I first drafted this post, 10 Ways I’ve Been Adding Joy to Every Day During These Strange Times, over a month ago.
We’re in a different place now. Still at home, still social distancing, but watching much of the country open up. We’re in this purgatory of sorts. We may feel comfortable sitting in a friend’s backyard 6 feet away or going to the grocery store with a mask on, but there’s still this sense that we are going to be in this strange new normal for a long time.
And, these 10 ways to add joy to every day are perhaps even more important now because as we sit in this reality for longer, it becomes easy to move from one day to the next without recognizing anything different or special. This is our normal now and it can become monotonous.
FIRST THINGS FIRST, YES, I’M OVER THIS
So, I don’t want to glaze over the subject: yes, I’m totally over this. I want to travel. I want to stroll through DC without a mask and without obsessively washing my hands when I get home. I want to go out to dinner with friends (I’m not a hugger, so I’ve got one silver lining there, ha!).
Yet, I’m doing my best to see the joy in every day. This is time when I can work on home projects, take in every little corner of my neighborhood, support small businesses, spend more time cooking and baking. Yes, I, along with many of you, am also finding myself at my desk more often, however, there are positives if we make the effort to recognize them.
10 WAYS I’VE BEEN ADDING JOY TO EVERY DAY
1. Developing a routine that works for me. I wrote more about my routine in this post and it’s evolved even in the past month. But, while it’s a moving target, I am trying to stick to a routine and I hold myself accountable by writing it out in my planner the evening before. One thing that I’ve found is working for me this past week is squeezing in a morning outdoor yoga session (I’m loving Yoga with Adrienne!) and really getting dressed for the day.
2. Elevate your morning coffee. I love the specialness and ritual that comes with making my coffee each morning. This morning we had espresso, but the past several mornings I’ve had a lavender London Fog (find the recipe here!). The slow process of making coffee and the delicious aroma is such a lovely way to start my day.
3. Make your home a cozy, clean, and happy place. While I can’t truly dive into my Spring redecorating projects until I can get back into antique stores, I’m doing all I can to create a happy home. I’m clearing out (yes, you can still sell on Facebook Marketplace!), cleaning, and knocking out all those nagging projects that I wouldn’t have the time to tackle on a weekend where I could leave the house. It’s so nice to work from and relax in a home that feels refreshed and pristine.
4. Exercise your creativity. Whether it’s painting, baking, or even needlepointing, creativity is not only wonderful for working your brain, but it gives you a sense of accomplishment. I love to paint just to paint. I’m not hanging it anywhere — just getting the pigment on the paper. I can throw it out afterwards, who cares?! It’s all about putting on some music and expressing myself for a couple of hours.
5. Get outside. Whether it’s working on our back patio or just going for a stroll, it’s so important to get outside and remember there’s a bigger world out there. I feel so much better after a walk outside (I’ve been posting all my photos from my walks on Insta stories and I’m so glad to hear y’all enjoy them!) or even just a quick cup of coffee on the back patio.
6. Put away your computer in the evening. I’m better some weeks at this than others (this week has been particularly bad), but I’ve found that if I actually put my computer physically away in the evening, it helps me create some division between workday and relaxation. Otherwise, I never stop working and each day bleeds into the next. And, that’s a quick way to suck the joy out of any day.
7. Take breaks to move. Whether it’s a quick walk around the block, a 5-minute yoga video, or just putting on some music so I’m bopping around the kitchen while I make lunch, taking breaks to move gets those endorphins going. That line from Legally Blonde, “”Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t” is really true.
8. Pour a drink to mark the end of the day. We try to only do this on weekends so that there’s something special or different about our Friday and Saturday nights, but I love the ritual of making a cocktail at home. I’ve never been an at-home drinker and I’m sticking to only one most nights, but it’s so much fun to try new variations on classics. I even wrote about the items we’re stocking our bar with to equip ourselves for this new mixology habit.
9. Take the time to cook a special meal. This is something we do almost every night and we bake on the weekends, but it’s even more indulgent and special on Fridays. That’s when we try something like steak frites or poutine. One of those meals you might not typically make at home. Of course, we also try to order out on Saturdays, but cooking at home has become a wonderful date night.
10. Plan a zoom HH (but don’t overplan!). I, like many of you, am on Zoom calls from 9 AM to 5 PM every single day. I don’t want to get on another call in the evening, BUT it is so much fun to plan one or two catch-ups over the weekend. Don’t over-schedule it, but give yourself a chance to be social…and try NOT to talk about coronavirus.