Self-Care Sunday: Create Your Space

Space is an important element. You probably know this on some level: is it easier to work in bed or in the library? (Okay, you might say bed and I’d understand — but you see what I mean.) Now obviously this varies tons for everyone, but I know that for myself, the surroundings I am in greatly effect how I feel emotionally, how productive I am able to be, and how energized I am. Space can also be used in a comforting way. And for many people, it’s important to have some space that is all your own — even if it’s just your bed.

Having a clean, organized, and personalized space to live, study, and hang out can make a world of difference to your mood and ability to cope. Here are some simple ideas to turn your dorm room, crummy student apartment, or bedroom at home into a haven:

1. Clean it up.
Blast some music & bite the bullet. My tips: Make the bed first. Bring a plastic bag and toss out trash as you find it. Break it into categories: first gather all the clothes, toss dirty things in the hamper and fold or hang clean clothes. Then tackle books, then movies, then makeup, whatever it is that gets messy. Doing it in chunks means a rush of accomplishment for each category you finish. (Pro Tip: If you’re having trouble getting motivated to clean, invite a friend to stop by in 1 hour. Now you have a reason to tidy!) If you need to wipe down surfaces, try just a mixture of white vinegar and water (about half and half) — it is super cheap and very effective. The vinegar smell dissipates quickly, so don’t worry. (If you need more ideas about serious cleaning, check out this website with tons of ideas for eco-friendly, safe, and cheap cleaning
2. Decorate.
There are plenty of inexpensive ways to make your room unique and elegant. My go-to is thrift store photo frames + free printables. For an inexpensive frame and one page of color printing ($1 at IUB libraries), you can get some great looking artwork. Be sure to search for free printables in whatever topic fits your personality — for example, I love finding Harry Potter printables, ’cause I’m a BIG HP fan. This website has great positive inspirational printables and here is a link to 101 free printables. (Some are things like recipes but a fair few are wall art!) You can also tack up a map of a place you love or want to visit, type out a quotation you love in a pretty font, or try about a bazillion other ideas.
3. Personalize.
Photos of your friends, family, or pet turn a room from a nice space into a YOU space. Make prints at a store like Target or CVS and display them in a cool shape like a heart or your first initial. (See what I mean here.)
4. Set the mood.
It’s not just the visual appearance of tidiness & pleasant decorations that make a space — it’s the other stuff, too. Sounds, smells, texture. (So if the carpet is grubby and gross, vacuum and then enjoy the sensation of a clean floor.) Try putting on music or background noise — http://www.pandora.com is a great place to listen to free music to fit any mood, and www.classyfireplace.com transforms your dorm into a comfy living room with a roaring fire and quiet jazz. (Scroll down on the blog to find a post specifically on music for more ideas.) If you’re allowed to light a candle where you are, use a soothing scent like vanilla or lavender to add a calming element to your room (if you live in the dorms, check with your RA first!!). And if you can’t have a candle, don’t worry! Try a plug-in, scented air freshener, battery-operated scented candle, or even just opening the window or bringing in some flowers.

Now that your space is clean & bright, hopefully it will be easier to get your homework done and then relax and take care of yourself. You deserve it!

Happy Sunday, everyone!

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