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Five Ways to Prioritize a Daily Time and Place of Sanctuary. Having a time and place for reflection is a necessity.

J. Ibeh Agbanyim, Ph.D.


This article is posted with the permission of the original author, J. Ibeh Agbanyim, Ph.D. and was originally posted on December 23, 2023, at

Key points

• Recognizing the need for personal time is a healthy approach to life.

• Having a sanctuary and personal space for reflection and relaxation is essential.

• The various benefits of taking time for personal reflection include emotional well-being.

• Supporting others in practicing self-reflection promotes a community-based practice.

After a good day of hard work, finding a way to unwind is always beautiful, especially during the holiday season with additional stress. The list goes on, be it traffic stress, family meeting stress, work stress, wrapping of gifts stress, economic stress, or health stress. Finding a place to call a sanctuary when human stress confronts you is worth looking into.

I came to appreciate the meaning of sanctuary for the first time when I was grieving over the loss of a mentor. Almost two decades ago, I was on my way to Sky Harbor International Airport (Phoenix, Arizona) to catch a flight to Vancouver, Canada, when I received a dreaded call telling me of the death of my mentor, who lived in another country.

My initial reaction was to cancel my trip and head back home to engage in a series of phone calls to family members, friends, and others who would need to know of his death. But I quickly remembered my mentor's words: "As a hardworking man, you deserve to enjoy life along the way."

Those words made so much sense to me at that particular moment. So, I quickly asked myself, if my mentor could talk to me right now, considering my emotional state, what would he advise me to do regarding this loss?

Would he say, "Go home and start making phone calls to family members and friends," or would he say, "Continue your trip to Vancouver and enjoy your vacation?" The latter was my best guess.

As I arrived at the Vancouver International Airport, the serene waterfall and nature-like look of the airport created a harmonious experience that gave me a peaceful feeling. Spending time at Stanley Park in Vancouver, with a view of the ocean, beautiful gardens, and the Aquarium, created an emotional attachment and memory for me, making Stanley Park one of my favorite sanctuaries.

A sanctuary is a place of peace and tranquility. It could be a place surrounded by water, nature, or mountains, a place of worship, or a particular space in your house. Anywhere you could go for reflection, safety, or quietness to regroup from the noise of life.

With the amount of noise and distractions life offers, having a designated

place to clear your head away from everyone for a time of reflection brings harmony to the soul, especially in connection with personal relationships and business. These two areas are the most critical spaces for people to create meaning in their lives. Functioning well in these two spaces is necessary to remain sane and emotionally regulated.

Here are five ways to prioritize having a time and place for reflection.

1. Recognize the need for having personal time. Change starts from within. No measurable change is effective without a personal commitment.

Responding to external incentives to take personal time for reflection can

be short-lived unless it is rooted in personal commitment.

Therefore, permitting yourself to have a time of reflection is the first step to personal growth. After all, engagement is first established in the laboratory of the mind before there is any physical manifestation. Starting from recognizing the importance of having me-time in a special place could help you schedule one.

2. Schedule personal time. Nothing happens until you schedule it. You don't have time for yourself because you haven't scheduled it. Taking action is the interpreter of your thoughts. Without action, it would be challenging to measure intentions accurately.

It is from your actions that others can capture your intention. Taking a half-hour to an hour of alone time can reset your body and mind for the day. And deciding a place to spend this me-time regularly is essential to the outcome.

3. Choose a place as your sanctuary. Setting a routine is healthy for the brain; it is a great idea to establish a routine for personal reflection by selecting a quiet space for relaxation. It needs to be easily accessible and offer privacy free from distractions. And it may help to have more than one place as a sanctuary.

Having a place to use as your sanctuary is just as important as having a designated time. Having a time and place for reflection is necessary—it is as important as food because it helps nourish the mind and body. And the spillover effect of this decision is to develop empathy for others.

4. Honor other people's personal reflection time. There is a tendency to project who you are onto somebody or projection. If you have self-love, you project self-love onto other people. You can only offer what you are made of.

Just like squeezing an orange can only produce orange juice. You cannot have apple juice from an orange. Routinely practicing self-reflection can encourage others to do so as well, creating a community of people who engage in self-reflection. With this level of awareness, you can honor anybody who works toward creating time for a personal reflection.

5. Encourage others to have a sanctuary. The life you live is a message in itself. In other words, what you say to people is important, but what you do daily is essential because that defines you the most. The greatest is when you say and do are in sync; by modeling self-care, you offer other people a valuable lesson.

This means having a place where you go for a personal reflection, and living by this practice can encourage others to start searching for their own time and place of sanctuary. Whatever your choice, taking a walk at your neighborhood park or Stanley Park in Vancouver, Canada, sitting outside in your backyard for a 5 a.m. coffee drink to reflect, journal, listen to music, or other personal preferences, creating such a routine could encourage others to find their sanctuary for personal reflection.

Finding your own Stanley Park or place of sanctuary can help define how you make meaning out of life. First, it is important to recognize the urgency of personal reflection time. Second, scheduling half an hour to an hour to sit with your thoughts and reflect could be good for your mental health.

Third, deciding where to practice your personal reflection is golden because it could be motivational. Fourth, encouraging others to seek their own personal time promotes a community of people aware of the importance of personal reflection. And last, as great as the benefits of reducing your stress and enhancing your effectiveness can be, it is even more beneficial to be around other people who take care of themselves in this way.

About the Author

J. Ibeh Agbanyim, Ph.D., is an industrial-organizational psychology and the author of The Five Principles of Collaborator.


Focused Vision Consulting, LLC, LinkedIn, Twitter

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Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Good info with a focus needed in all walks of life but really important for those serving the public safety.

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