Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

How I Traded Clothes for Self-Care Space

It shouldn’t have taken over 20 years for me to get to this point. But it did. I was (finally) properly motivated and ready to make some real—hopefully lasting—changes. The biggest and perhaps the most challenging change of all would be carving out more opportunities for calm and quiet.

Honestly, that’s likely the reason it has taken so dang long. Life has happened—lots of it. And it’s kept me busy and my life filled with—well—lots of noise.

I’ve juggled working, being a wife, managing a household, parenting two children—including one with a mountain of special needs, all the while trying to keep flares of psoriatic arthritis at bay or at least under control. Yeah, it’s been a full and wonderful life.

But even good things can take a toll. They take energy. And I’ve learned the hard way that energy isn’t limitless. It’s important to find ways to recharge our own batteries, so we can keep going. A therapist I’ve seen in the past likened it to grating a block of cheese. No one thing may seem like a lot on its own. But if you keep going—and keep grating—you’ll eventually hit your own hand and cause some serious damage—not to mention pain.

Admittedly, I didn’t heed this warning. And I eventually reached that point. Ouch.

So, with the encouragement and support of my hubby, Jason, I started to make some drastic changes.

Up first: Find a quiet, private space where I could go to clear my head on a consistent—again, hopefully—daily basis. There was just one problem. We didn’t have the extra space. So, we did what we had to do. We got creative and made it.

After going over all the possible options and ideas we could come up with, we decided the best (and easiest) solution, would be our closet. At about six feet square, it wasn’t the largest space. But it did provide the privacy I craved and I could create an atmosphere that would be conducive to both relaxation and creativity. A place for my mind to first quiet and then to wander off for a bit. So, we committed to the idea and acted on it—by purging and giving away literally half of our clothing. Honestly, it was a small price that I paid happily for all the intangibles I gained as a result. (It also didn’t hurt that now my closet only holds those that no longer need ironing!)

Ultimately, when all was said and the clothing gone, I had about half the closet to repurpose. I tucked a small table against the wall behind the door, found an old chair at a local thrift store, and tried to create a soothing atmosphere with a small lamp. I put up a few sparse wall decorations to help make the space more my own. And—finally—my self-care, solace, and sanctuary space was born.

What started out as a place to go and do nothing has—over time—morphed into a safe place to create, too. Tucked inside my closet, I feel free to explore new creative projects without fear of someone peeking over my shoulder or calling out for me when I’m deep in concentration. This little space we’ve managed to carve out and what takes place there has quite literally saved me. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Even if you don’t have a closet or a room you can devote to a such a space, just a corner of a room or a small desk can fit the bill. In the absence of that, a simple basket that holds some relaxing or personally meaningful supplies works, too. Even just a binder, notebook, or sketchbook can be turned into a self-care and creative habit. In other words, sure, a dedicated space is well worth the investment if possible, but it’s not a requirement. What’s vital is honoring the importance of it. The act of slowing down and intentionally creating space and time for our own self-care and creativity is essential. In fact, it’s how we take good care of our most valuable resource: ourselves.

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