Simple Ways To “Ground” Yourself In Your Home

As an “armchair psychologist of the home” I believe that everything begins in the home – so much so that my design philosophy grew from this belief and so I approach each and every decorating job with this key premise.  No matter what we do or where we go in life, I believe how we act, react and interact in the outside world takes root from how we live in our homes.  To put it simply, how we live in our homes should “ground” us, giving us the foundation to make us emotionally and mentally stable to go out into the world.  This means your homespace is vital to your essence.

I have always been a lover of Nature.  Hiking, biking, camping, kayaking, horseback riding, spending time at the beach, boating, white water rafting or gardening – no matter what the venue, my most favorite times have been spent outdoors.  For me being outdoors was a pleasurable experience.  Only after some trauma-drama infiltrated my life several years ago did I understand the healing powers of Nature.  Nature is flat-out the best tonic out there.  Period.  With this revelation I consciously decided to bring nature into my home in every way that I could knowing that if it worked for me outdoors by golly, it would work indoors, too.

This newfound revelation also became an integral component to my design philosophy and ever since, I have incorporated elements of Nature into all my jobs albeit often in really subtle ways that are only picked up on subconscious levels.  This allows for “grounding” to occur.  I also share with my clients’ ways to infuse Nature in their homes themselves (after I leave their nests) and on a larger scale to audiences such as the readers of my blog as in my post, Two Colors Every Homespace Needs.

Think of bringing Nature into your homespace as being part of getting back to the basics of what the earth has given us, literally.  Call it “grass roots” decorating.  Or call it simplifying your décor.  Heck, you can even look at it as a version of what is called “earthing”, a fascinating concept of connecting with the earth in order to become more balanced.  Ironically, just the other day Susan Weems Muehl, LIPH’s Nature Photographer emailed me a bevy of new nature images (thank you dear friend) and also mentioned that she was practicing the concepts of earthing.  No doubt about it, Susan and I are birds of a feather flocking together!  Both of us absolutely positively get the importance of nature and the earth’s connection to our bodies.  (With all due respect, “earthing” is more about physically being grounded; I am merely relating it to your home and how to bring Nature into your space.  To learn more about “earthing,” read the book, Earthing-The most important health discovery ever? Or go to www.earthing.com as well. )  Whatever you choose to call bringing Nature indoors, just do it.  Here are some simple, sure fire ways:

  • Decorate your home with found things in nature
  • Open up the windows and let fresh air into your home
  • Decorate with live plants, wildflowers and aromatic herbs
  • Pay attention to the seasons and honor them in your décor
  • When building, purchasing or moving into a new home, choose a home that offers you plenty of natural light (sunshine is healing)

Like many of us, I have times I’m in a real funk. I was in one recently for more days than I’d care to admit to.  Focusing too much attention on issues I had no control over and magnifying issues tenfold in my mind had gotten the better of me and quite frankly, I didn’t even find myself good company.  It’s a darn good thing my David had been traveling during this funk or he would have been rolling his eyes at me constantly, ignoring me or worst yet, pulling out his gorgeous silver hair over my attitude.  While in my funk my niece, Marli called me to chat and just my tone of voice when I answered her call made her aware that something was amiss.  I ended up telling her about my seemingly endless days of funk and she listened attentively.  Then she disrupted my pity party by saying, “Aunt Jamie, do what you always say to do.  Go to the woods.  Go to Nature.  Let it restore you.”  Whoa, was she preaching to me what I always preach?  Yep, she sure was.  And guess what?  I took her up on it.  I got off the phone and headed to the woods.  I simply needed an extra large dose of Nature’s medicine – more than my usual daily amount!  I walked and I walked, breathing in all the wonderful smells of Nature as I viewed the changing fall scenery.  So long funk. So long pity pot.  Nature restoreth my soul and I returned home more in tune with the earth.  I filled my lungs with the scent of fresh lavender on the counter.  I enjoyed watering all my plants.  I paid attention to the breeze coming through my opened windows and reveled in the sounds of nature I could hear coming into my home.  Later, as I readied for bed, I felt free of much of my recent anxiety and internally thanked Marli for her advice.

I believe that we all must singly as well as collectively connect or reconnect with Nature in order to truly be balanced and healthy. Infusing elements of the natural world in your home helps to accomplish this and is the single best way to ground yourself.  Remember to bring Nature indoors.  It might seem simple but simple’s good right?  And it might be a small step compared to the “barefoot steps” of earthing but by doing this you will give yourself gifts of healing that only Nature can provide.

To Nature…

Aromatherapy In Your Home

Antique recipe book

Mom’s first recipe book

Consider this recipe that I recently found in my mother’s decrepit family recipe book:

Peppermint Oil – To stop vomiting, saturate a cloth in peppermint oil and lay it across the bare stomach.

Amazing isn’t it?  I am guessing this recipe dates back to the early 1900’s  as it is from my great-grandmother, Ma’am Beech’s original recipe book passed down through the family.  It later became part of my mother’s first recipe book as a young woman in the 1940’s.

