Making a Nest

Photo: Renwick Gallery, DC, 2019

A client tells me after going hard all week, she retreats on Friday evenings to a corner of her sectional sofa. She dons her softest hoodie and brings with her a favorite pillow, fuzzy blanket, books, warm beverage, journal, pens, aromatherapy candle, headphones, and healthy snacks. Often, her dog joins her. During the tumult of the week, she can picture her nest in her mind and looks forward to the comfort it brings. She is no couch potato, she has two jobs, lots of personal responsibilities, and wins awards at Pure Barre.

Nesting can be any means of turning a living space or area into a place of comfort, belonging, and physical and emotional stability. In animals, the nesting instinct is all about preparing a home space/cave and making it safe from predators. For humans, nesting can mean creating a living space that provides warmth and stability, especially in times of danger and stress. Our threats may be different than other species, but the safety component is the same.

Creating your own, personalized “escape zone” where the focus is on comfort and soothing can create another strategy to add to the anxiety toolkit I frequently discuss with clients. Your space could be as basic as a favorite chair draped with a warm quilt, or one part of the sofa set aside with puffy throw pillows. Dedicate that space as a place to read, nap, meditate, sip a cup of tea, or simply sit in quiet for awhile.

Nesting can be any means of turning a living space into a place of comfort, belonging, and physical and emotional stability. Nesting is also about taking mental control. The comfort of a chosen physical space can be internalized and brought into mind during a difficult day or meeting.

Some nesting principles that are common include physical comfort: coziness, a few personally significant items, and a change from everyday routine.

*Many people are also drawn to being embraced on three sides. Literally, in a nest, you are safe and yet able to see what’s in front of you.
*A nest invokes a sense of curling up in a small space.
*A nest is personal. What you bring with you that invokes comfort and a sense of security is different for everyone.

The Nest. An internal and external place of nourishment and refuge. Also see Anxiety Toolkit

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