Self Care

Self Care

We’re a couple weeks into the new year and already I feel as though some of you may be experiencing sensory overload. My messenger inbox and this blog are inundated with questions from people asking me how they can reset, refresh, renew and get this year started without–going into more debt, having to travel to do it, having to listen to multiple podcasts (who has time?), buy books, someone, somewhere online, has suggested and then find the time to sit down and read them. My FB feed is filled with classes on cozy, decluttering, bullet journaling, planning with planners, exercise programs, serums, shakes and so so much more. Where does one start? I’ve received at least six emails from people wondering–is it vacation time yet?  I’m exhausted.

Here’s what I suggest–Self Care ASAP

  • Draw a nice warm Epsom salt bath– make sure to inform other members of your household that you are taking a 30 minute, or more, time-out.
  • Read a good book- the kind of book that takes you away. Save the self-help books for another day.  May I make a suggestion?  How about Diana Gabaldon’s The Outlander Series?
  • Grab your favorite little bag filled with all your favorite oils, lotions, and lip balms and slather them all on. Pick a pair of cozy socks and grab your favorite throw. Go cozy somewhere with your favorite person, pet, or book.
  • Brew a cup of your favorite tea, hot cocoa, or French pressed coffee and peruse your daily paper, or your favorite people on Instagram (stories).
  • Take a relaxing one-hour nap.
  • Eat a nourishing breakfast, lunch, and dinner- be it soup, salad, fruit, rice, and veg, or pizza–make sure the ingredients are fresh, the meal is fulfilling, and stay well hydrated throughout the day.
  • Take a nice slow walk outside.
  • Make weekly self-care a part of the new year.

Take a deep breath, don’t hesitate. No need for special books, planners, podcasts, or to peruse the internet at all.  Take care of yourself and your self will, I promise, take care of you.

 

 

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Simple Living

Simple Living Nordic Style

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    • Use functional yet stylish items you have on hand or from your environment/surroundings. For example- rugs, blankets, wood, tree branches, leaves, plants,  unique sheets, curtains, and housewares from friends or local thrifts.
    • Minimalism.
    • Clutter-free, stylish, modern and warm.
    • Modern even traditional over trendy.
    • Buy quality pieces of furniture over inexpensive and mediocre pieces.
    • Create spaces that make people feel welcome, happy, and at home.
    • Be inspired by nature and use decorative items and colors that reflect trees, earth, animals, mountains, and the sea.
    • Use candles to brighten a space.
    • Contrast textures and colors–blues and light chocolate browns, black and white, wood with glass, and knit wool with cashmere.

May 2018 be everything you desire it to be.

 

Simple Living

The Recipe for Christmas Spirit

Has the Christmas Spirit escaped you? I think the single most used statement I’ve heard so far this December is–It doesn’t feel like Christmas (no Christmas spirit).  What does Christmas or Christmas spirit feel like? For some, it means snow on the ground, but snow is on the ground for months on end throughout the Midwest, and other parts of the world sporadically.  So, though most would probably like some snow at Christmas time, snow doesn’t bring with it the Christmas spirit.  For some it’s the endless adventure of checking the list and checking it twice, making sure everyone’s gift has been purchased. Will it feel like Christmas if I give gifts? It doesn’t hurt to give a gift to those you love and care for all year round, even at Christmas.

Gifts that last longer than one day can include– homemade certificates given to friends and family for housecleaning, baker’s assistant. Spring and Fall cleaning helper, snow shoveler, babysitter, even a certificate for someone that provides adult care to have a couple of hours, or an afternoon free.  People scoff at the fruit of the month clubs, but it’s something I would definitely appreciate.  Another idea that could be used next year would be to order grapefruit or oranges from the FFA (local high school) in the fall. They deliver in our area shortly before Christmas.  You get a large produce box of oranges or grapefruits -either half of each or all the same. There is no way we can get through it all ourselves so we portion it out among those we know appreciate quality fruit in the winter.

