“There’s no place like home.” The feeling of comfort and safety that can wash over you when you go home after a long day can be profoundly powerful. But sometimes stepping through the front door isn’t enough to leave your worries behind; sometimes you need to go further. That’s where a sanctuary space comes in handy. A sanctuary space is a room or cordoned-off area in your home that you use purely to relax, meditate, rest, and/or reflect on your day. It’s a place you go to that isn’t about work, learning, or responsibility; it’s where you go to chill out, soak in some mellow vibes, and leave all the noise of the outside world behind you.
Comfort Is Key
The fastest and most effective way to turn an area in your home into a sanctuary space is to make it as comfortable as possible. This should be a space that relaxes you, envelops you, encourages you to linger in it for as long as you wish. Decorate it with art you enjoy looking at and have a music player or Bluetooth speaker on hand so you can pipe in music when the mood strikes you. What are your favorite fabrics and textures? Choose furniture, blankets, and pillows that take advantage of your preferred styles.
You should also opt for a space that gives you some privacy and peace. A room with some soundproofing is ideal, but if that’s not an option try to pick a space that’s away from busier, high-traffic areas in your home. Your sanctuary should be an oasis, a place you go to to recharge your batteries and collect yourself after a long day.
Light It Up
Good lighting is essential for creating a comfortable and nourishing sanctuary space. Whenever possible, you should opt for natural lighting over fluorescents. Fluorescent lights give off blue light, which could damage your eyes in the long-term and can also disrupt your circadian rhythm, which can make it harder for you to fall asleep on your usual schedule. Fluorescent lighting also has a “flicker effect” that can cause some people to experience migraines, seizures, and other health conditions.
Natural light has several beneficial effects: it can boost your body’s production of Vitamin D, help ward off seasonal depression, and improve your sleep. The best source of natural light is through direct exposure to sunlight, so having a window or two in your sanctuary space is a good idea. Sunlamps can also provide some of the benefits of natural light, and while candlelight doesn’t have the same Vitamin D rejuvenating powers as sunlight some candles have stress relieving properties that make them a worthwhile addition to your space.
Another advantage to keep in mind with natural light is the color in your room. Reflective colors like whites, eggshell washes, and pastels can bounce sunlight and give you the exposure you need to get the most out of natural light exposure. Don’t forget about your floor, either: a light-colored rug can also reflect natural light.
Put Down Some Roots
A great addition to any sanctuary is some plant life. Houseplants like succulents, bonsai, and ferns don’t just add a pleasing splash of green color to your surroundings; they also help improve the air quality in your home. In addition, houseplants can help reduce stress, sharpen your attention and focus, and boost productivity.
Cut Down On Clutter
Keeping your sanctuary neat and tidy is important for several reasons. For one thing, it saves you the stress that comes from not being able to find the things you need. Cutting down on your environmental clutter has the added benefit of clearing up your mental clutter: research has found that too many items appearing in our field of vision can distract our brain’s processing capacity. Too much stuff around us can overwhelm our ability to process and retain information, so keeping things clean and spread apart helps keep that informational logjam from happening.
One more reason to keep your space clean is to maintain your ability to focus; studies have found a link between clutter and procrastination. People surrounded by too many objects tend to have lower quality of life and are more prone to distractions and lethargy.
Shake Things Up
A simple trick to boost your mood is to rearrange the furniture in your personal space. Anytime you start to feel uninspired and stymied by your living space, ask yourself what changes you can make with the elements that are already in place to create a more inspiring environment. Psychologists have found that people experience an increase in their dopamine levels when they move their furniture around. That increase in dopamine also comes with a reduction in cortisol, which can lower your stress levels.
Article by Austin Brietta
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