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.
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.)
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.
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!
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