Anne here, and today I am talking about simple, everyday things that we can do to make us feel better. It was inspired by this post that I saw the other day, which gave a list of small everyday ways to boost our happiness. And in the chaos of packing to move house, it really appealed to me.
The article included things like putting up images, photos or pictures that please you. Writing a "life truth" or a note to self. One example was ‘Eat chocolate at 3pm’. I could force myself to do that, I'm sure. (heh heh) (Photo by eniko kis on Unsplash )
Actually I do put up little signs to myself sometimes. The small card below is a particularly helpful reminder now I'm clearing out my house. I was also reminded of feng shui principles when rereading Mary Jo's China Bride recently.
Another suggestion was to invest in several pairs of reading glasses. That one made me smile and nod. I have cheap reading glasses stashed in every room of the house. Saves a lot of running around searching.
One suggestion that made me laugh was to read a book. I don't think anyone here would have to be reminded of how much pleasure there is in reading.
But it got me thinking about the small everyday things that contribute to my own happiness.
Smells — I love the smell of freshly applied beeswax polish on furniture. I use old-fashioned liquid beeswax which is easy to apply and smells clean and fantastic. When mopping the floor I'll toss in a few drops of eucalyptus and lemon myrtle oil, which leaves a faint fresh fragrance in its wake.
Indoor plants. I have always kept indoor plants, and during lockdown, my indoor plants that line the living-room window made me so happy. Here they are in the morning sun. That splash of crimson is a cyclamen that flowered for months and months and brought me so much joy.
Fresh flowers. Always welcome. And in the absence of flowers I will gather fresh greenery from the garden, including some with fragrance. Even just a sprig or two in a vase pleases me. I pile river stones in the bottom of clear glass vases, which balance the weight of the greenery and look pretty. I will often pop a few floating blossoms — even just one camellia — in a glass bowl lined with river pebbles and it always makes me smile.
Washing. I love the scent and feel of freshly washed sheets, and if they've been dried in the sunshine there's an extra magic to them. I don't iron often, but when I do the scent of a hot iron pressing freshly washed and dried laundry is lovely. I used to iron more in the past, and would often spend an afternoon or evening ironing in front of the TV with a movie or DVD playing. The time would fly, the fragrance was wonderful, and the satisfaction I'd have at the end, with a pile of crisply ironed things was lovely. But these days I hardly ever do it.
Clear surfaces — feng shui again. My dining room table (which is in the living room), the cabinet in the entry vestibule, and the little chest of drawers in my bay window all tend to collect clutter, but when I clear away the clutter, and polish the surfaces and leave them bare or with just one plant or a vase of flowers, or a bowl of fruit, it never fails to lift my spirits.
Bowls of fruit. I have a large blue bowl that was a gift from a friend, and I keep fruit in it all year round, whether it's mixed fruit to browse or a citrus collection.
Music. Music is the best mood-lifter that I know of. Whether it's a classical piece, or rousing rock, there's something to fit every need. On hot summer evenings I will often water my plants to the sound of my favorite Chopin Polonaises recording, but when I'm doing housework I like to have something to sing along to — Van Morrison's Moondance album, maybe.
Sunshine. In the house, and on your skin — at least 15 minutes a day if you can manage it. The first rays of sunshine coming through the bay window in my bedroom always make me happy, and in winter, when the sun is lower in the sky, I get sun all day long. I'm really going to miss that window when I move. And in the living room I love to watch the dancing shadows of my Japanese maple tree silhouetted on the blind. It reminds me of this favorite illustration from a children's story.
Fresh air. I have windows open most of the time, but our winters are not as bitter as some in the Northern Hemisphere. I will often have my front and back doors open to let a breeze through the house. It's lovely and cool in hot weather, but a cold brisk one is lovely in winter when the house has been closed up to keep in the warmth. It scours through the house blowing away the fug and the stale air and letting in the fresh.
A real fire. The crackling sound, scent and sight of a real fire. Such a comfort in the cold weather. A real fire is company, don't you think? And it's even better when shared with a friend.
My dog. Need I say more? Walking & wagging. I can go out for half an hour and when I return it's as if I've returned from the dead, the joyous welcome I get. And she's such good company. She's curled up next to me as I write this, but will be up and nudging me when it's time for our walk.
Wild birds. I wake most mornings to the sound of birds in the trees outside. Mostly it's chittering lorikeets but the glory of a magpie singing to the morning sun is a real treat that sets me up for the day. Even the mournful sound of currawongs, who call in the minor key, brings a smile. You can hear an Australian magpie singing here, and if you want to hear what the dawn chorus in the bush sounds like, with magpies and other birds, click here.
The scent of new-mown grass. Enough said. (Unless it makes you sneeze.)
Making an event of a cuppa. Rather than glugging down a cup of tea or coffee on the run, or in between chores, or while doing something at the same time, make a small ten-minute event of it. Make the tea or coffee or your preferred drink from scratch, pour it into your favorite cup or mug and sit down to drink it with no other distractions. (Add a sweet treat to nibble on if you like.) Sit in the garden, or on the patio, balcony or veranda if you have one, or by the fire — just in your favorite place to sit. Sip the drink slowly, try to think of nothing in particular, and just let yourself yourself relax.
I could list many more simple pleasures, but I'll stop there and ask you: What simple things add a little happiness to your day?