Self-Isolation: NOT Solitary Confinement.


With the big ‘C’ word hovering over us like a dark overlord, many of us find ourselves working from home, self-isolating from human interaction in the hope of avoiding viral infection.

As a seasoned home worker my office (s) are pretty well established, and after reading all of the posts on social media about people giving newbies advice on setting up the perfect home workspace, I realised how lucky I am and how I take my (biophilic) workspaces for granted.

So I thought that we could talk about some simple ways to introduce a bit of nature into your new (hopefully very temporary) workspace to help you settle in.

Remember, this time should not feel like solitary confinement!

 

Turn the lights up!


I’m sure that you have already addressed things like your desk, chair, tools and stationery that you will be using because those will be the bare minimum for you to actually achieve something productive at home.

Perhaps you hadn’t thought about sitting near to a window with a view, or as close to a source of natural light as possible, but consider finding a spot on the South or Western sides of your home: these will normally be the brightest spots.


A bright office space, with a chameleon hiding in a plant behind a computer screen


If you’re not able to sit near a bright window, think about some good ‘daylight’ simulating lights. I have an S.A.D. Lamp that I use throughout the winter and on dull summer days too. If you’re sitting in a room with dimmers, make sure you turn them all the way up while you’re working and dim them down when you’re resting! Dimming the lights gives our minds a sense of security and safety.

Good global light boosts mood, focus and creativity so it’s definitely an important element.

If you feel stress and anxiety, you could think about green light (green lamp shades/fabric over white bulbs would work) because it helps to reduce cortisol and adrenaline.

 

Leaves are not only for Autumn


Leaves, branches, exposed wood and stone are all shapes and colours that count towards our biophilic scorecard.

Introduce these kind of things into the space you are working in as something to look at (even subconscious access provides biophilic benefits).

I often collect bits of wood and rock, trinkets with natural looking surfaces and fabric with natural shapes, patterns and colours to decorate the space. Remember, fallen leaves and their stunning colours are not only for autumn!

 

A bright window sill, with a twisted piece of bog wood, sea shells and a vibrant green plant displayed

 

Hang it on the walls or keep them in boxes

Cut flowers are a great easy way to bring nature into the space. We have cut daffodils around the house that are super bright and smell lovely too!

Don’t worry if you have allergies, pets or destructive family members that prevent you from having plants and flowers, or (as a friend calls them) ‘nice things’.


Two wooden giraffe sculptures on a mantlepiece, with plants


Pictures and prints of nature and natural things also count. Hang them on the walls, print them out and stick ‘em up.

Displaying things in boxes prevents other things (pets and children) getting to them easily. Jars, glass boxes and display cases are a great way of putting natural items on display. They’re also easy to keep clean. Our own dining room has two aquariums (cheating I know) in it!


An image of a large aquarium surrounded by plants in a dining room

 

Go Outside


One of the greatest things about working from home is your ability to go into the garden, or an outside space. Don’t forget about it now that you have the extra ability to enjoy it during your downtime, particularly with the reappearance of the sunshine!


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Walk the dog, play with the kids in the garden, or tend to your flower and vegetable patches. You’ll find nothing but benefits from taking a few minutes outdoors.

After all, self-isolation is not a prison sentence but an opportunity to find new ways to go about old things. 

             

Are you struggling to get into the rhythm of things while trying to work from home? Are you interested in learning more about biophilic design and its benefits? Do you want to make changes to improve your workplace and living space? Please leave a comment – I’m very happy to help.