We’re now at a stage where the very strictest of lockdown measures have now been lifted for the majority of the UK, although some measures have recently been imposed in the North West. 2020 really has been an extraordinary year – never before have we been placed under house arrest on such a widespread scale, requiring changes to our daily lives the likes of which haven’t been seen since the war years.
But there have been some upsides to the lockdown – the increased time at home has given plenty of us more time to think about the ways we use our homes, and the roles they have to fulfil. It’s helped us realise that they sometimes need to be more than just places to eat and sleep and relax (perhaps with a luxury handmade candle or two).
By necessity, we’ve now had to engage with them in a whole host of new and different ways – the average house or flat might now serve as an office, a gym, a classroom, a cinema, a spa, and much more besides. It’s led to some quite fundamental changes in the way we now think about our homes…
The biggest change to our homes is of course the melding of our professional and personal spaces, with so many of us suddenly forced to work from home. And one of the most common realisations for many people across the world is that most of us can be far more productive in our home offices than we might have first given ourselves credit for! Of course, the economic threat of Covid-19 might have quite a lot to do with that – let’s be honest, it’s much easier to maintain your motivation and focus when your job might be on a knife edge.
But while most of us might have initially turned to them out of desperation, many companies are finding that they’re not as scary a prospect as perhaps once thought, and a home office is now becoming an everyday reality for increasing numbers of us. While that new reality might bring its own advantages, it’s come with certain lessons.
For example, one of the biggest lessons it’s taught many of us is the importance of a separation between our workspace and relaxation space, of our professional time and our personal time. That means while it can be tempting to work from a laptop in bed, it’s not a good idea long-term – it doesn’t allow you to be properly productive, and it doesn’t allow you to be properly relaxed.
Instead, most of us need mental (and if possible, physical) distance between home and work life – even if that’s something as simple as moving to another room. Having that distance provides the ability to mentally ‘switch off’ after a long work day. Spending all your working and leisure time in a single place can otherwise start taking its toll, often leading to feelings of restlessness and stress – as we’re sure many of you can attest!
There are various ways that people have been experimenting with to try and separate their work lives and home lives, all within the same four walls. Of course, it’s easier if you’ve got a spare room that you can fully dedicate to being an office, or indeed a classroom. But people who haven’t got a spare room to work with have been finding new ways to transform their space between ‘work mode’ and ‘leisure mode’ – for example, by temporarily removing or rearranging their most homely or cosy furniture. This can help to make the place feel more businesslike and professional, making it easier to get in the right mindset.
We’ve already touched on this to some degree above. For many people, one of the most stressful things about the lockdown was that with the entire family restricted to the home, there was less space and privacy available. And with normal relaxation areas (like living rooms) suddenly transformed into working spaces out of necessity, that often meant that there were fewer – or even zero – places where children or adults could go to get some private relaxation time, some space from their parents, siblings or children.
In fact, lots of interior designers have publicly said that one of the first things they often heard from clients after the lockdown was “I am not happy because I do not have a private space.”
We’ve got an idea for you there – one that you may have discovered already! One of the possible answers to that conundrum is to turn your bathroom into a home spa, which we’ve talked about how to do before on the blog. (It’s even got a ready-made lock!) If you’ve never tried it before, we heartily recommend it – even just twenty minutes to half an hour can be plenty of time to recharge!
But if you don’t have a private relaxation space, or you’ve only got the one bathroom in the house, then it comes down to negotiating with other family members about when you can use certain rooms, and thinking about ways you can temporarily make it yours. You might like to try a certain kind of lighting for example, or make it smell the way you want with a luxury scented candle like Joy or Dance.
It’s been a tough time, there’s no doubt about that, but it’s also been a time when many of us have been rediscovering the meaning of what our homes mean to us. First and most importantly of all, they’ve been places of safety, sanctuaries where we can shield ourselves from the very real dangers of the outside world.
But they’ve been more than that, too. They’ve also helped us to re-convene, and bond, and focus on our relationships – both with our families and with our friends who we haven’t been able to see. Throughout lockdown, millions of people have been enjoying spending more time with their families, getting involved in family games and bonding activities that might normally have been reserved solely for the weekends. (And quite often, extended families too!)
In short, the lockdown has caused us to find new value in the place where we feel safe, relaxed and protected, and united with our families. And of course, the ‘meaning of home’ is slightly different for all of us – so you might well have your own conclusions to draw, too!
Here at Melt, we take great pride in making luxury handmade candles to help you relax, and find joy in your space however you want to. We’ve got scents that are luxurious, energising, soothing… you name it! You can take a look at our full range of luxury scented candles right here on our site, or alternatively take a trip to our little Shop on the Farm. We’re always happy to see you!