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Meet… Maja Vujaskovic Djureinovic

Communications Operations Manager, IKEA South East Europe

Maja’s living situation:

Who: Maja lives with her husband and 7-year-old daughter, Nadja. On weekends they are joined by Kosta, her husband’s 12-year-old son.

What: The family has recently moved into a new 3-bedroom home, which they’re still decorating. Extended family often visits from other countries, as well as friends from home, over the weekends.

Where: Central Belgrade, Serbia.

What are the biggest barriers to you getting time to yourself?

For me, privacy is very much associated with silence and connection to the soothing sounds of nature. My job means that I spend my days at work interacting with many people. At home, as most parents of smaller kids, I hear “mamaaaaaaa” around a thousand times every hour. Top that up with living in a large city with the constant sound of traffic and a lot of people, and I do feel overwhelmed with the noise sometimes.

If you had two hours for yourself, what would you do?

Can I have two days instead please? Close to where I grew up, there is a long, sandy beach with no urban developments and natural beauty that is overwhelming and healing. I love to go for a long walk there, all alone, with no possessions. It gives me a bit of anxiety at first, to be completely disconnected, but after ten minutes I start to relax and enjoy it. The recharging effect is stunning – one walk is worth a whole spa weekend! In everyday life, it’s more about grabbing 10 minutes to do something for myself. I take every opportunity to learn something new. Right now it’s Italian, and I opted for an app that I can use anywhere – in a closet, bathroom, or in bed before I fall asleep.

"For me, privacy is very much associated with silence and connection to the soothing sounds of nature."

What changes to your home have you made – or would you like to make – to get more breathing space?

Moving to a new space has been a great opportunity for our family to do some serious decluttering. We’re pretty good at getting rid of stuff we don’t need, but now we’ve really embraced the concept of minimalism, bringing in only the things that we use in our daily lives. This has helped us create large areas of tidy, empty spaces and more opportunities for everyone to have their own little corner.

What’s your top tip for getting the privacy you need when living with other people?

It’s about creating a small oasis that really fits your needs and preferences. For me it is my terrace. Although we live in a city, we looked for a space that has a terrace overlooking greenery, and this view helps me compensate for the lack of nature in my daily life, while also being my quiet space. I decorated it according to my idea of leisure: rocking chair for reading, with a cup of tea or, even better, a glass of wine while listening to the sounds of birds or whispering trees. Nothing beats that! Another quick fix I use a lot is headphones to isolate myself while listening to podcasts or my favourite music.