Creating a Sensory Toolkit for Your Space

There are many ways to create a sanctuary within your home.  To begin, spend a few moments thinking about what this word (sanctuary) means to you.  Is it a feeling of calm?  Is it warm and inviting? Close your eyes and think back to a place you have been to that brings out these feelings – or one you have seen on TV or online or in your dreams.  What colors and textures surround you?  Is there a scent in the air your nose follows?  Or a temperature that feels comforting?  Write these down so you can refer to them as a guide as you create your sanctuary. 

With this vision at the front of your mind (and on paper where you can see it), you can put together the elements of a sensory toolkit to create this sanctuary around you, as suggested by Melissa Wesner, an LCPC in Maryland.  By using the five senses as a structure to create this sanctuary, we bring to life the experiences and feelings we want to live amongst.  


Select an image that represents your vision of sanctuary, maybe a postcard or a picture of you on vacation.  It can also be a person or pet or a special quote written out.  Put this in a frame or print it out so that it visually appeals to you.


The smells of sanctuary could be food wafting in the air or the saltwater of the ocean.  Whatever came to mind for you, there is probably a candle, or lotion, or essential oil that can recreate that same scent.  Bring that into your space.


What sounds offer you a feeling of sanctuary?  Maybe it’s a nature soundtrack or open windows, but it could also be your favorite song.  Creating a playlist or selecting music that evokes this feeling can help engrain these feelings into your being.


Bringing your favorite flavors into your mouth is a truly visceral way to experience the feelings we want to create.  A favorite flavor gum or hard candy, maybe a cup of coffee or marshmallows on hot cocoa can all be simple pleasures that allow you to savor this moment. 


Having something to touch nearby can be grounding. Consider a smooth stone or shell to gently stroke in your palm. Having something you can touch accessible can evoke our play muscles when we choose something like silly putty or Play-Doh.  This tactile element reaches a different spot in our brains to associate a feeling with an object that brings us joy.

What did you bring into your space to make it a sanctuary? 

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