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Safe Spaces: Creating calm in your environment

What is a safe space and why should you have one?

A “safe space” can take on a few different meanings. This could refer to a physical place that provides protection from potential threats, or an atmosphere that is open and non-judgmental in which you can be one hundred per cent yourself. In your home, a safe space is one where you can relax and unwind, and elicits feelings of emotional and physical security.

Having your own safe space in the home helps to promote a daily sense of calm by counteracting everyday stressors that can accumulate while you are out of the house. If you live with family or friends, an honest and open conversation about your safe space will help to increase your sense of security. Letting them know about a 15-minute block of your day where you’ll use your space freely and privately,  if you wish, will allow you to completely unwind free of distractions or disturbances.

Staying physically safe

If you live in a busy neighbourhood, or an apartment complex where you have limited privacy, it can be hard to relax if you don’t feel completely safe and secure in your own home. This can be solved using some simple security tips. If you keep a spare key outside of your home, ensure that it is in a secure location such as a pin-locked key safe. These start at around $20 from your local hardware store and are a much safer place to keep your spare key than under the door mat!

There are many more home security solutions available to fit any budget. From screen doors, to doorbell cameras, to automatic door locks – having a home safe from physical threats can help increase a sense of security and positivity in your safe space.

Promoting emotional safety

This process is a very personal one, as each of us have own unique emotional experiences and needs. Start by thinking about how your home meets these needs and your own tastes or personality. For example, this could   involve hanging photos of the people in your life who mean a lot to you or make you smile all around the house to remind you that you are loved, or investing in a weighted blanket if you experience a lot of sensory discomfort.

Another way to decrease emotional stress is to disconnect from the devices that can deliver triggers of anxiety.   In 2019 our laptops, smartphones, tablets and even watches can be the bearers of stress and negativity – whether that be emails from work, the news, or social media. You can use your safe space for some dedicated tech-free time, or keep an area of your house free of technology. This tip works well for the bedroom, where leaving your device and any associated anxieties at the door can help to improve sleep.

Defining your safe space

Defining each room of the house based on its purpose can enhance harmony and productivity in the home and can also be applied to your safe space. Setting aside a space of any size to construct your sanctuary, such as a corner in the living room or part of a spare room, will enhance the sense of calm and positivity you feel when entering this place.

It’s important to be clear about what activities are “allowed” in your safe space. In the same way that your bed is a designated place for sleeping – and not (ideally…!) for study, work or food – your safe space is a strictly stress-free zone where you can relax without distraction from the outside world. With these distinct guidelines in place in your home, your brain learns to associate certain areas of the house with the emotions most often provoked in that space; strengthening the feelings of comfort and security you feel upon entering your safe space.

The aesthetics

Incorporating certain aesthetic elements into your safe space can be both pleasing to the eye and brain!  Complementary therapies like aromatherapy have received many positive reviews over the years in reducing stress and promoting mental wellbeing. Consider investing in an oil diffuser or vaporiser for your safe space; these start at around $10 for a basic model, but come in range of styles and colours to suit any space. Many essential oils such as lavender, ylang ylang, and bergamot have been suggested to promote relaxation and are often found in scented candles too.

Colour choice in your space is also important to consider. Cool colours like muted blues, greys and greens are excellent choices as they have been proven to influence mood and enhance feelings of well-being. Colour therapy can be implemented on a large scale, like a fresh coat of paint on a feature wall or room, or through accents like soft throw rugs and pillows. For a pop of green, an indoor plant can certainly promote tranquillity and happiness in your space. Some plants, such as Sansevieria trifasciata (or “mother-in-law’s tongue” as they are commonly known) and Bonsai trees have the added bonus of filtering and purifying the air in a room, which can improve  concentration and relieve stress.

Enjoy your sanctuary

There are no rules to creating your very own safe space, but by incorporating some or all of these tips you are sure to find yourself in a space that provides both the physical and emotional security you need, and a place of relaxation and refuge from all of life’s stresses and anxieties. When you feel this calm and rejuvenated at home, you will certainly have strength and positivity to take on anything in the outside world!

Written by Eryn – ADAVIC Volunteer





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