You may find yourself stuck in the routine of coming home from work, collapsing, sinking into the couch, and zoning out to oblivion while your eyes roll back into your head as the TV drones on for hours until bedtime. In case it wasn’t obvious, this is not idea for your physical or emotional health! While living in an apartment can put restraints on some of your activities, there are still simple ways to have a happy and healthy time at home.
Open a Window! Weather permitting, fresh air will usually give you a real mood boost! Sometimes air in an apartment can get stagnant and you won’t realize how much it affects you until you get some fresh air. Check the weather for high pollen alerts before opening windows if you have bad seasonal allergies.
Buy Fresh Flowers! Studies show that fresh cut flowers can help improve people’s moods on a regular basis. Check your local florist or farmer’s market each week for special deals so you can keep things blooming on a budget.
Listen to Music! Music can significantly affect your mood, so listen to music that relaxes you or elevates your mood. Instead of turning on the TV, put your iPod on shuffle or play your favorite album.
Light Things Up! Mood lighting does what it sounds like..creates a mood. So have a lamp you love the soft, warm glow of, or some string lights, which help you relax and feel at home. Generally light bulbs which are warmer, or yellower in color are more relaxing than those that are cooler, or bluer.
Embrace Rituals! Traditions, rituals, or habits are all comforts. If you like to come home and make a cup of tea, do it every day as a form of relaxation. Or maybe you enjoy taking 30 minutes to do yoga, but don’t find the time often enough. Whatever fun or comforting activity you enjoy, embrace it and let it be a part of your daily routine.
I’m currently two thirds of the way through a vacation to central Taiwan. I’m lucky to have family from the area and was invited to visit – and needless to say, I jumped at the chance! I’ve always loved traveling and I knew this would be a unique experience to say the least. In case you’re not familiar with Taiwan, it is a small island nation off the east coast of China.
It should come as no surprise that everyday life is strikingly different here from the southern United States. Although the weather is remarkably similar to parts of Florida – hot and steamy! So I’ve traded my southern girl habits for three weeks and adopted those of the Taiwanese (for the most part). While staying in an apartment in Taichung I’ve learned a great cultural habit to adopt back home in the states. Some in the US already practice it, but it’s not ingrained in the culture like it is here: the removal of shoes upon entering an apartment.
Removing your shoes is not really an option here. If you walk into someone’s home, you immediately take your shoes, covered in dirt from the city, off and put clean indoor slippers on. It’s not just a sign of respect in another’s home, but in your own apartment it helps keep things so much cleaner! It’s fantastic how something requiring so little effort can save so much effort in the long run. It may not sound like great words of wisdom, but trust me. I’ve seen the rewards from this simple little apartment habit! At least here, an added bonus is you get to choose from some really hilariously adorable slippers to wear at home – Hello Kitty, Doremon (a Japanese cartoon cat if you’re not familiar with him), among other cartoon-character-adorned shoes.
Right up there with doing my taxes and going to the doctor are mornings. Except mornings happen every day. Every day! Tragic. But the time comes in most people’s lives when mornings just have to happen and it’s most certainly better if they happen successfully and painlessly. But throughout most of my life mornings have been neither of these things. So as an adult, I’ve had to make some lifestyle changes in order to better conquer the beginning of the day. Everyone has their own way of handling the dreaded early hours of the day in which we are slow to move, slow to think, and would rather just snooze a few more minutes.
Preparation is key. The more you do the night before, the easier the next morning is. I like to have everything ready to go for the next day so I really don’t have to think about it in the morning…because let’s face it, I don’t think well in the mornings. And chances are I’m going to forget something incredibly important while I’m stumbling around trying to get myself put together for the day.
Getting into the habit of waking up at at the same time each day is what I’ve found to help the most. The fluctuation of bedtime and when you wake up can make it much more difficult to get up and be ready for the day ahead. Keeping a consistent bedtime and alarm time get your body into the physical habit of waking up and help you feel more rested and alert once you’re up. Once you’ve crawled out of your bed, it helps to really move around. Doing a quick set of jumping jacks or even just a minute plank gets your blood flowing and helps wake you up. Trust me, I’m not about to go through a whole workout routine right after I wake up but getting moving (even for a minute or two) can seriously help.
Once you’ve gotten the ball rolling, a good breakfast helps seal the deal. I’m not much into heavy breakfast foods, but lighter foods packed with protein help prepare you for the rest of your day. For lots of ideas on what to eat, check out these protein rich breakfast ideas. Last, but not least, a big cup of coffee because I’m convinced coffee is what makes the world go ‘round.
Do your keys, phone, wallet, other accoutrements constantly hide amongst your other belongings, taunting you and your inability to locate them? Do you leave your keys in strange places which you can’t remember a minute later? I must admit, I can’t totally commiserate with you on this one. This might be one of the very few organizational habits I’m actually good at. In stark comparison, my other half is less than commendable when it comes to keeping track of little important things. Once he walks in the door he leaves an accidental trail of personal belongings, like breadcrumbs for me to follow and pick up later. I’m constantly locating his keys, driver’s license, glasses (which he’s blind without, mind you), etc. which I somehow always know where to find. Don’t see this as bragging on my part, I’m as surprised as anybody that I possess the startling ability to keep tabs on these things.
Since I’ve identified the problem, I’ve sought out some solutions. These are the best answers to the careless key problem thus far:
Training – Leaving keys or other important items lying around willy nilly is a bad habit. Leaving keys on a ring next to the door is a good habit! Install a key holder on the wall next to your front door or put a dish for keys on a table next to the entrance. Train yourself every day to put your keys in the same location. If items have a designated place that they are “supposed” to be, they will be easy to locate once you’ve developed a habit of leaving them there.
Self Awareness – I think one of the reasons we forget where we leave things is because our minds are somewhere else. Try to make a habit of thinking about the objects in your hands and where you are putting them. If you make a mental note, “I’m putting my keys on the kitchen table,” you will be more likely to remember where they are later.
Gadgets – Thanks to technology (the future is now!) there are a slew of gadgets to help you keep up with your keys. If you think this is the best way to prevent key loss, which inevitably happens when you’re already running late for class or work, use this list of reviews to see what will work best for you.
(photo credit: sew-much-to-do.tumblr.com)