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How to turn your home into a safe space

2021-06-23

Our homes should be places of comfort and safety, not just physically but emotionally too. We all want to feel safe, secure, relaxed, and welcome in our own homes. The world can be quite a daunting and intimidating place at times, so wanting to create a home environment you can truly enjoy is easy to understand. Whether you want to install a domestic lift so you can feel physically safe getting around the house or if you want your home to be a place of emotional security, in this article, we look at what it means to have a home that is a safe space for you and your family and how you can make it happen.

Encourage openness, communication, and honesty

If you don’t feel like you can be open and honest in your own home, an uncomfortable atmosphere can start to fester. People feel safe and happy when they know they can be themselves and trust those around them, especially their family. So, in an attempt to create a safe space at home, encourage openness and honesty between one another. Promote communication instead of bottling up feelings, dialogue with your partner or children instead of jumping to criticism and judgement. When we feel like someone is instantly going to criticise us instead of trying to understand and talk, that feeling of walking on eggshells in your own home can emerge.

Mercedes, from the website Shame Proof Parenting, says avoiding judgement, especially when it comes to children in the house, is especially advised when looking to create a safe space for them: “The biggest barrier to talking to you is the fear that you will judge them for what they think or feel. Most kids know that adults think their ideas are juvenile and immature. But you can let your child know that you are open to hearing what they think before making any comments.”

Part of achieving this healthy environment of communication is learning how to resolve conflict. We spoke to Makeda Pennycooke, a life coach who has previously written about the fear of conflict and has some great advice to share about this topic in general:

“When resolving conflict, it is helpful to begin with establishing why you want to resolve this issue. Too many times, people approach conflict as a battle to be won. But really, it can be a conversation that helps to strengthen the connection between you and the one you love.”

Makeda shared with us that it can’t be about one-upping the other person, it must be about preserving the relationship, approaching the conflict with an open heart and mind. Makeda says there are three things you will want to establish to open up the conversation: “What was said or done, when it happened, and the impact it had on you and the relationship.”

As an example, Makeda has shared an opening line of dialogue that incorporates the above approach: “Yesterday, when we were on the phone you interrupted me when I was sharing something vulnerable that happened to me. It made me shut down and feeling like I want to pull back from our relationship.”

Makeda goes on to advise: “You then need to listen. This is the hard part because you can’t decide ahead of time how to resolve the conflict. By listening you may learn something you didn’t know, which might inform the resolution. You and the other person talking together will work out a solution. Be patient. If the relationship matters to you, then be willing to do the work to deepen your connection. It may take a couple of conversations but in the end, it will be worth it.”

Create a forgiving environment

Mother consoling her daughter

Forgiving those around us is an expression of love. If we are harbouring ill feelings towards those in our household or one of your family members knows that you won’t let go of the anger towards them for a mistake they have made, your home certainly won’t feel safe emotionally. If everyone is on the same page, however, that when our family makes mistakes or does something wrong, we forgive, learn, and move on, then you will create an environment that cultivates security, trust and honesty. If you know someone will be forgiving towards you, you know you can talk to them about anything and that your thoughts, feelings, and weaknesses will be accepted at the place you call home.

Make a home that reflects your personality

Part of feeling safe at home can certainly come from the physical environment that we create around us. By decorating or designing our homes in a particular way, that is pleasing to us personally, we can promote feelings of security and comfort that can be of great aid to us mentally and emotionally during the trials that life presents.

Creating a space that is tailor-made to your own unique self is something that Maria from the mental health and wellness blog My Soul Balm recommended when sharing her safe space advice with us: “My top tip for creating a mentally and physically healthy environment is to be true to yourself and your own needs.

“As a sensitive introvert, I’ve found that I need to have a dedicated quiet space to recharge. On the other hand, an extroverted person might need a communal workspace where they can talk to people. Everyone is different! That’s why It’s important to consider your unique needs in order to build the happiest, safest environment for you.”

