A Positive Outlook

By request, I’m sharing some things I do each day to maintain mental and physical health while spending so much time at home alone. If you also have helpful tips, please do share them in the comments.

On Tuesday, the sun was shining, so I dressed in layers to go for a walk. The navy L.L.Bean jacket is here. None of the other items are new, so I’ll link to similar ones. TurtleneckSweatshirtVest JeansHatSunglassesSneakersGloves.

When the weather allows, I try to get outside for a few hours to walk or work in my yard. When it is too cold or stormy, I read while sitting in front of a window on sunny days or beside a HappyLight by Verilux for at least an hour each day. Light and sunshine may be more important to our mental health and ability to sleep well than we realize.

Focusing too much on self-help can be detrimental, so be sure to balance your reading with mysteries, poetry, novels, or whatever interests you. I also sometimes watch videos on YouTube or Masterclass to learn, be entertained, and find inspiration. A curious mind is always thirsty.

I mostly avoid social media. It became a toxic time-waster. I have been clearing unnecessary items from my home, closets, and inbox for the past year. Rather than doing a major clean-out in one stressful, overwhelming day, I do a few things each day.

Similar items: SweatshirtJeansLoafers.

Even if I’m not leaving the house, the ritual of getting dressed improves my attitude and productivity. Every morning after exercising, I take a long leisurely bath or shower, use the perfume here, and get dressed in warm street clothes.

Wash and wear casual attire has found a place in my life for the first time in many years. Simple fleece or French terry tops are soft, warm options to wear with jeans and loafers. I look for solid colors and slightly oversized styles and layer them over tissue turtlenecks or button-front shirts for extra warmth. (I am that friend who is always cold.)

When my friends and I were in our teens, some belonged to a makeup club, which sent new makeup to try every quarter. I was in the Doubleday book club. Books have always inspired, uplifted, or offered an escape. I rarely watch TV, but I do listen to the news while preparing breakfast. (Once a day is enough.)

The coastline of Newport, Rhode Island.

Always have something to look forward to. A few minutes each day is spent planning my next solo vacation. I research where and when I will go, where to stay, places to eat, and natural or historical landmarks to visit. I also plan which clothes I will take and how many different looks I can build from those limited items.

The Greenbrier.

Similar items: Cashmere WrapSweaterJeansBoots.

Don’t save the good china, candles, cashmere (or anything) for special occasions. (Being alive is a special occasion!) A cashmere blanket scarf or travel wrap is nearby for most of the winter. They keep me toasty while editing content or reading a book. I would happily wear a cashmere crewneck sweater every day in winter.

I’ve been learning to prepare Japanese and Lebanese style food, both of which include lots of vegetables. That’s a Tabbouleh salad above. It is made with finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, mint, onion, cooked bulgur and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and sweet pepper.

In 1993, I started doing Pilates as part of my daily routine. This YouTube channel will help you ease into it if you want to know more. Pilates helps me remain flexible and to maintain a strong core. I enjoy the quiet morning time I spend stretching and concentrating on my breathing.

Remembering all those years working two or more jobs, seven days a week, helps me savor these slower times. Each day, I acknowledge all of the things I have to be grateful for. “Gratitude turns what we have into enough. ” -Aesop.

Happy New Year!

I took these photos using a tripod and the timer on my Sony – Alpha a6000 Camera. Shopping links on this site may allow me to earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

  1. As always, we are appreciate of all your advice and suggestions. I am especially interested in the Happy Light and will look into that. I’m not quite sure when or how it is used to be effective but it is certainly something I will research. Thank you again; best wishes for a healthier new year.

  2. I bought a stationary bicycle, and have weights and a stability ball which I had learned to use in my classes at the Y. I also have a padded mat to use for stretching on the floor. I download free books from the library via kindle, and love having such ready access to reading material. In addition, I have picked up my old hobby of knitting, and am trying to regain that skill which is a good challenge. Have also been using the Duolingo app to practice Spanish.

  3. We are lucky to have enough space for a treadmill and exercise bike and use them daily, finding that exercise makes a good start to the day, especially with bad weather. I also don’t feel bad when I have a treat – chocolate mostly! Banishing negative or self deprecating thoughts help me. When they come, I say to myself that I’m not going to think about that and picture the beach, or a happy memory with my kids. Thanks for a thought provoking post!

