“Wellness” is the design solution de jour. Not long ago, our “design matters” solutions were energy efficiency, community, sense of place and identity, resilience, safety, security, convenience, much of it aided and abetted by new technology. When we roll all these benefits together in the buildings we design, it makes us feel relevant. Design does matter and so do we.
Wellness is on my mind today. I am sitting at home, travel- banned and feeling lonely as the world outside grapples with the Coronavirus. It’s only 10:00 am and I’ve already washed my hands ten times. I’m popping vitamin C pills like jellybeans on Easter. The only time I’ve touched my face is with soap in both hands. I’ve turned off the stress-producing news but my iPhone keeps beeping me with media updates about another outbreak. When I turn off my mobile phone, I feel even more alienated. It’s the unknown of it that makes me anxious.
Wellness, including living longer, is improved by being with other people. But other people are contagious now. I’ve heard that wearing a mask doesn’t help and I’ve bruised my elbow by shaking hands with it. What should I do while trapped at home? Maybe I’ll re- design my house for wellness. For example:
- Install an air purifying system to eliminate pollens and dust particles.
- Add a shower filtration system to reduce my exposure to chlorine and other harmful chemicals.
- Increase my natural light. This helps me see better, infuses vitamin D and puts me in a good mood.
- Use only natural building materials, like wood floors instead of carpet, to emit fewer harmful particles.
- Designate a workout room to make it easier for me to exercise. Build new cubbies in the mud room for storing my athletic equipment.
- Read. No more TV. Reading is more relaxing than TV. Bookshelves make me feel cozy and comfy.
- Remodel my kitchen for better convenience. This makes me want to cook more and eat less
- Slide open my patio doors, get outside and breath fresh air.
- Declutter rooms to sooth my anxious mind.
When I think about those affected by Covid-19, especially the poor and the elderly, I feel grateful for my health and my home. Being holed up in a healthy home isn’t so bad. I’m enjoying my old house stuff including Mother’s antiques. Will the kids come around when it’s time to inherit again?