Creating a sanctuary in a family home
Modern society is characterised by an interconnected world where the “always on” culture has made it increasingly difficult to disconnect from our routine. Escaping the daily grind comes with an added difficulty in households where there are children, since young kids need constant stimulation, and sometimes right when their parents need to wind down and relax. So does this mean that creating a sanctuary in a family home is just not possible? In this article we offer some tips for parents looking for ways to create a small haven of tranquillity in a busy household with kids.
Lead by example
If you want to enjoy all the benefits of a sanctuary in your family home, it is essential that you start by teaching your kids (and every family member for that matter) how valuable quiet time is and the importance of balancing periods of activity with down time. As with most things, the best way in which you can teach them is by leading by example. Make a point of showing your appreciation for a peaceful atmosphere and always encourage family members to respect each other’s need for personal space and “me time”. If you make it sound appealing and show how enjoyable peace and quiet can be, you may be surprised at how quickly your family embraces this idea!
Build a sanctuary together
Turning areas of your home into a relaxing and inviting sanctuary is one of the most valuable presents you can give to your family. Draw everyone in and work together brainstorming ideas about how to make this special room a perfect fit for your family. In fact, you don’t even need to have a dedicated room for this. Finding the quietest corner of your house and making a few changes to the décor or how the area is used could be just as effective.
It is also important that you set certain rules about what types of behaviour are and aren’t allowed in your home sanctuary. Even more important that setting rules is defining the purpose of your sanctuary room or space, so try to come up with a statement that sums up the reasons for having it and cherishing it. The statement doesn´t need to be long, it could be something along the lines of “here you enter a warm and cosy space where you can retreat from the world and feel comfortable being yourself”.
Does it have “flow”?
While you are trying to come up with different ideas for your home sanctuary, ask yourself whether your ideal space has “flow”. The concept of flow was coined by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who defined it as the state of mind that is most conducive to happiness. Flow entails things like optimal concentration, motivation, engagement, and well-being – in other words, all the elements and experiences that you are looking for in a home sanctuary.
The key takeaway from this concept is that we can try to incorporate flow into certain areas of our homes, creating “flow rooms” where every family member can feel purposeful, engaged, and in touch with their inner selves. The concept of flow rooms is more than just an abstract idea. These rooms actually exist in many Danish family homes, where they are characterised by the absence of electronic devices, soft and warm lighting and colour schemes, and comfortable areas where family members can sit, play, cultivate their hobbies, or simply enjoy down time. You could also play with the concept of Zen-inspired design and décor to achieve a similar effect.
What if your kids are too young?
We said right at the beginning of this article that it’s important to teach your kids to appreciate peace and quiet. The idea of educating them is all very well, but as many parents know, that just doesn’t work with babies or toddlers. So how can parents enjoy a haven of peace and quiet at home in cases like this? Something that could work is getting up before anyone else does -or staying up after the kids have gone to bed if that suits your lifestyle better. Early mornings and late nights are something of a magical world where silence dominates and you can focus on your creative or spiritual pursuits free of interruptions and of noise. Take advantage of those times of the day that are naturally quiet and encourage other family members to do the same.
As you can see, creating a sanctuary in your family home may take some effort, but the rewards make it worthwhile. By doing this, you will be creating a space where every family member can leave stress and tension behind and contribute to the physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being of your family.