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I need my own space: creating your own personal space in lockdown

As we enter four weeks in lockdown, we’re all starting to feel the impact. For those of us self-isolating alongside our family, friends or partner, we’re likely to find that tensions are running high. And that’s to be expected. It’s important to stress that spending 24/7 together is going to put a strain on any relationship.

Maintaining some degree of personal space is critical during this time. Time to ourselves allows us to rest and recharge so we can give our best to the people around us. 

In normal day-to-day life, when we crave this space we’re able to pop out to the shops, go to a yoga class, grab a coffee or decompress with our friends over a glass of wine… With many of these small (but vital) moments now unavailable to us, it’s important that we work to find our own personal space in other ways. 

Having your own personal space during this time is going to help keep you mentally healthy.

I have no privacy in my house – how do I create my own space?

Create a sanctuary

It’s easier to prioritise alone time if there’s a designated space to do it. This doesn’t need to be a whole separate room – we don’t all have the luxury of space, especially those of us who are in the city. The garden, garage, kitchen, bathroom counter or even a corner will do. Add some candles, a soft blanket, and adorn it with lots of nice trinkets…Create a soothing environment to retreat to that’s all yours. 

If possible – near a window (or alternatively, include a few plants!)

Not only do plants cleanse the air but they also have a soothing effect on the mind and body. As human beings, we have a very natural desire to be connected to nature. Although lockdown means we can’t ‘escape’ to the countryside like we used to, we can still keep this connection alive and well. If you don’t have a nice view or green space, just looking at a beautiful scenic photo will do. Research shows that simply looking at an image of nature for 40 seconds can trigger the brain into a more relaxed state.

Make the most of shower or bath time

Instead of jumping in and out of the shower, make this moment yours and try really taking your time. Run a bath, put on some music and light a few candles. And if you don’t have a bath, try taking a mindful shower instead. Use your senses to fully engage – feeling the warm water against your skin, smelling the fragrances of your shampoo and shower gel, listening to the sound of water splash onto your feet…

Meditation nook

If you don’t have a meditation practice already, now’s a great time to start. Starting the day with a short mindfulness meditation is not only going to help you create more mental and physical “space” but it will also give you a sense of what emotional state you’re in – which is especially important at the moment whilst stress levels are (understandably) high.

Create your own meditation nook for your morning practice – a space that’s dedicated to stillness. Again, you don’t need a whole room for this. Find a corner, a quiet spot in the garden, on your balcony etc. Light some incense and fill it with ornaments which bring you a sense of joy and calm.

Tell your family, friends or partner you’re off limits

Whether it’s an hour or just 10 mins, make it clear that this is your time and you don’t want to be interrupted. Explain how important this is to you, and that this time is going to make you a much nicer and easier person to be around. It’s just like the oxygen masks in planes – taking care of yourself first is going to allow you to take better care of others.