We’re often interested in creating a beautiful space for rest with cozy bedding, neatly arranged throw pillows, and perhaps some relaxing artwork on the walls. While it is important to have a space that feels wonderful and soothing, it is also very important to look into those areas you don’t immediately see.
The space under the bed has become a space where often times people store unimportant items and clutter. While at first thought it may make sense for storage, this can pose major problems for sleep.
What is under your bed?
I used to struggle with sleep as a teenager. Under my bed I’d store magazines. I used to LOVE magazines, especially Seventeen! I’d keep them and pull them out all the time to look through the clothes, hairstyles and more. At the time I also really struggled with self-image. I find it interesting now to think that I was literally spending hours lying on top of pictures and images that I thought to be ideal and who I wished I was.
“Megan”, a client asked me to help with her bedroom as she was struggling with sleep. She described her difficulty falling asleep and how she'd lie there for hours with her minding spinning circles. I couldn't wait to see what was under her bed. After digging out the boxes under the bed we discussed what exactly was being stored here. It was filled with photos and magazine clippings that she'd planned to keep and also to organize as well as books she had planned to read. You see, she was sleeping on top of a “to-do” list of items. It’s no wonder that she struggled to fall asleep.
If you must store something under your bed, it is always my recommendation to store only extra bedding here. An extra pillow or additional blanket for a cold night would be fine. Beyond that, I recommend you keep the area empty and clean. Also, touch base every few months to clean or vacuum under the bed too.
Wishing you a restful night's sleep!
It’s that time of year. We’re buying the big bird, planning our side dishes and pulling out the nice wine glasses. It’s a time to gather with our family and friends, share food and be grateful.
Gratitude is powerful. By showing gratitude you literally tell the universe that you’re ready for more. Are you ready for more?
In your home specifically you can show gratitude. There are many things you can do to show your home that you’re grateful for a place to rest your head and stay warm on cold winter nights. Of course, filling it with pumpkin pie and laughter on a holiday is a great way to show love, but if you’re ready for more, below are my three tips to show your home gratitude.
1. Give your home a new plant or bouquet of flowers
This is especially wonderful if you’re ready to embark on a new path or routine. This gesture brings in the wood element of Feng Shui and will signify to your home that you’re ready for this…bring it on! If you know me well, you know that I gift me home with a new bouquet of flowers each week. Always something to match the season and always beautiful.
2. Fill your kitchen with healthy food including fresh fruits and vegetables
Sure, we buy the delicious food for family dinners, but its important to keep healthy food in your pantry all the time, and not just bags of potato chips. Better yet, add a bowl of colorful fruit to your countertop for good energy in the kitchen.
3. Hang seasonal décor on your front door
Add a beautiful wreath or seasonal “welcome” sign on your front door to invite energy in. Make sure that you change it out and that you keep it in good shape. All summer I had a spider living in my door wreath and every day I had to go clean off the cobwebs. Not only am I happy that winter arrived and the spider moved away, but I was able to make a new winter wreath for my door that I simply love!
These are all simple tasks that can really make a difference. Show some gratitude and your home will be sure to fill your life up with wonderful things.
I love adding plants into nearly every room. Not only do they look lovely and help cleanse the air, but plants connect with the Wood Element of Feng Shui. This brings our spaces an energy of new beginnings, renewal, and moving forward. Starting a new job, beginning a health routine or experimenting with a new hobby? Adding a plant to your space will assist you in these types of endeavors. Take this energy to a whole new level by adding a crystal to your plant. They make a powerful pair! Need help selecting a plant? (Read this here)
I always recommend that you select a crystal that you simply find to be calling to you. Nothing saying “pick-me”? No worries, here are a few suggestions.
Rose Quartz – the ultimate love and compassion stone. Adding this stone to your plant can bring you more self-love or a loving partner.
Citrine – If looking for wealth and abundance this stone is ideal to add to your plant. It will also bring you happiness and positivity.
Fluorite – Excellent stone for balance and grounding, great if you’re looking to grow a meditation/yoga practice or if you’re looking to grow creatively.
Sodalite – This stone is ideal if you’ll be adding this plant to your office or a space where you work and focus. Sodalite also protects against EMFs (Electromagnetic Frequencies).
Enjoy playing with these two beautiful pieces of nature. Also, please share in the comments if you have a favorite plant/crystal combination.
