How To Make Your Home A Retreat & Keep Your Sanity When You’re Stuck Inside
Under ordinary circumstances, your home may be a safe and comfortable sanctuary to return to after a busy day. But with our current COVID-19 pandemic and most people under orders to stay at home, it’s possible to feel like you’re in solitary confinement.
With uncertainty about how long we’ll all be stuck at home, how can you make sure your home feels like a sanctuary?
“If you find yourself not getting that sense of ‘I just ended my day, I’ve packed it up,’ It’s probably a great time to signal to yourself that you want to reclaim some of that sanctuary of the home,” says Ann Park, a psychiatrist specializing in anxiety, depression, and stress management.
Park offers the following tips to manage the stress of working at home and spending so much time indoors.
Keep Spaces Separate
If you’re in a small home, this can be challenging, but it’s important to try. “The two areas in which we struggle now that we’re all home is the geographical demarcation as well as the time demarcation,” Park says. If you are working and watching TV and eating at all hours, it can increase your stress level. Park suggests carving out a space for work or school, even if it is a small space, and then closing that space off mentally and physically if you’re not working or studying. And if you can’t set aside a different close, at least have a marker to designate when you are in work mode or not, something like when your laptop is closed, you’re off. You’ll also want to set up a work-free zone where you can relax without anything distracting you and reminding you of it.
Create A Schedule
A basic schedule goes a long way toward dividing the home into a space for work and relaxation.
“You might draw up a schedule ahead of time and say, ‘OK, from 9 to 11 every day is work zone. Or from 5 to 6 every day, I’m going outside to take a walk or I am closing work things down and I’m going to have a cup of tea,’ so we might make those designations quite concrete,” Park suggests.
Each person in the house should have their own schedule.
“Creating a realistic cap on the day for ourselves is helpful because it announces an end to the day when the whole space turns back into home space, like when Cinderella’s carriage turns back into a pumpkin,” Park explains.
Dress the part
In addition to a schedule, there are other ways to signal to your brain that you’re shifting gear—by changing clothes, for example. Although the idea of wearing pajamas all day sounds really appealing at first, donning “real” clothes for work can clarify the fuzzy line between work and home.
“When I’m in work mode, I’m in this outfit or dressed in a certain way, and when I switch off work mode, I might change into something more casual,” Park suggests. “I might demarcate the transition by going out for a walk, and when I come back that means I have turned off my work mode for the day and now I am in rest mode.”
Take care of your space—and yourself
The desire to keep your home clean and virus-free can make it seem more sterile and less like a comfortable space. And you can wear yourself out trying to keep it that way.
“Each of us has our own personal threshold of what we’re able and willing to do, and I think if you find yourself getting overwhelmed by the number of things you need to do to keep yourself safe, it’s worthwhile to maybe write down the top two or three things that you think you really can do,” Park suggests.
You can’t control every single element of your sanctuary, so narrow your focus to the tasks that truly make a difference. Make sure your home is comfortable and your high-touch surfaces are clean, but don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t get to every single household chore.
Cut yourself some slack
Transforming a home into a multipurpose space (office, gym, school) is difficult, and no one really planned for it. We’re all meeting the challenge differently.
“The important thing is, we should be intentional, otherwise that home space can begin to feel claustrophobic,” Park warns. “It can begin to feel like there’s nothing going on here but work and school and worrying. It should have all those functions, but it also should function as a home is supposed to, which is rest and refuge and oasis and calm.”
Source: Realtor. ”Sanctuary or Solitary? Keeping Your Sanity When Stuck Inside the House” By Tiffani Sherman | Published: April 3rd, 2020 https://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/keeping-your-sanity-when-stuck-inside-the-house/