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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Happier at home

If you’ve been reading this blog for at least a week you know things have been, well, stressful lately. So imagine my delight when I discovered an article that offered 10 pieces of advice for being happier at home. (And just so I can clarify, things are good at home. Sean and I are well, our marriage is strong, and we’re very blessed. But sometimes stress creeps in from all sorts of angles and you just need a little reminder of how to be happier, especially at home, because home is your sanctuary.)

And I have to say, I loved nearly every single idea. They’re manageable. Realistic. Intriguing.

Let’s start with the full list, in abbreviated form:
1.       Make the bed
2.       Bring every room back to “ready”
3.       Display sentimental items around the house
4.       Start a 1-line-a-day gratitude journal
5.       If you can’t get out of it, get into it
6.       Before you get up each morning, set an intent for the day
7.       Do small favors for whomever you live with (expecting nothing in return)
8.       Call at least one friend of family member a day
9.       Spend money on things that cultivate experiences at home
10.   Spend a few minutes each day connecting with something greater than yourself

If you’re curious, like I was, I encourage you to read the full article for more details. But here’s my take on a few I’m definitely going to start trying (I’d like to think there are a few I’m already doing an OK job with, like 3, 7, 8, and 10).

Making the bed. I love crawling into a freshly made bed. Unfortunately, it happens about once a week for us—the day we do laundry. I think it could be a great, very easy way to make me happy.

Bringing every room back to “ready.” I’m terrible at this. We clean the house, get everything in order, and then instantly return to leaving clutter wherever we want. I can’t tell you how many times I leave a pan sitting on the stove after dinner because I just don’t want to deal with it. But then it turns into forever, and instantly things are cluttered—and stressful—again. Taking just a few minutes to tidy everything up isn’t a lot to ask, and could certainly make home feel a lot more inviting and calming. Plus, I have to say, we did a smaller version of this with my car this past weekend, and I’m telling you, it works! We got it washed and cleaned out (much overdue!) and it seriously makes me happier every time I’m in it. And by spending just a little extra time (like seconds!) each day to make sure it stays that way keeps the happiness going even longer!

Setting an intent for the day. When I get into bed each night, I’m usually pretty good about saying my prayers and reflecting on all I have to be thankful for. But, getting out of bed is a whole other story. I hit snooze a time or two and grumble a bit before eventually dragging myself out of bed. So, since I lay in bed half asleep for a few minutes anyway, I think it could be a great idea to use that time to think about my hopes or goals for the day. That sounds a little lofty, but I’m not talking major stuff here. Put in extra 15 minutes at the gym. Try and have a positive attitude about a challenging project at work. Just be thankful for today. Sounds like a pretty good way to start each day out on a positive foot.

Spend money on things that cultivate experience at home. I love getting things for our house, whether it’s a new blanket or a pretty piece of art for the wall, I love making it our own. Sometimes I think it’s easy to talk yourself out of “nice-to-haves” for the house, but I do think it’s important to make your home a place you feel comfortable, at ease, invited. I’m very happy with our house, but some days I focus so much on the things I don’t love about it, that it makes it hard to realize the parts that make me so happy to be there. So this is a priority for me—making our home a place we’re proud of. Plus, like the article said, it will also make you more likely to invite others over, and that’s definitely something we need to do more of!

All of these are great ideas, and I’m looking forward to trying a few. I’m sure there are lots of other ways to be happier at home, too. Thoughts—on these or any other fun new ideas?  

4 comments:

  1. I love this post. It was definitely something I needed to read. It hit home big time. :)

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    1. Me too. It couldn't have come at a better time! Here's to hoping some of these work for both of us!

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  2. This is a seriously great list! Making the bed is a huge one for me, every time I remember it my room instantly feels a hundred times better.

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    1. It's funny how something as small as a freshly made bed can make such a big difference!

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