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As a resident physician, I am required to work 24-hour shifts at least twice a month. During many of these shifts, I rarely have a chance to sleep or take a break. After working for 24 hours straight, I long to return to a place where I can unwind, relax, and rejuvenate.

I believe is it is important to have a place that you feel is your refuge. Your refuge can be anywhere, as long as it is a place where you feel completely calm and separated from the stress of the outside world. Some people have dedicated rooms in their homes for meditation and quiet time which serves as their refuge. Others find refuge in their kitchen where they enjoy creating delicious dishes and find fulfillment in cooking for loved ones. Whatever gives you enjoyment and calms you, I encourage you to build a space to support that activity.

There are many benefits to having a refuge. First, spending time away from distraction and stress will allow you to reenergize to face new challenges. You cannot give 100% without recharging your battery occasionally.  Additionally, when you are in a place of comfort and peace, you are better able to be creative and think of ways to resolve conflicts or solve problems. I know that I am able to think more clearly when I am not distracted by everyday activities and able to clear my mind. That is why some people report that they come up with their best ideas when they are falling off to sleep and keep a pad of paper near their bed to jot down ideas as they come to them. Finally, as I have emphasized in previous posts, mental well-being is immensely important. Everyone needs a safe space where they can feel stress-free and recharge.

Given that sleeping and relaxing are very important to me since I work long hours, I decided to focus on my bedroom and made it a refuge. When deciding how I wanted to make my bedroom into a refuge, I focused on four elements:

1. Calm Your Senses

  • Sight: My bedroom is painted a soothing gray which is very neutral, neither stimulating or depressing. I paired it with lavender curtains which also have a relaxing effect. When choosing the color scheme for your refuge, choose colors that are not too stimulating to encourage relaxation and calm your thoughts. I love bright colors and bold patterns but they should not be a large part of your refuge. Additionally, keeping your refuge free of clutter will also help to foster an environment of relaxation.
  • Smell: I encourage adding scented candles or air fresheners with scents like lavender or eucalyptus. Alternatively, if there are scents that remind you of places or memories that you love, I would encourage you to add them to your room.
  • Auditory: I love listening to music when I am relaxing. Some streaming services have spa music stations which offer songs that are very relaxing and not very stimulating.
  • Touch: In my bedroom, I have soft fleece blankets which I adore. They are comforting and keep me warm. Make sure your refuge has objects that have textures that are comforting like soft rugs, fluffy pillows, or warm blankets.

2. Separation from Distraction

I have black-out curtains hanging up on my windows. They not only block out light but also help muffle the sounds from outside. If you are unable to use curtains or barriers to block out noise or unwanted distractions, then utilize other methods to block out distractions such as playing calming music or white noise. The most important thing is to have a place where you the outside world does not interrupt your thoughts and relaxation.

3. Words of Encouragement

I have recently started noticing more and more plaques in stores with positive and uplifting messages. I plan to put up a bunch of these plaques as I find ones that inspire me. I also have two pillows on my bed which make me smile whenever I see them. Surrounding yourself with encouraging words and positive messages will improve your mood and make you feel more confident.


*I purchased my pillows from Amazon but they are no longer on sale. Here are links to similar products:*

4. Positive Memories

I love displaying photos all over my home. Having photos of my loved ones on display makes me feel more connected to them even though they live far away. Additionally, displaying photographs of my favorite places brings back positive memories and inspires me to travel more. I encourage you to decorate your refuge with pictures of people, places, and things that you love.

Want to create your own cozy refuge? Check out the links below for some items that I think could be used to create an amazing refuge!

Let me know what elements you think are necessary to include in a “refuge.” Feel free to share on social media with the sharing buttons below and subscribe for notifications of promotions and new posts.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.