Make a space of solace at home

A New Year

A new year has just begun. As I’ve written before, I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. They are usually a tally of the areas of your life where you feel you’re coming up short: “Lose weight”, “Exercise More”, “Work harder”…  And they are also usually just a set-up for future ‘failures’ as you get on with life after January 1st and don’t actually make the ‘changes’ you felt needed to achieve those resolutions.

So, we’ve dismissed (for another year) the idea of resolutions. What I would like to encourage at the start of this year, however, is doing something that you can achieve - creating a sanctuary for yourself somewhere in your home. I think that the benefits you will receive from doing it - and having it, will last for years.

I am calling it a sanctuary so as not to overlay any religious or spiritual context for it. For some it will be a spiritual space, for others it will simply be a place of relaxation and solace. But for everyone, it will be sacred - because it will be about supporting you, nurturing your spirit and reconnecting you with your true self. Joseph Campbell said, "Sacred Space is where you can find yourself again and again." 


We know today’s life is crazy. A generation ago - people went to work and then came home. There was a clear separation. Because of this, the hours worked were less and work didn’t follow you home. You also dealt with less traffic, congestion, noise - and much less technology. Today, separating work from home is harder - and even separating ‘social’ life from private life is difficult - the demands and distractions are so much greater. And as a result, so are the negative effects of stress. Simply put, we all know 'too much stress - bad' and that it can lead to insomnia, anxiety, depression - as well as a myriad of health-related problems - some of them long term and life threatening. But it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the all-pervasiveness of the pressures and demands life presents and unable to change things. So what we do is get away, temporarily. We all enjoy our annual vacation and realize the almost instant comfort and relaxation that comes from removing ourselves from our daily lives - but we also know the effect doesn’t last.

Creating a space that supports peace, joy, love, warmth, caring and security is a big part of living a full and resilient life. When you are in a ‘sanctuary’ you are giving yourself the physical and psychological space to gain perspective on what is important in your life. Yes, you could go and look out over the ocean - but it's unrealistic to think you can do that everyday. I am encouraging you to make a space at home that will yield the same result - and that you will be able to get to more easily and frequently. 

Start Small and Personal

You don’t have to make a shrine (though you could, if that nurtures to you). You don’t have to make a yoga studio. You just need to find a quiet corner and designate it as your sanctuary; dedicating it to the purpose of bringing you solace. Once you decide where it is - keep that place solely for that purpose. (Don’t make it the end of the dining table and ‘reset it’ each day - life will take over and swallow it).

Some other things to consider in making your space:

Find the light Access to natural daylight and fresh air lifts our moods

Bring in what comforts you Familiarity relaxes us. Surround yourself with what you love and what resonates with your soul

Keep it simple Clutter is stressful, over-stimulation is distracting. Less is more here

Engage your senses with calming stimuli Play restful music, burn soothing oils or candles, introduce visuals that relax you - a picture, a fish tank, a water feature, plants or flowers, a sacred statue…

Embrace the ceremony Go into your sanctuary with ‘purpose’, create your rituals for nourishment. You may meditate, but you could also listen to music, draw in a sketchbook, write a poem… It could be as simple as drinking a cup of tea...

Turn off the technology This is your anti-technology space. Relish it

Visually, the space you create will remind you of your commitment to yourself and your mental and spiritual well-being. It will serve as an ‘invitation’ to step out of the rat race and reconnect with what is important to you. Using it will calm you, nourish you and give you the sense of privacy we all need.

Start your new year today and give yourself a place where you can ‘"...find yourself again and again". 

January 11, 2019 by Laurie Piggott

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