About Me and Sarah Rzemieniak Designs
Hi! I’m Sarah Rzemieniak and I have a great passion for two things: design/aesthetics and mental health/wellbeing (and my two pet rats if I add a third). This blog and venture is my exploration in connecting the two.
It makes sense that this intersection would turn out to be a passion of mine, which took 33 years for me to recognize fully. From as young as I can remember, I had a passion (compulsion?) for order in the space around me as a way of feeling in control and comfortable in my surroundings. From as young as five I remember cleaning up after my parents when I knew they weren’t going to in a manner that satisfied me, and a favourite thing to do was to clean the kitchen and take it from disorganized mess to orderly and spotless as a surprise present for my parents while they were out.
Throughout my young adult years, living in cheap university dormitories and shared basement suites, I threw myself into decorating each bedroom that I had so that it felt just right, and keeping it clean and orderly was a necessity for my constantly high stress levels. I took so much pleasure though in turning a drab, dark bedroom into one that felt warm and comforting. I first started to realize that this might be something I was actually good at when boyfriends that I had, who I would never have thought would notice interior design, would comment on how nice my place was, even when it was a dark basement suite. I loved these compliments.
Decorating a room just right was also the one area of my life where my compulsion for exactness and perfection felt like it could run wild and also bring me joy at the same time. In all other areas of my life, this temperament of mine brought great stress and suffering, but when decorating and cleaning, I loved letting it run wild and take as much time to hang a picture as it pleased.
In other areas of my life, not so much….. Amidst this cleaning and designing I had a severe eating disorder that took over my life from the age of twelve until my mid-twenties. With treatment though, and a desire to be free, I eventually recovered, and my first career was in fact as a registered dietitian, where I discovered a passion for connecting with and helping others going through their own battles with food and body image.
However, I soon began to feel that a career as a dietitian just didn’t feel like me, and so I became a recovery coach for those with eating disorders, and I love and continue this work in private practice to this day. However, I craved doing something more creative as well, something tangible, and this is when I realized that cleaning, organizing and decorating didn’t just have to be something I did on weekends and when I moved. And I also began to think about how design and aesthetics and the spaces around us mean so much more than just pretty things to look at….. My living space, from the time I can remember, affected my mental health profoundly, and when I read Marie Kondo’s book for the first time, I knew exactly what she meant when she said that, "When your room is clean and uncluttered, you have no choice but to examine your inner state." I intuitively found that I could only really calm my inner anxiety and stress after the space around me was ordered and beautiful first.
And when answering those questions, “What is something you would do even if you didn't get paid”, or, “What is something you would do if you knew you couldn’t fail”, it was always something to do with organizing, decorating and interior design. And so I am excited to begin marrying my two interests - design and mental health, and to see where it takes me.
I believe that there is so much in our complex modern world that takes a toll on our mental health, much of which I don’t think we can practically get away from. And so I am passionate about helping others, and myself, optimize one variable that is at least a bit more in our control: the space we live in. And as I am learning, there is an abundance of research, and of course ancient traditions, available to guide the way and supplement my own ideas.