Lately I’ve been trying harder to add beauty to my life. A little touch here and there isn’t so hard. And after all, does anything inspire happiness, serenity, moving toward a goal like looking up and seeing something lovely? I think not. Little things like this give me the extra kick I need to keep going, and they often put my brain in a better place. After all, outer order contributes to inner calm. Luckily it’s not hard to spend a minute making your day pop.
1. Hang an air plant. These little guys inspire me on the daily. They require very little, but give so much. They clean your air and bling up your windows. Need a listener? I’m sure they’d be happy to perform that service as well.
2. Wear something you love. So you’re home with the kids, or working from your bedroom, or trying to fight off the latest bug. So what? That doesn’t mean you can’t look nice if you want to. When you want to bother but think it’s silly, bother. Even if you’re the only one who benefits from your favorite shirt or the rockin’ new socks you’ve been dying to put on, you’ll know. And you’ll love it.
3. Change your screensaver. It is amazing how often I shuffle back and forth between programs, and what do I see every single time I close one window and open another? Well, either something that kind of sucks or something really cool. Up to me.
4. Paint something. Yep, I said something. For me, it’s been picture frames lately. It’s astonishing what a bottle of acrylic paint can accomplish in less than 20 minutes, but so worth it. If you’re not the picture type, paint a bottle or a vase to hold plants. Paint a shot glass and tuck a cactus in it. Paint a picture, if you’re so inclined. Or simply grab the bucket from the shed and touch up that wall you never got to after the electrician came. You know the one I’m talking about.
5. Put some greenery in a vase. Its expensive to buy flowers, and we aren’t all cut out to handle the responsibilities of houseplants. But anyone — and I don mean anyone — can go out into the yard, find some ivy or some laurel, cut off a few pieces and stick them in a vase. It usually looks much nicer than you’d think, especially if you take the time to arrange a few complementary plants together.
6. Frame a card. A card you got in the mail, a tag that came with a gift or maybe just a note card you saw at the bookstore and particularly loved. Its an easy way to decorate, and a nice way to memorialize the people and aesthetics you hold dear. Into quotes? There’s a card for that.
7. Walk your dog. Oh, you thought this was all about things? Nope. I find I’m a much happier person when I get my dogs out into the world. They love it, the exercise is good for me and I don’t have to deal with their sad eyes for the rest of the afternoon. Plus, the outdoors offers so much soul-recharging beauty for free. Go grab it.
8. Clean. I know, right? It’s so simple but so hard to make yourself do. And yet nothing is more pleasing than a recently decluttered refrigerator, gleaming silver or white, with only a few artfully chosen things on it. Use cute, clean, unbroken magnets and you’ll thank yourself every time you open the door.
9. Sort your pen cup. Not only does it make using it much, much easier, but the results may surprise you. Useful, pretty pens all facing the right direction have an aesthetic appeal all their own. Want to get really crazy? Highlighters in one container, markers in another, ballpoint pens in a third. Use little tin buckets, glass Mason jars or old, mismatched containers from the thrift store. It might almost make you want to sit down at your desk.
10. Be kind. Kind is beautiful. As Henrik Edburg of The Positivity Blog says, being nice benefits both you and the person receiving your kindness. It isn’t hard. He suggests giving a compliment, tucking a nice note in a loved one’s lunchbox or book, and holding open doors. Elementary stuff, but we can all do it.