Ev­ery­one needs a spe­cial place where they can re­lax and re­new

Northern Rivers Style - - IT’SALLABOUTYOU - HE­LEN HAWKES

Most of us feel like there’s sim­ply too much to do in a day, with very lit­tle time out for our­selves. If you’re like us, you’re bom­barded by emails and mo­bile phone calls and, if you com­mute in peak hour or live with fam­ily, there’s al­ways peo­ple in your per­sonal space.

Of course it’s won­der­ful to have con­tact with oth­ers, es­pe­cially with those we care about.

But for our men­tal and phys­i­cal health, we need a reg­u­lar break from this con­stant buzz of ac­tiv­ity.

One of the best ways to get it is to have our own pri­vate sanc­tu­ary.

If you feel a lit­tle guilty about the idea of it – you al­ways put other peo­ples’ needs ahead of your own – con­sider this.

“No-one can love and care for oth­ers if they’re sick and tired,” says psy­chol­o­gist Dr Tim Sharp, of the Hap­pi­ness In­sti­tute in Syd­ney. “We need the wis­dom to care for our­selves. That means hav­ing time to pur­sue our in­di­vid­ual in­ter­ests.

“This, in turn, can be made eas­ier if we have a per­sonal space where we can find peace and quiet.”

Re­search shows that hav­ing a place you can get away to, even if it’s only a spe­cial cor­ner in a room of your house, can ac­tu­ally im­prove your men­tal and phys­i­cal health.

Here’s why: the work, re­la­tion­ship or fi­nan­cial pres­sures we all face ev­ery day cre­ate stress in our mind and body.

We go into a prim­i­tive, “fight or flight” mode, as we bat­tle to get all our tasks done at work or home and to cope with every­thing that is thrown at us.

This sets off a se­ries of re­ac­tions that in­volve our sym­pa­thetic ner­vous sys­tem.

These re­ac­tions in­clude our heart and breath­ing speed­ing up, our di­ges­tion slow­ing down and our blood sugar in­creas­ing.

Ob­vi­ously to main­tain good health we need to switch off from this mode and into the op­po­site one – the rest and re­pose re­ac­tions gov­erned by our parasym­pa­thetic ner­vous sys­tem.

That means spend­ing some quiet time some­where we find re­lax­ing, say health ex­perts.

The first step, of course, is to find a place, in­doors, or out­doors, that you can make your own.

By the way, your per­sonal sanc­tu­ary is just that: per­sonal. If oth­ers want in, en­cour­age them to cre­ate their own spe­cial place.

Make A Space Your Own

Once you’ve found a space for your sanc­tu­ary, why not add ◆ A very com­fort­able chair with plenty of cush­ions

◆ Copies of your favourite mag­a­zines

◆ Fresh flow­ers, es­pe­cially if they are scented

◆ Aro­mather­apy can­dles

◆ Cosy, hand­made throw rugs

◆ Pho­to­graphs of loved ones

◆ A framed quote or motto

◆ A CD player with some mu­sic from na­ture

◆ A tea-set, or a lovely wine glass and your favourite wine

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