Memories of Blanket Forts
Have you ever made a fort out of blankets? In our house, it was something we used to do a lot as children. Grab an airer or clothes horse, grab some sheets and blankets and build a den or a fort. It’s simple, it’s fun and it’s something that kids enjoy.
I remember we had some brilliant blanket forts as children. We used to let our imaginations run a little wild and see if we could make it bigger and better than last time. Often this meant borrowing some of the double sheets from mum and dad, or a large blanket. Add some torches, some pillows and a couple of fun things to do like books or toys and you were sorted!
Does that sound like something that you’ve tried? Perhaps you’ve got some fond memories of making dens or blanket forts when you were younger. I think it might be something we’ve all done from time to time. It’s great fun! But guess what!
It has a practical application for adults too!
A Blanket Fort
Roughly six months ago, I made a blanket fort. My friend, who was in the process of learning how to cope with being separated from her husband, was struggling. She’d had to take the kids over to see him for his visit. Consequently, her anxiety had tripped, she was doing really badly. During these times, it’s common for her speech to disappear so she can’t communicate. She also worries at her hands with her fingernails, scratching psychological itches. Frustrations increase when she can’t talk or when she catches herself itching. Needless to say, it gets into a bit of a vicious cycle that she can’t seem to bring to a halt.
I was on the phone with her at this point, as she and the kids were staying with me for that day. Due to housing troubles, it had had to be arranged like that so she could leave her old house. As I was talking to her, I quickly picked up on just how bad things had got. It was then that I remembered this cartoon:
You probably see where I’m going with this, but I had an idea.
Quickly, I grabbed the airers dotted around the flat. Grabbing some blankets off the bed and duvet covers out of the cupboard, I started setting up a nice blanket fort around the sofa. It took a little work but it was there, able to be sat in. A few cushions came next, then I had another idea. I have a little light-up Death Star model that changes colours and can be quite therapeutic, so I added that as well. Finally, I put my tablet in there, setting it to play some relaxing music and go through space pictures.
The fort was complete.
The Effects of the Blanket Fort
It may sound silly, perhaps almost childish, to make a blanket fort. After all, it’s something we do as children, not as adults (unless we’re playing with a child). That said, it had the desired effect.
Upon her arrival, I brought my friend into the lounge where the blanket fort was set up. Her initial reaction was surprise that anyone would do something like that for her but, once she had been brought into the fort, her anxiety started to abate. After about an hour or so of sitting in that blanket fort, she was completely calm once more. Even though it sounds a little daft, it worked.
And perhaps that’s the most important part.
You see, it doesn’t have to be a blanket fort. It can be a snuggly blanket, a little nest like in the cartoon above, or any number of other things. The whole point is that you’re creating a safe space for them. Somewhere reasonably confined, warm and inviting where they can relax. If they like music, put music on. Lights? They can help. Alternatively, darkness might be more their thing. Whatever they like, try and make it as inviting to them as possible.
As another small example of a safe space, I’ve talked about how music has a big influence on my life. When I need a safe space, I plug my headphones in, turn my iPod on and listen to music. With noise-cancelling headphones, I can retreat from the world and relax a bit. It works for me, it might work for others.
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Disclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified. This blog is based on my personal experiences only. Always seek medical advice in the first instance.