yay photosynthesis. Though I warn you, plants and tattoos have one thing in common: they’re mighty addictive. I hereby challenge you to transform your space into a whimsical bohemian minimalist sanctuary.
I think it has become rather apparent that engaging the senses is a crucial part of that Zen life. When we’re consciously in tune with our senses we have a deeper awareness of our surroundings and investing in an essential oil diffuser is a great way to achieve this. My diffuser is absolutely my best friend and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Her name is Jasmine and she Netflixes and (literally) chills with me, sleeps next to me and gets ready with me. Quite the intimate relationship isn’t it? Look, if my crippled finances weren’t that of a struggling uni student, then I’d for sure have an oil diffuser in every room. Get yourself faithful Jasmine and feed her with lavender oil to chillax in times of stress or peppermint oil to energise when that mid-semester lethargy strikes.
You’d be surprised how much more inclined you are to a downward dog or two when your yoga mat has a permanent home on the floor. Turns out the gruelling effort of reaching to the depths of your wardrobe and contending with a film of dust and cobwebs is enough to deter you from unrolling that ancient artefact, I mean, yoga mat … who knew. So leave it out, perhaps by a window, and start your day cross-legged on your yoga mat, basking in the sun with breakfast (yes, students, breakfast).
This is a place for you to be unapologetically you. A place for you to ponder, rest, reflect, smile, cry, love and just be. Things to include in your cosy corner: throw rug, books, herbal tea, travel trinkets, photos, artwork, chocolate, candles, quotes and anything that brings you clarity of mind. Basically this is a space to engage your senses and surround yourself with stuffs that make you feel good.
Words by Zoe Kassiotis
Illustration by Dessy Georgescu