  4. What a great post. We all need “mood mentors” during this challenging times and it helps to know how others we admire are weathering the necessary restrictions, particularly during Winter. I am glad you discovered tabouli. My husband is Middle Eastern and does all the cooking so it’s a regular in our house. I can’t remember if your diet includes cheese but if it does, crumbling some feta into the tabouleh adds a delicious creamy textural and tangy flavor element I saw Ina Garten make it that way and suggested it to my husband and he incorporated it into his version. My daughter, who lives in Amsterdam, is also a fan of the Happy Light!

  5. Really appreciated your post today, especially the link on the YouTube exercise for seniors. Thank you.
    Happy New Year to you and Mr. Mickey❗️

  6. Susan, thanks for the link for Pilates. I’ve been wanting to start some type of exercise (it’s hard; I’m in that sandwich phase — taking care of a family of my own while caring for ailing parents); I’ve really gotten out of shape. I work part-time still which keeps me motivated. I would add reading a chapter in the Bible each morning, and reaching out to someone each day (either through a phone call or written letter). Thanks for this post It was encouraging.

  7. Susan, thank you for your excellent post! I couldn’t agree with you more on your suggestions and thoughts. Everything you mentioned is certainly most doable and possible in ones daily life. Thank you so much!

  8. Hi Susan,
    What a great post! I have always used my best stuff too. Even for the two of us or when having just a small dinner with family guests. They used to say, wow, it’s only us! Now more than ever these small things are a pick me up! I never have a hard time being alone for extended hours. I have relished the time to paint, decorate and now design jewelry! I say that however, knowing my husband is either in the room already or coming home! I don’t know what it would be like if that ever changed!
    Enjoy bringing in the new year however you plan! I am sure it will be quiet, but very special!!

  9. I’m curious about your solo vacations; how you choose your destinations and your decision to travel alone at times. As I have discovered your blog just recently I wasn’t aware of your travels! Also want to thank you for the introduction to Joel Furhman; I am reading one of his books now.

    1. This link is to one of my vacations last year. I choose to visit places that offer the things I enjoy; warm weather, history, great architecture, nature, and a beach. Botanical gardens, arboretums, and vineyards are also favorites. I do the research and plan my trips to coincide with the best weather for lots of walking. I’ve been traveling alone since I joined the US Navy at 22.

  10. Your posts are always thought provoking, informative and encouraging. Not only do I get ideas for outfits but I always check out the books you are reading. One of the things I do every morning is Scripture study and also in the evening. I find this grounds my day and arms me for whatever might happen.

    Happy New Year to you and Mr Mickey!

  11. You are such an inspiration and mentor! I so enjoy your blog, your attitude, and motivation. Thanks and best wishes to you and Mr Mickey for 2021!

  12. Thank you for the tips. I so enjoy reading the Scriptures on a regular basis, including doing several Bible studies (on Zoom) with different groups of friends. We all learn from the Bible, get great encouragement from God and one another and feel closer together as a bonus. I love reading the little Bible book of Philippians, (so much encouragement there!), reading through the lovely, as well as comforting, Psalms, and the book of John. It’s all just a gift from Him.
    I especially couldn’t do this pandemic without the Lord and these resources.

  13. Happy New Year Susan!

    I have that same navy Bean jacket and love it. In fact, I purchased two of them because I wanted one that always looked fresh/new. Since you are enjoying turtlenecks this year, you may also like their cotton cashmere T-necks. I absolutely love them! So soft and warm and not too fitted.

    I keep an old 1961 Corona typewriter on a desk in my living room loaded with paper and the first thing I do every morning is type one thing I’m grateful for.

    I love nature and while my water is heating for my tea, I turn on classical music, feed the birds and watch them while I drink my tea and have breakfast. This year I purchased on an old antique sled and wired little wooden produce baskets to it filled with fruits, seeds and nuts. I love watching the bunnies hop aboard and enjoy their treats.

    I enjoy reading and belong to a book club but since we can’t meet this year I’ve been watching seminars on The Great Courses. I like the history, art, philosophy and science classes. I try to do one Sudoku puzzle every day.

    I hate exercising and try to just keep physically active with daily tasks ( stairs vs. elevators) but I love hiking with my dog through the nearby battlefields and I also kayak year round. I also have an elliptical machine that I use every now and then but it’s covered in tote bags at the moment 🙁 I also use resistance cords.

