How to Find or Create Your ‘Sacred’ Self-Care Space
When I walk into my apartment, I’m surrounded by reminders of the things I need to do.
There are "save the date" cards stuck to my refrigerator.
Scribbled to-do lists on my coffee table.
Screens everywhere—and usually in my hand, too.
I listen to podcasts while I cook, play some Lizzo while I clean.
I can only truly get away from all the outside noise in one place in my home: the shower.
My shower time is me-time. As I scrub my hair, I check in with what I’ve done that day and what’s coming up for the rest of the week. I shave my legs and muse about problems I need to crack. I come up with brilliant startup ideas while I wash my face, rinsing over and over again to prolong my shower.
I’ve come to see that tiled 4'x6' shower as my apartment’s self-care space. Yes, I’m literally caring for myself by focusing on hygiene, but I’m also taking the time to decompress and to check in with myself.
Unlike my clothes-packed bedroom or screen-strewn living space, my shower just contains me and my thoughts. (OK, and about 13 bottles of yummy-smelling shampoo.)
It had never occurred to me to replicate my shower’s conditions (no screens, no outside noise, no distractions) until I came across an article on creating a "sacred" self-care space.
In it, the writer highlights the importance of creating a space where you can shut out the rest of the world and turn inward.
“We are not meant to be in constant motion, not in our movements or our minds,” Landolfi tells Shine, comparing humans, somewhat ironically, to cellphones. Like an iPhone on 5%, she says, “we need to unplug from the world so we can recharge.”
“A great self-care space is inviting and welcoming you to relax and unwind," Landolfi says. “Cultivating an environment that encourages self-care will inspire you to partake more frequently.”
You may already have your own self-care space (or SCS)—maybe a corner of your bedroom, nook in your living space or, like me, the zen of your could-be-bigger bathroom.
With her advice in mind, I set out to create my own SCS with a little more intention than my beloved shower stall. My pick: A cozy corner in my apartment.
Now, when I get up each morning, I head to that corner in my small apartment with a journal and pen and write for several minutes. It’s a small amount of time in a tiny space, but it’s enough for me to re-up before the day begins.
If you’re looking to bring your SCS up a notch, here’s where to start.
Ditch the Screens
Unless your phone is helping you practice self-care (like a meditation in the Shine app), try to make your SCS a phone-free zone.
“Quality ‘me time’ is a solo experience—there is no room for electronics, which will only distract you or pull your focus back to the wants and needs of others,” Landolfi says. “Leave your phone, tablet, and any other electronics behind, and turn off sound so you’re not disturbed by alerts.”
Post Some Quotes, Pictures, or Anything That Makes Your Heart Sing
“I love adding positive affirmation artwork to my space,” Landolfi says. She hangs a “well done is better than well said” quote by her desk.
“In our fast-paced world, it’s easy to forget or push aside our own needs," she adds. "Create a space that reminds you that you yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
Add Flowers If You Want to Splurge
“Fresh flowers are another wonderful addition to your self-care space,” Landolfi says, explaining studies have shown flowers can lower stress levels. The vibrant colors and scents can also stimulate your senses and help you get present.
“A bouquet of flowers is also a great way to say, 'I love you,' and most of us don’t tell ourselves that enough," she says.
Once You're In Your SCS: Let Your Mind Wander
I know, I know, it’s the antithesis of everything you’ve ever been told while trying to meditate. But in our jam-packed lives, we hardly ever give ourselves a minute to daydream.
We instinctively reach for our phones, texting while we watch Netflix and scrolling through Instagram while listening to a podcast—and walking to work.
We’ve become adept at doing six things at once, but what if you did no things at once? What if you just… see what happens, like you do when you hop in the shower without any distractions or agenda?
You might come up with a brilliant idea, sure, but the end result isn’t the point. Giving your brain a break can help you rest up for future challenge and disperse any lingering stress.
Create an SCS On-The-Go
Even if you can't create a sacred physical space, you can turn any space (yes, even a traffic jam) into an SCS by removing distractions, getting intentional, and finding ways to check in with yourself.
“Placing both of your feet on the ground, as opposed to having your legs crossed, can instantly help to center and ground you,” Landolfi says.
If you’re on the move, try a quick breathing sequence. It’ll take you a few practice breaths to get there, but by the end of your third breath, you should feel a little calmer and more yourself.
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