If I’ve learned anything from this year it has been to treasure the little things in life – a phone call with a family member, mailing a hand-written note, or baking something you’ve never made before. Each one of these brings a sense of accomplishment and feeling of satisfaction – all simple acts, take little energy to do, and fulfills a basic human need – a need to be productive.
Now more than ever we need to channel these traditions, resurrect our childhood experiences and be productive while feeling restricted and perhaps confined to our homes. And why not? This is the perfect time of year to turn our attention inward and focus on the things that mean the most.
Here are a few things you can do in the coming weeks that will hopefully give a new perspective and new-found appreciation – where ever you are in life.
Make your home your sanctuary. It can be as easy as replacing your bedding – adding new sheets, new pillows, or add a new throw at the foot of your bed. The goal is comfort – feeling warm and safe. Even making your bed a different way can change your perception – you might even sleep better. It’s about taking care of yourself too. Change your space. Change your perception. And perhaps change your outlook. It’s the little things in life.
Try rearranging the furniture in a room. The results may surprise you. Every time I restyle or move furniture around in a space I learn something new I didn’t know before – perhaps the room’s traffic pattern has changed, or the way the room looks from a distance – the things you focus on that you didn’t see before. Even re-orienting a rug can make a room feel like you’ve added something new. I do this all the time for my clients and they are always amazed at how different the room looks. Little changes can lead to big impressions.
If you haven’t spent a lot of time eating at home, now is the time to brush up on your cooking skills and take back your kitchen. Choose a favorite recipe or maybe one you haven’t tried before and make a commitment to cook this holiday season.
I find cooking to be relaxing – and the results are so rewarding – there’s nothing like a home cooked meal. Here’s a suggestion – roasted root vegetables tossed in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 for about 90 minutes. I like to use cubed squash, onions cut into wedges, diced parsnips, fennel, and carrots. Vegetables are perfect paired with a roast or rolled pork loin seasoned with fresh rosemary. And the aroma is intoxicating. You’ll love how aromatic your home smells.
Even taking time to set a beautiful table for dinner can give you the feeling of going out to your favorite restaurant. A proper setting should include dinner and salad plates, full set of flatware, water and wine glasses, and a cloth napkin, linen if you have them. Add a couple candles for ambiance. It’s the little things that make a big difference.
Whatever you do this holiday season, my hope is that you find comfort in the things you have, find ways to make your home feel new and different, and tell the people you love most they’re loved. Be productive. Be creative. Call a family member. Send a hand-written note to a friend. And most of all be safe and healthy.