    I don’t get to travel much because I have too many responsibilities at home with a small business so I visit your blog when I want to escape 😀

    I love cooking and rarely eat out ( even before the pandemic) and I also enjoy trying different foods. When I lived in Blacksburg, Lebanese food was everywhere and it was some of the best I’ve ever had! I’m actually part Lebanese and Syrian but I don’t prepare that type of cuisine very often. I do love the Tabbouleh salad – especially in the summer. It’s so refreshing. Susan, I found a wonderful recipe for a warm eggplant dip called Borani. It’s so easy to make and tastes wonderful! Here’s the recipe http://www.mypersiankitchen.com/borani-bademjan-persian-yogurt-with-eggplant-dip/ I don’t roast my eggplants on the grill, I just roast them in the oven. I serve it with veggies and pita bread or crackers. I don’t remember if you eat yogurt or not but you could probably substitute with a vegan sour cream or cream cheese. Sometimes, I make that my meal.

    I enjoy painting and I found a few paint by number prints on amazon that I have enjoyed. I use the template as a guide and customize it to my own liking. I’ve also tried the Bob Ross method. Before the pandemic, my local art gallery had a wine and paint night once a month that I would attend- so much fun!

    This year for Christmas, I gifted myself with a new violin bow- actually, I had my old bow re-haired but I’m thrilled to be able to play my violin again. It’s been 5 years since I last played every day and boy, when they say ‘ if you don’t use it, you lose it'” well, I have a lot of practicing to do this year. It’s also good for strengthening the core muscles!! I began playing violin when I was 45! One day I decided that it was just something I had always wanted to learn and so I began lessons. It challenges my brain- big time!

    I’m an introvert so more than anything, I savor quiet time alone and working in my gardens.

    I wish everyone a new year full of hope, strength, perseverance, good health, faith and lots of love. Elizabeth

  14. Susan, I love your positive approach! After hearing the praises about jigsaw puzzles this past year, I’ve decided to give it a go. It’s oddly comforting to sit at the little table for a few minutes each day. Also, I absolutely love the app “Elevate.” I believe it was voted app of the year a few years ago. I love your navy blue coat! Do you mind me asking what size it is for reference? Thank you!

  15. I’ll be looking into the Pilates video on YouTube. Thanks for that recommendation. I follow the the Fabulous Fifties channel and have worked out to most of her videos, which are very good. Love the cashmere wrap. Very flattering.

  16. Thank you , as always, for these helpful tips. I also appreciate the pilates link. Would be interested in knowing more, about how to travel alone.

  17. Thank you so much for sharing the Pilates video! It is exactly what I need. I love the stretching and balance work. And it’s just challenging enough to motivate me. Thank you for all the research you do in preparing these posts!

  18. Thanks for your blog. I really appreciate your down to earth attitude. I love the pilates video. Thanks for all the suggestions. I might have to get a happy light. I wish you and Mr. M a happy healthy New Year!!!!!

  19. Susan, your post was just what I needed today. We have had a sad and difficult 2020, as have many people. I found your words encouraging. Thank you for the pilates link — I immediately clicked on the link for the pilates video and completed it. I enjoyed the instructor’s calm presence and I will be using her many video workouts. Quite a find!
    During the pandemic, I have been able to Zoom with friends and I belong to two book clubs. My husband has been working from home (I am retired and he will join me soon). We both enjoy painting and we have been fine-tuning our technique with classes on Skillshare. The annual fee is very reasonable. Limited socially distanced get-togethers on our patio with one other couple that we know well or our son and his girlfriend are a welcome distraction. This is weather permitting, of course.
    I, too, find myself dressing more casually these days. Wishing you and your loved ones a happy and healthy 2021.

  20. Some may like to try colored pencil art. I started in mid-March with our COVID lockdown and spend a bit of time off and on creating various pieces. To date I’ve finished 13. They’re lovely. It’s calming, quiet time and gives a sense of accomplishment with unleashed creativity. Via text I’ve shared them with a few friends as the pieces are finished and have gifted a piece to a friend when asked to purchase. I print the patterns from this website – http://www.justcolor.net – on regular copy paper so they’re easy to frame or to put into a portfolio or file. There are hundreds of options available for freeeeeee. Enjoy!

  21. I have found that playing music has really helped my mood. I lost my mother in May and my sweet dog of 14 years just a few days ago. While I do allow myself time to process and grieve, I find that music helps to fill the silence in the house and puts a spring in my step. I do avoid sad songs though! May this new year bring blessings to one and all!

  22. As always, a wonderful post, Susan. I am learning how to slow the pace and, while very rewarding, it still is a challenge some days. Would you mind sharing your source for tissue turtlenecks & tees? Happy New Year to you & Mr. Mickey!

