Amanda Gibby Peters has been advising clients on the ancient practice of feng shui since 2007, but 2020 brought an impressive amount of new requests. The founder of Dallas-based Simple Shui has been interviewed on over 50 podcasts, more than any other year, though it doesn’t necessarily surprise her. “People come to Fung shui when their normal coping skills are no longer working,” Peters says. “This would be that year.”
The uptick in popularity may be due to her deep knowledge of feng shui, which goes beyond buying pretty things or simply moving a couch. It’s about the energy in a space, and how our surroundings ultimately influence our wellbeing. “There is a whole body of behavioral science that has studied and proven that our surroundings actually do impact or mood, which influences our behavior. Our behavior then weighs in on our decisions, and our decisions determine our outcomes. So it all aligns,” Peters says.
Of course, moving a key item or two could make a real difference over time, so ahead of the holidays and in the midst of a working or schooling (or both) from home, Peters shares some simple feng shui tips for overcoming the year’s challenges.
Your elevator pitch for feng shui
When you’re practicing feng shui, you’re looking to align with all of your goals — money, health, family, wellbeing, opportunities — for a fortunate, good life. It’s not an inoculation, but it can certainly help mitigate challenges. It can soften the edges and help you navigate.
On the Thanksgiving table
One of the things I recommend for setting the table, even throughout the year, is to use a tablecloth, cloth napkins, and tea lights — these small frivolous details can soften the stage and help offset squabbles. If you think in terms of yin and yang, a hard table, plates, and silverware is all very aggressive yang energy. The little details to soften things, like flowers or a centerpiece, really help balance the energy and the exchange that’s happening at the table.
On seating arrangements
I know right now kids are having a hard time being quarantined and social distancing. It’s just a weird time in their lives. If your kids are struggling with anxiety or depression — this doesn’t have to be specific to the holidays — have them sit at the head of the table. It just allows them to feel a little more empowered and in control.
Oh, and this one is always a party favorite, but if you have someone who likes to overstay their welcome or be a little problematic, you can put them at the seat closest to the door.
On holiday decorating
One thing that happens in the holiday season is that every thing gets decorated. When every surface is covered, we get caught up in the holidays and everything’s wonderful, but then we all hit a crash around January and February. And it’s because energy hasn’t been able to move around our house. So I would say, as you’re decorating your home, move things out so that things can come in.
Feng Shui translated is wind water [in China, wind translates to energy and water represents fortune], so it’s about having this really smoothly paced energy. Too much wind and water is dangerous, and not enough is not a good situation either. So it’s really this Goldilocks situation of being able to meander through your home in a nourishing way, and clutter will really clog that up. So even when it comes to Christmas décor, you don’t have to decorate every inch of your home.
Simple feng shui for work-from-home setups
I’ve had a lot of questions about setting up a home office, and one of my best suggestions is that you really want to be in the “command position.” And the way that’s often understood is thinking about a mafia boss sitting at the back of a room. They have a full view of anyone who comes in — no one can sneak up from behind so he’s never caught off guard. We want that same support for our workspaces. When our back is to a door, our subconscious stays on high alert. Over time, that wears you down, lowers your immune system defense, and keeps your stress levels pretty high.
If you’re in a space where you can’t have that arrangement, you can use a high back chair. Or if you’re facing a wall, use a mirror to see what’s coming behind you. Those are really simple, but incredibly effective shifts you can make, whether you’re in an office right now or you’re at home.
The lighting in our homes is also so important. When we work under really bright lights, it might feel invigorating at the beginning of the day, but it’s also super stimulating. By the end of the day you may feel over stimulated. To help, sit where there’s natural light, take lots of breaks from the screen during the day, and have a plant to absorb some of that EMF.
So it’s really about doing these small little things over time that are going to make decent enough improvements in how you feel, and again, looking at how that builds over time.
For more on Amanda Gibby Peters, her book, “Simple Shui for Every Day: 365 Ways to Feng Shui Your Life,” is available on Amazon and BookShop.