Creating a Self-Care Sanctuary

Part of my self-care journey has revolved around “unplugging”.  I spend a lot of time playing on my iPad, talking on my iPhone, working on my laptop, viewing the television.  I bet you do too.  So there, right in front of me, is my reason for creating a sanctuary, that quiet retreat where I can unwind, relax, reflect.  

When I conjure up a mental image of my perfect sanctuary, I see a space that exudes quiet, subdued minimalism. In a perfect life, my sanctuary would be painted in soft gray tones with white furniture, dark woods, and a few plants. The space would be lit by filtered sunlight during the day and candle light at night. There would be soothing music playing and essential oils scenting the air. 

I see myself snuggled up in a comfortable chair with sparking water bubbling in a glass on the table next to me. I am writing in my soft, leather-bound journal with my favorite fountain pen. I am wearing comfortable clothes and the expression on my face says that I am at peace. Aaahhh. Can you picture it with me? 

Well, that is a lovely daydream!  Let’s talk about reality. The first challenge that comes to mind is that most people I know don’t have the money or the space to create a dedicated sanctuary for themselves.  Another challenge is that families are busy, noisy, and demanding.  How does a sanctuary moment even fit into a busy day of work and/or parenting?  My thinking is that “sanctuary” is as much a state of mind as it is an actual place. 

The purpose of a sanctuary is to have a quiet moment to unwind. Solitude can be found in so many different places and at so many different times. Peace of mind is behind a closed door in the bathtub with some bubbles. It can be found in a ten minute walk with the dog. It can be a few moments of precious time rocking a baby before nap time. Sanctuary can be five minutes curled up in a comfortable chair in a corner of the living room once the children are settled in bed for the night. A friend of mine uses her time in the car driving twenty minutes each way to and from work to unwind and clear her mind. I have a male friend who escapes to the garage to putter about with woodworking tools; this is his quiet time.

My sanctuary is a big, comfortable lounge chair in the corner of my bedroom. I have a small table next to the chair with my journal, a pen, and a coaster for my water glass.  Is it spectacular? No. It is simple and small, but it serves the purpose.

I believe all of us need time in our day when we can be authentic, reflective, prayerful, calm, and at peace. Do you have a sanctuary in your life? If not, think about tucking one away somewhere in your busy life. 

Photo by Minh Pham on Unsplash

Seeking Joy

For the past 18 months, my husband and I have been quarantined. I joke that I am old, over-weight, and asthmatic…a perfect candidate for a really horrific struggle with whatever is the current variant of the virus. But the reality is that I have been genuinely scared. In some way, I think I have “folded in” on myself, if that makes any sense. For the first 70 years of my life I was out-going, friendly, and fun-loving. I was a “hugger”. Today, I am fearful, and that makes me sad.

While home, I have stayed busy with projects, chores, and curbside pickup, but my focus has been on the world outside my bubble. Like you, I have been bombarded with news of the pandemic, racial tension, wild fires, war, global warming, and hate-filled politics. I have relied on social media to keep me in touch with family and friends, but social media platforms have become political battle grounds and, well, there is a lot of anger and hate out there. Pretty depressing, right?

I hate feeling depressed, so in light of all this, I have decided that this is the perfect time for me to shift my focus inward. I want to indulge in self care, and the September Self Care Challenge is a perfect fit; I was sooooo excited to join all of you. Self-care will most likely mean something different for each of us, depending upon our specific needs. For me, this will include being mindful of the food I eat, beginning a gentle exercise routine, and practicing gratitude.

In my excitement for our Self Care Challenge to begin, I put together a packet to help me stay organized and focused on this journey. This includes things I will use to set goals, organize my tasks, and set myself up for success. I am happy to share it with you. You are welcome to use it or modify it in any way so that works for you. I look forward to taking this journey with you. Stay happy and healthy.

Life Deconstructed

This is the post excerpt.


This was written several years ago. Since it was written, my mom has passed away.  However, the sentiments still hold true. I continue to struggle with how to go about downsizing my stuff without downsizing my dreams.

I have decided that disassembling a person’s life is one of the most emotionally taxing things I’ve had to do. This week I am in New Mexico helping my sister move my mother out of her home and into my sister’s home. My mother’s condo is filled with a myriad of items collected and loved over a lifetime of 94 years.

We have to do considerable downsizing in order to make this move. The two of us are sitting side by side, pulling items out one at a time and passing judgement – Goodwill – Garbage – Keep – knowing that each item we discard is something that she has loved enough to hold on to.

So, how do we decide? I don’t know. Is the tattered teddy bear a treasure or is it trash? Is it something that she loved and was comforted by as a child or is it something she picked up on QVC a few years ago that was made to look old?

As the Goodwill and Garbage piles grow, so does my sense of sadness. This is a metaphor for life. As we age, we do downsize our lives. My mom has moved from a 4000 square foot house to a 1000 square foot condo, and now to a 120 square foot room.

I realize that I have downsized too. When I was twenty, I had grand visions of how I would change the world. Today, I pray to make a difference in one child’s life. I have downsized my dreams. So I’m sitting here wondering if this is a mistake… if I should continue to dream big, or if I’m setting myself up for failure by trying to achieve 20 year old dreams with a 60 year old body.

I’ve cried this week. I’m not sure if I’m crying over my mom’s stuff, or if I’m crying for myself as I face my own personal downsizing. I suspect it is a bit of both. What I am comforted by is the fact that as the volume of my mother’s “stuff” is reduced, the love she has from those of us around her is not. There is no downsizing there, and so she is still a very lucky 94 year old.


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