  23. Dice up cucumber and add to your Tabbouleh and some sweet onion, too. My father-in-law was from Lebanon and my mother-in-law always included cucumbers & onion in her Tabbouleh. It was delicious!!

  24. Thank you for the photos of some of your books. I took screen shots of them so I can inquire at the library. I too have been slowly getting rid of things & decided awhile ago not to continue adding to my book collection. Now I’m donating books to the library when I feel I won’t be reading it again. Happy New Year & good health to you & Mr. Mickey.

  25. Love your gray floral scarf. The colors are beautiful. Also I think you look great in glasses. Enjoy your blog very much.

  26. These are all good ideas during these times of isolation. I too love to read and invite you and readers to check out books from your library on your Kindle or other e-reader. I discovered this from a retired librarian friend a few years ago. It’s easy, never closes, and you have a choice of any genre books. The other important feature is it’s free! I was spending $20-$30 per month and as a retired teacher, it was too expensive. I still love visiting bookstores and I do get “real” books passed to me from a family member. Using the library and a Kindle has been wonderful. You can increase the size of print which is most comfortable to you and I keep my Kindle next to me at night so when/if I wake up (usually around 2 a.m.) I read for a few minutes until I fall asleep.

    Listening to music is a great pastime while you’re reading too. I love walks outside and try to get some outside time every day.

    Blessings to everyone and have a marvelous New Year!

  27. Susan, Happy New Year to you and Mr. Mickey. Stay healthy and keep sharing. What is not to like what you share?

  28. I enjoyed this post very much. Susan you look beautiful wearing your floral grey scarf. That colour does so much for you. I wish you a happy healthy 2021.

  29. I’m alone tonight because my husband is in rehab but is coming home Wednesday. He had a heart attack and this us the first time we’ve been apart on New Years Eve, he’s a musician so we were always together at whatever event becaas playing for New Years. 48 years went by so fast,
    I love doing quilling and paper arts. I made handmade pottery for many years. I just love anything to do with creating. I think my paper obsession began with making paper beads.
    I hope to travel to some of our nearby local places when this virus is past. We have the Walter Anderson Museum and George Ohr Pottery close by and of course the Crusing the Coast with the old cars. They are beautiful. Happy New Year to all of you. The sounds of fireworks are everywhere outside and I live in the country, it must be loud in town, more than usual this year. A celebration of 2020 ending more than a new beginning. I think.

  30. Thank you for your inspirational posts. Whenever I check my emails yours are the first ones I read! I live in Canada, unless it pouring rain I get outside every day for a walk. Also do a 20 minute Jane Fonda yoga routine 2 or 3 times a week. I’ve gotten back into an old hobby of rug hooking and I enjoy reading and planning meals. I don’t shop anymore due to covid but I enjoy online ordering and even order groceries in. My whole way of dressing has changed from stylish and edgy to comfortable attire and no makeup but I find a couple times a week I make more of an effort and wear something more stylish, it seems to help my mood, and wearing jewelry every day is something I’ve always done. I also try to learn Spanish using the Duolingo app. It’s important to keep busy.
    All the best in 2021!

  31. I found Rachael, the girl with the Pilates mat at the beginning of Covid 19 shut downs. She is marvelous and challenges me every day. I really enjoy the progression of her sessions and my balance has improved immensely. Glad to know you found her too.

  32. Thanks once again, Susan, for the positivity in your blog. Every bit of positivity helps, especially now.
    That lovely grey and red cashmere shawl and sweater are a perfect look for you – you look gorgeous!

  33. A very Happy New Year to You and Mr Mickey !
    Reading your posts and looking at your nice photos is one of my way to stay positive !
    And I so enjoy wearing your scarves every day
    With best wishes from France

  34. ❄️❄️⛄⛄❄️❄️⛄⛄❄️❄️⛄⛄❄️❄️⛄⛄❄️❄️⛄⛄❄️❄️

    Мы жаждем Чуда в Новый год… Так пусть оно свершится !
    ………………….Пусть счастье к каждому придёт………………….
    …………………….И в двери постучится !………………….
    Лишь там, где женщин любят и лелеют…!!!
    Очаг всегда пылает, а не тлеет…!!!
    Подливайте очагу элексир любви…!!!
    Пусть она в сердцах горит вечно…!!!
    Susana S НОВЫМ 2021 годом !!!


