How I make My Space a Sanctuary and why its important to have your own space.
It shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that I like having my own space. As an Empath and generally as a human, it can become draining to be around other people all the time. Even when I was living with my ex in a one-bedroom apartment with two dogs it could be too much. When you are around another person constantly you must be the one to think about what they want. What they want to watch, eat, where they are on the sofa, what they have to work on that night, even the colors in the room have to be negotiated for the most part, even if you have the same styles (Which we did not). Sometimes, at least to me, this results in a plain, drape looking room that’s not mentally comforting.
I personally am a pink and grey person myself. Maybe purple and grey. Either way its not a very masculine color scheme so I tried not to put that sort of thing up, even if we didn’t talk about it. Now that I have my own space I really do feel like I can make a space that is pretty my ideal sanctuary, well as Ideal as you can make a space without breaking the bank.
Keep in mind that after my divorce I did end up moving back in with my mother. She lived by herself in a four-bedroom home so it seems stupid to move out and spend the money when there are three empty bedrooms, a fully finished basement and an acre large lot that can be gardened all just sitting there without being used. This means that obviously I do have restrictions, but not many. I transformed the storage room where the hot water heater is into a pottery studio, and I had an extra- extra bedroom to work in as an office when we were on lockdown.
I did this and didn’t just work in my room because I firmly believe that there need to be spaces to work and spaces to relax and breath. Plus working on your bed for a year is not only gross getting up and moving around wise but really bad on your back.
For me I believe that nothing stressful should actually happen in your bedroom. You shouldn’t work or be in there if you are working on anything that might cause you stress. That is supposed to be your calm place. When you go into your bedroom or a space that you have designated as a relaxed zone, just the act of entering should tell your mind to cool it. This will make it easier to relax, sleep or for you and your partner to connect in anyway you use to ‘connect’ if ya know what I mean. Tricking your mind like this is important. I wouldn’t even call it tricking…its more like training.
There are a few things that are agreed on is important for a relaxing space and some things that I just find help me to relax. Either way they are things that I would try and that I personally use and will never ever give up.
Black out curtains or a way to get your space as dark as humanly possible. This is particularly important during the months that the sun stays out later or in areas up north where it generally stays light longer. Making your room as dark as humanly possible when you are about to sleep is a huge help. I have California blinds on my windows and then a set of black out curtains as well. It gives me the ability to adjust my light levels at different times of the year and also depending on if I want to nap or deep sleep.
Plants are the breathe of life. I love having plants in my spaces and always find it super weird when I go into a room and there aren’t any plants. Plants are just plain relaxing. No question about it and tending plants once a week makes you feel connected, even when you don’t get to spend enough time outside or don’t have outdoor space. Plants clean the air but there have also been studies showing that just the act of having something alive and growing can help physciologically. As someone who believes in the vast connection of all living things and that part of the reason for a lot of problems mentally and emotionally (As well as economically and socially) Is our disconnection of ourselves from the natural world. Reconnecting in this way really helps me to relax and find my center.
Color changing light bulbs are the newest thing that I have added to my calm space. Being able to change the color on them really helps me set moods for if I’m trying to fall asleep, reading or doing just about anything else.
Nix the Mirrors. I know this sounds strange but I am not a big fan of mirrors in the bedroom. Most of all because I don’t looking at myself constantly. They can make a room feel bigger which is helpful but are also the first thing I notice getting dirty or causing reflections I don’t want. If you’re fine with mirrors or have a small space that you are trying to make look bigger, that’s totally fine. I just tend to keep them in the studio for when I have to see my forms from all angles or in the bathroom to put on make up. ect.
Speaking of the first thing you see dirty, make sure relaxing space is as tidy as you can. This means not having clutter on every surface and really minimizing the amount of busy you have going on around you. Wall are should be simple and the colors should be neutral. As stated before I prefer a blush pink and a nice grey quilt. These are easy to match, neutral and great up against the green of my pants. Bright colors make the mind go into over drive.
Have a good speaker. Just like color and greenery in you r space will help you relax, its not surprising that sound does too. I listen to headspace sleep casts and audio books/ podcasts a lot so having a nice little speaker in my room that doesn’t draw attention and still meets the minimalist standard is a must. I am currently using the plain Echo Mini because it also controls my color changing lights. I also set my alarm with this because I try to keep my phone away from me at night. I want to get something a bit more natural looking but the white version of it actually blends in really well.
Some other things that I have found in my room that actually really relaxes me are simple but at the same time something that we don’t all do. As I said I try to keep my phone out of reach…or at least in a hard-to-reach spot. I already make sure that I have my do not disturb/ digital wellbeing settings set for 10 pm to 7 am in the morning. This enables me to go to bed and look at it but turns the screen grey so it doesn’t wake up my mind if I do roll over and check it in the middle of the night. Plus having it set until seven when I wake up at six am makes sure that I’m not just on it when I first wake up or bombarded by calls, emails or notifications.
I am also a big fan of scents. I of course have the mandatory candles based on the season from Home goods and am oil diffuser but what I really love to do is put my tea tree oil into my humidifier and going to town. Its like a giant diffuser that helps with your sinuses!
Lastly I want to point out that you deserve calm. Whatever kind of calm brings you peace. We live in such a hustle culture where for some reason the only form of rest that we think is warranted is passing out. This is not true. Rest, peace and time to yourself can change you life. Its not an option for everyone to have a whole room dedicated just to them. Not all of us can have a study, studio or shed. Most of all as women, we are expected to be there for others all the time. A man cave is so common while the she shed is almost said with a comical giggle.
Be aware of what you need and when you need calm and rest. Pay attention to what helps you find that sense of rest and calm. Learning what we need in this regard is not emphasized enough. We are not taught to pay attention to what calms us and makes us feel better. It can take some trail and error but learning how to listen to your mind and your heartbeat is a tool that can help with a lot of different elements. Being self-aware starts with observation. It doesn’t mean jumping into a trend of finding a guru. It means getting in touch with yourself and identifying your needs. Being calm is definitely a need we all have.
This is going to help you and everyone around you. Even if you can’t spend hours with it on your own, a few minutes is something that can change how well you sleep and for the people with insomnia or anxiety, if you sleep at all.