Have you smudged with sage and made that face? You know…that face…where you scrunch it up as if you’ve smelled something not-so-delicious. Well...sage may not be for you my friend. Plenty of people really love the scent, but, it is just not for everyone. If you’re not a fan, don’t fret and just burn it anyway. You should smudge with something that feels and smells good to you. When smudging you want to cleanse the space but also infuse your space with goodness and you won't be able to do that when not enjoying the scent.
Here are a four great options:
Sweetgrass: I’m starting off with this as its probably my favorite. It just smells like the earth and to me, smells like our family farm in Iowa. Often times at Good Chi events, I’ll introduce customers to this and they LOVE it too.
Cedar: Yep, from a cedar tree. This one appeals to a lot of people too. If you like the smell of a cedar tree or even a cedar closet than you should try this one.
Palo Santo: This is also another very fragrant burnable. It does not come in dried leaf form like the items above, yet an actual stick of the wood from this South American tree. It burns just like the other items though, light an end on fire, it will extinguish itself and then use the aromatic smoke to waft throughout your space.
Lavender: You probably know the scent of lavender. Perhaps you’re a fan of lavender essential oil like I am. Did you know that you can smudge with it as well? Due to it being a rather small plant you’ll typically see lavender added to another plant. It’s pretty common to have sprigs of lavender in a sage bundle. I like to sprinkle some dried lavender in a bowl of dried cedar for a special aroma.
Now you're probably wondering where do you snag these items. You can easily find them online from various online retailers, however, we always recommend you purchase from someone you know and trust.
Here’s a link to these items from Good Chi. Feel free to make your own blend of aromatics and enjoy and allow them to cleanse your space.
Have more questions? Reach out!
Do you toss and turn at night? It can be beyond frustrating to lie there and you just can’t fall asleep. You try rolling over, then fluffing the pillow, adjusting blankets and… nothing! Maybe you’re the type that your mind is racing. You’re thinking of your “to-do” list for tomorrow and all the items you missed completing today. Trust me I understand. I’ve struggled myself with sleep off and on. Anytime I feel this, I do a review of my bedroom. What is it that’s preventing me from sound sleep?
In the list below I highlight my top 6 Things Preventing You from Restful Sleep. I have found these to be some of the top culprits. Before bed tonight I invite you to take inventory of your space too.
6 Things Preventing You from Restful Sleep
1. Bedding - Do you feel just oh-so comfortable when climbing into bed? If your bed is lumpy and old or pillows are the thickness of pancakes, you’re definitely not going to get a great nights sleep. Begin by thinking about HOW you sleep. Are you a side sleeper? Back or belly sleeper? Be sure to have pillows and a mattress good for your sleep style. Regarding the bed linens, I always recommend that you buy the best that you can afford. Get bedding that feels REALLY GOOD when you climb in. You’re spending hours in the same space. Would you buy the cheapest pair of shoes if you knew you’d be walking in them for 6+ hours a day?
2. Lighting – Lighting in your space can greatly affect your sleep. Is there a blue glow from an alarm clock? Maybe a red blinking light of a television in the corner? These both can prevent you from sleeping. Turn the clock so it is not facing you. You can even place a small piece of black tape over a blinking light too. If the moonlight or nearby streetlights affect your sleep look into room darkening or blackout blinds or shades.
3. Sounds – If you’re not a deep sleeper and sounds keep you awake, consider a sound machine. Years ago, we lived on a rather busy street and every Saturday night I’d be woken up at 2AM by motorcycles speedy by. Even though I began to know it was coming, it would startle me awake and then I couldn’t return to sleep. Some white noise in the background can make a huge difference if you live in a noisy area or on a busy street.
4. Textures – What textures feel good to you? Consider textures of your bedding, décor and even pajamas. Make sure they’re all a material that feel good. Natural bamboo bedding is really comfortable. Hemp sheets are also gaining in popularity and I also know of a company that makes comforters using milk week in place of down for those that are sensitive. Search out natural materials and textures that feel cozy and you’re sure to melt into bed.
5. Colors – Of course colors are important! You can find a Pinterest post of soothing bedroom colors almost daily. In Feng Shui we like to use colors that are either close to your skin tone or colors that compliment the bedroom placement in a Bagua Map. Either way, opt for a soft and soothing hue. Neon’s and bold reds are not the best when trying to rest.
