You’ve just been through quite a year, made many decisions and adjusted to change, but there’s cumulative stress. Can’t get away? Create a fast and easy private retreat right where you are. Whether you only grant yourself 20 minutes a day in your tranquil sanctuary or linger a bit longer, you’ll relax into this form of healing and look forward to it. Of course, if you have little ones, be sure that someone else is in charge of them so you can fully immerse yourself in the experience.
Envision Your Environment
First, figure out where your restorative spot should be. Carve out a space in your home that’s just for you, anything from a tiny walk-in closet to a bathroom, or a full-sized shed in the backyard. It’s best if it has some barrier, like a door, to the outside world. You might even choose an indoor and outdoor spot and make your Care for the Soul Kit portable. With our children grown, I’ve expanded from a closet into an art room and also a meditation room. Your space should be special to you, reflective of your unique personality. It should embody what comforts and enchants you.
Get in touch with what brings you comfort or enchantment, providing options to help you cope with stress. Comforting things contribute to your good health, physical ease, well-being, and conjure images of relaxation, serenity and contentment. Enchanted items or experiences delight and intrigue you, possessing a magical quality or sense of whimsy.
Don’t stress over this. Make a numbered list and just begin writing whatever comes to mind. For example, my list includes: Celtic music, hearts, the moon, fall leaves, stars, angels, watercolor paints, cookbooks, England, fairies, tea sets, chocolate, herb gardens, yoga, puppies, glitter, picnics, and a jar of buttons from my grandmother’s sewing box.
You can’t do it wrong. To start, list 20 to 30 things that comfort or enchant you. Post your list in your retreat space with a pen, to continually add to it. You’ll begin to associate your retreat with joy and relaxation and more quickly achieve your “ahh” when you enter your sacred space. Imagine that you’re checking into a spa and leave your stress at the door. Don’t pick it back up when you exit. Your list will spark enchanted excursions, too.
Choose Your Decorations
Bring your favorite colors to the space and items of joy and healing. Have handy a cozy robe, fuzzy socks, a mug of antioxidant matcha green tea, patchouli or another essential oil, and music awaiting you. Maybe there’s a coffee table book or gardening magazine you never have time to peruse. Keep them there to enjoy.
Care of the Soul Kit
For smaller or portable spaces, you’ll need a container, whether bin, basket or tote bag, for your retreat items. In larger spaces, you might add a bookcase to house your treasured touchstones in one place, like your journal, special books, mug, teas or coffee, gel pens, peppermint hand lotion, flameless candles or crystals. Mindfully add to and subtract items from your space. Add seasonal touches with acorn tops, a mini pumpkin, a bird feather or rose petals.
A Break From Screen Time
Strive to step away from screen time. A number of studies cite that too much time on devices increases eye strain, frequency of headaches, neck and back pain, obesity, anxiety, depression and poor sleep.
Create a retreat from stress. When you take this valuable time to nurture yourself, it benefits you as well as others.
Terry Segal is a licensed pychotherapist with a Ph.D. in energy medicine.