The Space Around Us

I am a firm believer that your mood reflects the environment around you.
For example, if your environment is cluttered and disorganized, you will
most likely feel the same way in your mind- cluttered and disorganized. You
know the emoji with the exploding brain…ha-ha, can you relate?! Stress
and anxiety will increase when things around us are disorganized, and our
daily habits and rituals will be affected in a negative way.

I read an article in “In Shape Magazine” that said women who describe their homes as “cluttered” or full of “unfinished projects” were more
depressed, fatigued, and had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol than women who felt their homes were “restful” and “restorative.”

That’s interesting to me. Cluttered and unfinished spaces lead to increased depression, so what would a neat, comfortable, cozy space do for mental health?

I decided to find out.

Clean Out The Clutter

At a time when I was a wreck mentally and was going through major personal turmoil, I got motivated enough to take a spare room in my home that had just been a catch all room and turn it into a home office. For months, this room had been the landing pad for boxes from our move that I didn’t know what to do with, out of season decorations, and honestly just clutter and junk. I lazily had just thrown things into this room. Out of sight out of mind, right? Not quite.

One day I decided, clutter no more. I cleaned this room out, gave it a fresh coat of paint, went to Target, bought a cute desk, bought some curtains and cute knick-knacks, and made this once undesirable room the new favorite
in my entire house. When it was finished, I sat in my corner chair, lit a candle, and relished in my new, little space…it felt…. well, sacred.

So, what would I do here? Work, emails and things of that nature, but I decided I’d use it for something else as well. This would be my space where I would come each morning to start my day. I was tired of feeling miserable on the inside and knew I needed to get to work if I wanted a change. I needed to start implementing some sacred moments into each day.

How My New Space Helped My Mental Health…

This new space caused me to form a new habit. I liked it so much that I wanted to spend time there each day. I decided I would start getting up earlier and spend the first twenty minutes (at least) of each day there. It would be the place I would drink my coffee, pray, journal, and talk to God. This space would not only feel sacred, but it would also be sacred.

Now almost a year later, I still spend my mornings there, and on the days I don’t, I miss this time so much. It’s become a key part of my equation for good mental health. I’ve realized how important it is to have a space that is just mine, that I look forward to going to each morning. In fact, some mornings when the alarm goes off, and I want to hit the snooze, I’ll think about the peace I’m going to feel in a matter of minutes, sitting in my chair with my coffee, journal, and Bible, and then I’m up…it’s so calming I don’t want to miss it. The space itself keeps me coming back.

Why is this Important?

Simply put- in the world we live in, there is so much focus put on physical appearance, especially for women. How we look, how fit we are, how put together we are…it can be exhausting. But here’s the truth- we can be the most put together person on the outside, but NONE of it matters if we are a wreck on the inside.

We must do things for ourselves that will promote and increase inner wellness. One of my most recommended techniques- sacred space and early morning time, is a combination that can produce awesome overall

I can say this firsthand because I’ve experienced it for myself. I’ve been a wreck on the inside…I have felt like my world was falling apart but doing this routine each morning has made a huge difference for me.

In this space and daily time, I have thanked God, cried out to God, prayed, contemplated, meditated, relished, visualized, journaled and just sat with myself. I’ve worked through some grit and grime in this space, and I’ve also
cried tears of joy in this space from the pure gratitude I have felt from God’s blessings. This little space, in a very short time, has soaked up a lot from me.

In all actuality, this early morning time is also where great work and concepts have taken place. It is where my journaling system was even born. It is where I figured out what I need on a daily basis to grow and heal from my trauma and function at my best. It’s where I figured out that I had something to share with others through Tattoos of My Soul and where the system that I used to create my guided journal was developed.

This is another point…you never know what epiphany or life changing conclusion you might come to when you are in this sacred time and in this sacred space each day. When you get quiet within yourself on a regular basis, you begin hearing and understanding so much more. You can truly be guided because there are no distractions. I cannot say enough about this time…IT IS SACRED.

How does this apply to the rest of my day?

Simply put, this time lingers on throughout my day. The peace and calm I feel in the early morning hours keep me grounded throughout my day. I feel less reactive, less anxious, and more joyful and peaceful.

The emoji with the exploding brain becomes the emoji with the closed eyes and peaceful smile. Instead of feeling overwhelmed with what I need to do each day and being flooded with cortisol, I feel confident and capable and the serotonin is pumping.

The drive to school with my kids is light, happy, and often filled with jokes and laughter. I feel energetic during my workout, and productive at work. This peaceful time lingers. I go to bed feeling relaxed instead of tense, already anticipating tomorrow morning’s quiet time, when all the feelings I love will be reinforced once again.

Is there still stress? Yes, of course. I’m alive, aren’t I!? There will ALWAYS be stressors, but this early morning ritual, this time in my sacred space, creates a buffer that keeps me centered and focused on the positive, instead of the negative.

So, what should you do? Check out my suggestions below:)

How to apply this to your life:

-Create a sacred space that is just for you. This can be a spare room or even a spare corner of the house.

-Pick somewhere that is relatively quiet.

-Make and design this space so the space itself motivates you to keep coming back to it.

-Fill it with some of your favorite things and make it appealing to the senses.

-Some suggestions: favorite candles, blanket, dimly lit lamp, pictures, mementos, Bible, journal, books you love.

-Carve out at least 20 minutes a day to spend time here…this is time to spend with yourself and God.

-Aim for the morning (if you can) because this allows the calm and peace to follow you through the day, but if mornings aren’t feasible, then find a time that works for you.

-Protect this time in your daily schedule, meaning treat it for what it is…sacred. Don’t feel guilty about this time either! By giving yourself this time, you are giving to those around you…you can’t take care of others without first taking care of yourself.

Be well,