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Make a Self-Care Space in Your Home

How to carve out a personal space, plus self-care technique tips from local experts

By Wendy Manwarren Generes

Self-Care Space / Jina Javier

Photo courtesy of Jina Javier, @leobyliv3

Self-care means different things to everyone, but it comes down to tuning in to yourself to improve your physical, mental, social, and/or spiritual health. Finding what works for you can be a bit of trial and error. The important part is making self-care a habit so it’s effective. To start, carve out a space for your practice—a small corner, a spot in the bathroom, even some place in the yard works. Then try one of the techniques mentioned here.


Find Quiet

Jina Javier, owner of Leo, a salon and wellness shop in North Park; co-owner of Liv3, a boutique in San Marcos; and cofounder of Theorie Consulting, commandeered a corner in the piano room in her family’s 1,300-square-foot home. There, she sits on a small rug with a pillow, burns a candle, and sips coffee or water while she meditates or reads. She incorporates movement into her practice, too, using light weights or a cork roller to stretch her back. “When I spend time in my space, I go through the day calmer; I’m less frantic,” she notes.


Self-Care Space / Cristin Smith

Photo courtesy of Saffron & Sage, @saffronandsageus

Make Multiple Zones

Cristin Smith, founder and spiritual director at Saffron & Sage, starts each day at her tea and tincture bar. “There, I can cater to the seasonal needs of my body,” she explains. She drinks her blended teas, herbal formulas, and elixirs while she stays present and focuses on her intentions for the day. After work, she retreats to the clawfoot tub. “A bathing ritual is cleansing and a good transition to the nighttime routine as I wash away stored-up energy from Zoom calls and in-person meetings,” Cristin explains. While soaking, she listens to an audio book or music, turns the lights low, and focuses on the flicker of a candle’s flame to draw her into a simple meditation.


Self-Care Space / January Newland

Photo courtesy of Whitney Benjamin

Take It Outside

January Newland Gaulke, co-owner of Wild Island Collective, a plant shop and wellness studio in Normal Heights, practices self-care in her driveway. She moved the barrel sauna and ice tubs from the shop to her front yard. Besides the many health benefits—such as improved circulation and reduced inflammation—associated with heat and cold therapies, January uses both for stress relief. “The sauna can be a sanctuary—even if it’s not on—where I go to have 10 minutes by myself,” she laughs. Mobility and short periods of strength training are also important components of January’s self-care routine, so she keeps weights and kettlebells handy.


Self-Care Space / Hollie Joseph

Photo courtesy of Hollie Joseph, @janejosephwellness

Do What You Know

Even though she spends her days working in her kitchen, private vegan chef Hollie Joseph, of Jane Joseph Wellness, feeds her soul there, too. While streaming The Current, a public radio station from her hometown Minneapolis, she finds solace being inventive with food. “I love to make curries because they’re nourishing, warm, satisfying, and have such depth in flavors,” she says. “When I make a curry, it’s like a bowl full of love.”


Self-Care Space / Rachel Larraine Crawford

Photo courtesy of Rachel Larraine Crawford, @rachellarraine

Get the Tools

Holistic interior designer Rachel Larraine Crawford of  created a space in her living room where she spends time present and grounded. Candles, oils, textures, crystals, bells, and more help Rachel get in her zone. She may connect with the vibrations of her singing bowls or tuning fork. She may meditate to the mantras that repeat in her earbuds. She may pull a tarot or oracle card and focus on the word or image to set a theme for her day. Or she may skip all of that in favor of a walk around the block.

Wendy Manwarren Generes was the editorial director of San Diego Home & Garden Lifestyles magazine. She loves DIYing and hunting down vintage finds. Find her on Instagram at @wmanwarren.

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