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Inspired by one of my favorite blogs Brocante Home (who was in turn inspired by a feature in Harper’s Bazaar written by Diana Vreeland), Why Don’t You is a week’s worth of ideas for adding a little something special to your life.
Pick and choose what sparks your interest and fits into your schedule. Or use these as inspiration for coming up with your own ideas.
Why Don’t You – Simple Moments for a Lovely Life
We’re still on “stay at home orders” here. (For the most part anyway. We can go out to parks now and there is some limited shopping available – all with some safety precautions in place). Even though we can get out more, we are high risk and pretty much still self-isolating as a result.
I keep hoping that they will make masks mandatory for all who don’t have medical restrictions against wearing them, but so far, it’s only a handful of stores who have chosen to implement that rule. So, you’ll see that these ideas are ones you can do at/from home or while easily maintaining social distancing.
Dig in the dirt. Or go for a walk through a public garden.
I’m not much of a gardener. It’s just not my cup of tea (SO much maintenance and I have never had a green thumb!). Still, I like plants and I do like to dig in the dirt myself now and then. So, we ordered some plants so that we can create a little indoor herb garden.
Digging in the dirt minus weeding is definitely the right way to go for us! And I do like to have fresh herbs on hand for use in the kitchen. I’m going to order a pot or two of geraniums too. There’s just something so cheerful about them.
If you don’t want to grow any yourself, you could head out for a walk in a public garden. We have some lovely ones here in London. Some are too big for me – I need to be able to sit frequently and we’re not supposed to be using public benches/tables. But there is a small one that is close to the parking lot and I could take breaks by sitting in the car.
Another option is to take a blanket along so you can sit on the ground. Some of our parks are much too over-crowded to be safe. You may find the same. I suggest going to some of the lesser known ones. Or have a plan for moving on to a different location as needed.
Write in a gratitude journal.
Does this sound like work to you? I remember years ago someone advising writing a page of gratitude every day and I did it – for about a week. Then it just seemed like another thing taking up too much time.
Someone else said you should list 5 things every day. Some days, I sat for 45 minutes or more trying to come up with something more profound than “I’m grateful for McDonald’s fries.”
Once I gave up the “rules”, I found it to be a much more fulfilling practice. My only rule is to express gratitude daily. If I choose to write more than one thing down because I’m in the mood for expressing myself through writing, great.
If I want to express gratitude for silly little things in life (anyone else love the simple perfection of a Fig Newton?), wonderful. Or maybe I don’t feel like writing at all, so sometimes I’ll simply call to mind at least one thing that I am grateful for that day.
Or I might pull out an old magazine and cut and paste my entry for that day. Sometimes, I’m in the mood for sketching. The point is, at some point each day, I express gratitude and on some days, it makes all the difference.
Gratitude Journal Ideas that Might Appeal to You
The 3 Minute Gratitude Journal for Kids: A Journal to Teach Children to Practice Gratitude and MindfulnessThe One-Minute Gratitude JournalGood Days Start With Gratitude: A 52 Week Guide To Cultivate An Attitude Of Gratitude: Gratitude JournalA Daily Dose of Gratitude Journal: A Daily Journal for Appreciating Life’s GiftsChristian Gratitude Journal for Women: Give Thanks to the Lord: A 52 Week Inspirational Guide to More Prayer and Less StressGratitude: A Journal: (Thankfulness Journal, Journal for Women)
Develop a peaceful morning wake-up call.
I read something years ago from Lori Leyden where she talked about putting together a Daily Renewal Program beginning with a “peaceful wake-up call”. I’ve since done some reading about cortisol and our body’s reaction to stress and her ideas make sense.
Cortisol is a stress hormone – it’s a survival hormone that helps us deal with dangerous situations. For example, cortisol levels might raise to help put us into “fight or flight” mode so that we can keep ourselves safe. It’s an important hormone!
However, it’s often at a higher level first thing in the morning. Add to that, many common morning routines – waking up to a jarring alarm, having to deal with getting kids ready for school and ourselves ready for work (all with a looming deadline!), and so on – and it’s no wonder we start our days feeling stressed.
The idea is to try to take control of what we can in the morning so that we can begin our days more peacefully. You might be surprised the difference this can make to your whole day!
Ideas: meditation, prayer, simple breathing exercises, daily affirmations, set an intention for the day, Yoga or basic body stretches and movement, calming music
Make a donation.
This is a tough time. Whew. What an understatement! People have lost their jobs. Businesses are going bankrupt. Everything has just been made so much more difficult.
If you’re like me, you’re looking for ways to help. Think about the places you might normally be going if the world weren’t shut down. If you can afford to, check out their websites and see how you can help.
For example, we had planned a trip to the zoo and one to the aquarium this summer. That won’t be happening. So, instead, I’ve sent them donations in lieu of the amount we would have paid for tickets.
If you can give blood, you could look into this. Our area is desperate for donations since so many people have been afraid to go – or are high risk and can’t during this time.
Think about homeless people and the difficulties they are encountering during this pandemic. I’ve made cloth masks and donated them to organizations who are handing them out to vulnerable people living on the street. We’ve had calls for extra donations of food, sleeping bags, hand sanitizer, and other needed supplies as well.