Additionally, choosing the right colour scheme can be a big help, as interior designer Jessica Elizabeth suggests: “It’s important to consider colour psychology when decorating your space. Different colours and textures can subtly influence our moods and make the space more restful. You might want to consider a soothing sky-blue colour for your walls or eschew conventional chairs for purple bean bag chairs. Or you may want to stick to a palette of subtle colours inspired by nature to create a calm and serene environment.”

If you like a clean and organised environment, taking steps to turn that into a reality is also a good idea. Not only will you feel more at peace in a tidy environment but, as Claire from the blog Life, Love and Dirty Dishes shared with us, it can also help make a physically safer environment:

“Keeping a home clutter-free and organised makes it safer. When everything has a home there are reduced trip hazards and fire risks. Use baskets and storage boxes to organise bits and pieces. A label maker is really useful too.”

Create a sanctuary within the home

You could also consider making a safe space within your home, somewhere that is just for you or that your family can take turns enjoying. Sometimes it really pays to have a space you can retreat to for a little while, close the door and calm down, especially if you are sharing a bedroom with someone.

Claire from Life, Love and Dirty Dishes shares: “Every home needs a sanctuary space. Somewhere you can escape noise and chaos and just relax. It may be a quiet reading corner. It may be a bench in your garden. But somewhere that makes you feel relaxed and calm.”

Install a home security system

Security Camera

Feeling physically safe at home is an equal part of the equation. If we don’t feel physically secure and protected, it’s very difficult to relax, let down our guard and enjoy home life. While having a disabled lift might make us feel safe if we have limited mobility, it can also be well worth our time to invest in a home security system. We don’t all have the luxury of living in an environment we truly trust and feel safe in, so the peace of mind that security cameras and alarms bring can be a big help.

Wellbeing platform Thrive Global shares: “You can use a home security system to create a physically safe space. These systems can be tailored for any budget and any style of residence, and the best systems use smart features like automatic door locks or doorbell cameras, which can increase positive feelings of protection and security.

Stay present

Another approach to turning our homes into safe spaces is by learning to ground ourselves and stay in the present. Learning to reconnect with the world around us in a time of emotional turmoil or anxiety can, as High Focus Centers advises, be a great self-soothing exercise, that when practised, can help cultivate a safe environment:

“Grounding is a simple skill you can try anywhere, which, in a literal sense, helps to reconnect you with the ‘ground’ and the world around you when emotional distress feels overwhelming. Engaging in this technique helps you to mindfully connect to the present moment and create a sense of safety when experiencing difficult memories, flashbacks, or emotional suffering.”

High Focus Centers suggests that we practise certain skills related to the senses as these can have a significant impact on our emotions. You could try reading a book, observing nature, baking, deep breathing, wearing comfortable clothing, and listen to music.

Banish anger from your home

Parent and child hugging

Have you ever felt relaxed and safe in an angry environment? It’s certainly not going to make your home feel like a safe space for you or anyone else living there. We are all human, we all feel anger and let our emotions get the better of us but doing our best to banish anger from our homes can go a long way to creating the home environment we desire.

Practice makes perfect in this regard. If a discussion is starting to feel heated, take a breath. If you know a conversation is heading towards an angry argument, change the subject. If you start to feel angry and that you might lash out, leave the room. Encourage family members to practise these techniques, provide outlets for pent up energy like sports and hobbies, and when people have calmed down, return to pressing matters in a calm manner.

If those living in your home come to believe that no one will respond to them with anger but love and patience, your house will start to feel like a much safer environment for all.

Tips for making our homes a safe space

  • Encourage openness, communication, and honesty
  • Create a forgiving environment
  • Make a home that reflects your personality
  • Create a sanctuary within the home
  • Install a home security system
  • Stay present
  • Banish anger from your home

None of the tips listed above might seem revolutionary but these simple and good ways of living can have an enormous impact when put into practice. So, if you feel like your home isn’t the safe environment that you want it to be for you and your family, try implementing some of the above. You just might create that emotionally and physically safe space you’ve always wanted.

For more tips, guides, and advice, make sure to visit our news page.

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