6. Cell Phones/Tablets – Many people admit that the first and last things they look at each day are their cell phones. While it may be fun to read on a tablet or play a game on your phone just before turning the lights off, I encourage you to do this much earlier in the evening. I recommend to my clients that they have at least 1 hour between screen time and sleep. The lights and sounds of our phones in combination with keeping your brain active up until sleep time is not so great at helping you wind down at the end of a day.
Bonus: Here’s my bonus for a great night’s sleep. Before going to bed take a yoga pose called Legs Up the Wall or Viparita Karani. This is a restorative yoga pose that I do almost every night before bed. I also often cue this pose at the end of a yoga class to help everyone relax before the final resting pose. To do Legs Up the Wall, you simply lie down and take your legs straight up the wall with your back and head resting on the floor. Your body will form the letter “L”. Don’t worry about your body making a perfect L, just move your bum and hips somewhat close to the wall. I do this right in bed by turning around and placing my legs against the headboard and wall behind. This way I easily spin around and hardly have to move between the pose and getting snuggled in bed. This pose is wonderful to help the body relax and prepare for sleep. Try it out for a week by spending 10 minutes in this pose just before bed!
You’ve probably seen this symbol in artwork, décor and even jewelry. It was trendy in the 90’s even though many of us hadn’t a clue what it meant. I remember even having a necklace because it was the “cool thing” at the time. Now in my work I use this concept daily and I’m pleased to share a brief introduction with you.
Often times, you’ll find the symbol referred to as a “Yin/Yang Symbol”, however it actually is called Taijitu and has been around for thousands of years. This concept of Chinese philosophy serves as what I’ll call the “groundwork” for Feng Shui. Some items in your space are more Yang while others are more Yin. A dark cozy bedroom room is more Yin, while a bright colorful game room is more Yang. Harmonizing Yin/Yang along with having an understanding of the purpose of the room helps us create a balanced feeling or good Feng Shui.
Here’s what Dictionary.com says:
yin and yang
noun (used with a singular or plural verb)
(in Chinese philosophy and religion) two principles, one negative, dark, and feminine (yin), and one positive, bright, and masculine (yang), whose interaction influences the destinies of creatures and things.
Taijitu represents two halves which are complimentary opposites, equaling a whole. My teacher explained it to me like this: Without daylight we would not have nighttime, without hot there would be no cold, or death there can be no life. Make sense?
This symbol shows two large halves with a small touch of the other (small circles). This represents how even something that is mostly yin still has aspects of yang and the same with the opposite. Both halves are ever changing.
To clarify this concept further, I dug through some saved YouTube videos and found a favorite. I think you’ll like it too:
When writing my blog posts, I often try to write them like I’m talking to a friend (Well, because many of you are friends). My goal is to share information in an easy to read, fun manner and to help convey that altering your space does not have to be intimidating, hard or even time consuming. You probably find my writing to be playful and generally lighthearted. However, recently I’ve been reading many articles about clutter and its affects on mental health. This is serious. As someone who as dealt with mental health issues I feel as though this topic needs a more serious tone. I reached out to a friend and expert to get her take and advice on not only clutter and its affects on your mental health, but also her personal thoughts as a mom. Enjoy and should you need any help, Rebecca’s contact information is below.
Guest Post by: Rebecca M. Kondrich LISW, CHt
Greetings: My name is Rebecca Kondrich and I am a Licensed Independent Social Worker. I opened my private practice in November of 2017 and couldn’t be happier. My work is fulfilling and enriching. When I am not working, I am Mom to a spirited and bright 5-year-old daughter. She challenges and stretches me to grow every day!
I have always had a very deep experience of my physical and energetic surroundings. The presence of natural light, organization, clutter, and open space deeply impacts my mood. I move from at peace to tense and anxious depending upon the space I inhabit.
Through my work but more in the experience of motherhood I have become aware of the role of clutter on mental health. I now work with Mothers experiencing similar in my private practice. I work with women empowering them to reconnect with their intuition and empower them to follow their hearts. I’ve created an office that supports my personal development and allows me to connect meaningfully with others. I have studied yoga, meditation, mindfulness as well as social work creating the foundation for my work. My personal experience has also deeply transformed the way I guide others.
Looking around a room.
