When we get stressed, a common response is to distract ourselves with more activity. Taking time out helps you to see things clearly and gain resilience to deal with challenges. Here’s how to turn a corner of your home into a haven for relaxation and renewal.
- 1 Find the right spotWalk slowly through your home and see how you feel in different areas. Is there a place that appeals to you more than others? It can be inside or outside; as big as an unused room or as a small as a corner near a window.
- 2 Install a bufferKeep your sanctuary separate from the rest of your home. If it doesn’t have an actual door, use a folding screen or a length of voile, bead curtain or satin cord to denote an entry point at which you leave your cares behind.
- 3 Create comfortWhat will your sanctuary look like? Would you prefer a cozy, protected spot or a clean, light-filled space? Before you start moving furniture, identify what sort of atmosphere makes you feel comfortable and relaxed.
- 4 Find a focal pointA favourite chair, a pile of cushions or a beanbag may be all you need. Incorporate items and symbols that inspire you, such as a photograph of children, a beautiful bowl, and perhaps a diary to record your thoughts. An altar with candles, an icon, a statue of Buddha or Ganesha (the Hindu god of insight and clarity) or prayer beads all add a spiritual element.
- 5 Feed your sensesChoose colours that please you. Deep lilac, pale blue and soft cream are best for a restful feel. Scent enhances the ambience of your sacred space – light vanilla or lavender incense to calm you down, or use an aromatherapy diffuser. Add texture: every mother knows that wrapping a baby in soft fabric makes them feel settled. Drape a treasured piece of embroidered silk over your altar, or keep a cashmere wrap nearby to tuck around you as you rest or meditate.
- 6 Return to natureConsider what elements in nature mean the most to you, such as water, then add objects like beautiful shells to evoke it, or a bowl of pebbles, which feng shui experts say provide ‘grounding’ vibrational energies from the earth. According to traditional Chinese medicine, plants and flowers nourish liver energy, which in turn stimulates clear thinking. Dracaena stalks are said to bring luck and prosperity while cascading-type plants, such as ferns, absorb negative energy.
- 7 Bless your spaceThis can be as simple as lighting a candle and saying a prayer or an affirmation, such as “May this be a place where I feel safe and can rest and restore myself.” The important thing is that your little ceremony is meaningful to you. Then do whatever feels natural: rest, pray, meditate, do deep breathing exercises or just shut your eyes and be quite still. Promise yourself that you will spend a little time in your sanctuary every day: even just 10 minutes will bring you comfort.