First off, these rules bear no relation to that horrible, gosh-awful dating book that the Sex and the City ladies once talked about. Yuck. These are some happy + healthy rules that I can almost guarantee will have a positive effect on your home nest. I have always been a big homebody, even more so since my daughter was born. Of course I love a reckless night out once in a while, but there is nothing better than being cosy and comfortable at home with your lover, family, good friends, or even just on your own. There are so many ways to enhance the natural vibe of your space, without spending a penny. Here are my rules (inspired by Apartment Therapy) for creating a happy home.
1 // Make your bed everyday
I’m going to sound like a mom, but it’s important to make your bed everyday. It takes only a few minutes and can have a significant impact on your happiness and well-being. In her book, The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin suggests that making your bed represents a “keystone habit” which ultimately inspire other good habits. This also relates to #2 so keep reading…
2 // Avoid clutter, keep it tidy
Along with making your bed everyday, keeping your home tidy and free from unnecessary clutter is another habit that will contribute to your overall sense of happiness. If you live in a constant state of chaos or mess, it will likely affect your mental state. And it’s all about those developing those keystone habits: making your bed, keeping your home tidy, doing dishes, putting away loose papers, etc. will lead to other good habits. For example, it’s easier to cook a healthy dinner for yourself if you kitchen is clean and organised.
3 // Keep collections of memories
Make your home, your own. Create ‘collections’ of sentimental objects and images that will remind you of happy memories. Make a gallery wall of beloved art and favourite family photographs. Create a pin board of inspiring images, love notes, and snap shots. Group found artefacts from exciting adventures with family heirlooms on an end table, along with a big vase of fresh cut flowers. You get the idea. Seeing these objects will remind you of happy times and will contribute to greater inner happiness.
4 // Start a gratitude journal
“Dear Diary…” I’ve started many diaries but have finished none. It is hard to keep up with a diary; it’s a big commitment. I feel like diary writing was more suitable to the days of yore when there was nothing much else to do but write letters and go for walks. So instead, create a one-line-a-day gratitude journal. Showing your gratitude for your daily blessings is not only good for your karma, but will also give you a written record of all the best parts of your life. I’ve started mine already.
5 // Do your chores
This “rule” is more applicable to those who have a roommate. Usually when you live with someone there is great focus on the domestic responsibilities of each party. Taking care of a home should be a shared commitment, but make sure you don’t waste too much mental energy on negative thoughts of “I’m doing too much” or “They’re not doing enough.” This thought pattern will breed disappointment and resentment, which is not good for the happiness quotient. Instead, try to do small favours for your housemate, expecting nothing in return. For the couples: even if it’s not your night to do the dishes, do them anyway, and maybe it will inspire some sexy kitchen antics from your mate.
6 // Write some love notes
As a wife and mother, I always make sure to shower my family with love, affection, and attention, but it’s also important to remember to love yourself. It is easy to lose sight of your own desires, aspirations, thoughts in the busy mix of a young family. Always make time for you, if only for a few moments each day to remind yourself that you matter. Write yourself love notes and stick them to your mirror — these can be just a few key words, an affirmation, an intent for the day, or just a reminder to love yourself more.
7 // Drink some water
This is probably the most important rule for creating a happy home: stay hydrated. It may sound cliché, but it can have a huge impact on your life. If you’re spending a day in your lovely & happy home, you have no excuse not to get your 6-8 glasses. The more water you drink, the more toxins will be flushed from your body, and the better you’ll feel. More energy, better skin, healthy kidneys — the benefits of water are infinite. Make the effort to cut some fresh lemon and fill a pretty glass jug with filtered water — the more attractive you make it, the more likely you are to drink it. (Hot water with lemon in the morning is perfection)
8 // Use a lifeline — phone a friend
A great way to boost your endorphins (chemicals that trigger positive feelings) is to pick up the phone and phone a friend. We’re highly social creatures, but prone to introversion, and nothing beats a good ol’ conversation between friends to boost your happiness level. Like those keystone habits I mentioned earlier, the more happy thoughts you have and share with your phone buddy, the happier you will feel overall. The even better news: you can easily multitask while chatting. Might I suggest tidying up your living room or making your bed?
9 // Play host
Like phoning a friend, nothing fosters happiness like spending time with your loved ones. Put on your chef’s hat and play host to a morning brunch or afternoon tea with your friends. Fill your home with some fresh flowers, light some scented candles, open up the curtains and let the sun shine in and enjoy one another’s company. Your home may be your fortress of tranquility, but its always good to open up the gates and fill your home with fun and laughter. Keep your camera on hand to capture a few memories.
10 // Make a backyard café
I’m a big believer in fresh air. If I’m feeling down or out of sorts, sometimes I just need to step outside, take a deep breath and I feel significantly better. So, if you have it, make sure to create a comfortable outside space — whether it’s a backyard, patio, balcony, fire escape, whatever! Make use of what you’ve got and create a peaceful exterior sanctuary — put up some Italian cafe lights for ambience, pot some plants, squeeze in a little chair and table and take a few moments everyday to breathe and enjoy your outside space. You’ll feel happier, I promise.