FIVE MINUTES WITH...JASON PETERKIN - Working from home this winter? Interior tips on how to combat SAD

According to the NHS, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a common issue for many of us during this time of year, and can affect people by causing irritability, a longing for deeper sleep, a craving for carbohydrates and a persistent lack of interest in everyday activities.
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From stodgy diets to unbalanced sleeping patterns, lethargic behaviour is part of the package when it comes to SAD.

Now that we’re in another lockdown for the bleaker, darker months of the year, it is important for us to combat our vulnerability and look after our mental health as much as possible, in order to enjoy a productive and calming WFH space.

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To understand more about what you can do to create a productive work environment, we spoke to a diverse range of interior experts, and have created some simple tips on how to harmonise your home office.

Jason PeterkinJason Peterkin
Jason Peterkin

Never underestimate the power of natural light. Sitting in a dark environment can play havoc with your productivity. With less natural light now that Winter is almost upon us, it’s important to utilise it when we can and make sure our home office space is as bright as possible.

Jason Peterkin, director at 247 Blinds said: “We often underestimate how much of a difference natural lighting can make. Whether your home benefits from large, airy windows or not, the right window treatment can help you to open up your home and make the most out of natural light. It’s also important to note how versatile window treatments are, you can be flexible with materials and light exposure.

“We’d recommend choosing a window treatment such as a roller blind that can be opened in full for maximum light exposure during the working day, or a day-night blind that allows you to take advantage of sunlight and privacy, but is perfect for controlling the amount of light filtering into a room too.”

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If you’re struggling with lack of access to natural light due to small windows or basement-based offices, why not invest in a SAD light? Proven to put you in a better headspace, increase energy and help you to feel more alert.

Now that we are spending so much more time confined between four walls and won’t be able to go outside for sunny al fresco lunch breaks, we recommend bringing some of the outside in. It’s time to ditch feeling stuffy and cooped up, purify the air around you and think green!

Sophie Lewis, Interior Designer and Owner of Husoe Home explains why houseplants should be an essential WFH accessory. She said: “Plants are scientifically proven to increase air quality*: they release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide. This not only freshens up the air, but also eliminates harmful toxins. (*Extensive research by NASA has revealed that houseplants can remove up to 87 per cent of air toxin in 24 hours.)

“There have been a number of studies which have proven that indoor plants improve concentration and productivity by up to 15 percent, reduce stress levels and boost mood - which makes them a perfect addition for those working from home.

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“Choose plants with lots of greenery and broad leaves for the home office area as they will help to regulate humidity and increase your levels of productivity. It’s proven that seeing greenery and nature helps us to clear our head and feel more calm.

“'It's important not to forget that the time spent caring for plants offers a great opportunity to look after your mental health too. Time needs to be spent away from electronic devices and the stresses of work. It's also very rewarding to nurture a plant and watch it grow which boosts self-esteem.”

Whether you’re working from a corner in your kitchen or all set up in your very own home office, it’s essential that the environment that you’re in encourages a calm energy and optimism. Though many of us can’t afford to completely redecorate, being mindful of the colours you surround yourself with can make all the difference to our energy levels.

Lucy Ackroyd, Head of Design from Christy England explains how the colour of our home office space can impact the way we feel throughout the day: “Choosing light, natural colours is the perfect way to add a soothing finishing touch to your interiors and encourage a serene mood. Restful colours such as dusky pink, light greens and neutrals such as beige and grey can create a calming atmosphere, whilst still keeping a cosy feel. Incorporating deeper shades of green, blue and yellow can also help promote feelings of optimism, growth and positivity, as they encourage images of outdoor greenery, the ocean, sunshine and the natural world.”

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Specific oils and scents can help with productivity, and you should ensure you have a stress free sleeping environment free of clutter.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.

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