As I walked through the halls of High Point Market last week and NeoCon in June, I remembered what a profound effect design can have on our well-being. Our work as designers, architects and contractors can make a huge impact in commercial and residential design. From the type of lighting we choose to the way we situate our structures on a plot of land.
What could be better than creating “Human Spaces: Spaces Designed with the Human in Mind?” Creating spaces for humans should not only be of interest to designers but to people who work, who shop, who live, who go to school in these environments. That’s everybody!
While wellness in the individual is multifactorial, signs point to a distinct link between wellness and design. As we improve the built environment with design elements that include better lighting, more fresh air and the use of materials and products that don’t leach toxic chemicals into the air, it would follow that health and well-being of the occupants should improve.
Yes, it’s ideal to have a space designated as a Meditation Room. But it has to make economic sense for your company. If you don’t have the funds to redesign a room or you simply don’t have the square feet to renovate, then start a trend in your company. Send this note to your team:
I am so proud of all of you and grateful that you’re on my team. I don’t say this enough and want you to know. Also, I’ve been thinking about how hard you work and how much is expected of you…both from me and from others. We all need to take better care of ourselves, and I’m starting now. I want you to do the same. I’m going to take 15 minutes every day to sit quietly in the office or outside and just breathe. I want you to do the same. Call it meditation, call it breathing, call it whatever you like, but please do this each day you come to work. I value all of you both as my team and as humans. I’ll be checking in on your progress. Happy breathing!
What better way to rejuvenate than to slip into a quiet retreat in fresh air. As the intense connection between human and nature (biophilia) gains momentum, designers are emphasizing the need to bring in more plants, daylight and open air to the workplace. Likewise, as employers now understand the importance of mindfulness and meditation for their most important asset, the employee, companies are adopting meditation as part of a complete wellness plan. Combine the two…nature and meditation….and we have an explosive combo. Retreat. Relax. Revive.
In October of 2014, Melinda Easterling attended the WELL 2014 Conference, the “first annual symposium for design, construction, and real estate professionals who want to lead the market and build a movement for wellness real estate – a pioneering concept that marries design and construction with evidence-based technologies to support personal well being and health.”
Part of participating in a conference of this kind is entering on the ground floor of an idea that has found not only its audience but its time. Melinda was showcased in this video along with other leaders who see the value in sharing ideas and talking with like-minded business owners, healthcare experts, builders and visionaries who understand the importance of wellness at work and at home.
Flick off the overhead lights. Light a candle. Turn on a lamp or two and sit. It’s 7pm in November and dark outside (at least in the Northern Hemisphere). It’s dim and cozy inside and your body and mind relax. Fast forward to 2pm tomorrow. Bright sunlight outdoors; bright inside. You’re energized and ready for action. Close the shades, turn off the lights, light a candle or two. Hmm, doesn’t feel right. Why? Our bodies are programmed to ebb and flow based primarily on our circadian rhythms (how our body acts and reacts based on external cues).
Our bodies want to synchronize with our environment. As the sun rises, our bodies rev up, and as it sets, we do the same. Or so the theory goes.