And so, in the middle of research work about efficiency in production, I think about efficiency in relaxation. How would this translate into an abode? Do I have a space for relaxation? Enough clear space for my hula-hoop? A place for my sewing machine? Can I turn my desk into a stand-up desk or at least get a bouncy chair to keep my spine moving a bit while I work? What about relaxation toys - a stress squeeze ball, magnetic doodle toys, a sketch pad. Are they handy, do they have a good spot on my desk?
As a countermeasure for stress, relaxation or meditation has the greatest impact when enjoyed on a regular basis. Thus, while going to a retreat in Bali sounds absolutely delicious, there is the stress of the travel getting there –for those of us who don’t regularly fly first class. So why not create a little “away” space in your own backyard? It doesn’t have to be exotic. A friend of mine created a little Japanese tea house out of the playhouse which her kids had once used. A few changes to the roofline to allude to more oriental lines, plantings around the house so that it looked like it was ‘floating’ amid the greenery, some cushions and ornaments. This is now a cell-phone free, very restful space.
It can be as simple as building a teepee frame and training plants to grow up around the space. When I was a little kid, I had a favorite little spot that was the clearing in the middle of a grove of poplar trees. On the other hand, this is the opportunity to free the creative architect within us, and realize your fantasies. The concept of an “away” space is not limited to the outdoors. This is a favorite term of architect and author Sarah Suzanka, who presents the concept of a quiet, protect social space. She is also a great fan of rooms doings double duty, so this room can also be the guest bedroom, with the addition of a Murphy bed. Or a craft room, if that is a relaxing exercise. The key is to mix functions of like kinds – in this case restful.
Even in my own little 400 ft2 apartment, my away space is a big easy chair next to the window with a good light, stocked with paper and pencils for sketching, light reading, music, and a spot to place a glass of wine. It is my designated mental retreat. Nothing fancy, but it offers a moment of quiet.