• Jessica Escobedo Alay

The Importance of Creating a Personal Safe Space

This morning I was on the phone with one of my closest friends. She is a healer who does spiritual guidance and is great at telling me "how it is" in her friendly way. During our phone call, she described my room as a "castle" that I like to stay in because it provides a comfort zone within these four walls as it gives me a sense of security and safety. Well, I mean, we are having some craziness with the pandemic and it is 2020, shoot, who wouldn't want to just be home to be safe (besides being ordered). But this initially caught me off guard because I didn't realize how much I truly do enjoy being in my room. I have shaped and created it to feel comfortable to my liking but more importantly, to feel safe. I am allowed to show a true expression of myself within these four walls, my "castle". Which got me thinking about the importance of having a safe space or a form of sanctuary of your own.


If you think about it, how often do we allow ourselves to just "Be"and decompress or release all the tension we hold. The stress of our every day lives and what ever is currently happening in the world, which is A LOT, is held upon our shoulders. This all adds up. It builds within us no matter how much of a positive mindset you have or however many crystals you carry with you. Life happens...so does the stress. So what happens when you don't have a place to release all the tension or a safe space to shed the day's grime? The grime begins to build and snowball into physical symptoms, long standing emotional tidal waves, and mental exhaustion.


So how does a safe space help? What does it look like?


Physically

Well, let's start with how it can ease a few of the signs physically. During moments of high stress, anxiety or even exhaustion, the body begins to tell you it needs something different. It shows in the form of headaches, tense muscles, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, lowered immune system, and digestive issues. What we take as a tension headache or fatigue as a sign of just that day's frustration or long hours is actually the body's way of communicating that the attention it needs is overdue.


A safe space will allow your body to step out of the fight or flight mode, which provides the reaction of survival, but give it a moment to slow down, retreat, and switch to rest and relaxation mode. This switch is necessary because when we are in constant fight or flight mode, this over time creates inflammation which in turn causes a reaction in the body. This reaction leads to high blood pressure, autoimmune conditions, chronic pain, diabetes, and so many other illnesses. So it becomes important to make time for you.


One way to create your personal safe space is by first picking a corner, a room, or place where you feel comfortable. Decorate your space with items that represent YOU, that resonate. I love music and have a lot of portraits or paintings of artists/groups I love listening too. This is one way I express myself of what I not only enjoy but is another form of release for me. When I am having a stressful day or have built up frustration, I literally dance it out. As funny as that sounds, it physically is a way of releasing tension out of the body.


Emotionally

Emotions can be difficult to navigate, especially if they are long standing or repressed. Stress, anxiety, and depression are often treated in my office. It is a bit disheartening to say that these three are so common place that when one hears of someone experiencing any of them or all three, it is almost a conversation starter to share their similar experiences. Having emotions built up will express themselves as ways of feeling unsure, insecure, nervousness, anger, fear, and sadness.


In building your personal safe space, this give you an area where you are able to feel comfortable, safe, secure to give a moment to let go of all inhibitions emotionally. A place to feel happy, sad, to cry, to express inner thoughts, to joke around, a place that is nonjudgemental, unquestioning, and feel supported. I like to set up my space with the use of aromatherapy, throw in some energy work, and create a comfortable zone to binge on Netflix. I love to light incense while I get my day started or when I come home to decompress. If i'm having a rough day after dealing with the daily stressors, battling traffic, and then have to think about what to cook for dinner, I light some sandalwood or frankincense to clear the negative energy but to relax my mind, set an intention for what I want to do next.


Mentally

Mentally, the day-to-day or even life events can have its effects of having a rough time. During times of mental exhaustion, which is caused by continuous stress, your body and behavior will respond in ways that you might not normally. Some being social withdrawal, making mistakes with work performance, inability to focus on tasks, memory fog, and slower reactions.


A mental break from all the stress, worries, and constant ticking thoughts is needed regularly. Especially in our current times. A safe space gives that moment of "ahhh" and "whooo-saaaa" that is needed. This can be in the form of a space where you can meditate, journal, sing, even sit or lay in silence. I'm not great at staying focused with meditation so what I like to do is follow with a guided meditation. I do so outside with my plants. I enjoy the scenery, the sounds, and the peace.


Creating a personal safe space gives a tap to the reset button. A pause. Even if it is only for five minutes a day or once a week. Get creative and messy. Give details to who you are. Where in this space, place or be it a corner can be your moment of peace. It gives your body and brain a moment to catch up. It is necessary. It is essential.






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