Is your home always pristine and put together, like it’s fit to host someone at any moment? Yeah, mine’s not either. You might be one of those folks that think, “Well, I’m fine with that, it doesn’t bother me.” Perhaps, and perhaps not. It is true that we are all different people, and some folks have more of a natural inclination towards having their environment clean/organized in a certain way. Let me ask you this, though, do you like the feeling of walking into a nice hotel room? I think that can be telling on whether or not you do appreciate a nice ordered environment that suits your needs.

I can attest that it’s a learned skill and the benefits/appreciation for it grow with time and practice. However, it’s not always easily or realistically achievable (at least to the degree we’d like, as much as we’d like). Life is full and busy – for example, having kids can certainly change up your expectations for a tidy environment/home…

Yet it’s important to have an environment that supports your mental health, let alone be convenient and desirable. However, let’s be honest, that can be hard to keep up and manage. My compromise, since I’ve needed to accept a higher level of environmental chaos in my home (with kids and an in-home daycare), is to have places of sanctuary.

What do I mean by that? Well, let’s first consider the meaning of the word ‘sanctuary’. There are a few different definitions depending on context. In this context, I’m talking about the definition of “a place of refuge or safety.” You could also think of it as a place to “get away” for a time. We might think of a vacation getaway, or that beautiful log cabin in the woods, or being out in nature. Those are all fine examples. However, I am talking about establishing a sanctuary in the places you frequent – especially in your own home. If those examples just mentioned fit the bill – great! However, I would wager most of us don’t have a cabin in the woods we can just waltz over to each day anytime we need. We need something that is reliable and easy to access.

I love my home. I feel very blessed to live next to a park, and be near places/resources. It’s a home that is fun for kids, and my wife and I do our best to keep it tidy. However, as we get older and have more responsibilities, it’s just not been possible to always keep it looking great every day of the week. Sometimes the living room area is a big clutter of toys, or the basement kid’s playroom is, or all the above. Maybe there’s stuff piled on the back half of our dining table. Some days, for our own sanity’s sake, we just leave it for another day. 

But…

We can go right into our sanctuary for the evening. For me, it’s two places in particular – my basement room that serves as an office, gaming, and workout place. The other is the bedroom. We’ve got two lamps for low but adequate lighting, a big comfortable bed, a T.V. on the far opposite wall, and not too much other clutter to peck away at our subconscious desire for order. I often even make the bed because it adds to that sense of order (and doesn’t take much time to do).

When there is a place(s) of sanctuary we can go to when we need, it helps tell our physical bodies and minds that we are in a safe place. That we can relax a little more. We all need that, and it has helped me, at least, to compartmentalize chaos and be more flexible and less stressed with things less in my control (or capabilities) to manage.

Do you have a place in your home – be it a room, or even just a section of a room, where you can reliably go to when you need some rest and peace? If not – I encourage you to fight for establishing that space. You’ll love it, and your body and mind will thank you for it. After all, we all have enough stress as it is, right? Let’s give ourselves every strategic advantage we can get!

To you health and wellbeing,

Lead Health Coach, Dan Tribley

EPIC Functional Medicine