photo by Savannah Smith Photography
I spend a lot of time thinking about happiness. I read books about wholehearted living, listen to podcasts that give practical advice for improving satisfaction and fulfillment and put a lot of effort into making our home and life really center on the things that are most important to us. I see interior design as a pathway to bringing more comfort, ease and delight into our home environments, which definitely leads to more happiness. I recently watched a documentary about Ilse Crawford, a famous interior and product designer in which she said, "Ultimately, design is a tool to enhance our humanity. It's a frame for life". That right there, is why I do what I do. While there are many things in life that are out of our hands, two of the things we CAN control are our home and our habits. Today, I'm sharing a few things I do everyday that are helping me feel my best and I would love to hear about the daily habits that work for you!
1. Wake up earlier than you need to
Do you spend the majority of your day feeling stressed out, frazzled and like you have no time for yourself? If so, this is the single best piece of advice I can give you. Even though I'm a work-from-home entrepreneur and I get to control my schedule, I choose to wake up at 6:30 every morning. I cook up a quick breakfast before Anthony heads to work, and then take my coffee into the living room to enjoy it slowly while watching the news and planning out my day in my bullet journal. This quiet time in the morning totally fuels my soul and gets me in a happy, productive mindset for the day ahead. I know my night owl friends are cringing right now because for a lot of people 6:30 is really early! I don't think it's productive to set unrealistic expectations that work against your nature. All I'm saying is that as tempting as it is to press "snooze", carving out even just 15 extra minutes for yourself in the morning will help you start your day with so much more peace and tranquility. This is especially important if you work outside of the home, and even MORE important if you're not satisfied with your current job situation. You want to start your day feeling like YOU OWN your time, and giving yourself a slow, peaceful start in the morning is a great way to do that.
bedroom design from my recent Haines Hotel Project
2. Make your bed
Ok, I already said you should wake up early and now I'm telling you to make your bed. If I sound like your mother, I'm sorry but that lady knew what she was talking about! I'm definitely NOT a naturally tidy person, but I've been working very hard to change that over the last several years because I've realized that my happiness level and mindset are 100% effected by the state of my house/work environment. One simple way to make yourself feel like you have your shit together is to make your bed in the morning. There are tons of studies out there showing the psychological benefits of making your bed. It only takes a minute but it gives you a feeling of accomplishment! Plus you'll get a little mood boost at night because there's nothing better than climbing into a freshly made bed. Making your bed is like a "gateway drug" to being a tidier person, because once you get in the habit you'll start craving less clutter and more order in your home because you know how good it feels to have an organized space. I'm still waiting for the full blown addiction to kick in (as I still have no qualms about going to bed with dirty dishes in the sink) but I feel like making my bed every morning for the last few weeks has me on the right path!
3. Replace mindless TV with music & podcasts
Am I the only one who sometimes leaves the TV playing all day just so I don't feel like I'm home alone? I like to have a little background noise while I work, but I recently decided to get a little more intentional about what I'm filling my brain with during the day. Even if you're not really "watching" you're still absorbing information, so why not make it something uplifting and/or educational? I have become a big fan of podcasts over the last couple of years and they are perfect for listening to while I'm at the gym, walking Chloe or completing tasks that don't take my brain's full bandwidth like drawing floor plans, editing mood boards, etc. I would list my current favorites, but there's like 8 of them so I might just have to make that into it's own post. But shout out to Shailey & Katie for being my favorite, recently discovered podcast! When I'm doing work that requires my full concentration, I love listening to the playlists I've made on Spotify. For the last 6 months, I've been making monthly playlists to inspire myself to make more time for discovering new music that I love. I was a big music person in high school and even considered going to college for music education but I've gotten lazy in my adult years. It's been really fun to dive back into music and see how my tastes evolve and change. Right now I'm on a big indie folk/alternative kick but overall my taste is pretty eclectic so I also have made a few genre-based playlists that I'll switch between depending on my mood. I'm linking to a couple songs that I am all about right now and If you're curious, you can follow me on Spotify, here!
4. Get some exercise
Ok, so boring predictable tip #3, I know, but this is another one that's just so true. I've never been really consistent with going to the gym before, but for the last month I've been going four times a week. I'm the type of person who if I have to make a decision about if I'm going to go or not, I will always find a reason not to. If I just say to myself, "Ok, this is something you do everyday" I have a much better time sticking with it. I settled on going Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday for an hour in the morning because on Wednesday nights I go to a yoga class. I do want to improve my fitness and lose some weight, but I think about going to the gym as something I do for my mental wellbeing just as much. I feel so much calmer and more productive after I leave the gym. You don't necessarily have to get a gym membership or set aside an hour a day to work out, but for me, finding a schedule and a mindset that works for my life has really helped me to be consistent with making time for fitness. Maybe for you, this looks like taking a long walk when you get home from work or trying a work out video on YouTube from the comfort of your living room. Anything amount of exercising you do, even 5 minutes worth, will help to boost your mood and improve your happiness. So if you aren't already making time for it, give it a try!
5. Practice gratitude
Another habit I've recently adopted is to practice daily gratitude. Taking time to reflect on what I'm thankful for everyday helps to keep my mind on the positive, and helps me remember what's really important when I'm faced with difficult situations. I've tried a few different apps in the past, but now I use the 5 Minute Journal (affiliate link). All the apps I tried were great, but I just prefer the old school, analog feel of putting a pen to paper. What I love about the 5 Minute Journal is that it's broken down into 3 questions you answer in the morning and 2 questions you answer at night, so you're "bookending" your day with gratitude. Once a week, the journal will also assign you a "challenge". The one for last week was " Call a friend and ask them to do an activity together today- go for a walk, make dinner together, go bowling, etc.". I keep my journal on my nightstand as a visual reminder to spend those 5 minutes on gratitude everyday.
What are you favorite habits for bringing more happiness and mindfulness into your day?
Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase a journal using the link I've provided, I'll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. It's a win-win! Thanks for supporting this blog.