The world can be a challenging place these days. If you’re feeling pulled in a million directions, one of the most important things you can do for yourself is to create a safe haven, like a home sanctuary, where you can decompress from the stresses of your day.
Relaxation isn’t just for fun — it’s also critical for good health. Regularly taking time to unwind helps lower your blood pressure and reduces both physical and emotional pain. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, taking breaks can actually boost your overall productivity by keeping you mentally sharp and ready to face whatever comes your way.
To make sure you can find peace and quiet when you need it most, it helps to create a private space to retreat to. Here’s how to outfit your home sanctuary.
1. Choose Your Location
A home sanctuary can be anywhere, but you should be able to close the door and shut out your cares — including your boss, friends, and family! — for a short time. Good choices are your bedroom, the bathroom, a home office, or a den. Choose a room with a lock that you can set to keep from being interrupted during “me time.” If that feels too harsh, consider making a “do not disturb” sign to hang on the doorknob to let your loved ones know you’re taking a break.
2. Dim the Lights
Turning down the lights cues your brain that it’s time to rest and let go of the cares of the day, and it can even help you make better decisions by creating a relaxed state of mind. Skip the overhead lights and instead rely on a table lamp with a low-wattage bulb to cut the glare. You may also want to install a dimmer switch or hang light-filtering curtains to have even more control over your hideaway’s lighting. Adding some candles will also add a warm, relaxing glow to your space.
3. Embrace Aromatherapy
Certain scents may trigger your brain to relax your body and nervous system. Adding an aromatherapy diffuser to your home sanctuary can help you unwind. Scents like chamomile and lavender can create a calming atmosphere. The scents you find relaxing are often highly personal, so it makes sense to customize your fragrance to combine traditional aromatherapy options and your own favorites for a one-of-a-kind diffuser scent for your home sanctuary.
4. Choose Soothing Sounds
It can be hard to let go of your responsibilities for a moment if people or pets are clamoring outside your door. Block out ambient noise with soft music, white noise, or nature sounds. There are plenty of apps with soothing sounds that you can cue up for use with headphones or a portable speaker to help you focus on yourself instead of what’s going on outside your room.
With attention to the sensory aspects of your room — the light, the sounds, and the scents, including an aromatherapy diffuser— you can turn any space into a personal sanctuary to relax and let stress slide away. Once you’ve created your haven, use it for 10 to 15 minutes each day to read, write in your journal, or meditate, and you’ll reap the benefits in all the other areas of your life.