How to create a calming space

On a regular day, your physical environment is important as it can affect your mood. But in a pandemic, where everyone is quarantined and we rarely leave the home, it is EXTRA important that your space helps you feel centered and peaceful.

Messy and disorganized spaces can cause anxiety in the best of times. In the stressful times of COVID-19, unwelcoming spaces can leave us even more bummed out.

If you’re looking for ways to mix up your space to lift your spirits, here are some tips to consider:

  1. Pick where you want to focus your efforts. How much space do you have available? Do you have an entire room? Maybe a corner? Or maybe just a bed? Once you know the area you’re working with, you’ll be better able to customize.
  2. Consider colors that make you happy. Are there colors that fill you with joy? That calm you down? That stress you out? Think about colors that put you in a good mental space. Once you’ve identified them, get creative about how you can incorporate them into your space. Can you paint the walls? Maybe add decals or posters? Or if you can’t touch the physical structure of your living space, can you collect objects that incorporate your favorite color, like furniture, blankets, or pillows?
  3. Find textures that help you relax. You know that feeling you get when you feel a fuzzy blanket or extra soft pillow? Certain textures and fabrics help us relax instantly while others do the opposite. Would you rather sleep on a soft feathery surface or sandpaper? Try out different combinations and see what you like best. If you find the right combo, you might feel your muscles relax immediately!
  4. Use scents to your advantage. Smells are a very personal thing. For instance, some people love perfume, and some people hate it. If you’re someone who enjoys scents and feel that they help you relax, explore what you like best. Essential oils, which are made from plant extracts, are great for supporting health and well-being and are widely used in alternative medicine.
  5. Think about your props. Which objects make you feel good? Maybe you have photos of family and friends that bring a smile to your face and put you in a positive mental space. Or perhaps you have a certain toy or object you like, such as Play-doh or a stress ball. Do you like plants? Or mirrors? Find a few of your favorite things and keep them visible and accessible so they are easily available when you want them.
  6. Pack away things that don’t serve an immediate purpose. We want to be intentional about what we are choosing to keep in our space. If you find notice that you have piles or stacks of things you never use, that’s not only creating to a cluttered environment (and contributing to your anxiety), but also taking space away from something you could really enjoy. As you are reviewing what you have in your space, ask if it makes you happy and/or serves a purpose. If the answer is no to both, consider boxing it up and packing it away for the time being.

At the end of the day, remember that this is a process! It takes time to figure out what you like and what works for you, not to mention the time it takes to organize and try out different styles. Hopefully the act of exploring is just as fun as the moment you finish your final space creation.

And this is an important point: while these can be fun ideas if you’re up for exploring them, there is NO SHAME OR PRESSURE in using your energy to just take care of yourself. If the thought of tackling a project like this right now fills you with anxiety or self-judgment, don’t do it. If you have an interest, come back when you’re ready. We’ll be here.

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