Keeping Zen

Keeping Zen | Style Stories

Darren Palmer has a broad portfolio, having studied fine art & graphic design, originally working in advertising and owning his own graphic design company. After succumbing to his true passion, Darren now operates his own interior design studio and has been a judge on numerous seasons of The Block.

In a time that is extremely unprecedented by what is going on in the world, it more important than ever to keep ourselves grounded mentally and healthy physically for our overall wellbeing (and inevitably those around us too). Zen or a sense of calm can be achieved by recognising exactly what you most need in this period and catering to it. For me, I am fairly used to working from home so have not had the harsh adjustment that many others have faced. What I have really missed though like many others is being able to go to my gym, which seems to be a sentiment shared.

Move Your Body

To keep myself in a healthy and happy place, I’m continuing to work out regularly regardless. Working out in whichever way you can (or prefer) has many benefits. It gives you obvious physical benefits, releases endorphins which make us feel good, gives structure but most importantly “me time” if you’re working out alone, or a sense of comradery if working out with a buddy.

Groove Along

Music is also a great salve to change any mood or switch gears from when you’re working to when you’re “at home”. You may find that a particular type of music is most conducive to you powering through your workday. I’ll listen to whatever I need to that suits that particular mood or which I know will power me up or down. For instance, if I’m writing or performing any creative task I always listen to Ludovico Einaudi. When I’m socialising with my family we tend to listen to a chilled out playlist called “Pool House” by Andrew Carter on Soundcloud, whereas when I’m working out it’ll be whatever upbeat and uplifting playlist I’ve decided to listen to on repeat. Yes, I’m not ashamed to say I have listened to the dance remix of “Let It Go” anywhere up to 12 times in a row and once even worked out to the soundtrack of Moana for a week. The point is to find out what sort of music you know will either motivate you or relax you and just listen in. Dance or singalong if you also feel the need, there is no  shame in that!

Zone Areas

Demarcating an area for each of the different daily tasks you carry out is particularly important and even more so if you have a multi-purpose or open plan area where you do many things. This will help to define the boundaries physically and mentally between work and home life. For example, like many my dining table is also my work desk, if I’m lucky this can sometimes be moved outside to a table and chairs (weather permitting) for a change of scenery. I have a balcony where I generally work out which also happens to be where we BBQ on the weekends, and the lounge room is the chillout space where we come together and enjoy movies or other activities as a family. The bedroom should be a sanctuary for you, so try to keep work or  multifunctioning activities out of it wherever possible so you can have a place that you can retreat to when you need to recharge.

Brain Power

If you’re someone who likes to keep mentally active then look around your home for any of those little things you’ve been meaning to do but just haven’t designated the time for. There’s bound to be projects, cleaning, puzzles, hobbies, courses and even workshops (online) that will keep you occupied and working toward something. However, if you take comfort in binge reading one book after another in a cosy spot within your house then by all means do that too.


Some people may feel best when they’re looking for the positives in these sorts of difficult situations, others may feel most at ease by digesting as much information as it comes hand. Whatever it is that makes you feel most comfortable mentally and  physically is what you should absolutely be doing at the moment. As I read this week “Staying positive doesn’t mean you have to be happy all the time. It means that even on hard days you know that there are better ones coming” and I couldn’t put it more concisely than that.

Keeping Zen | Style Stories