Happy Wednesday my friends!
We’re back from our camping/glamping trip and I’ve been up early editing photos from our all morning, and I can’t wait to share ALLLL our trip details with you! I honestly completely underestimated how much we needed a vacation. Wow wow wow.
So speaking of the dire need for socially distanced vacations, I felt like it was a good time to have a little check-in. As many areas of the country are going BACK into lockdown, and we’re in the midst of what is arguably the most tumultuous time of our lifetime, it’s easy to get weighed down with negativity and lose sight of how to make ourselves happy.
In a strange way, now is the time to slow down and analyze our daily routines and lives for ways we can inject more happiness. Stripped of our usual grind and forced to focus without the distractions of other fleeting joys, let’s take advantage of finding real happiness at home! That’s what we’re going to talk about today: How do we find happiness when we have to stay at home? In this post, Kendall and I are compiling our tips!
The Importance of Finding Happiness At Home
According to Psychology Today, happiness is more than just being in a positive mood- it’s a state of well being that encompasses living a good life, one with a sense of meaning and deep contentment. And while there is so much about the world today that we don’t have control over, we are in control of our own happiness. By adjusting habits, cultivating new ones, and instilling daily routines that motivate, excite and provide contentment, we can not only find happiness at home but also build a stronger foundation for it after our time at home is up.
Here are some simple, yet effective ways to find more happiness at home.
How To Stay Happy At Home:
I can’t emphasize this enough–learning how to practice gratitude can be one of the most effective tools in finding happiness! I think the easiest way to do that is with a daily gratitude journal–I LOVE the 5 Minute Journal. Neal and I both have it!
Re-frame your mindset
While we’re talking about gratitude, I have a mindset trick that I use regularly that essentially involves playing the opposite game to trick myself into having a more positive attitude. I wrote a whole post about it here! I can attest that it works and is far and away the #1 thing I have to thank for being what I would self describe as a genuinely happy person.
Make your bed
An easy one we can all do! The easiest way to start your day off on the right foot- make your bed! It accomplishes a task, let’s your mind and body know lounge time is over and keeps your room clutter-free. Gretchen Rubin, author of the best-selling “The Happiness Project” (a book I HIGHLY recommend!) says it’s one of the simplest tasks one can do to impact happiness.
Get dressed for the day
Stay as comfortable as you’d like, but you must get dressed. 😉 Getting dressed plays a huge role in how we start our day, and our subsequent mood throughout the day. This is why I started my #GetDressedStayHome challenge in the month of April- to infuse more everyday joy with an outfit that brings a smile to your face and makes you feel good! Check out this post for work-from-home outfit ideas from GG readers!
Admittedly, when I get into a rut, this one is the hardest for me, but it makes such a difference.
While we all know the drill — we should aim to exercise for 30 minutes 3-4 times a week — all this time at home can really get in the way of our workout routines. If you used to go to the gym or take classes, you’ve had to find something else you like to get your body moving. If you already exercised from home, there might be too many distractions around now to keep you on track. Try not to beat yourself up if your workouts look dramatically different during this time, and aim to find something that works for your new schedule. Whether it’s walking around the neighborhood or finding a new program to stream, don’t stop looking until you find something that suits you physically and mentally- it does wonders for our state-of-mind and happiness!
My favorite at-home workout: The one workout I’ve found that I really like to do consistently from home is P.Volve! It is low impact (so it’s apartment friendly and you won’t disturb your neighbors below, ha!) They have tons of streaming workouts that are short and sweet, yet effective, and I love the equipment. (It doesn’t take up much room either! You can fit it all in a small box or basket!) You can get a bundle that includes one month of streaming free as well–this is the one I purchased!
If you feel like you’ve been hitting your 8 or so hours of sleep each night, but you’re dragging throughout the day lately, there’s a long list of reasons why that might be. According to the National Sleep Foundation, disruption of daily life, anxiety and worry, depression and isolation, greater family and work stress, excess screen time, and stress-related fatigue are all sleep challenges during a pandemic. Lack of good sleep can dull our happiness, mood, and mental health.
Stay in touch with friends
Take advantage of this time to connect with friends and family! Pick someone to call on your daily neighborhood stroll (or better yet, set up regular socially distanced walks with friends, if that’s something you are comfortable with!), text your favorite memories to your college besties, and schedule group Zoom calls from time to time to cultivate relationships and have something to look forward to! Swap summer vacations for more socially-distanced picnics in the park or backyard hangs.
