Creating Space for Self Care.
If you have been following my Instagram account, then you’ve heard me bring up the topic of self care a few times (be sure to follow @heartcenteredhome if you’re not following already!).
Keeping in alignment with our self care journey, I wanted to dedicate this week’s blog post to creating intentional space for self care.
What the research shows.
Hospitals are now using evidence-based design to support the health and recovery of their patients, as well as boost staff safety and productivity.
Although these studies (over 700 of them) fold healing environments into a holistic approach towards healing illness -- you don’t need to be in a hospital or be sick to use the environment around you as an aid in your recovery. Life get's busy. We all need a rest from time to time.
In today's blog post we will talk about:
- How to tune into your body for clues that you need a little R&R.
- How to clear and create a nurturing space to hold you while you rest.
- And few rituals to enjoy in your space.
Let’s get started.
1. When the Body Speaks. Listen.
Our bodies communicate with us 24 hours a day. We have the choice to listen to what our body has to say, or ignore it. When we fine tune our awareness to listen to our bodies, we can pick up cues. Especially when our body says “I need a break!”.
Stress has a terrible effect on the physical body. Everything from high blood pressure and headaches to knots in the back, neck and shoulders.
Here are the stress clues I pick up from my body when I need some time alone:
I feel tired, sluggish and emotionally down. My body physically feels drained of energy. If I’m picking up a lot of stress I will feel tightness in my shoulders and neck area. I also notice that my body wants a little more sleep.
Recharging is not just about physical rest or an emotional reset,
it also involves clearing and renewing our own energy fields.
I am an introvert (yup, true story. Don’t be fooled by how social I am when I’m out and about). As an introvert I get quite drained with sustained social interaction (even just a couple of hours). I am also an empath, which means I am super sensitive to other people’s energy and emotions. So crowded spaces or even a single conversation with someone who needs to unload their day depletes me (another related blog topic coming soon: Boundaries!).
Whatever the case for much needed R&R, the best way for me to bounce back is to enjoy some quiet time alone in my own space.
2. Clear and ACTIVATE Your Space.
Once you recognize it’s time for some R&R, then begin to activate your space as an energetic container to nurture you.
A great place to start is by taking visual inventory of the space around you, and conducting a very light clean sweep of the space.
Once you select your quiet space, take a deep breath to center yourself and then look around. What needs to be shifted? Is it there an unmade bed or a pile of clothes that needs to be put away? Do the pillows need to be reshaped or blankets need to be refolded?
The point is to make a series of small quick shifts to your physical space by 1) removing any visual distractions and 2) Placing items around you in a visually balance way. This could be as simple as arranging the items on your desk in a pleasing way to you.
Clear the Energy.
Before you fluff the pillows, if your space feels a little “off” you can cleanse the energy of a room just as you would cleanse your own energy field.
I personally let in fresh air, light some Palo Santo or a Copal incense stick and spray white sage to clear the space.
Once you have a clean slate, then activate your space in a way that pleasing to your senses. Activation simply mean arranging your space with intention.
For example, when I’m winding down in the evening, I’ll use our side table lamps next to the bed for a softer glow instead of our ceiling lights. In the mornings, I’ll open the curtains to get a full shower of natural light into the space. Lighting is just one of many ways I intentionalize how I experience the space around me.
3. The Value of Ritual.
Rituals are simply intentional actions that are meaningful in practice. Before I relax into a space, I usually set up my space in a ritualized format.
If I need time to recharge while I am working, I’ll set up my space in the following way:
- I’ll pour myself a tall glass of water with lime or lemon.
- In addition to water, i'll prepare a hot drink. Either tea, coffee or a Turmeric Almond Milk drink (for this golden milk recipe check out Heart Centered Home’s Instagram account @heartcenteredhome).
- I light incense or Palo Santo to bless and clear the space, and then light a candle as an activation container for my time in my space.
- Then I select whatever sounds I want to hear. Perhaps it is silence, a thunderstorm loop, the sound of running water or piano playing in the background.
- Then I relax into my activated space to rest, work, read or meditate. (If I’m working, then I usually enjoy a very productive session).
Here are a few additional ritual activities to consider for down time in your space.
- Take a bath with epsom salt + essential oil (Great for cleansing your personal energy field)
- Read a magazine
- Read a book
- Yoga online (I'm a big fan of Yoga with Adriene)
- Arrange fresh flowers
- Cook a meal
- Look out into your garden or sit close to a potted plant
- Focus on your breath while you enjoy the space around you
In short, find a restful activity in that moment that is meaningful to you and feels good (naps included!).
Now, I would love to hear from you.
- How do you intentionally prepare your space to recharge?
Lastly, if you feel this blog post has helped you, or could benefit someone you love, please feel free to share this post freely.
Thank you for taking the time to journey with me today!
From my heart center to yours,