I watch A Christmas Carol every year and in it, Scrooge receives a grand helping of Christmas spirit by the end of the show. Through looks into the past, present, and future Scrooge is introduced to the love of his family before the almighty dollar,  how his life would have been different had he valued those around him, including a special lady, over working around the clock, and the blessing of giving to others especially those not as fortunate$ as him.

Similarly in It’s a Wonderful Life George Bailey thinks he wants this life and then thinks he wants that life–all the time never fully seeing, or appreciating the wonderful life he’s created with his wife and family.  By the end of the movie, George has been saved by an angel who has shown George what would have happened  (his family, his wife, and family business) had George never been born. The final scene is one of true Christmas spirit when the whole town, most of which his family business has helped, rallies together to replace the money Uncle Billy lost.

Giving, family, friends, love, and appreciation for the simple things seem to be the recipe for true Christmas spirit and happiness. Not Target, or Macy’s, or long lines at shopping malls.

Social media can sure take us on a ride especially at this time of year.  Many of who we follow show pictures of family vacations in warm places, new cars, new homes, and trees buried in Christmas gifts. It can make the rest of us feel like Christmas has forgotten us. But please remember Christmas is in your heart, not your pocketbook or bank account.  The less commercialism your house has in it during the holidays the more peace you and yours will find.

And with that I wish everyone and their lovely families a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Hygge

How to have a cozy home all year around- a minimalists guide to cozy.

It’s not surprising that the definition of cozy includes the word give. It also includes comfort, warmth, and relaxation.  Cozy is sitting under your favorite blanket in front of a warm fire while listening to the snow or rain pelting at your window. Cozy is cuddling under a soft flannel sheet pulled up under your chin on a cold winter’s night.  Cozy is bundled up in a warm winter coat huddled in the back seat with your siblings. Cozy is that soft, warm feeling of goodness felt when you feel comforted, relaxed, and at ease. A sense of protection, whether from the elements or from a long, tense day at the office.

To create a cozy space, that you long to come home to or even entertain in, will take very little effort, but it will require a careful eye.

To create cozy is to create a home with the intent of it being a warm, safe, and relaxing space.  Nothing cluttered, nothing busy, just pure comfort and warmth.  In a bedroom that may look like a soft, warm throw against a comforting set of flannel sheets and soft pillows. In the living room that may mean a comfortable chair in a room lit by soft light–candles,  or a low-watt bulb. Cozy is layers of thoughtful comfort for family and for guests. Be it a small shelf of books to peruse or a lovely array of family photos that bring joy to a room.

As a confirmed minimalist, cozy looks like this to me– game night with family and friends, popcorn popping, and warm cider or hot chocolate on the stove.

My husband tells me I’ve outdone myself when it comes to cozy when I lay out his warm wool socks when the temperatures drop below zero. He also loves having fresh coffee brewed on days like this and this beautiful throw I bought from Anthropologie a few years back.

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He says he feels utterly spoiled when I provide such splendor for him. Cozy really is thy middle name. It’s a joy to make others feel comfortable.  Pure heaven to provide a home others want to retreat to after a long days work.

Cozy isn’t about buying really expensive things and filling your house up with them. Cozy is about creating a warm inviting place that you and your family & friends feel relaxed in. Things that are cozy can include knitted items, pom poms, warmth whether it be a fireplace or your attitude, warm drinks, a quiet nook,  hospitality, and friendliness. It’s a gift you give the ones you love every day in the space you create called cozy. Hygge’s more a vibe than a bunch of materialistic possessions. Yes, a nice warm blanket or pair of cozy slippers helps, but true hygge is a feeling that comes from within and is usually felt in the midst of time spent with family and friends.