Pans on the stove
As my eyes scan the room this is all the sensory info I am taking in and my heart starts to PANIC.
The anxiety starts in my chest, heart rate quickens. Breathing becomes shallow and hurried. My eyes don’t know where to settle and all the information coming in screams chaos.
I don’t feel like I can settle and just BE in the room. The idea of straightening everything up or finding places for it to go overwhelms. I’d rather GO OUT then try to be IN this space. My Home doesn’t feel like HOME. It is not a place of respite it is a place so filled with stuff. My mind reflects the clutter in the room and a cluttered mind is an anxious mind. Research has also been done to verify this very difficulty.
I find that I struggle to sit with my daughter and just “play” without nervously jumping up to put something away, move it or toss it. I can’t focus on a conversation. My energy feels low and I feel like I am failing at housekeeping, failing at Mothering and failing at being female. I get angry and resentful that I am the only one impacted. (this of course is not true, children do not operate well among the too much-ness of toys) Children’s play is more purposeful when they have less, not more! Too many choices can be anxiety provoking.
I’ve been able to recognize how deeply I am impacted because my office is organized. Everything has a place. I feel nurtured and clear minded when I enter my office.
"When home is not a relaxing respite to come to, anxiety can run high."
I hear from moms in my practice that the struggle to work and keep up with home and the growing number of toys children now have is impacting their mental health. Mom's present as anxious and can spiral into depression, as they feel unable to keep up with maintaining a clutter free existence. Moms are comparing themselves to photos on IG and feeling down about themselves as a result when they cannot keep up. Beginning to put down some of the expectations has helped, which we work on in sessions as well as beginning to minimize. I recommend to all of my clients that they watch the Minimalist documentary. It is a great reminder that we do not need all that we think that we do and the freedom that can come from letting go. Emotional attachments to objects as well as awareness on the impact of throwing things away on the environment has also impacted how people dispose of or don’t their excess goods.
Many women are juggling more than one role. Having to combat clutter to accomplish daily tasks at home creates a cycle of avoidance. Feelings of anxiety, increased stress, resistance to following up with tasks can result. This increase in cortisol impacts creativity as well as ability to follow through with anything. When a stress response to clutter occurs individuals I speak with often shut down unable to complete something like cooking dinner or finishing the laundry. Many moms I speak with often struggle with the amount of toys their children have. Stress is increased in women who are also working and have the added responsibility of housework after their day jobs. The stress response to clutter is the same fight or flight response that the body experiences when there is a threat to safety.
Recommendations to Combat the Anxious Clutter Response: I take from the minimalist philosophy.
Thank you so much for reading and Lisa for sharing. I can be reached at rebeccamkondrich.com or via email Rebecca@rebeccamkondrich.com
I work with clients one-on-one in my Rocky River, Ohio office.
You can follow me on IG @rebeccakondrichlisw.
Looking forward to connecting with you!
This article has great information from Moms. I feel all of these words as truth!
Mirrors are often used as a Feng Shui cure. They’re a great way to lighten and brighten a room, reflect beautiful things, and they also bring in the water element. I use them often in both my residential consultations and commercial spaces.
Recently though I have had my “Feng Shui sensors” on high as I’m noticing mirrors used for decorative purposes, yet, reflecting items that do not represent good Feng Shui.
Here’s an example; Last month I was contacted by a local business owner to help them with their space. I walked in and was blown away. They had a rather elaborate design in the front foyer complete with a large decorative mirror. It was really a spectacular mirror with a mosaic design on the top, just beautiful. However, the Feng Shui side of me was struggling. Upon walking in you’d see the mirror and then the reflection of the wastebasket directly in front of it!!! They were literally mirroring and expanding garbage! It’s no wonder they were going through difficult times. They reached out as they were struggling to find the right clients. People would schedule initial appointments but would not follow through and continue the work. I won’t deny that they spent time and money creating a beautiful display to “wow” people as they walked in. Unfortunately, everyone including me, walked in and focused on the garbage can (that was filled to the brim by the way).
It is important to take a look at what is being reflected in each mirror in your space. Take the time to sit in each place a potential client might sit. Notice what their view would be. Then ask yourself if you can improve it. A floral arrangement, plant or nice piece of artwork would be a lovely reflection. If you can’t add to the space, consider rearranging the layout.