  35. Happy New Year too, to you and Mr Mickey. I just wanted to a big thankyou for keeping my spirits up through this awful virus I am lucky enough to have avoided it thus far but always remain cautious especially when out food shopping. I have also been doing pilates and what a coincidence that we both follow “The girl with the Pilates mat, Rachel Lawrence, I particularly like the fact she does special exercises for the over 60s and as I am 63 find them beneficial as well as being able to follow without too much effort.
    I hope this new year brings a hope for the future for everyone and look forward to your blogs thankyou once again from the UK.

  36. Like you I am now retired, from 40 years of teaching and all the extras that go with that role. I still do a bit of relief teaching (think you call it supply teaching) but now spend time working in my garden and doing a variety of craft work such as sewing knitting, cross stitch, card and jewellery making. My father in law always maintained that knowledge was free and carried no weight so I follow his advice and read a lot – fact, fiction, magazines and journals making good use of our local library and my trusty kindle. I usually have crosswords and sudoku puzzles on the go as well. This year has been tough as covid has had us in lockdown and our borders are still virtually closed so we have not been able to see either of our daughters and their families as they live in Australia. I also managed to injure my back which resulted in a triple spinal fusion so most physical activity has been curtailed. This has made me very reliant on my husband of 47 years who has been an absolute star. In normal times we do a fair bit of travel both within our country and overseas but that might not happen again for some time.
    Thank you for the valuable advice and wonderful photos of the countryside on your blog. I am trying to pare back my wardrobe as I no longer have need of a lot of clothing these days and have used a lot of your ideas even venturing into the realm of internet shopping from USA which is not always easy. I wish you and Mr Mickey a very happy New Year and more adventures together.

  37. Susan, thank you for brightening my inbox each week. I love your positivity, and attitude on life. Blessings of happiness and good health in the coming year to you and your family!

  38. May you and Mr. Mickey have the happiest in 2021. Your blog makes my day. A sincere thank you. P.S. LOVE JO Malone. always use the body cream before her perfume. My fav. is Sea Salt & Wood sage. Also M. & TONKA. Thank you for taking the time to share. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!

  39. Thank you for your post. I will be using the Pilates video to ease back into exercise. We are in the winter here in Chicago and going outside for a walk isn’t very pleasant. I also try to count my blessings everyday. That promotes a positive outlook For me. I also love to read, listen to music, and cook. I also love crafting and working jigsaw puzzles. Those things keep me content. Happy New Year to you.

  40. Yes, it is most important to have something to look forward to even if it’s only planning a curbside lunch pickup once a week, or getting a Coke at McDonald’s drive through! I’m looking forward to being able to see friends and family more often and going on a trip sometime in 2021. I enjoyed reading about your daily/weekly routines. They have inspired me for the coming year. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

  41. Susan, thank you for sharing your positive outlook. You’re an inspiration. My goal is to exercise more this year. I love yoga & Pilates. I’m going to try the Pilates channel you recommended. Happy new year

  42. Beautiful and inspiring ideas. Thank you for sharing. Have a wonderful New Year. Look forward to your posts.

  43. Thank you really enjoyed your post. I really like the look of the jacket that you were wearing from L.L. Bean so I did purchase it never had anything from L.L. Bean hope I was picking the correct size will see. Thank you for your suggestions on trying to stay sane for 2021. Happy new year good health to you look forward to seeing more posts. Mimi O’Dell

  44. So lovely, Susan!!! Thank you for sharing your jest for living well. I love your ideas. (and I do love that Jo Malone).

  45. Thank you for this great post Susan and Happy 2021! I enjoy your posts so much. They provide a peaceful way to start my day and serve as great reminders to slow down and enjoy life in the many ways you point out.

  46. Hi Susan. A great post to start the new year! Thank you for the pilates recommendation. I hope you embrace and acknowledge that you are a blessing in this world! Be well. Happy New Year to you and Mr. Mickey!

  47. Happy New Year Susan! I love reading your posts. It’s like a spring day in the middle of winter. It is very encouraging to spend time with ourselves and finally listen to our bodies and minds! I’m 66 years old, a teacher and I’m planning to retire this July! Your way of life and thinking is an inspiration to me! I love reading as well and I have taken painting for the past 4 years and I love it! Life offers us many opportunities to be happy! We just need to do instead of sitting idle! Thank you again! Wishing you all the best in the new year.

