“Feng Shui helps you align your inner and outer worlds by harmonizing your relationship with your surroundings.” ~Mark Ainley
What is Feng Shui?
Feng Shui is a practice originating from ancient China that has gained international popularity in recent decades. The words ‘Feng Shui’ mean ‘Wind-Water’ - two life-giving physical forms of energy in the physical world. The practice speaks more deeply to harnessing the life-enhancing properties of these and other natural elements.
Sometimes called ‘the art of placement’, Feng Shui advocates balancing home and work environments with the elements and quality of flow that we find in nature to enhance the experience of the people in those spaces.
Feng Shui aligns well with ergonomics, the science of fit. Ergonomics seeks to maximize human performance and efficiency, while minimizing mental and physical stress or overload by creating work environments designed for humans.
Your Mindset Reflects Your Environment
Your surroundings have a profound impact on how you function. Everything you see, touch, smell, use … it all influences your thoughts and actions. This means that it is important that your environment not just be physically aligned but also congruent with your desired mindset and state of being. How you feel and think - your inner state - is every bit as important as what you do and impacts how you do it.
Just as ergonomics helps people align their spaces with the optimal fit and functioning of the human body, Feng Shui optimizes environments to align with the inner world of the people in that setting: their thoughts, feelings, goals, and aspirations. The setup of the physical space has direct correlations to the inner space - mental, emotional, holistic - of the people in that environment.
2020 required some quick changes for everyone and a lot of people found themselves working from home in less-than-ideal conditions. If you do not have a mindfully appointed workspace, you can start to feel like you’re living at work instead of working from home. While there are some advantages to at-home work (the commute is usually better), some care is needed to ensure that you’re not only meeting your professional responsibilities but also taking care of your inner needs.
Here are a few rituals to help you enhance your at-home work experience, whether in a dedicated home office or in a makeshift location, like your kitchen or bedroom.
5 Rituals for Better Work-Home Balance
Create an opening/closing ritual that sets a clear boundary for when your workday starts and when it ends - not just with the coffee in the morning or glass of wine at night (and not the reverse!), but with the physical environment.
If you’re working from the dining table, use a unique placemat under your laptop; use a dedicated coffee mug or glass than you do when off the clock; put out a framed image or other inspiring object (more on those below).
When the day is done, put away these items in a small box, ready for tomorrow. Packing up your workday is like leaving work for the day.
Stimulate your auditory and olfactory senses by ringing a bell or spraying an aromatherapy mist at the end of the workday to literally transform the vibes in the air (this is good to do at the beginning of the day too).
Change out of your “work clothes” and into another set of clothes, perhaps after a quick shower - this also helps you feel that you’ve left the office.
Bring Nature Indoors
Bringing in signs of nature around your work is balancing and supportive. Plants, flowers, candles, and aromatherapy diffusers are a great add-on to your space. These elements of wood, fire, and water can stimulate the senses in an enlivening way.
Because work is a ‘need’ (you work to make money to put food on the table), placing something decorative that isn’t actually required but which enhances the space and your experience can help lift you out of survival mode and into a richer experience.
Even if you’re working at one end of the dining table, an attractive item (that doesn’t get in the way) will soften the sense of obligation and help you feel more connected to your inner nature. When that item is an expression of nature, it supports your innate expression of self. Flowers will bloom, candles flicker innately, plants grow without effort - there’s no self-doubt in these processes. You can subtly pick up some of these cues just by being in the same space - and you also get to appreciate a bit of beauty while you work.
Inspire with Images
Studies have shown that decorating your workspace increases job satisfaction. Workspaces need to be practical, but if they don’t speak to you on a deeper level, your work might not feel as meaningful or fulfilling (even if it is). An inspiring image can speak a thousand words. Something as simple as a postcard in a frame can shift the space profoundly. Even a background image for your computer desktop that raises your mood when you see it can inspire you. Use a scene from nature, a photo of a favorite destination, or an image of a loved one.
Taking the step to enhance your space this way is an inner commitment to be more connected to your work life in a meaningful and inspiring way.
Feng Shui and Ergonomics Your Way
Whatever the state of your workspace now, any aesthetic improvement you make can be significant, so don’t think a little change won’t make a big difference. It will. Using Feng Shui concepts will provide mindful accents and bring beauty to your surroundings while supporting you in all that you do. Take care of your space to take care of yourself using both the art of Feng Shui and the science of ergonomics.
Mark Ainley is a Contemporary Feng Shui Consultant with 20 years’ international experience in the field. Recognized for his clear and logical approach to creating aligned user-based home and workspaces, he has been featured in the international press and has a worldwide clientele. To learn more about Feng Shui and benefit from Mark’s knowledge and experience, visit his website at www.senseofspace.com. Sign up for Mark's newsletter to receive his free e-book and other content.