Natalie Altenburg wrote in the DePaul Take Care Blog that now, more than ever, it is important that we have a “safe space” to allow us to cope with our emotions and regulate them. In this sense, a safe space does not necessarily have to be a physical place; it can simply be having tools prepared to help you feel safe when handling challenging emotions and situations. Here are a few tips she has for setting up your safe space!
- Set and maintain boundaries. By doing this we are being proactive and protecting ourselves by setting clear expectations with others regarding what is and is not okay. Boundaries can be physical (ex: “Knock before coming into my room”) or social/emotional (ex: “I am not in the emotional space to be able to help you with this problem right now”). It is important for everyone’s physical and emotional safety that we set boundaries and respect the boundaries of others.
- Know when to take a break and what to do. We all need breaks to ensure that we are preserving our health. This may look like turning off your microphone and camera for a few minutes during a Zoom class to get up and stretch, calling a friend to rant, or even just taking a nap at some point in the day. It is important that we are able to not only identify when we need breaks but also what we need to do to make these breaks beneficial.
- Listen to and validate your emotions. Try checking in with yourself throughout the day to take note of your emotions. By doing this, it allows you to know when you may need to take a break or employ some sort of coping strategy to help you deal with said emotion. While there are many things out of our control, we can control how we honor and respond to our emotions. By validating and appropriately responding to our emotions, it is easier for us to feel in control and be able to handle each situation as it arises.