  48. Lovely post. I retired in June and the first 6 months of my retirement were definitely not what I had planned. But I have tried to enjoy the pleasures of home, and exploring new hobbies, and reading constantly, learning new things, doing puzzles, enjoying the Christmas season in a much more leisurely way. In fact, there is actually more to do and try than I CAN do! I am trying to look at this time as a blessing and a time to rethink my normal way of life. I bought a Happy Light and have just started using it. Fingers crossed! I hope it will help with my usual winter blues. We try to get out and walk a few miles every day possible, which is many days here in eastern NC. I am thinking about future trips, too, which always is exciting, but tempering my expectations—I don’t think I will go far in 2021. Thank you for your posts. They always inspire me!

  49. Hello Susan
    When I armchair travel to your wonderful places I find it uplifting, thank you for your input and outlook on many subjects. After reading along with you for a few months now, I wanted to share something I have learned over the years too. Tomatoes, and in general the nightshade family of veggies, could potentially be the cause of arthritis. I happened upon the knowledge that eliminating that family I would not suffer arthritic pain like so many apparently suffer. Not wanting to be an old woman crippled with arthritis I began my research fervently and in so doing eliminated MANY foods that perhaps once I found enjoyable but were possibly culprits hiding in a favorite recipe. Like you, weeding out clothes in your closet, my “closet” was my pantry and grocery store. Nutrition has saved me countless physician visits, I do not take any prescriptions and best of all, I was able to exchange those “culprits” in my favorite recipes with foods that benefited my body and great health. On August 3 I turned 70. My daily routine is similar, but I do thank you for your valued expertise in style. I think my favorite shopping experience is Soft Surroundings. Continued success and Happy New Year.

    Carol Lynn Losleben

    p.s. BTW, your home is lovely!

  50. Hi Susan,

    Thank you for sharing how you take care of your mental and physical health and a “day in the life of Susan Street.” It sounds like you know exactly how to take care of yourself.

    I really like your comment, “being alive is a special occasion,” I have never taken these words for granted. In the times that we are now living in it certainly rings true more than ever before.

    The well reputed and renowned scientist Albert Einstein said “learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”

    Happy Healthy Everything to you, Mr. Mickey, and your loved ones.

    Katherine, in Arizona

  51. I always enjoy reading your post and thank you so much for the link to the Pilates YouTube channel I really enjoyed that I used to do the class and now I can’t go to class because of the Covid situation I just wanted to know how much I appreciate what you do

  52. Lovely post Susan, thank you. I am looking forward to going back to the Y for my 3 – 4x a week swim time now that the lockeroom and showers have reopened. I will check out the Pilates video also. I do enjoy reading, walking and good music as well. This past year enjoyed putting together puzzles. I enjoy baking, but limit how much as not to defeat my desire to loose more weight. I love to travel and am praying that this year will allow us the opportunity to do so. I totally agree with what you look for in a trip, that’s exactly my interests as well, minus the vineyards, but that sounds very interesting also. Thank you for the tip on “tissue turtlenecks” never heard of those, but will be on the look out as the Nordstrom site is out of my size. I think it is awesome that you travel alone and will check out the 2 sites you mentioned to learn more about this. My husband is 18 years older than I am and we enjoy traveling together, but should he pass before me, this gives me encouragement that I could continue on by myself. Lastly the happy light does work. We have many overcast, cloudy days in Michigan and hubby does get sad, so I purchased the light last year and it did help. Would love to hear more about your Navy career. Our granddaughter was in the Coast Guard and enjoyed it. She was stationed in Alaska which made a great trip for us. Happy New Year to you and Mr. Mickey.

  53. Hi Susan, thanks for your posts and ideas about how to put looks together from a combination of core items and accessories. A real eye opener. I am building up a look-book of them. Also do appreciate your travel photos. Best wishes to you and Mr Mickey from New Zealand.

  54. Susan, I look forward to and enjoy reading your posts every week. I turned 67 on Christmas Eve. I retired 2 years ago and was able to get 2 trips in before COVID! Since COVID I have been exercising on a regular basis. I have been reading more. I also belonged to the Doubleday book club! I love books! These days I have been reading with the Kindle app on my iPad. I borrow books from the library or download free books. I love your cashmere blanket scarf! I want to wish you and Mr. Mickey a very happy and healthy New Year!

  55. So glad you included your daily exercise routine. That was going to be my question for you since you mentioned a daily exercise route early in this blog. You are an inspiration to a lot of people including me. Happy New Year, Susan and I look forward to reading about you and Mr. Mickey’s travels in 2021.

