Monday, January 14, 2013

Happier at Home

Last week, my dear friend Alyssa (friend for over 15 years, baker of our wedding cake) reposted something from Apartment Therapy, called 10 Simple Things to Make You Happier at Home (see Alyssa's post here, with her commentary). I liked it so much, I decided to repost it myself, with my own comments.

  1. Make your bed. I started doing this last year, thanks to Jolie Kerr's "Let's All Make Our Beds" (LAMOB) series on The Hairpin. I don't do hospital corners or anything, but let's be real - I don't do hospital corners when I put new sheets on the bed anyway. I do, however, pull the duvet up and straighten the pillows every morning. That counts.
  2. Bring every room back to "ready." This is just about my dream. The first step is actually de-cluttering it all and cleaning up to begin with, of course. We're getting there (over a year after moving in), but I think in the next few months, we'll be at a place where a bit of daily maintenance will mean this is pretty easy to maintain. And it will make me so, so happy.
  3. Display sentimental items around your home. We are good to go in this arena! Our home is full of sentimental items, yo! There are a few rooms that could use some sprucing up, but overall, my decorating style (and thus, Will's) is a mix of old and new, with family photos, heirlooms, and mementos all around us. It's mostly from my family's side right now, but slowly we're adding things from Will's family as well, which makes me quite happy.
  4. Start a one-line-a-day gratitude journal. AT says to jot down one happy memory from that day before bed, because reflection is an important part of happiness, etc etc etc...and yeah, that's probably true. My therapist has asked me to do something similar. I suppose I should start doing that. Maybe I actually will.
  5. If you can't get out if it, get into it. I could stand to do better at this one...if there's an unpleasant task ahead of me, finding a way to enjoy it will certainly make it easier. See: bootcamp.
  6. Before you get up each morning, set an intent for the day. This is something we do at the beginning of most yoga classes, and I think it's totally legit. I don't know if I'll remember to do it, or if it'll feel silly (sometimes I feel silly doing it in yoga, but it is helpful to have something to come back to throughout the class), but it can't be a bad thing to think about.
  7. Do small favors for your housemates, expecting nothing in return (not even a thank you!). I've started to do this recently, though it's been more for me than for Will. I figure if I'm doing housework because I want to, I won't feel resentful if I don't get thanked or if I do it alone. And strangely, as soon as I started intentionally doing housework for me, I noticed all the work Will actually does on his own, without me noticing or appreciating it. Funny how that works. I did do several loads of dishes today, hoping he would notice...but it would be interesting just to do things as favors :)
  8. Call at least one friend or family member a day. I try to call friends/family while walking home from work most days, though sometimes it's nice to just be quiet with my thoughts. Every day might be stressful to maintain, but I do love checking in via phone as a regular activity.
  9. Spend money on things that cultivate experiences at home. Did AT just give me justification for buying more stuff for the house? Not that I need any help with justification...I'm kind of awesome at that particular skill. In all seriousness, I don't need someone to tell me to save/spend money on things that will encourage us to have people over and entertain. It's one of my favorite things to do -- we have a wonderful collection of "things" for entertaining. The next thing we're saving for is a grill for the backyard...but for now, we're pretty well-equipped for party-hosting.
  10. Spend a few minutes each day connecting with something greater than yourself. I'll quote AT here:
"Whatever your spiritual beliefs — or non-beliefs — may be, studies show that connecting to a high power is correlated with happiness. Just stepping back to realize that we are part of an enormous universe can put some perspective on your annoyance with the those-are-definitely-not-mine-and-they-are-abso-fricking-lutely-repulsive socks under the coffee table. Before bed, spend just a few minutes contemplating something larger than yourself. Take a walk in nature. Write in a journal. Create a sacred space in your home. (Or if spirituality is really not your thing, create a home spa: light some candles, soak in a hot bath, delve into a good book… are you feeling better yet?)"
I'm not a very spiritual person, but I do believe in connecting with nature, and I try to take a minute to appreciate the world around me while I'm walking to work, or looking out a window, etc. And I can totally get down with a home spa...

So there you go. 10 things. What do you think?


  1. Yay! I love what you said about making the small favors for yourself. I should totally think about it that way when I'm cleaning. I'm doing it for me. :)

  2. Indeed. And any thanks, praise, or appreciation thereafter is just a bonus!

  3. "Spend money on things that cultivate experiences at home" - does this mean I should buy the complete DVD set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Because I'm going to.

  4. If it will help you cultivate experiences at a Buffy marathon girls' night. Which I would attend.

  5. I love calling a friend and a family member each day. Our friends and family help me to live comfortable because I never feel like being alone

  6. calling my family and a friend make me feel comfortable and never feel alone

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