Where’s Your Sanctuary? Creating Your Happy Place

Why it's important for you have your own special sanctuary or "happy place" that you can retreat too daily and some great simple ideas for creating one!blank630x20

Wheres Your Sanctuary - Creating Your Happy PlaceRemember when you were a kid and every so often a huge cardboard box would come into your possession? What happened? Why, you made a fort of course. Or a hideout, or a play house, or a rocket, or a boat or submarine or other happy place. The point being, you made something you could crawl into that was yours.

I’d decorate my box with markers and crayons and my dad would cut a door into it for me and then a small flap in the side to which a string was attached so I could open and close my window. This plain cardboard box was my sanctuary. It was a special place I could go that was all mine and it felt magical.

“A sanctuary is not so much a place as it is a mindset.”

I don’t care who you are or how old you might be, or what your station in life is. Everyone needs a place they can go to where they can step out of daily life and just relax. All of us need a place to recharge our batteries, where we feel safe and where we can do things that bring us joy whether it’s writing, drawing, reading, playing piano, exercising or just sitting and thinking. You need the equivalent of that cardboard box you crawled into as a little kid. It doesn’t have to cost a penny. It just has to give you that feeling.blank630x20

Creating Your Happy Place


  1. It’s somewhere you feel safe.
  2. It has things in it you enjoy.
  3. It has privacy.
  4. You’ve made the area special. (See “equipping your sanctuary” below.)
  5. You literally look forward to being there.
  6. You feel peace and joy in it.

Mix and match as desired. Whatever you choose needs to give you a deep feeling of peace and pleasure.

  • Exercise
  • Read an engrossing novel.
  • Read poetry.
  • Watch a special show. (Not to be confused with typical TV watching.)
  • Write
  • Paint, draw, sculpt etc.
  • Look through a favorite magazine.
  • Journal
  • Hand write letters.
  • Yoga
  • Cooking (really special dishes)
  • Sing
  • Garden
  • Deep breathing.
  • Dance
  • Watch the sun rise or set.
  • Positive Affirmations
  • Spend special time with a dog or cat.
  • Manifest
  • Eat a special treat. i.e. A healthy muffin you love and a cup of herbal tea.

Why it's important for you have your own special sanctuary or "happy place" that you can retreat too daily and some great simple ideas for creating one!

blank630x20SANCTUARY LOCATIONS ( a few examples)

  • A special corner in a quiet room of your house.
  • The bathtub.
  • A spot in the back yard.
  • A special lane you enjoy walking down.
  • Your bedroom.
  • Your roof.
  • The local antique shop where you can get lost.
  • The local bookstore with coffee shop.
  • A local cafe.
  • Your treadmill.
  • Your tub where you enjoy soaking and relaxing. With candles of course.
  • Some find their Zen and peace by exercising. Walk, run, bike, do yoga etc.
  • Out in nature.
  • Help out at a homeless shelter, read to kids etc. Serving others can bring incredible peace of mind and joy.
  • For those who find your zen in cooking, the kitchen can be a sanctuary while cooking something extra special.
  • The dining room table for doing something you love. Just set aside the time and make it special while you’re there.
  • Any place at all that makes you feel peaceful being there.

Why it's important for you have your own special sanctuary or "happy place" that you can retreat too daily and some great simple ideas for creating one!

It’s important to make your sanctuary special in some small way.  Examples you can mix and match:

  • notebookIf you like to draw have a special pad of paper and pencils, paints etc.bookmark
  • If you like to read, use a very nice bookmark and/or book cover.  Maybe a small pretty notepad for writing thoughts it inspires.
  • If you like to write, get a special journal or writing pad for doing so, with an extra nice pen.
  • If you like to meditate, have some candles or incense.
  • If you like to listen to music, have that on hand.
  • owl.mugEnjoy a special treat while in your sanctuary. Maybe it’s a place where you look forward to enjoying a cup of herbal tea and a muffin.   Use a beautiful tea cup or mug for this time.
  • Place pictures  or framed quotes in your spot. Place a flower in a small vase there. Make it an area that is enticing to your eyes.
  • fanny.packIf your sanctuary is a walk down a beautiful lane or road, make the event into a ritual in some way. Wear a special pack equipped with small things such as a small notebook, chap stick,  a camera etc.
  • If your sanctuary is the bathtub where you look forward to soaking and relaxing or listening to music, make it special while bath.saltsyou’re in there. Light a candle or two, use special bath salts and lotions.
  • apronIf you’re someone who finds peace while exercising, wear special clothes that you feel good in. Hang a motivational poster than inspires you. Keep a pretty journal where you write your progress in. (Check out our Treadmill Nook for ideas!)
  • If you fine your joy while cooking, play music while you do it, wear a beautiful apron. Use a special wooden spoon set.