  56. Thank you, Susan for your informative blog today. I always enjoy your pictures and the different type of foods you share. I’m looking forward to checking out the Pilates video. I start my mornings with a good devotional book (I especially like Jesus Calling), prayer and coffee! My husband passed away 16 months ago, so I am adjusting to solo living in my New Season. We were married 60 years and traveled to many Countries of the world. I enjoy writing, reading and walking, often listening to a good podcast while I walk. Happy New Year!

  57. I first put a name the name to my seasonal feelings one late October probably 20 years ago after reading a magazine about SAD and, more importantly, what might help relieve it.
    The first step then was getting a light box. In the same way as for mobile phones, my first one was huge, the size and shape of a flat-pack drawer with two light tubes in. The light is not only very bright, but importantly the wavelength of spring sunshine (think sunny skiing holidays). You need to sit next to the box for 1/2 hour or so in the morning, but can get on with other things at the same time. I use it pretty much every day from the middle of October to the middle of March. My second one was a smaller box, so I used to take it into work and put it next to my PC screen, turning both on at the same time. In me, the effect is really quick, after only a very few days. My current light is the size and shape of an iPad, very easy to take with me wherever I go – https://www.johnlewis.com/search?search-term=beurer. You can also get versions in the form of an alarm clock globe that gradually increases in intensity to wake you up, like sunrise.
    The jet-lag, lethargic part of the piece is thought to be due to disruption of the daily rhythm of the sleepy hormone, melatonin. Blood levels naturally rise in the evening to prepare the body for sleep. Normally levels fall in the morning, which helps to wake you up. The main factor that turns off melatonin and thereby controls its daily rhythm is daylight, which goes in via the eyes to the pineal gland between them and inhibits release. It’s thought that in some people the weaker/absent sunlight in the winter isn’t enough to inhibit melatonin properly, hence the feeling of jetlag.
    Of course, everything’s inter-related. Nowadays SAD is recognised as a form of depression and therefore anything that helps ease the symptoms of depression could alleviate it too. Over the years, I’ve added to the list of things that help me:
    1. exercise, of several types:
    For melatonin cycles, something outside in the morning, when there’s often the best chance of some sunlight. A brisk walk or bike ride will do it – anything to get the heart rate up a bit and some fresh air in the lungs (not to mention the smug feeling of having got it done first thing). If you can take this somewhere in nature to really look at and appreciate, so much the better.
    For tackling depression, it’s thought that outdoor (preferably unheated water) swimming may have a positive effect on mood – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45487187. Whilst I do love open water swimming, I draw the line at doing it in winter!
    If the weather is so cold/foul that I can’t make myself get out of the house, some short high intensity exercise to jazzy music, preferably in front of a mirror for extra laughs, is a good, time-efficient way of getting the endorphins up. During lockdown, I’ve found Leslie Sansone’s walking workouts are good fun and you can choose the length/intenstiy of your session – eg. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqaNUjTR70A . Higher intensity exercise is supposed to be particularly helpful in alleviating sleep problems, especially in middle-aged and older people: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/how-to-sleep-well-as-you-age.htm
    Finally, I’ve done yoga off and on all my adult life – three sessions a week by Zoom at the moment – and I’ve always found it not only good for strength, flexibility and stamina, but mind and soul too.
    2. long sunny holidays (one for the retired, I feel!) and of course on hold until we get our COVID jabs
    3. antidepressant foods – I don’t think oysters would be very practical, but I do up my consumption of watercress, spinach and greens in general in winter: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6147775/ We’re even growing our own spinach this year!
    4. vitamin D – I started taking this last winter because of its importance for bones (osteoporosis in post-menopausal women etc) https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-d/ but it turns out that it might be an antidepressant too: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry/article/vitamin-d-deficiency-and-depression-in-adults-systematic-review-and-metaanalysis/F4E7DFBE5A7B99C9E6430AF472286860
    5. counting my blessings

  58. Good morning all . I have been staying home during the pandemic and have missed the fellowship, motivation and physical/mental well being of my mat Pilates group and AquaFit classes. During the past few months I have missed hiking and walking with my canine friend of fourteen years as he preferred shorter walks and longer rests. Thank you for the link to a standing Pilates workout. A new pup has found his way into my life and we are able to bond and build his confidence with our early morning walks. I will be adding this workout to our mornings, after initial walk, while he eats his kibble and has some quiet crate time. Mat work with a young dog is good for a laugh and a smile but has not really been practical! Now I am able to practice my Pilates close by. I also enjoy John Garry on YouTube for a full session mat workout. Enjoy the day! Choose happiness.

