When I worked with children as a daycare worker, teacher, and after school program provider, we used a strategy called stations. Stations were areas set up around the room with specific themes and their corresponding materials. The children in our classes and programs could select and rotate through spaces such as the dress up area filled with costumes, the music area filled with instruments, or the reading area filled with books. These stations support young people in the development of important skills such as time management, problem-solving, working to complete tasks individually or in groups, and taking initiative.
Now that I work with adults, I often use this same approach in my group coaching sessions for self-care, conversation topics, and mindfulness activities.
This is a concept you can apply literally to the spaces in your home and office, or abstractly when you set up your schedule and the way you spend your time.
Here are a few strategies to support you as you explore and experience the infinite benefits of setting your stations.
Peer Problem-Solving. During my study of Restorative Practices, I learned about a powerful strategy called a Restorative Problem-Solving Fishbowl. It is designed to help individuals leverage the experiences and expertise of the group instead of trying to figure out the solutions to problems they are facing on their own. Imagine a set station in your schedule where you could convene with others and take turns helping one another think through your challenges. This might look like a standing meeting with your team at work or a weekly call with your friends or professional peers who hold similar personal or professional roles.
How might you set a station in your schedule to leverage the power of peer problem-solving?
Self-Care Stations. Think about your favorite activities. Are there dedicated spaces in your environment that lend themselves to participating in these with ease? This might look like a cozy reading nook, a creativity corner where you write and make art, a listening room where you zone out on your favorite music, or an inspiring meditation space.
I’ve transformed my closet into an altar room where I placed one of my most precious gifts, a beautiful vintage wooden chest from the Congo. I’ve adorned it with art, vision boards, and sentimental keepsakes like stones with inspiring messages, pictures of my family and myself as a little girl, and items and images that memorialize my ancestors. I go there to think, write, meditate, and pray, both as a regular practice, and when I need somewhere to retreat when times are rough.
How might you create simple spaces for self-care?
Space Stations. In the literal sense a space station serves as a base or platform that enables exploration of outer space. I want to flip this a bit and think of our individual space stations as platforms or bases in our schedules that allow us to explore our inner space. I try my best to keep the bulk of my business dealings inside the confines of Tuesday through Friday of any given week. This leaves me space on Mondays to tap into my creativity, and room on the weekends to reflect and rest. This helps me to find harmony between my energy outputs and inputs, leaving me feeling recharged instead of depleted with little left to give to myself.
What stations will you put in place to explore your inner space?
This week I challenge you to set your stations to revive and replenish your social, emotional, and physical wellbeing.
I am leveraging the experience and expertise of my peers to support me in solving problems.
I am setting up intentional spaces for self-care.
I am exploring my inner space.