As a parent, it’s easy to feel like there’s not one space you can call your own. Suction cupped nets hang in the tub, a play kitchen butts up against your real kitchen counter, toy baskets reside in corners here and there throughout the house.
We love our kids, and their stuff just comes along with the package. That said, it’s normal to want a little space from both your family and their things from time-to-time. But where to go? A “she shed” or “man cave” require extra space that many of us just don’t have. Not to mention time and money to construct and outfit. Plus some parents aren’t fans of the gendered-ness of such places.
For all those reasons and more, it’s a worthwhile endeavor to reclaim your bedroom and designate it as your special place for an emotional escape, any time of day.
Why do parents need an emotional escape room?
Parents today are feeling, burned-out, touched-out and – quite frankly – want nothing more than a time out. Tiny people follow us into the bathroom, their little fingers poke our eyes and smudge nearly every surface in sight, their adorable faces make appearances on our zoom calls. Their need for us is overwhelming in all of the best ways, but sometimes we feel that flood of necessity in some not so great ways, too.
According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, burnout is characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and a decrease in self-fulfillment as a result of chronic exposure to emotionally draining environments. And no matter how hard it might be to admit, at times, the emotionally draining environment can be your very own home.
Recognizing that you are in need of a break is not a failure in any sense of the word. In fact, taking the time to acknowledge how you truly feel and then providing yourself with the space you need is a parenting win that needs more praise.
How to reclaim your bedroom:
Your bedroom should be a place where you can relax, recoup and revive your body and spirit. Here’s how to create an emotional escape space that can help foster peace of mind:
- Remove your TV and/or computer if possible. The top bedroom Feng Shui tips include keeping screens and work out of your rest environment. But if space is tight, separate your work area with a curtain or screen divider. If watching your favorite show is part of your unwind routine, keep a tablet in your nightstand drawer.
- Pick a soothing color palette. Color psychology is a real thing and there are stress relieving colors that can help set the tone for your emotional escape space. Soft blues are thought to be the most calming, but some greens, pinks, grays, and violets can also very peaceful color choices.
- Upgrade to a dimmer switch. Soothing light will help take the edge off even the most difficult days. If adding a dimmer switch is too complicated, opt for some candles with relaxing scents.
- Buy organic bedding. Cozy is your goal! There’s nothing like retreating to a bed covered in soft, breathable sheets. And consider these other updates that can create a healthier sleep environment.
- Essential oils for the win. Scent can impact how we feel, lavender, chamomile and peppermint are all great scents to have on hand when looking to relax.
- Bring in some green. Plants can also be great mood boosters. Consider some greenery that doesn’t require too much care.
- Try CBD. CBD is becoming more accessible and better regulated. There are many CBD products created with the purpose of relaxing your mind and body.
- Invest in your air quality. Air purifiers and humidifiers are bedroom essentials, create a safe space that leaves you feeling good and breathing easy.
- Practice guided mediation. Use the alone time to quiet your mind with guided meditations.
- Do something you did before you had kids. Pick back up an old hobby. Read a book, make something with your hands, journal. Use the time spent in your room to truly serve yourself.
Focus on healing your nervous system
If you often feel overwhelmed, stuck, unfocused, or fearful, your central nervous system (CNS) probably needs tending. Alongside the stresses of work, relationships, finances, deadlines… etc., there is a whole other level of stress we put ourselves under that shuts down our nervous system and adrenals. Not responding to our nervous system properly makes it shut down. (source)
Your emotional escape room should calm your nervous system. Other ways to tend to your CNS include breathing deeply into your lower back rib area, shaking your body, tapping (EFT), singing, and getting plenty of rest and hydration.
Me-time can benefit the greater good
Remember that needing a place to call your own and some time to yourself doesn’t mean that you love your family any less. In fact, giving yourself an emotional escape when you feel overwhelmed can help you be both a better parent and partner.
Still, we know that sometimes escaping is not an option. In those moments when you can’t get the physical space you need, consider looking to calming tactics like these mantras and affirmations for parents to get you through the tough times.
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