With the hustle culture of our everyday lives, more and more people are becoming overwhelmed and anxious, even experiencing symptoms of burnout from the stress. Thankfully the ancient practice of feng shui can help us find balance and restore peace in our lives. Feng shui is an ancient Chinese practice of arranging your environment to create harmony, balance, and positive energy and I’m going to share with you some tips that you can implement right now to help you reduce anxiety and stress in your life. This blog post is about to get personal as I share my own story of anxiety and how feng shui literally saved me. Read on to learn about my story and about how you can overcome anxiety and burnout too, using some simple feng shui tools.
My story of overcoming anxiety
In 2007 I was a senior manager in a retail company, where I was in charge of a lot of stores, a lot of product, a lot of people and a lot of money. I was married with 3 kids under the age of eleven and my eldest son had also been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease less than 2 years prior so I was responsible for taking him to the children’s hospital every month for testing and treatment. This hospital was nine hours away from home, so I was constantly traveling back and forth between work and my son's doctor visits. Needless to say, I was very busy!
I started feeling really tired but I honestly just ignored it. Then shortly before Christmas in late 2007 (the absolute busiest time for me at work) I had my first ever panic attack. I had never had one before and I thought I was losing my mind. I continued to have panic attacks and yet I continued to push through because I had a job to do and a family to take care of.
In January 2008 I had hit my breaking point. My body just shut down and for the first time in my life, I could not function. The anxiety was so intense, it was paralyzing. I was so scared to leave my house that I couldn’t even begin to imagine managing a region of stores. There was no way I could be on top of my game if I was scared to leave the house! I was burned out and exhausted and it was then that it became glaringly apparent that for way too long I had been taking care of everyone but myself. I had been neglecting myself for years, putting everyone else’s needs before my own. I had been ignoring my own health and my body decided to shut down in order for me to pay attention.
One day I was sitting on my couch, feeling like I desperately needed to feel better. I started scrolling the internet, and accidentally stumbled across something called feng shui, something I had never heard of before. Even though I had no idea how to even pronounce it I was intrigued that everything I read talked about how everything is energy and everything is all connected. I looked around and realized that I was in my pajamas, surrounded by tissues and dishes, feeling very sad and sorry for myself -- not exactly a positive environment! Even though I had been doing a lot of counseling, I realized at that moment that I wasn't surrounding myself with any uplifting energy.
So, I got up off the couch, opened the only window in the house that wasn't frozen shut (it was February in northern Canada!), tidied up the living room and kitchen, and took a shower. This marked the beginning of my feng shui journey. From that day on, I dove into all things feng shui, and eventually got certified in BTB, then in Classical feng shui. I have shared my story in both Canada and the US, and if you want to read my story in more detail, grab a copy of the book that I co-authored in 2022, called Life Out Loud.
Luckily, if you're feeling burned out or struggling with depression or anxiety like I was, there are some steps you can take to help raise the energy in your home that will help get you back to feeling like yourself. Feng shui is a great way to bring positive energy into your home and life, and can be a powerful tool in preventing burn out and addressing depression or anxiety.
Disclaimer - I want to make it clear that I am not a mental health professional and the following list of feng shui tips is not a substitute for therapy or medication prescribed by a healthcare team. Feng shui can be a useful tool to have in your toolbox to create a positive environment which will help support your journey with anxiety and burnout.
Feng Shui Tips for Anxiety
Burn out, depression, and anxiety can be difficult to manage and can leave us feeling helpless and stuck. But there is hope! I'm going to share with you a few things you can do in your home to prevent burnout, and help you overcome any depression or anxiety that may be happening in your life right now. By implementing some simple feng shui practices, you can improve the energy in your home, create a balanced and positive environment and get yourself back on track so you feel like yourself again. So let's get started!
Check the mess
Have you ever felt overwhelmed and anxious, but can’t seem to pinpoint the source of your stress? Your house is an extension of you. Whenever you’re feeling frantic, anxious or overwhelmed, look for the mess somewhere in your home. Our homes are an extension of ourselves, and when we have a mess in our house, it symbolizes a mess in our lives. When our space is untidy and cluttered, it can lead to feelings of anxiety, overwhelm and frustration. If you're feeling this way, it's time to take a look around your home and identify any messes that need to be addressed. It’s often helpful to take a step back and look at the messes that we’ve accumulated over time, whether it’s in the basement, garage, closets, or any other hidden area. Taking the time to identify and tackle these messes can help to reduce stress and help address the mess in our lives, too. Download our free decluttering guide and start tackling it, one room at a time.
Add grounding elements to your home
When you’re burned out (or almost at that point), your mind is on overdrive which can also lead to adrenal fatigue and exhaustion. To slow down your monkey brain, bring some earth elements into your home. Adding grounding elements to your home can be a great way to help reduce stress and exhaustion by slowing you down and grounding you. A really good area to put these is in the center of your home because the center of your home affects all other areas. The north east corner of your home, which is associated with spirituality and personal development, is also a great area to incorporate crystals, natural stones and items made of clay or terra cotta to help ground your home. Adding earth elements to your home can help you to reclaim balance, stability, and security.
To really ground yourself into this feeling of security, try taking a bath with Epsom salts. These salts can draw out any negative energy your body may be holding onto. One time, when I was feeling particularly anxious, I took a bath with bath salts and meditated in the tub. This combination was so effective that I did it every night for a month!
Add some color to your space
We all know that the colors we wear can have an effect on our mood and how others perceive us, but did you know that colors can also be used to bring some energy and positivity into your home? Color has the power to alter your mental state and energy levels. If you are feeling lonely and need some help, white or silver can help increase the metal energy and encourage helpful people to come into your life. Red is a great color for giving you strength, security, and courage. The center of your home is connected to all other areas of the house, so it is a great place to get focused and grounded using earthy colors such as brown, tan, terracotta, and yellow. Check out our blog post on color that was featured by Redfin.
Go outside! It's one thing to make your home a peaceful and calming interior. But what about your outdoor space? Spend time outdoors every day, take off your shoes and go for a walk with your bare feet on the grass. If it's wintertime, walk around inside your house barefoot. This is known as “earthing”. Open the windows and let some fresh air in to refresh the air in your house, even if it’s the middle of winter!
Give yourself a break
Yes, there are things you can and should do to shift the energy that is surrounding you when you’re having a rough time in your life. Besides implementing the feng shui tips I just gave you, I also want you to start being kinder to yourself. It’s vital for your wellbeing and so important for you to take some time to relax and recharge. You’re not Wonder Woman - you don’t have to be a superhero and do it all and you don’t need to be perfect, either. As a perfectionist VIrgo, I know how hard it can be to let go of things, but it’s necessary for your mental health. Take a step back from everyday life and take some time for yourself. I promise the world won’t fall apart if you take a step back! Taking that well-deserved break can help to restore your energy and focus, so you can go back to your life feeling energized and refreshed. It’s okay to delegate things to other people so you can have the time to regain your mental strength.
Bringing the concepts of feng shui into your home is a wonderful way to cultivate an atmosphere of peace and serenity. It really is possible for you to make your home feel like a warm embrace each time you walk in the door. If you're ready to make a change and to experience this kind of energy in your home, I'm here to help.