The Importance of Creating Your Own Space
Regardless of where you live, how old you are, or what your life is like, everybody
needs their own space. It’s how we stay sane amidst the insanity of our daily lives. But did you know that it’s not only having a space that matters, but how that space is created and used?
Creating your own space can be incredibly beneficial to your mental health. If you
struggle with mental illness, it can be very helpful in managing your symptoms. So let’s talk about how to go about creating your own space, and some ideas for how you can use it.
Why it’s so important
Having your own space is important for lots of reasons. First, it gives you privacy.
It’s somewhere you can go when you don’t want anyone else to bother you.
Second, it provides you with a lot of control. Being able to control one part of your
life, like your own space, can help you feel less overwhelmed when you can’t control other
things that are happening. This is especially helpful for those living with anxiety.
Lastly, it gives you a sense of safety. That privacy and control provide you with a
place where you can feel protected from whatever’s going on in the outside world. And having a sense of safety is essential to staying sane.
Step 1: Choosing your space
Your space can be virtually anywhere you want it to be. Here’s just a few ideas:
● Your bedroom
● A craft room
● Your home office
● Your favorite spot in the woods
● A corner of your back porch
● And many more!
The actual location of your space isn’t that important. What matters is that it’s
somewhere that you feel safe, comfortable, and can have some degree of privacy and
If you can’t have any of these, that’s ok! Sometimes the best you can do is a
metaphorical space. A place in your mind that you can retreat to whenever you need to feel calm, comfortable, and in control.
You could also choose a mobile space, in which you have a box of items that make you feel safe and comfortable, that you can pull out to create a brief safe haven. Many people call this their “depression box” or “anxiety box”.
Step 2: Setting boundaries
It’s important that wherever your space is, you have the privacy, safety, and control
you need. So one of the first things you should do when creating your own space is to set
boundaries with others.
Talk to those around you and figure out how you can make this space yours. Maybe
you’re going to put a sign on the door when you need to be left alone. Maybe that room, or
that corner, will only be for you. Whatever it is, it’s important to have these boundaries in
place so that others don’t invade your space.
Make sure that those around you are willing to respect your boundaries. And, just in case they don’t, have a plan for how you can calmly remind them to respect you when you need it.
Step 3: Filling your space
Once you have a space and have your boundaries set, you’re going to want to make
that space your own. How do you do that? By filling it with stuff, of course!
There are all kinds of things you could put in your space, and obviously I’m not
going to talk about them all. Instead, I’m going to talk about the two types of things to fill
your space with: coping tools and decorations.
Coping tools are the most important objects. They are things that help you destress,
figure out your troubles, or even get you through an anxiety attack. There are four basic
coping tools you should have in your space: a hobby, a grounding object, a processing
method, and a distraction.
The hobby can be anything, as long as it’s something you like to do and something
that won’t stress you out. It can serve as an outlet for you to express your emotions and
help you calm yourself down in times of stress. For me, I have writing: both my laptop and
a horde of notebooks are readily available.
A grounding object is something that will help you center yourself when you feel
overwhelmed or unable to focus. It reminds you of where you are, draws you back into the
physical world and the present. Any object can help you do that, if you know how to use it.
You want to hold or touch the object and focus on the world around you, just
reminding yourself over and over that you are here in this space. It might be helpful to
press your feet into the floor as you do this. The more you use this object, the easier it’ll get.
My grounding object tends to change, but is usually some form of animal, whether it be stuffed, wooden, or some other kind of figurine.
A processing method is just what it sounds like: something to help you process your
feelings, thoughts, and stressors. Many people like to write their thoughts out, but you may
also want to draw, paint, or even compose music. This can overlap with your hobby, but
you should have a separate place to do your processing. I have a notebook that I use only
for processing my thoughts and feelings, and nothing else.
Lastly, a distraction. Sometimes what you really need is to just focus on something
else. So find something that you like to do: play video games, watch movies, or maybe read a book. I always have a video game I can escape into. Just remember that distractions are great sometimes, but don’t work as a permanent coping method.
The decorations are where you can have more fun and personalize a space. You can
put up inspirational quotes, hang drawings you made, put up fairy lights, decorative candles, you name it! This is where you can have a lot of fun.
You may also consider having plants as decoration. Plants are great because not only
do they look pretty, but they add a touch of life to a space! Not only that, but taking care of
a plant can help you feel more powerful and in control. Only get plants if you’re willing to
put the effort into taking care of them, though— nothing kills a space more than a dead plant!
Hopefully, you feel ready to make your own space. So go ahead and have fun with it!
And remember: you are in control of this space, and you can make the decisions about
what type of boundaries, coping tools, and decorations you want to fill it with.
Do you already have a space for yourself, or did you have fun making one? Let us know in the comments below!