Drink enough water
Getting out of a routine can wreak havoc on hydration habits. Make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day while at home. Begin each morning by chugging a tall glass of water to replenish the fluids you lost while sleeping. When you drink enough water, your energy levels, skin, and mood are all at their happiest! (I definitely notice that I can be more cranky if I’m dehydrated!) Hydration can also keep hunger and headaches at bay!
Don’t let messes pile up
This is another one I’m VERY bad at. It can be hard to spend so much time cooped up in your space for weeks on end, especially because it means more dishes and chores to do! Try to clean messes as you go to avoid piles of clutter that will agitate you. Imagine walking into a pristine kitchen in the morning to get your first cup of coffee going — bliss right? Now imagine walking into a kitchen with a sink full of dishes and laundry piling off the counter — not so blissful.
Pro tip: before leaving a room, take three minutes to get it back to “ready”- clear the dishes, file the mail and fold blankets. This way, you’ll get a mood boost every time you enter a new room!
Life can seem really heavy these days, which is all the more reason to find lightness! I don’t know about you, but oftentimes, I feel guilty at the thought of having fun or being silly when there are so many negative things happening and so many people hurting. But we can’t accomplish much good in the world if we don’t have the motivation to–and in order to feel refreshed, we need to be making time for fun!
Blast your favorite embarrassing song that you secretly love. Order a Skip it. Play twister. Race your roommate/partner/friend up a hill — just do anything silly that gets you out of your own head for a second! There’s no substitute for laughter, and it’s a sure-fire way to up your happiness levels!
Get into whatever you’re doing
When you’re facing a task, chore, or mindless activity that you feel forced to do, flip your perspective and tell yourself you will like doing it. Another tip that comes from “The Happiness Project” – pretend you love what you’re doing. Need to wash the floors? Crank your favorite album, dance around, and enjoy the process of taking care of your space. Hate doing laundry? Reserve your favorite podcast to listen to ONLY when you’re doing laundry, and then tell yourself “I LOVE LAUNDRY DAY!” It’s like faking laughter until you really start laughing- it sounds simple, but it works!
Have a celebratory beverage
So what if it’s only Tuesday or you didn’t get to everything on your to-do list? Take the time to celebrate the little things — even if it’s just getting through the day when it’s been. a. day! Pour a glass of nice wine or bubbles (or kombucha, or whatever drink is special to you!) and hop into the bath, cheers your friends virtually, or carve out some screen-free time with your partner over some cocktails! There is no feat too small to celebrate.
Get 20 minutes of fresh air every day
This sounds weirdly specific–I know. Turns out though, it is scientifically proven! According to a Scientific Reports study, 120 minutes per week of time spent in nature is the threshold that is associated with good self-reported health and high self-reported well-being. Whether it’s reading the morning paper on your patio, going for a walk, moving your workout outside, or laying out on the grass, aim to get 20 minutes of fresh air each day for optimal levels of happiness.
Lean into slow living
Now is the time to fully embrace a slower pace of life. Cook more intricate recipes you would never take the time to cook before. Read an actual newspaper instead of an app on your phone (highly recommend the New York Times Sunday paper!) Grow your own herb garden. Take up painting. Can your own pickles. Make your own jam. Read more books. Literally anything slower paced that does not involve a screen! You’ll be amazed at how cathartic it is!
Cut unhealthy or toxic relationships out of your life
Our happiness and mood are GREATLY affected by the people we surround ourselves with. If the majority of the people you’re surrounding yourself with are negative, often complaining, gossiping, emotionally draining, unsupportive, or they generally just don’t make you feel happy for ANY reason–it’s time to move on. You didn’t have room in life for that nonsense before, and you definitely don’t now. I think this is a great article with steps on how to end an unhealthy friendship.
Plan a [socially distanced] getaway
Sure, getaways look a lot different than they used to, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t just as great! I NEVER in a million years would’ve agreed to a camping trip, but I am now officially a convert. I haven’t fully relaxed that much all year–it was so amazing to fully disconnect, be somewhere where you can see the stars shining so brightly, be woken up by birds chirping in the morning. Best of all–you can plan a camping trip on any budget! I’ll be doing a full guide of our camping trip but in the meantime I highly recommend reading this post with a few of my starter tips!
Working from home also offers you more flexibility than you may have ever thought possible! Rent a house somewhere new you never would’ve gone–you don’t even have to take off of work! Plan a road trip that you never would’ve normally taken. The point is–plan SOMETHING. You need a vacation!