Why This Teacher Created a Cool Down Corner in Her Apartment

Brianna Robles

By Brianna Robles

Aug 30, 2023

8.468 million. That’s the number of other people who live in New York City. I am fortunate to have grown up in the city everyone seems to want to live in, but the constant overdrive I feel from its fast-paced lifestyle can be overwhelming. The noises from sirens or crowds of people have made me feel anxious in heavily populated spaces, and I often find myself living on “high alert.” 

When I brought these feelings of stress to my therapist, she suggested I create a better balance. If the rush of city life was becoming too much for me, then I needed to find stillness.

“What are the things you can control?” She asked.

I thought of my students. School is not only a place for students to learn about science or math; it’s also where they get a lot of their social emotional learning in during the school year as well. As a teacher, I created a calm down area in my classroom where students could take a time-out if they became overwhelmed in their learning environment. An important part of classroom management is giving kids the opportunity to check in with themselves, do some deep breathing, and de-escalate a situation when they are having big emotions.

The same coping strategies may be helpful for adults, too, I thought. While I’m not able to control the outside world, I realized that I could better control the environment inside my apartment. So, I created a “cool down” corner — based on the spaces that I have curated in my classrooms.

Even though I’m an adult, my cool down corner looks a lot like the space I crafted for my students. It’s filled with cozy items I have collected over the years, like teddy bears and blankets. 

If you find yourself needing a new environment in your home, here are some tips to help you build your cool down corner.

Find Your Quiet Space

It is important to recognize how our mental health and well-being is affected by our environment, according to Alysha Tagert, MSW, LICSW, a licensed clinical social worker and creator of the mental health toolkit.

While I agree your whole apartment should be your sanctuary, a cool down corner is a designated space you can turn for some much-needed emotional regulation. I live in Brooklyn, NY, and although I would love to have a designated room for meditation or quiet time, my apartment size just doesn’t offer that option. And that’s okay. My calm down corner didn’t start out as a space of relaxation; it was just a walk-in closet where I stored unwanted items.

Ideally, your space will be away from all the action happening to give your body time to recuperate. Your safe space could be in an extra bedroom, an outdoor space, a designated part of your bedroom, or in a closet like mine. The only requirement is that it's away from all the hustle and bustle.

Find Your Favorite Cozy Items

I’ve had a habit of collecting stuffed animals since I was a little kid. For me, these stuffed animals represent a fun childhood experience and incorporating them into my space makes me think of happy memories.

Tagert recommends incorporating sensory items that engage your sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste — like my stuffed animals.

“We know from research that our body and mind are connected,” she says. “By engaging the senses, we engage our body, and this helps bring calm in a stressful environment.”

Students may do best with sensory tools like stress balls, playdough or putty, or fidget toys in their calm down spaces. Meanwhile, for an adult’s safe place, you may want to add items like a stack of favorite books or some greenery, suggests Tagert. If you have a favorite hobby, like crocheting, that could be another calming activity.

If your space is a little bigger than mine, you can also add cozy furniture pieces like bean bag chairs or a side table with some favorite candles.

Set Your Boundaries

Remember your cool down corner should be a space you can go to decompress — and the “calm down kit” you build should be unique to your needs! It should be filled with colors, scents, and items that make you feel safe.

You can even decorate with posters or photo frames containing affirmations that you can come back to in difficult times, or find some printable sheets with breathing exercises listed out.

If you live with roommates, get a do not disturb sign to put on your door and enjoy your alone time. Calm down on your own terms! If you know you need a certain amount of time in your “peace corner” to center yourself, build that into your routine.

We rate and sort every listing based on fair market rent.

Start your search

Top metro areas

Albuquerque Metro Apartments

439 apartments starting at $495/month

Atlanta Metro Apartments

3,009 apartments starting at $427/month

Austin Metro Apartments

2,303 apartments starting at $500/month

Bakersfield Metro Apartments

352 apartments starting at $595/month

Baltimore Metro Apartments

838 apartments starting at $500/month

Birmingham Metro Apartments

510 apartments starting at $400/month

Boston Metro Apartments

2,993 apartments starting at $650/month

Charlotte Metro Apartments

1,352 apartments starting at $531/month

Chicago Metro Apartments

4,004 apartments starting at $499/month

Cincinnati Metro Apartments

706 apartments starting at $525/month

Cleveland Metro Apartments

841 apartments starting at $400/month

Colorado Springs Metro Apartments

687 apartments starting at $500/month

Columbus Metro Apartments

1,277 apartments starting at $545/month

Dallas Fort Worth Metro Apartments

8,825 apartments starting at $400/month

Denver Metro Apartments

1,786 apartments starting at $550/month

Detroit Metro Apartments

1,471 apartments starting at $500/month

El Paso Metro Apartments

260 apartments starting at $525/month

Fresno Metro Apartments

290 apartments starting at $800/month

Hartford Metro Apartments

256 apartments starting at $500/month

Honolulu Metro Apartments

661 apartments starting at $600/month

Houston Metro Apartments

1,180 apartments starting at $500/month

Indianapolis Metro Apartments

996 apartments starting at $480/month

Jacksonville Metro Apartments

1,493 apartments starting at $600/month

Kansas City Metro Apartments

1,180 apartments starting at $412/month

Las Vegas Metro Apartments

3,284 apartments starting at $650/month

Los Angeles Metro Apartments

6,500 apartments starting at $400/month

Louisville Metro Apartments

400 apartments starting at $525/month

Memphis Metro Apartments

1,063 apartments starting at $450/month

Miami Metro Apartments

4,476 apartments starting at $950/month

Milwaukee Metro Apartments

677 apartments starting at $485/month

Minneapolis Metro Apartments

1,610 apartments starting at $415/month

Nashville Metro Apartments

586 apartments starting at $845/month

New Orleans Metro Apartments

891 apartments starting at $406/month

New York City Metro Apartments

2,861 apartments starting at $500/month

Oklahoma City Metro Apartments

1,391 apartments starting at $500/month

Omaha Metro Apartments

470 apartments starting at $525/month

Orlando Metro Apartments

1,284 apartments starting at $550/month

Philadelphia Metro Apartments

1,817 apartments starting at $500/month

Phoenix Metro Apartments

1,841 apartments starting at $650/month

Pittsburgh Metro Apartments

1,032 apartments starting at $400/month

Portland Metro Apartments

2,073 apartments starting at $415/month

Raleigh Metro Apartments

1,254 apartments starting at $600/month

Richmond Metro Apartments

747 apartments starting at $625/month

Riverside Metro Apartments

741 apartments starting at $595/month

Sacramento Metro Apartments

974 apartments starting at $525/month

Salt Lake City Metro Apartments

782 apartments starting at $600/month

San Antonio Metro Apartments

1,632 apartments starting at $400/month

San Diego Metro Apartments

1,836 apartments starting at $590/month

San Francisco Metro Apartments

2,026 apartments starting at $575/month

San Jose Metro Apartments

769 apartments starting at $1,250/month

Seattle Metro Apartments

2,060 apartments starting at $525/month

St. Louis Metro Apartments

1,120 apartments starting at $500/month

Tampa Metro Apartments

1,101 apartments starting at $795/month

Tucson Metro Apartments

700 apartments starting at $475/month

Tulsa Metro Apartments

490 apartments starting at $475/month

Virginia Beach Metro Apartments

884 apartments starting at $775/month

Washington Metro Apartments

894 apartments starting at $685/month

Wichita Metro Apartments

390 apartments starting at $425/month