If you live in a big city, chances are you might reside in a small apartment compared to the larger houses typically found in suburban and rural areas.
As big city dwellers, we often justify our choice to live in smaller spaces by the fact that most of our life exists outside of the house. Bustling, vibrant cities encourage dining out, attending theater and meeting friends in parks rather than entertaining at home.
But what happens when that lifestyle gets turned upside down and all external distractions are removed? Suddenly, the world has gotten a lot smaller for all of us — and none more so than those living in tiny apartments.
Cramped quarters can be stressful even in the best of times, and now they present more challenges than ever. Here’s our guide to making the most of whatever space you’ve got to work with.
Separation of Work and Personal Life
Just like church and state, some things are better kept apart. Even if you live in a studio apartment with no dividing walls, there are ways to maintain separation:
Never Work From Bed
Always take your computer to a table or if you don’t have a table, at least the couch. This will help you unwind when it’s actually time to hit the sheets.
Make Mealtime a Real ‘Time’
When it’s time to eat, it’s time to eat…not work or nap. Studies have shown that eating while working can significantly raise stress levels leading to increased appetite and feeling less satisfied.
If you have a table, have your meals there rather than the couch or bed. Light a candle or lower the lighting to set a different mood that encourages relaxation. If you have the luxury of time right now, use this opportunity to cook something you’ve been wanting to try, rather than your typical rushed weekday meals.
No matter where you live, mindfulness experts and spiritualists agree that your real “home” is within. Here’s how (and why) to dive inward when you’re not allowed outside.
Visualize Your Happy Place
Unbelievable as it may seem, the effects of visualization versus actually traveling or doing a physical activity can actually produce very similar effects on the brain. Even “visual exercise” has been shown to affect muscles without performing any physical activity.
Take a 10-minute break once or twice a day to get quiet, close your eyes and imagine that you’re somewhere you love. Flesh out the images in detail, think of the sounds and smells, and do your best to escape into your imagination. If you have trouble doing this on your own, try downloading an app such as Insight Timer with free, guided meditations.
Stop the Comparisons
The effects of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) are real. It’s well established that comparing ourselves to others leads to increased dissatisfaction in our own lives, and the same could be said of comparing our current reality to that of the (very recent) past. By letting go of trying to control the future or lamenting over lost freedoms, you’ll be forced to find peace in the present.
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