Blog Posts · Growth

Finding Sanctuary

Something useful that I’ve taught myself how to do, no matter what my outer circumstances happen to be, is to find a sense of sanctuary and comfort within myself. I’ve learned how to do this when I’m sad, lonely, scared, or overthinking, and it’s been super beneficial for my crazy self.

I remember once reading a story of a Jewish man that was being held in a concentration camp, and he had said that he was able to get through it by realizing that while his outer circumstances were completely out of his control, his inner circumstances were completely in his control, and he alone got to choose how he acted and felt, no matter what was going on around or what horrors were being inflicted upon him.

I’ll never forget the feeling when I read that, because it obviously made my personal issues at the time pale in comparison, but more than that, it made me feel so hopeful about being able to figure out a way to have peace inside of myself, because if he could do it, I certainly could.

I’m just going to list some of the techniques I’ve created or learned about, which can hopefully be useful to you guys, whether to actually use them, or to serve as inspiration for creating your own.

My Techniques

  • Dressing in Grey – So this is something that started for me when I was staying in a psych ward, following a nervous breakdown and attempted suicide. When my dad came to visit me, he had brought me a bunch of his clothes to wear, (because I wasn’t really living anywhere at the time, just bouncing around places, so my own clothes were MIA) so, he ended up bringing me a bunch of grey sweatpants and sweatshirts, and I just remember they smelled like him and made me feel so much comfort in that place. So now, if I have a particularly bad day, I wait until the end of the day, take a nice shower, cleanse my energies with epsom salt, and put on grey from head to toe. It tricks my mind into getting into a more neutral mental state, and tricks my emotions into feeling that comforting, safe feeling that only my dad has ever been able give me.
  • Candle Shower – This is more like a daily maintenance routine, because I pretty much have daily anxiety and emotional turmoil, so I created this little ritual to be more proactive about it, instead of just waiting for my next meltdown. What I do, is turn of all the lights, light incense, and one candle I keep in the shower, put on healing music, and just set the intention to cleanse off the energies of the day, no matter what’s happened. This works really good for things like a breakup or an intense moon, basically for prolonged sadness, because even if I’m upset all day, I can soothe and calm myself, and get a little respite from the chaos, at least until the next day. It’s like an emotional palette cleanser that allows me to gather strength before the next wave. When things are really tough, I combine with the grey pajama method from above, and seriously, it really works for me.
  • Floating Bed – This one is basically a little bedtime fantasy I made up when I broke up with one of my exes and moved out, and had to start sleeping by myself again. It was really hard for me to not think about him and it was interfering with my rest, which I knew I needed, in order to have the strength to keep myself going. I ended up pretending that my bed was floating on some magical, glittery canal, and the water, the sky and even the air was this deep, beautiful sparkly blue, that just made me feel so ahhh and at peace, like I imagined I could feel the bed rocking from the current, and that I could hear the water like lapping up against the bed, and see palm trees on the sides of the canal, swaying in the wind, like I made it an IMAX experience in my head, and this was about 10 years ago now, but I still use it to this day. It’s basically my own little world.
  • Exercise – Probably my number one remedy for anxiety and over-thinking. I discovered the effect it had on my mental well-being during quarantine, because when quarantine started I was ahead of the game and had already quit my job two and a half months prior and been sitting at home, and could not take being alone in my house just thinking and crying all the time for another second (another nervous breakdown, but this time I just kinda white-knuckled it). I remember I was watching the Buffy Musical “Once More With Feeling” on my birthday, and I just felt to start dancing, because it’s basically about depression and feeling dead inside, but with pep, so I did. It was the first relief from my own brain that I’d had in months and I was like “Oh!” Being me, I kinda took it to the extreme and became addicted to it, and would sometimes dance around for 4 hours straight, but it was 💯 the turning point of that particular nervous breakdown, which I honestly thought would never end. I still dance a lot, but I also incorporated yoga and stretching, because it just helps your energy come back down to earth and settle in your body, I love it.

I hope you’ve gotten something useful out of these tips/techniques, whatever you want to call them, and please remember that you can always soothe yourself no matter what’s going on around you !

Thank you so much for reading !

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