Hygge

Simple Things

During this time of year, between Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday time, the word simple is rarely heard or felt. Life gets especially complicated during the last two months of the year. Throw in extra cooking, baking, and holiday shopping and our days are suddenly more than full they’re just plain overwhelming. Lists everywhere, reminders, notes from school for treats and gifts and of course the never-ending get together’s and parties. And while all of it is so much fun, albeit stressful at times, each year it gets a little harder to do. Whether it is having fewer funds to work with, more people to buy gifts for, or just life in your neck of the woods, simple it isn’t. It doesn’t help that social media is full of buy, buy, and buy some more. I love all the people I follow on Instagram and Facebook and I look forward to their posts every day, but during the holidays a lot of them are selling something.  And then there are all the pretty pictures of fully decorated houses that must have cost a fortune.

If you’re anything like me you might compare what you have to what others have and suddenly feel very down. But very quickly I remind myself that right now I don’t need any more stuff, and furthermore, I’m grateful for the things I have.  Though my Christmas decor may be somewhat more humble than what others have–it is mine and it is well used and very loved. I look forward to digging around in the Christmas box each year looking for favorite ornaments and things to put up around our home.

Whether it be a cute vignette I’ve created on one of our dresser tops or store-bought flowers I’ve arranged in my own creative way. It might be appreciating a well-written book while sipping homemade hot cocoa, or finally figuring out, after watching a really great tutorial online, how to make pom poms (I finally did it this year!) These are simple moments inspired by choices I’ve made from my heart on how I’ve wanted to decorate something. Or it’s the quiet permission I’ve given myself to keep trying to do something over and over (ahem pom poms) until finally, I got it right. It would have been easier just to spend $30.00 to buy them already made, but not nearly as rewarding as making them myself.  Personally, I’ve found that the only way to get through the stress of the holidays is to take the time to stop and look around at all of the things in my little home and appreciate them for what they are and enjoy what I have and not compare myself to others.

At the end of each day, I try to find time for myself and reflect on all the things in life I should be thankful for.  Some nights I tuck myself into a corner in our home and go through album after album of Christmas photos from years gone by and my heart is so full by the time I get through it’s nearly bursting.

It really is the little things in life that add up to be the big things. Go ahead this year and give yourself permission to enjoy each moment of the holiday season.  Whether it is just you, or yourself and partner, or you have a whole family full of people to please. Enjoy the simple things, relax and find peace in the moments you share with each other, whether you’re just sitting around and sharing fun memories or spending time doing fun things together, and leave the complicated, overwhelming, no time to sit down and enjoy family time stuff behind.

Hygge

A Cozy Home Helps to Create Contentment

Hello to anyone who may be following at this point. My hope is to have more content up on this blog soon. I am currently working on a free guide of organizational tips that I will post when it’s done.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart if you’ve decided to follow along on this journey I’m on of creating a space, or place,  even an entire lifestyle that’s end result is contentment even with simple things.  I’m a big fan of the Danish concept hygge.  Hygge on some social media sites is often represented as a concept where one goes out and buys all kinds of products to fill one’s home and comfort and cozy  come with it. But, hygge is not about filling one’s home up with cozy materialistic possessions and sitting back and drinking cocoa. It’s about a feeling, a feeling of being content, happy, and satisfied with what you have. It’s about creating a warm inviting home that welcomes friends and family in.

That’s not to say that if you buy a nice soft blanket and cozy slippers this winter that you won’t be cozy and content. I feel pretty content snuggling in a favorite comforter on top of soft well washed flannel sheets. But these are moments that one feels warm and cozy thanks to sheets and blankets. Hygge is a feeling of contentment and well-being that lasts beyond the moments we spend snuggling in bed.  If you’ve ever been a part of an intimate gathering and at some point you look around and say one of these things  to yourself -“this is all I need, I’m content, I wish this moment would never end, I’m at peace, I’m a part of something that makes me feel happy, I’m enjoying myself” then you’ve experienced hygge.

Personally I like creating spaces where those kind of thoughts can occur. I’m a big fan of living in a home that feels lived in.  A home people would want to come visit me in. A home that is inviting and welcomes all.

I hope to have more content ready in the next few weeks. Until then I would invite you to follow along with me on my FB page

https://www.facebook.com/livingsmply/

or my Homesteader blog finn here on WordPress at

https://finn145.wordpress.com/