Saturday, 18 July 2020

How to Create Your Own Safe Space!

Katie offers some advice on how you can make both your mind and body a safe space.
- Katie Heyes

So lockdown has been in place for a while now, and of course it might be natural for you to be feeling a bit stuck in a rut lately. The past few months have and still are a stressful experience for many individuals and it can be difficult for both your mind and body to simultaneously adjust to a ‘new normal’. In difficult situations such as these, it is helpful to have a few spaces where you can let your guard down, relax and replenish your energy. Let me introduce you to the wonderful world of ‘safe spaces’!

Whenever life throws a seemingly endless supply of negativity, high demands and stress, it is human instinct for many of us to seek out a specific place and/or groups of people who foster a sense of emotional safety for you. Think of it almost like a safety net! You can always fall back on it if you’re struggling to manage all on your own. But what if those safe spaces aren’t available? What happens when that group of people you normally feel relaxed with aren’t free to meet up on a particular day? What if it’s raining on the day where you want to go to the park?

It’s natural for you to feel a bit daunted by that prospect of being on your own with your thoughts. Here are a couple of coping strategies that can help both your mind and your body work in harmony to create your own internal and external safe space that feels safe, nurturing and sustainable for your own wellness.

1. Be Your Own Cheerleader! 

Whilst being supportive and kind to your friends and family is so important, no relationship in the world is more important than the one you have with yourself. Forget to cheer for yourself with a true sense of self-love and appreciation is somehow undeserved. In order to live a life of happiness and gratitude, self-acceptance is crucial. So why not try the rule of 5 Positive Affirmations?

Every morning try writing down four or five things you love about yourself. This could be things like ‘I love how passionate I am for writing’; ‘I love how organised I feel today’; or it could even be more seemingly minor things like ‘I love my legs for getting me around place to place’. You may feel a bit silly at first, especially for the humblest folks out there. But doing this exercise regularly can help you start to feel more reassured as you can learn to appreciate even little things about ourselves. So let’s channel the words of Mother Teresa: “Kind words are short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”

2. Have A Self-Care Day!

Every now and again, it’s natural to feel burned out. A self-care day is a powerful way to take some time to unwind and recharge by indulging in some things and activities that make us feel calm and comfortable with ourselves. For example, why not try a nice relaxing bath with a sweet-smelling bath bomb or putting on a skincare mask? By taking the time to connect with your body and doing nice things it simultaneously helps your mental state as well, giving you that nice refreshed feeling.

So go for it! Experiment with those makeup palettes, enjoy curling up on that sofa with a good book! Taking some time out to enjoy the things you love most can help you gain a new perspective on what’s happening in your life and gives you a well needed break from the hustle and bustle of your daily routine. Forget the common excuse of “oh, I’m not going anywhere special so what’s the point?” Do it for you and you only!

One important thing to never forget whilst making your minds and bodies a safe space is to be patient and kind to yourself during this process. Creating this space on your own may feel challenging and daunting at times, particularly with such a drastic shift of routine in the past few months. But never forget this — your mind and body are just trying to protect you. Like that old saying ‘your body is a temple’, so why don’t we worship it? By creating some pillars of safety, we can be on a slow and steady path towards finding security in our own skin. 

To learn more about Student Minds' coronavirus resources, see our Coronavirus Resource Hub




I'm Katie, currently a Modern Languages student at Durham University, with a passion and drive to fight against mental stigmas and offer my support to anyone who feels like they can’t reach out. I hope everybody can get a little something out of my posts. No matter where you look there is always support whichever way you turn! 

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