Since the start of the pandemic, my social media has been flush with depressing news, cynical memes, and plenty of sources for endless hours of doomscrolling. Lately, however, I’ve found myself gravitating to a very safe and positive side of the internet: people taking photos of beautiful bouquets, pretty cups of coffee or dessert, people glamorizing their basic neighborhood walks, and sharing their workout and makeup routines. ‘Romanticizing your life’ is one of the few movements that have stuck since we started coming out of lockdowns that I’m actually happy with. Seeing beautiful moments in other people’s lives has inspired me to take account of the beautiful little moments found in the mundane parts of my life. Here are 10 ways I’m romanticizing my own life…
- Writing in a gratitude journal. Although this may sound cliche, I have been getting something positive out of recording 3 things I’m grateful for every day, especially on the days when it doesn’t seem like there is anything redeemable about my life. Many of my friends and I have seen our mental health decline over the last few years and sometimes, it’s difficult to find the silver lining. It almost seems silly that the simple act of acknowledging (and forcing yourself to come up with something… anything!) the good would have such a profound effect, but my daily gratitude practice has become a powerful tool to shift my mindset on the dates that I find it the hardest to smile.
- Stopping to smell the flowers. Literally. In our fast-paced world, we rarely stop for a red light, let alone stop to appreciate beauty. I am one of those girls that gets a lot of pleasure from being in nature and being surrounded by flowers, but often, with my high-demand job and lifestyle, I forget to slow down and actually do those things. Humans were not created for desk jobs and cell phones, as wonderful and as helpful as they can be. The incredible scent of lilacs can remind you to savor the simple things in life, and simultaneously remind you of what it means to be human. I’ve been buying flowers for myself, keeping an eye out for them on my walks, and stoping to appreciate them when I can!
- Relishing in a good beverage. Coffee, Coke, Tea, Whiskey, Wine, whatever. I have been harping about this to anyone who is unfortunate to be forced to listen to me, but there is something that drives me absolutely insane about people waiting at a Starbucks drive-through. Sure, I need my dose of caffeine to get me through my morning like everyone else, but after having lived in a country where coffee is an actual part of their culture and daily rituals, Americans have a lot to learn when it comes to relishing and taking pleasure in a beverage. Last weekend, I decided to walk to the coffee shop down the street (which was built exclusively as a drive-through *cue angry face*) with my brother and we had a lovely walk with Nala, chatting about life. We got to the counter, ordered, and walked on our merry way before any of the cars were able to pass through. The whole thing was an experience and I still achieved the initial goal of waking myself up. When we are always in a rush, we forget what it means to savor something, and we can start with something as simple as a beverage.
- Lighting a candle. The Danes are experts at not losing their minds during their brutal winters. They incorporate a concept called “hygge” (or ‘to comfort’), which includes making their surroundings as inviting as possible. Lighting candles, wrapping yourself in a cozy blanket, and drinking a nice hot beverage are excellent examples of incorporating hygge into your home. My favorite is lighting a candle. I recently bought a coastal wind candle from Target that has a crackling wood wick, and it is game-changing. The sound, the smell, and the soft light are the holy trinity of comfort.
- Going for a walk. My walks are far from the “hot girl walk” that social media has popularized, but they have become cherished moments of my day. I always go outside right after I wake up (Nala does not let me idle in bed for long), and take in the blush pink tones of sunrise. Sometimes, I’ll take a break from my desk at lunch and walk around the neighborhood to stretch my legs and clear my mind. Usually, I go for a longer walk in the evenings so that Nala (and myself) can get exercise. Getting fresh air, movement, and being outside in nature, is a great, inexpensive way to take care of yourself.
- Making skin care a daily priority. I love putting creams and potions on my face. Massaging a cream that smells lovely on my face is one of my favorite ways to indulge. I’m also at the age where I am finding more fine lines. While there is no real way to avoid aging, I do want to make it as graceful (and as moisturized) of a transition as possible. I also tend to ‘treat’ myself by buying some new skincare products to try, and bonus points if the packaging is really cute and photographable.
- Taking care of my space. Having a clean, aesthetically pleasing home does wonders for my mental health. I remember a time in my life when I was really depressed and struggling. My apartment was a total mess. I’m not saying that cleaning up will cure depression, but cleaning and making my space pleasing to the eye, lifted my spirits and kicked my ass in gear to clean up other areas of my life. It’s nice to live in a nice space.
- Wearing clothes that make me feel great. While leggings are the most comfortable thing ever, and I will continue to wear them most of the time, athleisure doesn’t typically make me feel confident or pretty. To mix things up, I started wearing more professional clothes when I go into the office instead of jeans, dresses, and cute makeup when I go out with friends, and I’ve been reaching more often for jeans and a cute sweater to work from home. I’m not wearing anything fancy or even new – just working with what I have while trying to be thoughtful in how my clothing makes me feel.
- Delicious and nutritious homecooked meals. I love to cook, but once again, the fast-paced society I live in makes it difficult to find the timeTM to do slower-paced, wholesome activities, such as cooking for one’s self. One of the ways I motivate myself, and romanticize my meal times, is by picking out a recipe a few days in advance, building anticipation. I make sure I have all the ingredients and pick a day to start cooking. It almost always turns out great! Not only do I save money this way, but eating food that I cooked for myself is so rewarding.
- Be ok with doing nothing at all. This one is a hard one for me because my mind is constantly on the go. My downtime is spent feeling guilty I am not doing something productive. I want to strive for being absolutely alright with just being. Our society glorifies being busy for the sake of being busy. Rest is rarely a priority, but it’s one of the most important parts of our day!
Are you doing anything special to ‘romanticize’ your life? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!