Home & Design | Creating Calm

Days are brighter and longer, yet the impact of profound stress from this last year, along with endless hours spent staring at screens, has our minds and bodies feeling depleted and stretched thin. 

How can one claim better sleep, healthy mindfulness, and a stronger sense of calm right now?

There isn’t one sole panacea, but we know that fresh air, plenty of rest, and exercise all help. So do nurturing, cozy spaces that quiet the mind. In fact, creating a simple wellness room or corner inside the home can work wonders on stress levels. 

“If you have a dedicated space for mindfulness, meditation, and wellness, your body remembers that,” says Jodi McKee, owner of Jewelweed, a Wayzata shop specializing in small-batch herbal remedies, crystals, and natural health products. “The more you use that space, the faster your body gets into that restorative mode.” 

McKee describes a palette of earthy colors “based on nature and on what you love” as ideal for a personal relaxation space. If you love the ocean, for example, consider a mix of soft tans, blues, and greens in the space. Natural textures and finishes—warm wood tones and bamboo—bring in a comforting touch of the outdoors. 

In her at-home wellness space, McKee abides by one cardinal rule: No social media allowed. And if the door is shut, other family members know not to interrupt. Also, create a space that speaks to the senses, says McKee. A few drops of vetiver or lavender in a diffuser instantly beget relaxation.

In her home, like in the Jewelweed shop, McKee is guided by the design principle of “earth medicine,” or outfitting your environment with a mix of plants, stones, and animals. Achieving this trifecta is simple: For plants, choose varieties that work well for the room’s light conditions. For stones, colorful crystals, which exist in all colors of the rainbow, bring instant vibrancy into any space. (McKee finds crystals to be a beautiful stand-in for fresh flowers.) Popular options include pale pink rose quartz (good for inner peace) and the heraldic purple hues of amethyst (ideal for calming and reinforcing intuition). For the animal element, McKee suggests adding antlers or feathers around the room, or even wallpaper with birds in the pattern. 

Thought-provoking books also belong in a wellness space, says McKee, who recommends Braiding Sweetgrass by botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer (Milkweed Editions), a collection of essays that merge Kimmerer’s observations about the natural world with Indigenous teachings and scientific knowledge.

In Minneapolis, Khazana boutique owner Anju Kataria has a ritual of doing a guided morning meditation and reading Sanskrit poetry to set the tone for the day. 

“I’ve created a small corner for myself that I retreat to. In it are objects that I love, including my singing bowls, malas [beads used in meditation practice], and textile hangings,” she says. 

Singing bowls, or metal bowls that create sounds that promote relaxation, are just one example of the products found at Khazana, Kataria’s global gallery and boutique specializing in folk art, textiles, furniture, and jewelry from India and around the world. 

Kataria also recommends naturally dyed soft textiles from Adiv Pure Nature’s Temple Blessing line as decoration or as a comfortable layer to wear.  

Theresa Hutch, the artist behind the White Sage Tarot deck, devised a space within her art studio to practice mindfulness. “I have a small altar and meditation cushion that helps remind me to practice. The key is to make it your own,” she says.

Anyone can read tarot, says Hutch of the 78-card deck, though it takes time and practice to do it well. 

Generally, tarot is used to gain insight into the past, present, or future by formulating a question, then drawing and interpreting cards. “Most people don’t know that modern poker cards are based on tarot. This fact can help you get a sense of the four court cards [suits],” Hutch says.

The most important thing is to quiet your mind so your intuition can let the cards speak for themselves. “I usually suggest that you imagine the characters on the cards showing up to your dinner party. How would they interact? What kind of stories would they tell?” 

A mindful approach to creating your at-home wellness space

Be intentional. The meaning of common wellness practices like burning sage to ward off negative energy is sometimes misunderstood. In lieu of “smudge sticks,” which are often used in sacred ceremonies by Indigenous populations, Jewelweed stocks air-clearing incense and plant “burnables.” To steer clear of overharvested plants and trees like white sage and palo santo, try abundant botanicals such as cedar, eucalyptus, and pine, suggests McKee. 

Shop local. Whether it’s tea, candles, or tarot cards, consider micro-crafted and locally made products first. These purchases support the livelihood of makers—and skirt packaging waste that often comes with online orders. 

Ask questions. Want to know where a certain product comes from or how it’s made? Ask the shopkeepers who stock the things you like. Feeling good about the products you have in your wellness space will only encourage a more positive and grounding vibe.