Pure peppermint oil placed on the stomach to soothe discomfort!  It sure beats all the commercial medicinal treatments by a mile!

Buckeye butterfly on flowers

Photo credit: Susan Muehl

My friend and colleague, Jannette Semenic (well educated in the field of aromatherapy) told me one way she uses peppermint oil.  She said, “I use peppermint oil as a natural breath freshener.  I simply dab a few drops of the oil on my tongue”.  It certainly makes you wonder why we all buy Tic-Tacs and Lifesavers that are full of ingredients we don’t need in our bodies.  Jannette knows that the simplicity of what nature has to offer us is the best tonic for us.

A history of essential oils

Natural oils are derived from flowers, leaves,  the bark of trees, roots and any other part of a plant or tree that has medicinal properties.

From the earliest of times, oils have been used for medicinal purposes.  In fact, as far back as 4500 B.C. there are historical records of the use of essential oils.  Furthermore, the Bible is full of notations about herbs and essential oils.  Considered mankind’s first resource for medicinal purposes,  oils were at one time even more precious than gold.

Essential oils in modern times

Purple wildflowers

Photo credit: David Solganik

Today, essential oils can be found in many of the products we commonly use on a daily basis.  I for one think retailers and corporate America have manipulated us with these products  because in truth they rarely contain much of the essence of the plant from which they originate.  Yet, we spend endless amounts of money on these new products every single day knowing full well they often contain a mere smidgen of nature’s gold.  Amazing.

Here’s an example- one day recently I was really missing my precious little granddaughter, Ansley (you know, God’s Littlest Angel) and so instead of using my normal hand lotion, I used a lotion I have for when she visits.  It is a product for babies.  It is meant as a calming lotion for bedtime and has the words lavender and vanilla on the front of the bottle.  Not to discount this product but, in reading the list of ingredients there is no mention of what percentage of oils this product contains.  So, how much calming from the lavender and vanilla is really going on?  Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?  Why not simply put a dish of fresh lavender in the baby’s room?  Or diffuse through the air a mixture of distilled water and organic lavender oil prior to bedtime?

Using essential oils in a form such as a diffuser is one form of Aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy is the practice of using natural oils to enhance both physical and psychological well-being.  As I said in a recent post, The Smell Test, the number one crucial ingredient required to make your homespace beautiful is a wonderful smell.  Seriously, the nose knows and the brain remembers.

Soothing the energy of your space with fragrance

Busy bee

Photo credit: Susan Muehl

Smells can transport you to other times in your life.   How many times do you smell something and immediately connect it to a memory of something?  My friend, Jannette and I were talking about this.  She told me how she always remembers going to her grandmother’s home and seeing fresh orange peel hanging in the kitchen.  To this day she uses essential oils such as tangerine to transport her back in time to being with her grandmother.  Talk about creating warm fuzzies!

For years as a young mother I had a special pot I used to keep fresh cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg in on the stove.  I would keep the pot of spices (in water) on a low simmer so that the wonderful aromas of these spices would fill the air. This was my first use of aromatherapy to create beauty in my home.

Wyndmere Ultrasonic Nebulizer

My Wyndmere Nebulizer

Now, I use a nebulizer for diffusing essential oils into the air.  After having tried several, I have settled on one that works best for me.  It is manufactured by a company called Wyndmere and can be bought in stores or online.  Every single day I use it in my home office to bring fragrance and medicinal therapy to the air.  All essential oils have specific benefits to them.  My choices of which oils I use each day are for whichever benefit I am aiming for.  (You can bet if I am working late in the evening at my desk I have a mixture of lavender and lime in the nebulizer filling the air to prepare me for a restful night!)

Essential oils can do wonders for our homes and our bodies.  Absolutely, positively I believe they have medicinal benefits.  Look for future posts about specific oils such as Lavender, Lemon, Sandalwood, Lime, Frankincense and my favorite, Fragonia by Wisdom of the Earth.  In these posts I will give you an explanation of their uses and benefits.  I hope you enjoy learning about them and decide to infuse your home with oils yourself.  I cannot stress enough the restorative powers nature has for us in essential oils.

Go for the gold

Using essential oils is one way to honor yourself and your homespace.  Simply by infusing oils in the air you can manipulate the energy around you.  You can change negativity, lower stress and restore harmony.

Nature's wondrous scents

Photo credit: Susan Muehl

Also, by using oils that evoke good memories attached to them, you continue to create an atmosphere of good feelings.  In this busy, busy world we live in we want our homes to create a sanctuary of calm for us to surround ourselves with.  Pleasing fragrances are certainly one way to help.

Using essential oils to beautify your home is also being kind to the earth.  Keeping things as pure and simple as possible is living with global consciousness in my book.  I believe that as part of humanity we must both singly and collectively connect with nature.  Using 100% natural oils in your home is one step in this direction.

Yep, essential oils are liquid gold – for many, many reasons.   Beautify your home with the aroma of nature.

Go for the gold…

“Always remember, there is nothing better for your home than a breath of fresh air.  Occasionally open your windows and let nature inside!”