  59. Thank you Susan for helping me with my new year resolutions : walking ,Pilates, healthy food.
    Books are also my best friends . If I like a writer ,I read almost all her (his ) books. This way I reach the center of his (her ) world, It is fascinating !
    HAPPY NEW YEAR 2021 !

  60. Happy World Introvert Day to a fellow introvert! After learning more about introversion…at 70…I finally understand why I am who I am and am content with myself. All introverts rejoice…quietly in their own home, of course.

  61. Thank you for encouraging us with practical ways to be positive. I appreciated the mention of the Pilates Youtube video for Pilates while standing.

  62. Susan, I am so pleased that I found you. You are an inspiration. I wish you and Mr Mickey a very happy New Year.
    Can I please ask, when you wear a cardigan, like your red one, how do you stop it from falling each side of your bust when you move? It is fine when standing still. Is yours big enough to be buttoned?
    Also, are you well after your Covid experience or do you still have side effects from being so unwell?
    Thank you so much for giving so freely of yourself. Bless you.

    1. I buy a larger size in cardigans, and I am mindful of not letting them disappear to the sides by holding the edges behind my hand or buttoning one or two buttons on windy days. Jackets, vests, and sweaters should always fit so that you can button them even if you intend always to wear them open.
      I still have some congestion and chest pains from my experience this summer, but I think I have mostly recovered.

  63. Very useful post! I just realized that I’ve been reading your blog for nearly a year now and I can list a half dozen or so things I’ve learned and put to use. In no particular order. Beauty Counter. My skin loves it. It’s so gentle and soothing and I rarely need moisturizer. Straight leg jeans. Much more flattering on me. Rule of thirds. How to front tuck. How to wear a scarf and especially how to fold it. Understated but stunning jewelry. That it’s okay to not wear heels that kill your feet. Sheecs. Amazing they stay on. That it’s okay to not put up a Christmas tree and just use a few little decorations here and there. Letting my gray grow in (had no choice lol). Learning to do my own toes. Proper application of eyeliner. And to never remove my mask in a public place.

    I wish you a very blessed new year, and hope you and your dear Mr. Mickey enjoy many more happy outings and photo takings

  64. Thank you Susan for your post and allowing us into your life! I enjoy reading all your insight and it is always a reminder to me live life in a grateful and positive manner. Walking is so important to me and makes me feel good. Happy New Year!

  65. Happy and a healthy new year Susan to both you and Mr Mickey. I hope you realise what inspiration you give to so many. I enjoy your posts so much, and like so many of your followers feel that we know you personally, even all the way down under here in Australia. Thank you for sharing so much. Kind regards Bev.

  66. A good beginning of the year post. I am learning to grow into Living with Intention—that seems to be the core of many of the things you already do…whether choosing a wardrobe or choosing what to eat. As long as one doesn’t become rigid in thinking about those choices, they can form the framework for the day. I was struck by your insertion of self help in your comments about reading choices. There seems to be a story there that you are only alluding to. I do think that growing in self awareness is enriching and part of our overall growth as humans, books can help us in that regard. I miss the ease of reading you on Facebook but understand your reasons for the change. I eventually get to your blog, if not on the day you post, later because I do enjoy reading it. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2021 for all of us.

  67. Thank you for the info on the pilates exercises. I did one yesterday and really enjoyed it. Don’t know if you’ve ever done Miranda Esmonde White’s Classical Stretch but I enjoy it too.

  68. Just discovered you! Appreciate everything you share. Can’t believe how similar our tastes and attitudes are — particularly as we age. I just hit 77 but feel at least 10 years younger. Your make up and style tips are spot on for me. By the way, We’re almost neighbors as I live in Knoxville.

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  69. You are always such an inspiration, Susan! Thank you for your tips on maintaining a good attitude, staying busy, and improving ourselves while staying at home. Like you, I am a positive person, and I have used this time to weed through my closet and other areas of my home to get rid of unused items. Such a good feeling!

  70. At 74, I too live alone. I am in two book clubs that are continuing to meet, on Zoom. I’m also active in my church, and those activities also continue on Zoom. During quarantine, I’m spending more time on the phone with friends, and gardening. Walking my dog gets me out regularly. I would love to hear about your solo vacations—those already taken, and those planned.

  71. Oh, thank you so much for the Standing Pilates link. She does most for he wonderful stretches I used to do with my trainer. I really needed to find this today. Thank you for this valuable and unexpected gift. I’m enjoying catching up with your posts. Also managed to find a few wonderful buys through your links. It was a good day.

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