The importance of having personal space; I call it my happy place

“Happy Place” I’m fairly sure this is a quote many have heard and have glossed over. Have you been asked “where is your Happy Place?” and you have had to think about it?

I am very clear on where my “Happy Place” is and why it is a Happy Place. I am also very clear on why it is essential for me.                                                                                     

I have different ones, I have a Happy Place for me on my own, one for me with my Husband and a Family Happy Place.

For me, it’s vital to have all three!

A happy place isn’t “happy” in and of itself. It’s happy because of what it means to you and what it does for your wellbeing. Ironically it isn’t always “happy” however it should be safe, comfortable and a change in routine.

To be “Happy” the place isn’t enough on its own, it needs engagement, you must be in the moment and allow yourself to switch off to the pressures of life you are under. It’s okay to give yourself permission.

“Now that I am in my Happy Place I give myself permission to be indulgent and ignore the pressures of my life. I can set aside things which need to be done, disregard any outside judgements and I am going to be in this moment, going to be in this place and give myself permission to soak it all up”.

Frankly a Happy Place can be anywhere as it comes from you. You can achieve bliss in the corner of a room on a comfy chair reading a book and feel utterly miserable on a tropical beach in the Maldives! It’s not the place, it’s you and what it means to you.

Take a moment to think about your Happy Place, do you have any, how many do you have, how many do you want to have and think about what they might be if you don’t have them? Are they physical or is in an activity?

Do you visit them enough? Do you need to make a regular time to visit them?

A happy place can take a moment, or it can be a week. It can be 15 minutes meditation, or it can be a family break somewhere which speaks to your soul and makes you feel free.

Act now to engage with your Happy Place. 

Here are mine!

My personal Happy Place is watching a good film with a fabulous glass of wine in our snug room. Our snug room is cosy and is full of books. Oh how I LOVE books! The film is usually pure escapism and takes the form of superheroes and fantasy most of the time. It’s just a bit of time when I can unwind, switch off and indulge.

The challenge is finding the time. Life is busy; however, I also know how vital it is for me. So, when I feel crowded, I will excuse myself and take myself off. My family and extended family now know me well enough to leave me well alone. It’s understood and there is no judgement, just acceptance. I come out feeling refreshed and indulged.

I would encourage you to understand what your personal “Happy Place” is and help those close to you to understand that it is important you visit there when you feel the need.

My Happy Place for my husband and I is once a month where we get a babysitter and we go to the pub where we can enjoy our fantastic local ale and then we head off for a curry. We know the restaurant so well that we don’t even need the menu. It’s comfortable and easy.

This comfort is important because I don’t always know how my Husband will be feeling. Sometimes Richard is engaging and chatty and others he is in a depression and doesn’t want to engage. The thing is we are together and where we go, we can sit comfortably in silence if that’s what is needed. 

I don’t enjoy the silence but its comfortable as it’s somewhere we have been going for years so we have pretty much become part of their furniture!

This is important because we are still making time for each other as a couple regardless of whether the Black Dog is coming along or not. Richard finds routine stabilising also.

Then we have the Family Happy place. For me this is out and about, this is being in the countryside, down on the beach, engaging with nature and getting a dose of good old-fashioned fresh air!

We use our National Trust and English Heritage membership a lot because we can pack up a picnic and head off for the afternoon and explore. If Richard is feeling good, we can go somewhere which needs more engagement, if he is feeling low then we can go somewhere which has castles which keeps our son more entertained.

Our “Family Happy Place” can be an afternoon out and about or a full holiday connecting with nature and fresh air, usually Cornwall. Cornwall has a slower pace and requires no stressful airport negotiation or flights. It’s peaceful.

I find my Happy Places give me space, release and can get us out together. It’s not always roses, there are occasions when we go out as a family and it can be very stressful, often however it’s quality time together. It’s about taking the rough with the smooth, that’s what living with Mental Illness is all about, right? It’s about doing your best and finding what works for you on your journey with the challenges these illnesses can present.

I hope you have a Happy Place and if you don’t, I hope you find one.

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