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The Bigger Picture: Community

How can we make our daily rituals work for our wellbeing?

Our homes have become more productive places in the last few years, but sleeping, relaxing, and spending time alone are key to achieving balance. These were the three activities people globally rated as most important for maintaining a sense of mental wellbeing at home.

IKEA Life at Home Report 2021

A Salute To Exhausted Parents

Helena Gouveia
Country Marketing Manager, IKEA Retail Sweden

Helena moved from Portugal to Sweden a few months ago with her husband and two boys to oversee the growth of the IKEA brand in its mother market – and it still gives her goosebumps. With her new move, she launched a campaign called Still Standing, which is an anthem to exhausted parents. With its namesake’s Elton John hit playing in the background, the commercial accurately portrays the eternal quest of under-equipped parents to stay above water.

“This is a group of people who already have an explosion of needs around the home and struggles with sleepless nights, with cranky kids, with many needs throughout the day, and how those issues also affect couples in their relationships,” Helena empathises. “Adding to that, the anxiety of the global pandemic, the tension of not knowing how hazardous the virus would be for families and children, and the lockdowns made it clear that we needed to salute all the mums and dads out there, that they are doing a great job, and that they need to take care of themselves.” Various social media platforms revealed an outpouring of shared experience, opening a revelatory window on the trials of juggling the different demands.

For Helena, silent breaks helped her to connect with herself and to pull through this past year. “My home has been the most productive space ever! It was a struggle to both work and run school at home for both my kids. One of my rituals has been to prepare some nice tea in the morning, light a candle, and enjoy that moment while turning on my computer and checking my e-mail. That wouldn’t be possible in the office!”

How could IKEA help parents return to nourishing rituals? “We can give ideas that are simple to implement. Ideas for me-time, for creating new activities with kids that also make parents feel good. The sky’s the limit! But it requires homes to be spaces where communication flows freely and people are eager to find common ground.”

“My home has been the most productive space ever! It was a struggle to both work and run school at home for both my kids. One of my rituals has been to prepare some nice tea in the morning, light a candle, and enjoy that moment while turning on my computer and checking my e-mail. That wouldn’t be possible in the office!”

Slow-cooked Sustainable Habits

Monica Keaney
Country Sustainability Manager, IKEA Retail Denmark

Though Monica values being able to work from home when it suits her, she discerns the worrying trend in many of our societies to maximise output. “We are not always improving our lives, happiness, health, or the planet’s health with our productivity. To hear that the home is also now a more ‘productive space’ makes me a bit sad. What kind of productivity is happening here? Is it really the kind we want?”

Many would agree that homes should be nurturing spaces. And nurture is slow. Like in a slow cooker, ‘savoury stews’ from our habits and rituals are getting richer and deeply nourishing our wellbeing. That is, if those habits and rituals inform behaviours we want to see more of.

Aware of the vital tie between our planet’s health and our own mental wellbeing, Monica suggests how we can take simple steps to make our daily actions more sustainable.

“Many behavioural psychologists argue that to make a long-lasting change in a routine or ritual, it helps to connect it to one you already have. Food is often a great entry point. Try plant-based milk in your coffee, vegan lunches on weekdays, or making a weekly meal out of fridge leftovers to reduce food waste.”

Monica stresses that although it’s a matter of huge importance, it is crucial for people not to feel completely overwhelmed by the climate crisis. “How can we feel that we have any impact as just one individual? That kind of thinking leads to a lack of action, which leads to more anxiety, and the cycle continues. So instead, kick the cycle the other way. Small actions will give you a boost of satisfaction and can propel you to take bigger actions.”

 

She also advocates that household members should be allowed to decide their own actions. “It leads to a greater excitement! It’s so much better than the top-down initiative!”

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“Many behavioural psychologists argue that to make a long-lasting change in a routine or ritual, it helps to connect it to one you already have. Food is often a great entry point. Try plant-based milk in your coffee, vegan lunches on weekdays, or making a weekly meal out of fridge leftovers to reduce food waste.”

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The Life at Home Magazine

A Balanced Place

Learn more about the ups and downs of mental wellbeing at home through the stories and experiences of people around the world.