Your church still needs donations in order to function and to reach out to others in charity. Ours continues to be quite active online and yet, there is no collection each week to help sustain them. You might want to find out if they have the ability to accept online donations during this time.
Donate your time. There are many organizations looking for people to video chat with their elderly residents at nursing homes or to send cards and letters to those who can’t have visitors in hospitals or long term care centers. Our church has been asking for volunteers to call people and let them know they are loved and missed. Ask around. There’s still a lot to be done.
Unplug and get offline.
As someone who makes her living working online, this may sound strange but believe me, it’s so important. This year, I am working a steady job with full time income from one source. I have a few small clients and of course, my own blog, but not having to chase down work and payments, has been so freeing.
I now have time to step away from the internet for a while and it’s having such a positive effect. Don’t get me wrong. I learn so much here. I have so many friends here. There is a lot of value here.
It can also get overwhelming, especially in times of trial. I’ve been making sure to spend some time with my grandson every day. It’s amazing how refreshing it can be to build block towers (and knock them down!), to sing silly songs (while making your voice sound like it’s underwater), and to see who can make the biggest fake sneeze.
I’ve been reading more, listening to music more, watching more movies, and taking more time for church activities. I’ve even been taking a nap here and there. It’s revitalizing and makes it so much easier to come back online from a place of kindness and grace.
Light some candles (or a campfire).
Y’all. I cannot find a fire pit ANYWHERE. Well, at least not one that is under $1000. They’re all sold out so I figure you must all be out there having some amazing backyard campfires and cooking up some S’mores without me.
In the meantime, sometimes in the evening, I will light a few candles (I use battery operated for safety reasons) and turn out all the lights. It’s so soothing, isn’t it? Sometimes I put on some gentle music. Others, I just sit in the silence for a bit.
It’s a great calming activity just before bed. You could even gather up the whole family and read a chapter or two from your favorite family friendly novel. Or say your bedtime prayers together. It definitely sets that relaxing tone just before saying good night.
Try some lavender for a good night’s sleep.
I’ve been having some trouble getting to sleep. There are a lot of tips out there for bedtime routines, but honestly, some nights I just want a simple solution. My normal routine works well much of the time, but when it doesn’t, adding in multiple steps adds to my stress instead of reducing it.
That’s when I pull out the lavender. You might need to experiment and see which form of lavender works the best for you, but on those nights when nothing else is working, I find that just lying there, inhaling the lavender scent can be very soothing.
I have a tendency, when I can’t sleep, to make things worse by getting upset about not being able to sleep. I know. It sounds crazy, but I can’t help it. That’s where I find the lavender helps. Even if I still don’t fall asleep for quite some time, at the very least, the smell of the lavender helps calm me.
Types of lavender products you can try: Laundry detergent (for all your laundry or just your sleepwear), a lavender spray for your pillow (and sheets if desired), a soothing lavender body cream (they even have ones specifically for body pain too), lavender essential oil in a diffuser, or a lavender bath.
Many different types of lavender to try:
Positive Essence Lavender Pillow and Room Spray, Natural Essential Oil Linen SprayHandcraft Lavender Essential Oil – Huge 4 OZ – 100% Pure & Natural – Premium Therapeutic Grade with Premium Glass DropperOrganic Lavender Flowers – Kate Naturals. Premium Grade. Dried. Perfect for Tea, Lemonade, Baking, Baths. Fresh Fragrance. Large Resealable Bag. Gluten-Free, Non-GMO. (4 oz (Starter Size))ChapStick Total Hydration Essential Oils Lip Balm Relax Lavender + Chamomile (0.12 oz Tube)OGX Calming & Reviving + Lavender Essential Oil Body Wash, 19.5 OuncesBed Buddy Aromatherapy Heating Pad for Neck and Shoulders – Microwavable Heat Wrap, Purple, Lavender ScentedJergens Lavender Body Butter Moisturizer, 7 Ounce Lotion, with Essential Oil, for Indulgent MoisturizationAveeno Stress Relief Moisturizing Body Lotion, Lavender, 12 Fl Ozthisworks sleep balm: 100% Natural Multi-Purpose Balm with Sleep-Inducing Lavender Oil, 8.6g | 0.35 ozThis Works Sleep Plus Dream Body Cream 75 mlEssential Oil Diffuser, Anjou 500ml BPA Free Cool Mist Humidifier Wood Grain Aromatherapy Diffuser with 7 Color Changing Night for 12hrs of Continuous Quiet Diffuser Aroma (Brown)RENWER Essential Oil Diffuser, 400ml Wood Grain Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier, Diffuser for essential oils, 4 Timer 7 Color LED Lights Waterless Auto Shut-off for Yoga/Spa/BedroomRENWER Essential Oil Diffuser, 500ml Remote Control Diffusers for Essential oils, Ultrasonic Humidifier, Aromatherapy Diffuser with 7 Color Changing LED Lights & Waterless Auto-OffGain with Essential Oils Liquid Laundry Detergent, The Serene Scent, Lavender & Calm Chamomile, Pack of 2, 42 fl oz EachMrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Laundry Scent Booster, Cruelty Free Formula, Lavender Scent, 18 oz