Some call it a sacred space, some call it a zen den. Vernacular aside, the idea is to create a dedicated spot in your home where you can go to think all the thoughts and feel all the feels—and you need one. Setting apart an area for rituals or meditation invites you to make mental, emotional, and energetic space for them—and serves as a visual reminder to do so. Here are some tips to help you carve out a space where you can vibe.
Find your spot. Follow your intuition to the unexpected nooks and crannies of your home to find the right space—the closet floor, behind a chair or plant, that awkward corner in the living room, anywhere with enough room for you to tuck into with a pillow to sit on. Select a spot that makes you feel present, spiritually connected, and joyful.
Create your altar. Outfit your space with items that have purpose and meaning: photos, crystals, candles, flowers, statues or mementos, books, journals, tarot and oracle cards, or whatever you need for your self-care ritual. The space is all about you, so customize it to your interests and tastes. Play with color and texture through artwork, throw rugs, meditation pillows, tapestries, and scarves.
Let there be light. Research has shown that lighting has a huge impact on our circadian rhythms, which affect our emotional and physical health. Cool blue lights interfere with the production of melatonin, interfering with sleep, whereas warm, soft yellow lights spur the production of cortisol, which helps wake us up and keeps us alert. If you’re suffering from seasonal affectivie disorder (SAD), consider adding a sun lamp to your space to get some vitamin D.
Accent with aromas. The scents we smell link directly to the parts of the brain that control our memories and emotions. Rose and lavender help release stress and anxiety. Sandalwood can help calm racing thoughts. Lemon and clary sage may help with depression. Avoid scented candles that list “parfum” or “natural fragrances,” which can contain phthalates and other chemicals. Add a few drops of essential oils to a plain wax one instead.
Let the music move you. Research has shown that music can alter our moods and behaviors, even impact our physical health. Put another way, music is what feelings sound like, so choose music that sounds like the feelings you want your self-care space to instill.
Go even greener. Research in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that interacting with houseplants can reduce stress by calming the sympathetic nervous system. Also, adding some plants to the space can help purify the air of toxic substances, according to a study in Environmental Health Perspectives.