In a world filled with phone notifications, conference calls and endless to-do lists, are you putting aside time to unplug and unwind? Taking a break is so underrated, but it has heaps of benefits. UCL recently reported1 that these little nuggets of rest can improve productivity and lower stress, all helping to get a better night’s sleep!

And this is where a Zen Den comes in. This space could be a whole room, a cosy reading chair or even a carved-out closet. Whatever the size, this place should give you a peaceful area to read, meditate or simply detach yourself from the busyness of life. While every Zen Den will be different, there are some tips you can follow to make the most of this space.

  • Choose the right colours: From the paint on the walls to the décor on the side, choosing the right colour is crucial for setting the right mood. Go for neutral and soft tones, to not only lift your mood but spark some creativity too.

  • Light it up: A space with good lighting is essential and if this happens to be natural light, that’s even better. As discovered in a study by NCBI2, more exposure to natural light over the working week can give you more energy and improve sleep. When that’s not possible, avoiding harsh lights and opting for dimmed down or diffused lights can create gentle pools of warm light throughout your space.
  • Keep it clean: A messy Zen Den is an unhappy one. Whatever space you choose, this should be free of clutter and unnecessary ‘stuff’. A big no-no in this new space is technology that could distract you. So be sure to store away phones, tablets and laptops and instead use this Zen Den as an escape.
  • Add an accessory or two: Your new chill-out zone needs to feel like yours and there’s no better way to do that than with a couple of personal touches. Try hanging one piece of oversized artwork on the wall, then layering this with a cosy throw, pillows, candles or essential oil diffusers. The key is not to over-clutter.
  • Set the rules: It might be a schedule, a time limit or a list of what the room will be used for, but make some rules and most importantly… stick to them! So, if you plan to use your new Zen Den for mindfulness, don’t bring work with you.

Once you’ve settled into your new cosy space, now it’s the relaxing bit! Try playing some ambient background music, delve into a spot of meditation or simply sit with a cuppa and your own thoughts. You’ll soon start to see that this small time-out each day will have a positive effect on your mood, productivity and sleep during the night!

1. Javier S Bautista, “5 benefits of taking breaks,” UCL, 07/02/2020

2. Mohamed Boubekri, “Impact of Windows and Daylight Exposure on Overall Health and Sleep Quality of Office Workers: A Case-Control Pilot Study,” NCBI, 15/06/2014


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