How to Decrease Stress, Part Two: Beat Stress by Carving Out a Space of Your Own
"I need some space!"
It hit me one day that there was no room, no corner of my house which was uniquely mine. When you have kids, space becomes a premium. Children, along with their stuff, slowly gravitate to consume all parts of the house. In order to get away from it all I would have to hide in a closet. It didn't seem like a bad idea. When I got diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis this past year, I decided enough was enough and that I wanted a space of my own. It wasn't like there was a surplus of rooms to choose from. It seemed more and more of an impossibility until I thought of taking one corner of my bedroom to create a small oasis.
I had high expectations for this private spot. I wanted it to be a place where I would feel uplifted when I was feeling blue. I wanted a place to relax and feel at peace. I wanted a place to retreat when I was feeling weary from my disease. I wanted a place to just be me. Like I just mentioned, I didn't have much to work with. I had one solitary corner no bigger than four by three feet, located by a bedroom window. Yet I did succeed in my efforts to create a tranquil respite for myself.
I deliberately chose my space to be beside the window to give me light. I always feel psychologically better when I can see natural light. There was an old box in the garage containing the parts to build an unfinished desk. It has been sitting in our garage, untouched for years. I thought it would be perfect for the space. There was some difficulty in fitting the desk into the available space. With much moving of furniture, the desk was finally positioned up against the bed. Against the edge of the desk I could fit some small book shelves for my many bedside books. My writing supplies including favorite pens, small notebooks, and of course my laptop nicely rested on top of the desk. I added a tiffany lamp and a small vase for a single flower. On the wall I put some framed art created by my kids as well as a pendulum clock given to me by my eldest son for one of my birthdays.
This small but intimate spot is where I do most of my writing. It has met all of my expectations and then some. In fact I am writing from my special place right at this very moment. I have journeyed to my past and through my most joyful and traumatic events all within the confines of this space. I have safely re-lived my many moods and subtleties of my depression as I capture them on paper. It doesn't seem possible but whole worlds exist here in this safe and comforting place. This is my retreat where I can find myself in both my writing and books.
There are endless ways you can create such a personal retreat for yourself. And as I have found, you really don't need a whole lot of space. You can always use furniture to define the space such as two bookcases positioned to create "walls" or even some folding screens.
In order to create your special space:
- Find a spot in your home where you feel comfortable and you can create a bit of privacy.
- Define the space with furniture, a rug, shelves, folding screens or anything else you can think of.
- Think about what things make you feel more at peace and happy. It can be a certain color or sentimental items or even the gentle and rhythmic sound of a clock. Individualize your space to reflect your unique personality. This is your peaceful retreat so make it a place where you will find inspiration on good days and solace and comfort on the bad days.
- And finally enjoy!
Stress and depression seem to go hand in hand. Having a special place in your home where you can safely retreat can help decrease both stress and depression. This strategy has personally helped me. Do you have a space to call your own? Where do you go in your home to get away from it all? What sort of space would you create if you could? Share your ideas and stories here.