Whether it’s a corner of your living room or an outdoor shed, creating a self-care sanctuary at home is a powerful step towards prioritizing your own mental wellness. But getting started requires an understanding of your goals as well as a plan to ensure your space is both relaxing and functional. In this article, we’ll walk through the steps of organizing and designing a self-care sanctuary that allows you to disconnect from the world and practice mindfulness in a way that resonates with you.
1. Understand Your Self-Care Needs
To build a self-care sanctuary in your home, you first need to understand what relaxation and mindfulness mean to you. Remember, this is a deeply personal journey — what works for one person may not work for another.
Start by asking yourself what times of day you feel most in need of relaxation. Is it after you’ve come home from work or during the weekends? If you work remotely, do you need a quiet space throughout the day to decompress and clear your mind?
Next, think about the type of environment or atmosphere that would help you feel calm and rejuvenated. Do you prefer a quiet space or do you find comfort in certain sounds (like gentle music, rainfall, nature sounds, etc.)? Consider the role of lighting, colors and scents in your relaxation process as well.
Reflect on how you’d like to feel during and after your self-care practice. Are you looking for physical relaxation, emotional release, mental clarity or a combination of these? Understanding the benefits you’re aiming to get can help guide the setup of your self-care space.
2. Identify Activities That Promote Relaxation
After you’ve thought about your self-care needs, it’s time to identify specific activities that help you de-stress and enhance your well-being. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some examples to consider:
- Meditation and Mindfulness Practices: This can be as simple as spending a few minutes each day in silent contemplation or using guided meditation apps.
- Yoga or Gentle Stretching: These activities not only help relieve physical tension but can also help you manage stress levels.
- Journaling: Maintaining a journal to express your thoughts and feelings can be a powerful tool for self-reflection, emotional release and setting personal goals.
- Reading for Pleasure: Allocate time to read books that interest you, whether it’s fiction, poetry or non-fiction. Audiobooks are a great alternative if you prefer listening while walking, driving or working out.
- Artistic or Creative Practices: Channel your stress and express your creativity through hobbies like painting, drawing, crafting or playing an instrument.
- Listening to Music: Whether you’re using headphones or a high-end sound system, listening to music in a mindful way is one of the best ways to unwind and relax.
- Exercising: Weightlifting, running on a treadmill, HIIT exercises and dancing aren’t just forms of self-care — they can help improve your health and promote overall well-being.
3. Choose a Self-Care Space in Your Home
Now that you’ve thought about your needs and favorite activities, it’s time to choose an area in your home for your sanctuary. You don’t necessarily need a lot of room to create a self-care space — even a small corner or section of a room can work. Meditation and yoga, for example, may just involve a comfortable cushion or roll-up mat. An artistic studio, music room or home gym, on the other hand, may require an entire room — such as a spare room, garage or basement.
The key is to find an area that you can dedicate to your self-care activities so that it’s always there when you need it. Ideally, it’ll also be in a quiet part of your home and offer some level of privacy, especially if you have a family or live with roommates. If possible, setting it up near a window that gets natural light or has a view of some greenery can enhance the relaxation process.
|Tip: The best self-care space is one that is easily accessible whenever you need it. If your sanctuary requires setting up each time you use it, you might be less motivated to maintain your self-care routine.
4. Declutter and Organize to Make Space for Your Sanctuary
Once you’ve picked an area of your home, all you need to do is declutter and tidy it up before you can start creating your dream self-care sanctuary.
Begin by identifying items that don’t contribute to your self-care goals. This may include work-related materials, electronics or general clutter. As you do through your things, categorize items into keep, donate or discard piles. Use storage solutions like baskets, boxes and shelves to organize the items in the “keep” pile, and relocate these to another place in your home or move them into a self-storage unit to clear up space.
If you need tips on decluttering and organizing, check out the following articles:
- Living With Less: 8 Tips for a Minimalist Lifestyle
- 10 Tips to Build Lasting Habits for a Clean and Organized Home
5. Create Your Self-Care Sanctuary
Now the fun part — it’s time to build out your self-care zone and tailor it to your needs! Depending on the activities you want to practice, make a list of the items you’ll need. This will include essentials such as a reading chair (and lamp) for a reading nook, an easel for a painting studio or an exercise bike for a home gym. But to create a personalized space that really helps you de-stress, you’ll also want to think about ways to elevate your sanctuary beyond the basics. Some examples are an essential oil diffuser, a plant, a colorful print, decorative objects and a cozy blanket or pillow. Using calming colors (like soft blues, greens and earth tones) as well as warm, yellow lighting around 2700 Kelvins (rather than cold white light) can also create a relaxing ambiance.
Examples of Self-Care Sanctuaries
Here are some examples of self-care sanctuaries to help you get started.
- Meditation and Yoga Retreat Corner: Transform a quiet corner of your home into a meditation and yoga sanctuary, using a room divider or screen to partition the space. Furnish this area with a comfortable yoga mat, meditation cushions and a small table with a water carafe, candles, incense, flowers and an essential oil diffuser. Get a cute decorative storage box for any yoga accessories.
- Reading and Relaxation Nook: Create a cozy nook dedicated to reading and relaxation. Select a comfortable armchair or daybed and pair it with a soft throw blanket and plush pillows. Position this space near a window to take advantage of natural light and include a small bookshelf stocked with your favorite books. Consider adding a side table for a cup of tea or coffee and a reading lamp for evening sessions.
- Artistic and Creative Studio: If creativity is your form of self-care, set up an artistic studio space. This could involve a sturdy table for crafting, painting or drawing; a stool and ceramics wheel to throw clay at home; or a music studio complete with instruments, recording equipment and a record player. Get storage drawers to keep your supplies organized and paint the walls of your studio a soothing, inviting color.
- Home Spa: Convert part of your bathroom into a mini home spa. This could include a small bathtub tray with bath salts or bombs, essential oils, candles and a small speaker to stream music. Incorporate fluffy towels, a cozy bathrobe and perhaps a small stool or chair for a pedicure or skincare routine.
- Garden or Balcony Retreat: If you have an outdoor space like a garden or balcony, turn it into an open-air sanctuary. Buy outdoor-friendly cushions and throws to make seating areas comfortable, and add a table to hold a journal, tea or a sketchpad. Include potted plants, hanging baskets, a small water fountain and some string lights or lanterns to create the perfect vibe. If you love cooking, consider creating an outdoor kitchen you can use during the summer.
6. Keep It Flexible
Flexibility is an important part of self-care and staying tuned to your evolving needs. Be open to adapting your sanctuary and trying different organizational hacks and strategies to make room for new activities you want to try. From time to time, you may also need to relocate your sanctuary temporarily when you need additional space. For example, you may need to clear an area to accommodate a dinner party or when you’re expecting overnight guests. In cases like these, a self-storage unit is a great way to keep your items safe and allow you to create a self-care space that can grow and change with you.