The idea of a “sanctuary space” is something that came to me while I was laying around in my bedroom one night. I was surveying the space and realized how safe, at home, and relaxed I felt. Sure, I’ve always felt safe in my home, but for some reason this felt different. This place felt like a place where I could come to get away from the world and have some quality me time. A place that I could call my own. A place especially for me.
Since my sophomore year of college I’ve lived alone, so when my mom moved in with me recently things changed. Although I am so extremely grateful and happy that she is living with me (she’s my best friend and literally the coolest person I know), I felt like since I now shared a space with someone else, the place I once considered my sanctuary space (my whole apartment) no longer gave me that feeling. This meant that I had to locate and create a new sanctuary space. A space where I could go to escape, get away, and relax.
I like to describe myself as an introverted extrovert. I LOVE being around people and hanging out in group settings, but I also LOVE (and crave) alone time. So you can only imagine what it was like for me to go from being alone whenever I wanted, to having someone around 24/7. That’s when I decided I needed to create a new sanctuary space that would continue to keep me calm and peaceful, all the while accommodating my introverted-ness. I developed the following 7 steps to help you do the same! I would like to preface this by saying that I’m not some specialist or expert in “sanctuary spaces”, I’m actually not even sure if a sanctuary space is a real thing or something my mind just made up for that matter. So with that being said, let’s get into the post!
1. Choose your space
In my opinion, this is the most crucial part of the whole process. If a space doesn’t automatically come to mind, I want you to visualize your sanctuary space in your mind . If visualizing isn’t your thing, write down on a physical piece of paper what your ideal sanctuary space looks like. Write about the decor, the smell, the sounds, and the feeling of the space. Is it a small and quaint room or maybe a large open space? Is it indoor or outdoor? Now take that visualization or list and apply it to a space you are able to access whenever you want (bedroom, car, bathroom, kitchen, garage, etc.), not a specific place you would have to travel to by getting on a plane or a business that has certain hours you’re able to visit. Got your space? Great, let’s move on!
2. Decorate your space
I feel like when people think about decorating a space their brain automatically goes to their “Dream Home” Pinterest board (well at least mine does…am I the only one?) I will be the first to admit that I’m obsessed with my “Future Home” Pinterest board, but rationally know, at least for now, that’s not doable. So that’s why I’m always down to scavenge for some awesome decor at some of my favorite places- Home Goods, Marshalls, Ross, garage sales, and thrift stores are just a few of my favorites! These are great places to get all types of decor for a great price! Fun fact: I haven’t paid full price for pretty much all of the furniture and decor in my house. I’m always on the hunt for a good deal and instead of jumping at the first full price item I see, I look a little deeper and see how I can get a deal or find something similar for a smaller price!
Enough about my quest for decor deals, let’s get back on track- decorating your sanctuary space! Fill it with things that make you happy! For me, that’s pineapples, so I have pineapples literally everywhere. I also tend to gravitate towards decor that features soft and neutral colors. Nothing too bold and bright. But you may be the complete opposite of me and want bright green walls and a hot pink body pillow laying across your space, if that’s you, awesome, go for it!!
Something else that’s huge for me not just in my sanctuary space, but any space I’m in is lighting! I actually refuse to turn on most overhead lights- fluorescent bulbs and I just don’t get along. So, if lighting is a big deal to you like it is to me think about the following: What kind of lighting do you like? Natural? Warm? Bright? Dark? Energy efficient bulbs? Edison bulbs? The sky’s the limit!
3. Include your favorite things
This can go along with decor, but goes way beyond that! Maybe you have a favorite sweatshirt or pair of comfy pants you love to relax in, be sure to include those somewhere in your space! Maybe you have a favorite snack or drink that makes you feel happy, make sure to have those on hand for easy, hassle-free consumption!
In my space I like to include books. I’m actually not sure why because I’m literally the slowest reader of all time and it takes me so long to finish a book, but it brings me happiness seeing stacks of books just waiting to be read.
I also have all my makeup on a desk in my bedroom. It used to be located in a different room of my apartment, but since moving it I have felt so much more connected to my space.
Moral of the story, include what makes you feel warm, cozy and happy! If that means including all of your favorite stuffed animals, your favorite flowers, or favorite sweater, go for it!
4. Leave it looking how you want
This is YOUR space, so you get to leave it how YOU want. If that means leaving a few things out of place or leaving your space spick and span, it’s up to you. That was actually part of the reason I never saw my room as a sanctuary space, there was always clutter around which made me not want to spend time there. Now I know in order to maintain my bedroom as my sanctuary space, I need to keep my space tidy (my parents are probably reading this and rolling their eyes wishing I made this realization years ago….sorry mom and dad! Better late than never right?)
5. Make it smell good
No one is going to want to spend time in a smelly place, so pick a scent and go with it! For me, Bath and Body Works candles are king. I literally always have one burning and go through them like someone with a cold goes through tissues. If you like the smell of freshly baked cookies, bake cookies a few times a week or find a candle or oil diffuser that gives off that yummy smell! Let’s say you love the smell of pot roast cooking in the crockpot, I can guarantee you that there is a candle or oil product out there that will make your space smell like a hunk of cooking meat for as long as you’d like!
6. Make the space sound appealing
For some it’s silence and for others it’s blasting the Hamilton soundtrack at maximum volume. Whatever your choice in sound, make sure it fits you! Remember, your sound choice doesn’t have to stay the same. Some days you may want the white noise of an episode of The Office in the background and others you may want to listen to Disney’s greatest hits. I would also recommend making a playlist on Spotify or Apple Music if you are in the mood for a specific artist, genre, or album!
7. Make it your own
Remember that every sanctuary space will be different, that’s what makes it so fun! It’s yours and yours alone, so design it the way you want, set it up they way you want, not what someone else wants!
Now, go get to work on your space! After you’ve created your space, tag me in your photos on Instagram, I can’t wait to see what you come up with!
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