By Ella Miller Change can be refreshing and reenergizing, it's true! During a time when we're cautiously moving through life due to COVID-19, a lot of us are working from home with fewer opportunities to go out like we used to. We can use more life boosts to keep our days feeling more interesting and less repetitive. Sometimes all that you need for a little pick-me-up is to shift something in your surroundings so that it feels fresh and new. That doesn't mean you have to purchase an item, create change that feels dramatic or take up a ton of your time. You can simply adopt a new healthy habit or add a new activity to your routine.
Since we're all spending more time indoors these days, here are 10 simple ideas that can keep the positivity going within your four walls or around your block. Best part is that these ideas are realistic and achievable.
1) Adopt a pet. Pets can bring so much love and joy into your household. They are also there for you, to offer support, no matter what type of day you're having. Since a lot of people are now working from home long term, it might be a good time to look into what it takes to care for a furry friend, and then take the leap if you feel you're ready.
2) Bring live greenery or flowers indoors. Plants and flowers are natural pick-me-ups that have the power to liven up a room with vibrants greens or pops of pretty color. If you go with flowers, choose buds that give off a soothing scent for a little aromatherapy. My picks would be Jasminum Polyanthum (a type of Jasmin) or a Gardenia plant. And there are lots of other options.
3) Turn your bathroom into a spa. You don't need to do much to create a spot at home that becomes a place of zen. I suggest running a warm bath adding all-natural bubble bath and a least 2 cups of epsom salt. Then soak for at least 15 minutes to soothe and calm your muscles (note: the salts need at least 15-20 minutes to work). Place a bath pillow behind your head so you can rest comfortably while you lay back in your tub. Play soft music and dim the lights or use scented candles to set a relaxed mood. Now you're set! Creating a spa-like space can help rinse away the troubles from your day.
4) Showcase photos of loved ones. I imagine you have lots of good memories and moments from spending time with family and friends. These images can conjure positive feelings such as joy, happiness, love, and excitement. Why not print a few of your favorite pictures and display them where you can be reminded of good times again and again.
5) Declutter closets, storage areas, cabinets and pantry; drop off what's useful at a local donation center, church, or homeless shelter. You will enjoy clearing items out of your spaces, while people who can use those items will appreciate you passing them on!
6) Paint a room a vibrant, inspiring color. I had dark brick in my living room and used a gallon of white paint mixed with a few cups of water to create a white wash. I painted the brick and it instantly brightened up my space. Now when I spend time in that room it feels more vibrant and welcoming. That is the power of a fresh coat of paint!
7) Need a home workspace? Consider one outdoors (like on the patio!). Nowadays it's common for people to have outdoor spaces that can double as cozy work areas, from a she-shed or a picnic table under a pergola to a four-seasons porch that lets the glorious sun shine in while allowing a soft breeze to flow through. When weather allows, these spaces can all make a refreshing place to bring your laptop and tackle some projects!
8) Be sure to stay active. Morning stretches or yoga can provide a revitalizing start to your day. Or, if you have pets, take an even longer walk with them. Remember to also be present and take in the sights and sounds of being outdoors, from birds singing to musical wind chimes to neighbors saying "hello." Or spotting vibrant flower gardens (during warmer seasons) along your path. No matter which activity you choose, it's good to get your blood pumping and provide your body with a natural energy boost (if you're able and have the level of mobility that it takes).
9) Right now, human connection is more important than ever. Instead of texting or calling, use a video chat app. It's fun to see a smiling face and be able to visually relate to the person to which you are talking. Clear communication includes cues found in facial and body gestures which you can't see over a phone call or in a text. Another reason why seeing someone during a discussion is a good idea. Connecting over video chat can be uplifting for the other person, too!
10) Use "found time" to do what you enjoy. I used to commute to work and it took up two hours of my time each day. So if you're like me, and now you won't be commuting for a while, use the time you are saving to do stuff you love or have been putting off—reading books, trying new recipes, meditating, organizing old photos, gardening, or other activities. A lot of times I use my "found time" to write a blog, journal or spend it with my family... time well spent!
However you choose to create a healthy change and bring more positivity into your day, you can switch to a different activity when you're ready for yet another "life boost." This will keep life from feeling stagnant or like it's at a standstill. Change truly is good for the soul! And it doesn't take much to achieve it.