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This week Professor Mona Siddiqui, Assistant Principal Religion and Society, reflects on how important it is to give thought to the room you work in.

I enjoy doing home renovations and am currently redecorating my bedroom. I’m sure many will think I’m a bit mad – the sheer hassle of having workmen in the house, the upheaval and mess, especially in the current circumstances. But for me, the physical surroundings of home have always mattered to my sense of wellbeing. Quite simply, I like things to look nice, the aesthetics of the space we inhabit are important because our homes shape us.

A home can be a container for your life. In the last few weeks, as I’ve spent so much more time inside, I’m again more conscious of the way a room can affect your energy, the way colours can influence your mood and how we think differently in different spaces. The way random objects around the home can bring to surface both happy and unhappy memories, the reasons why we eventually let go of things we’d held onto for decades, tell us something about our own growth and aspirations.  A home embodies all aspects of our lives and should say something about who we are as people, our past, present but also our future.

As yet most of us at the university have had very limited opportunity to return to our physical work space. I’ve missed my small office. But if we’re all going to work from home much more, it’s worth trying to enhance this experience. A lick of paint and some new furnishing may not resolve all the challenges, but sometimes it takes very little to lift our mood, to make us feel better and most importantly, to bring new hope as we move forward.

Photography: Sam Sills