Even with a set of Sorels over your Uggs, a Canada Goose vest under your Canada Goose parka, and a tower of fur-trapper hats stacked like flapjacks on the top of your head, it sucks to be outdoors right now. Outdoors is all biting wind, ice and snow, ice-covered snow and my favourite variation, snow-covered ice, which presents a fine opportunity for some serious slip-and-falls. So indoors, a collegiette™ must retreat—indoors to some cramped shoebox bedroom in a tiny student flat split with four other roommates. And if my predictions have been correct thus far, I’ll bet that bedroom ain’t much to look at.
A bedroom should be a place of retreat and calm for your weary wintertime bones. It should wrap you up in its arms upon entrance and only release you upon achieving that most relaxed state of calm and contentedness. The season is long, and while you’re stuck indoors in that shoebox of a bedroom in the Ghetto or Plateau or (I pray you have an Opus card) Mile-End, a little feng shui goes a long way.
An art of ancient Chinese principles, feng shui is the promotion of positive energy within a space through adherence to a spiritual set of spatial considerations.
According to Rodika Tchi, owner of feng shui consulting firm Tchi Consulting, a good feng shui bedroom is one that promotes the flow of nourishing energy—central to a place in which you’re at your most vulnerable, in a state of restoration and reflection.
Read on for ten ways to feng shui your room this winter and create for yourself a little chi on the cheap:
1. Bring life into your room
To bring life into your room is to bring energy into it. Buy a low-maintenance and space-conscious pet like a goldfish or hermit crab to keep you company and make your room feel less empty.
If you’re not feeling pet-ownership, fill your room with plant life such as potted flowers or a miniature cactus. Tchi cautions, however, that dead plants are a source of great negative energy, so if you forget to water your plant for a few days, don’t let its wilting corpse sit around on your desk.
An easy place to start is with a Chia pet! Get creative and sculpt Obama a new afro! Nothing says positive energy like the Chia incarnation of a man whose personal motto is “Yes we can.”
2. Open your windows
The flow of positive energy through your space is essential to a nourishing environment, explains Tchi. Opening your windows just once a day, (even when it’s cold!) promotes airflow and rids your room of stale air.
Apartments in Montreal often date back to pre-war years when construction concerns like ventilation were not written into building regulations. Open your windows, let in the non-recycled air, and breathe in the chi.
3. Pay attention to the state of your bed
Humans will spend one third of their lives sleeping. With stats like that, the quality of your bed is directly correlated to the quality of your energy. Are you low energy? It could be because your bed is promoting bad chi.
Move your bed so it doesn’t fall directly in line with your door. When your feet face your bedroom door in sleep, you assume what feng shui principles morbidly refer to as the “coffin pose”, which depletes a room’s (and your) energy, says Tchi.
You should also refrain from hanging things over your bed or stashing clutter beneath it, as it impedes the circulation of energy around your bed when you’re asleep. If you really want to hang something over your bed, try a soft canopy, advises Tchi. The flowing fabric of a canopy won’t disrupt energy circulation.
4. Keep electronics to a minimum
Sometimes it feels like Mission Impossible 5 to live a luddite life in university. If you’re anything like me, your laptop, phone, iPod, and digital alarm clock, and chargers for all the aforementioned gadgets are within constant reach, littered around the myriad surfaces of your room.
Surrounding yourself with technology at all times, however, will only make you feel like part of the machine. Strive for a natural environment in your bedroom and put your electronics away when you’re not using them. This will promote the flow of pure energy within your space, undisrupted by the flashing lights and incessant beeping of too much tech. Even 50 Cent said, “Ayo, I’m tired of using technology.”
Listen to Fiddy.
5. Order things in pairs
The human mind craves order and unity, and achieves peace of mind in the presence of visual symmetry. Instead of haphazardly placing items around your room, hang posters in pairs, arrange your textbooks in a set, and keep throw pillows balanced on your bed.
When like things are kept together in the same place, energy flows harmoniously around it, explains Tchi. Simply ordering the items in your room will keep your mind orderly, as well.
6. Decorate your walls with inspiring images
Choose images that reflect your goals to place around your room. When you’re constantly surrounded by visuals of what you seek for yourself—a destination you want to visit, a graduate school you want to attend—you continuously receive subconscious reinforcement of your desires.
Jon Sandifer, author of Feng Shui for Life, advises placing something inspiring near your bed so it will be the last thing you see before sleep and the first thing upon waking. Practicing this promotes positive visual energy within your room, and helps your goals feel more attainable.
7. Vary the sources of light
In the depths of winter, the sun can go down as early as 4 in the afternoon. Combat this by introducing multiple and varied sources of light within your bedroom to turn on or off based on the quality of light from your window. A room with good feng shui will combine light sources like candles, lamps, and twinkle lights, and above all, avoid overhead lighting.
It may seem like a great place to display your collection of porcelain cat miniatures, but keeping your windowsill clear of objects allows positive energy from sunlight to filter through without obstruction. Sandifer also suggests soft lighting for the promotion of a more relaxed yin environment.
8. Keep all bedroom doors closed when you sleep
According to feng shui principle, leaving your bedroom door open when you sleep allows positive chi to flow out, and opens up your space to negative energy. Sleeping with the door shut promotes feelings of safety and security, bringing you calm and peace of mind.
Likewise, Sandifer advises closing all closet doors, as well as desk and dresser drawers, which, if left open, can trap positive energy.
9. Keep a clear walkway around all your furniture
When your room is a veritable shoebox, floor space is a precious commodity. It may take some serious ingenuity but Tchi recommends arranging furniture in such a way as to allow easy access to each piece from all sides. If you have to climb over your bed to get to your closet, or push your nightstand out of the way to close your door, energy cannot flow freely throughout your space.
If moving through your room is a study in awkwardness, you will feel subconsciously awkward in that space. Own your space and remember when you organize it to make room for your presence within it.
10. Keep it clean!
A tidy space is a happy space. When your room is cluttered, your mind is cluttered and it can make it incredibly difficult to focus.
Make use of the rules you picked up in nursery school and put things away after you’re done with them. When things are out of place, they obstruct the flow of good energy around you and within your room.
Keep it clean and preserve the chi!