*Make sure if you’re using a space that others in the home also use that they know that during your sanctuary time you’re not to be disturbed.

blank630x20REMEMBER  this is not about doing things mindlessly. This is about filling yourself up with things that bring you deep joy and pleasure. That will be different for everyone. For example, for some it might be watching a special TV show because in their life they seldom get to watch TV or movies so it’s a unique event. If you did it all the time it would not be “special”. Get it?

blank630x20MY SANCTUARY

Why it's important for you have your own special sanctuary or "happy place" that you can retreat too daily and some great simple ideas for creating one! I love bedtime. I look forward to it every day. Because of this I’ve made going to bed a ritual and my bedroom is my sanctuary spot.  At night I brush my teeth, pull down the covers, turn on my nightstand light and fan (I sleep with a fan as I also love the wind.) Then I brush my teeth (I even have a ritual for that!), undress and crawl under my fluffy covers. Next to my bed is my Kindle and my iPhone both which have long charger cords that stay there. I grab my Kindle and read whatever I’m currently reading, which is usually several things. I’ll start with some non-fiction that I’m learning something from. Then I end with my current novel, reading until I almost fall asleep. Pure heaven. Even though going to bed is a typical thing everyone does, I’ve turned it into something very meaningful for me.

I recently did a Budget Bedroom Makeover in my bedroom to make it even more special. I used mostly things I had and it now not only feels like a sanctuary it looks like one.

blank630x20ROY’S SANCTUARY

walking.stickWhy it's important for you have your own special sanctuary or "happy place" that you can retreat too daily and some great simple ideas for creating one!When Roy needs peace and clarity he literally heads for the hills. He’s done this for years and years as he finds his solace in nature.  He’s had to adapt depending on where we lived but there is always some feeling of nature he can find even if it’s a park. Luckily we now have plenty of actual hiking spots close by.

A few years back he made his own walking stick to take with him. He created it from a branch that he sanded and painted. Then he added a crystal on top. Its beautiful.  After one of his walks he never fails to come back rejuvenated, peaceful and with much more clarity. blank630x20


If you happen to be one of the lucky few whose life is calm and peaceful most of the time and you get to regularly do things you enjoy with ease, consider yourself blessed!  However, if your life is more typical with normal stresses it’s incredibly important to have these small times alone and to create your own happy place.

If all you have is the equivalent of a cardboard box you can still accomplish this because a sanctuary is not so much a place as it is a mindset. It matters not where it is as long as it feels special to you. So go find your sanctuary and visit it daily even if it’s just for a few minutes. You’ll be amazed at how you’ll come to treasure that time and what it does for you.


Why it's important for you have your own special sanctuary or "happy place" that you can retreat too daily and some great simple ideas for creating one!blank630x20


  1. Kris

    Thank you for this post… it has come just when I needed it. My husband’s parents are driving me crazy and the stress is causing health issues. I have been trying to find somewhere to de-stress…a sanctuary of my own only I didn’t know that’s what I need. Now to find the right place. Again…Thanks!

    1. Nancy Author

      You’re very welcome Kris. It’s amazing the power stress has over us and how it affects us. I wish you good luck in finding some place you have grab some peace for yourself and breathe!

  2. Oh I can relate, I used to have a place, it was outdoors, on a little hill, very pretty and green, I could look up at the mountains and watch the clouds, its was a very serene and comforting place.

    Glad you have such a place, we all need one!
    Pinned your cute banner to our WW Pinterest Board!
    Thank for sharing on the #OMHGWW this week, hope you will stop by next week!

  3. As soon as I read the first paragraph I was transported back to my childhood. I lived in my parents appliance boxes! I had a pink cardboard kitchen stove, sink and fridge for my play kitchen and they fit in the boxes so I had a little house.

    I was inspired about your bedtime ritual. I have a real problem with that. Right now I am up late getting my post ready every night. But even before that it is difficult because my husband has to retire so early in the evening that I would disturb him if I read in bed and I have to do something prior to falling asleep or I will just lay there wide awake.

    Also, I was in my office yesterday wondering why I don’t use it. I need to find out how to make that my sanctuary because it is all mine and I never sit in it.

    Thank you for such a thought provoking and generous post!

    1. Nancy Author

      Glad I could help inspire some happy memories. Ü Yes it can be difficult when you’re on different schedules! My husband and I tend to pass in the night.. he’s up late and I’m in bed super early. But you’re right, you can make pretty much any place your sanctuary with a little effort. Good luck and thanks for the lovely comment Debbie!

  4. I am so lucky that my float cabin home is my sanctuary and I share it with a husband who considers it his sanctuary as well. We are fortunate enough to be here about 75% of the year. The rest of the time we spend either in town or travelling. Those activities are fun but tend to be more stressful. We found our off the grid paradise in 2001 and moved there full time in 2008 when we retired and became Canadian permanent residents. We found it by accident on vacation and knew immediately it was the place for us. – Margy

  5. What a great post. It reminds us that we never outgrow needing a place to getaway and re-charge and re-group. My sanctuary is my kitchen. I’m totally at peace in there and it’s where I love to be. Visiting from SITS Sharefest. Have a great weekend!


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