The world can often feel like a busy, stressful place. Between school, work, family/friend relationships, trying to think about the future, and managing life as a nongirly girl, life can get overwhelming. To ground yourself and come back to center, it is important to have a safe emotional space for yourself. What does this mean? To start, the Oxford Dictionary defines a safe space as, “a place or environment in which a person…will not be exposed to discrimination, criticism, harassment or any other emotional or physical harm.” Adding onto this definition, an emotional safe space is a space that specifically allows you to express whatever emotions you may be having–in relation to what is going on in your life. So, how do you create a safe emotional space for yourself? Read these self-care tips below to find out.
Find a Spot
First off, you need to find a place that feels like your own. This could be your bedroom, your favorite spot in a nearby park, or maybe an area in your family’s basement that you could take over. As a nongirly girl, your special spot may look nontraditional. In other words, it may look a little different from what you have seen in the movies. Likewise, it may look different from what your friends would want. Wherever it is, aim to find a place where you are guaranteed some privacy. Knowing that you have your own area to go to is the first step in creating a safe emotional place.
Make It Your Own
It is important that your space reflects who you are and makes you feel comfortable. If the space you choose is a room, how can you decorate it? What types of pictures do you want on the wall? Consider what makes you happy–is it family, friends, nature, or pictures of your favorite actor/actress/athlete? Try to surround yourself with feminist gifts and images that uplift you. What colors do you want your space to be? You may not be able to paint a whole wall. However, think of adding fun wall decorations in a color that makes you feel good. Maybe you can add a small lamp for some softer lighting. Also, it may be nice to add a candle to make the place smell inviting. Nongirly has several nontraditional gifts for girls to make your self-care space your own.
Respect Your Space
Keep your safe space comfortable and clean. Let yourself feel free to experience different emotions here: you can cry, be sad, be angry, feel upset, feel irritated, or simply not want to be around anyone. If you respect this place as somewhere to turn for emotional safety, it will empower you to feel more control over your emotions. Know that this is a place where you can let it all out! Leaving your space after working through your emotions, you will feel stronger and more capable of handling life’s ups and downs.
Communicate about Your Space
It is natural and healthy for people to want some alone time to process their emotions. If you need some time alone in your safe space for this, it will be helpful to communicate that to your friends and family who may interrupt your personal time. Tell your family that you will need a certain amount of time to be alone and ask that they respect this time of yours. If your safe emotional space is outside of the house, let family and friends know where the space is–but again request that they respect your alone time there. Provide a return time for their peace of mind.
Having an emotional safe space can significantly improve someone’s mental health and help them have a better quality of life. Everybody experiences ups and downs, but having a safe place to process can help you navigate those feelings more smoothly–and take care of yourself. Nongirly can help you create your emotional safe space, so you can better process your emotions and come back to center.