The Pandemic changed a lof things for us. It took away travel, meeting people, eating out, nature walks, beaches, picnics, etc. This forced me to find meaningful joyous moments in everyday life within the confines of my home.
Work from home, home learning, and quarantines reduced our personal spaces too. But I am glad I found some very simple ideas I could rely on. It worked so well that I continue to take time to notice or use these ideas now, when slowly life is getting back to normal
My friends are aware of my obsession with the night sky and beautiful sunsets. I picked a house especially because it has views of spectacular sunsets. I drag friends to watch meteor showers, I race to the beach to catch the sun before it sets. There is something about the way everything glows up golden for those 15 minutes around sunset. The more time I spend watching, the more details I appreciate. The sky just after sunset sometimes has much more dramatic colours.
It has been proven that looking at the horizon brings calm. But it doesn't have to be the most perfect view. I try and at least spend 5 undistracted minutes watching the sunrise, sunsets, moon, night sky, horizon, or even beautiful trees.
If there is no balcony I can just look out of the window, watching a tree, a bird, or people walking by, This brings a momentary pause to my routine, a bit of novelty, just presence.
The only rule: no distractions. I do take numerous pictures of these sunsets but I also remind myself to put the phone away and just be present.
We all do take such moments from time to time and it's not a new idea but making the effort to do this consciously and every day makes a difference. At least it did for me.
I never had house plants until I quit my traveling Job. I still don't have too many and would not say I am very good at taking care of them. I kill a few without knowing how to care for them properly and learning every day. Even so, every successful propagation or even fresh green leaf brings so much joy. So I spend time caring for them every day. Pruning, propagating, cleaning, weeding, and so on.
This doesn't have to involve trips to nurseries. Just finding a friend to lend us a string of Pathos is enough. One such propagation has resulted in many new pots at my home. All of my know-how comes from youtube videos and blogs.
Sometimes just sprouting seeds and planting them is enough. Growing edible leaves like fenugreek, wheatgrass, basil, mint, etc is easier and useful. There is such a sense of satisfaction when you can grow even a tiny bit of your own food. My basil pesto pasta, fresh tulsi tea, and methi dal taste extra special when I grow it myself, even if just in my mind :). Every small success encourages me to try again.
I did not learn to cook growing up, being the youngest of three in a house full of women. I took cooking seriously only after my son was born. I learned to cook properly so I can feed him healthy nutritious food.
But that also made me realize how much we neglect our own health and nutrition. My grandmother cooked us delicious food every day, but I rarely saw her sit down and relish her food. My mom is quite similar to that. They prioritize children over everything else. I was obviously following in their footsteps by cooking for others and not for myself.
This started changing a few years ago when I decided to make my health a priority (frankly If we don't no one else will) and started concentrating on healthy eating amongst other things (like exercise, vitamin deficiencies, mental health, etc).
Food is nourishing and healing. But, food is also comfort and happiness. So they need to tick all boxes. So now, I try to eat one meal every day which is not just healthy but also smells looks, and tastes heavenly.
That meal for me is my breakfast usually. I eat a delicious granola parfait every single day. It looks and tastes perfect. I try to eat it without any distractions. I feel instantly nourished and happy when I do this. I never get bored as it's the perfect combination of nutrition and taste. Well balanced yet tastes like a gourmet dessert.
I make the granola and the greek yogurt myself. The ingredients are handpicked. The best Dates, the perfect pecan nuts, the right fruits to go with it, ground flax seeds and sprinkled chia seeds and goji berries, Vitamin C-rich fruits to improve Iron absorption. I have thought of everything. This might not be delicious for others, My son hates it and my husband tolerates it, but this meal caters to the needs of just one person, and that is ME. I cook for others too, Feeding others has its own joys. But, every day, I make sure I make one meal that's just perfect for me.
Sometimes on a busy day, it is just a cup of tea or a snack. A bowl of nourishing Korean soup or my mom's style south Indian rasam and rice.
I am not a well-trained chef but I have learned it by repetitive trials and errors and plenty of research and I am eternally grateful to all those recipe bloggers and Vloggers who help people like me.
I have a list of go-to dishes that make me happy and I make it point to eat them regularly. Not every meal, but at least once a day, my food ticks all boxes. Do I even have to explain why that makes me happy?
On days when I feel overwhelmed and nothing seems to work, I have one go-to hack that works very well for me. I find one thing that I can control and finish it. It could be any one of the hundreds of items on my to-do list, but what works best for me, is finding a small place to organize, declutter, or clean.
But the important thing is that it needs to be the right goldilocks effect chore, not so big that I feel worse about not being able to finish (Marie kondo style big decluttering jobs never work for me), and not so small that it's not satisfying enough. I pick a job that won't take me more than 30 minutes to finish.
Cleaning and decluttering a desk drawer, getting rid of long-pending recyclables, cleaning the Fridge, Deep cleaning a tiny corner of my kitchen, etc. A job well done always puts me in a good mood.
Sometimes it's not even a visible job like cleaning. I know the important stuff that I have been putting off. I pick one of those jobs and tackle it. Like finishing my tax returns, making the bill payments, working on a couple of lines of a song I had been trying to learn to play on the piano, etc. Completing these jobs also works for me.
Usually, such actionable jobs put me in a good mood because of the sense of satisfaction and it has a ripple effect for the rest of my day. I notice I become more productive on such days. It is probably my brain requiring more of the dopamine I get from a job well done and trying to get more of it by accomplishing more tasks.
I started leaving a small bowl of grains for birds on the Balcony. It is so much fun to watch these birds and their routines every day. I have my regular bird visitors every day. Like clockwork, they come.
My little birdfeeder attracts the common Myna, Sparrows, and Palm Doves.
They mostly visit in pairs. They have very distinct personalities. Sparrows are extremely shy but the mynahs are bolder and the doves are slow. They come without fail and give me a few minutes of their company. I started leaving a small bowl of water as well.
If you happen to try any of these tips or ideas do let me know if they worked for you. Please also share the things you do to add such moments of joy to your daily life.
originally published in anuaiyer
Anedny Portrait Studio specializes in newborn sessions in Cypress TX and surrounding areas of Houston TX, Tomball TX, Spring TX and The Woodlands TX. In addition to newborn, we also offer maternity and family photo sessions. It makes me so happy you are here and I am eager to talk to you about your newborn photography session. I am sure you and your family will enjoy my boutique studio. While I wrap and cuddle your baby, you can relax and enjoy a laid back atmosphere, listen to soft music, help yourself to any of our snacks made available for you and even enjoy a glass of wine, bubbly water or fresh coffee. I will take some beautiful images for you to cherish forever. Let us pamper mom with hair and makeup; your experience will be unforgettable and enjoyable, since I've thought through every detail for you.
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