How and Why You Should Create a 'Safe Space' for Yourself

Make a Judgment-Free Zone

 The world can be a stressful place at times, and it helps to have a few spaces—safe spaces where you can be yourself and let your guard down—to relax and replenish your energy. It's important to have specific times, places, and groups of people who foster a sense of relaxation and emotional safety for you, as it's more difficult to manage the stress of criticism, negativity, and high demands when you're already compromised by stress. This can help you to build resilience and relieve stress when you need to. Here's how to create a few such "safe spaces" for yourself in different areas of your life.


Don't Forget Traditional Support Groups

Hands coming together

jabejon / Getty Images

Before going into the more creative and less obvious ways to create a safe space where you can talk about what's stressing you and feel free from additional stress and judgment, I'd like to mention an obvious solution: therapy and traditional support groups. If you feel that the stress you are experiencing is overwhelming, or if you're dealing with serious trauma or situations that the average person may not understand, therapists and support groups can be wonderfully effective. 

If you're dealing with less-serious situations, you may want to try the following suggestions first, with the idea of a support group or professional helper as a back-up if you need it.


Create Social Media Groups

Woman on laptop, smiling

Hero Images / Getty Images

 Social media can be stressful in some ways.  Seeing everyone else's best (accomplishments, selfies, high moments in life) and comparing them with your reality (all of those things, plus the things that most people don't put on social media, like failures, low moments, and the first-thing-in-the-morning mirror reflection) can be a source of significant stress, and research reflects this.  However, it can also be a great source of support if you are mindful about who you open yourself up to.  You can (and should) limit your interaction with those who are critical, minimize your exposure to those who post things that stress you out (extreme political views or doomsday articles, for example), and try to focus more on supportive and fun contacts.  You can also join (or create) groups geared toward your interests, even if your interest is finding support with stress.  The key is to be aware of what causes you stress and take action to create a space online where you know you won't be bombarded with anything that creates stress, and where you can just relax and enjoy.  (And if you don't find that possible on social media, you can limit your time online and likely minimize your stress levels at the same time.)


Utilize Exercise Classes (Especially Yoga)

Yoga class meditating

Dougal Waters / Getty Images

 Finding groups of completely like-minded people isn't always easy, but you can bet there's a group of people who share certain interests you have, and you can usually start there. I've found that exercise groups, particularly classes where the focus is a less competitive activity like yoga, pilates, or even meditation, can be great places to find others who want peaceful self-improvement. Many of these classes are like small communities in themselves and they can be quite supportive, not just for goal-achievement and motivation, but emotionally as well. Try some and see which ones feel like "home" to you.


Create A Regular Meet-Up

Three women in an office hugging

Robert Daly / Getty Images

 This one is simpler than you may realize: think of your favorite people, and ask them to get together more often!  You may be the one to introduce them to one another, or they may be a small group of friends you met in a class, at church, or on the job.  Just getting together with people who make you feel good can be very replenishing, and a great way to create greater emotional support in your life.  Just be sure you find the time and build it into your schedule.


Make Your Home A Haven From Stress

Meditation at home / DigitalVision / Getty Images

 Creating a physical space where you can really relax is vital, particularly if you're an introvert. Start with your own home, and make it a place that you are happy to come home to.  Put up pictures that remind you of your favorite people, use aromatherapy and music, and be sure to try relaxing activities.  Here are some more ideas you can put into use to make your home your safe space.  You'll be glad you did.


How to Feel More Comfortable Anywhere

Woman smiling

Martin Barraud / Getty Images

 Working on yourself can help you feel more comfortable in your own skin, and help you feel more emotionally safe wherever you go.  Learn to say no without stress, set healthy boundaries, remember (and revel in) your strengths and successes, and more.  These tips can help you to build self-esteem and resilience toward stress.  Put them to use and you'll find yourself feeling more confident and in control when you're facing people and situations that tend to tear you down.

Was this page helpful?