Looking for more information on the Do’s and Don’ts of Feng Shui? Join our informational group on Facebook called the Good Chi Creation Club! We’d love to have you!
I would bet that the bathroom probably isn’t one of the first places you think about implementing Feng Shui...
Bathrooms are often a source of “leaking” energy and more often than not they need attention. Let’s be honest, there are some not so clean activities happening in here. In addition to the general bathroom "activities" , there are draining pipes, cleansing of dirt off our hands and bodies, dirty laundry and more.
Below are my 6 Tips to Good Feng Shui in the Bathroom
Step 1: Deep clean your bathroom
Give it a thorough clean. Tidy those things you sometimes don’t get to and ensure it is sparkling!
Step 2: Clear clutter
Sure, we all might be able to dig in the back of a cabinet and find a travel shampoo from five years ago. Got five of them? Time to toss! Eliminate any old items, old towels that smell of mildew, old medications and more.
Step 3: Make it feel like a SPA
Yes! What can you do to make it feel like a spa? Soft, fluffy towels? Scented candles perhaps? Add in those extra touches so it feels like a lovely place.
Step 4: Keep the toilet lid down!!!
If you do nothing else on this list, keep the toilet lid down when not in use. Besides, you don’t want to walk into your new “spa bathroom” and the first thing you look at is the inside of your toilet!
Step 5: Plug your drains
Energy easily exits via the sink drains. You can pull the plug on your drains when not in use to prevent this “leaking”. This one is especially easy if you have a tub or shower that is not used often. Not a fan of this option? I like to add river rocks to my sinks to slow down the drainage. It looks great too!
Step 6: Tie a red string around your drainpipes
This is a traditional Feng Shui cure to slow the Chi down. P ick up red string or ribbon at a local craft store.
Hopefully these easy tips encourage you to take your bathroom from simply a functional place to a place that you enjoy being in. Now don't forget the fluffy towels!!!!
In Feng Shui we work towards creating balance in your space using several different methods (read more about this here). One way we create a sense of balance in a space is through the use of the Five Element System. Feng Shui describes the world through these five elements; Fire, Water, Wood, Earth and Metal. When working on a space we like to know the activities in the space and the desired overall feeling so that we can tweak these elements to gain the precise outcome. I personally really enjoy working with the water element. It might even be my favorite to work with so why not start here!
Are you a creator? Do you love to paint, sing, craft, or even just doodle? Maybe you’re struggling from a bit of writer’s block or you simply need some general inspiration in life. You can benefit from introducing the water element into your space.
The water element provides a feeling of flow, movement, and creativity. Let those creative vibes flow by adding aspects of this element!!!
Not sure how? Don’t worry, we have you covered....
The easiest place to begin is with color. Imagine you’re on a tropical island and on a diving excursion. You begin your dive viewing lovely rich blue toned water, the colors get deeper as you dive further down. Before you know it, you can barely see the surface. You notice the coloring turns to dark navy tones and eventually black. These are the colors of the water element.
Beyond color, look for wavy patterns and watercolor print fabrics as they will also bring this element into play. Look for bedding with a watercolor design or a wallpaper with a loose watery look like the bedroom below.
Adding a decorative backsplash in your kitchen is a fun way to bring in a watery feel. Doesn't this beautiful kitchen below just make you feel like you're at the beach? I love this particular backsplash as from a distance it looks like waves in the ocean. Perhaps you'll be inspired to experiment with new flavors in this space!
This spectacular wallpaper below definitely reads like moving water doesn’t it? I would expect lively conversation would flow wonderfully in this space!
Lastly, artwork depicting water is wonderful as well. Perhaps a beautiful image of a stream or a photo of your favorite seaside view.
If you’re nervous about “diving in” (ha ha) begin with a few small changes, then perhaps more so you are able to remain comfortable while shifting the vibe of your space. Again, we are striving for balance here so its important for the rest of our elements to be working here too!
Now let me guess… you loved learning about the water element, however, just as much loved the imagery, too right? It was an honor for me to use photography from Ashleigh Clark of the Ashleigh Clark Interior Design Group. Her spaces are simply gorgeous!!! As a blue fan, I just can’t get enough! Be sure to check out her website and follower her on Instagram too!
Keep your eyes open for our next Five Element post reviewing the nuts and bolts of the Fire Element!