Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Happier at Home

Being happy in my own home has always been something I strive for.  Making the most of where I am and what we are doing at the phase of life we are in, is something the Army has helped me learn.  I made the comment to my husband that the Army taught me to make the most of the moment, and he disagreed with me and said, "No that is something you figured out all by yourself, because there are many people living the military life that aren't happy where they are and never will be."  Wow pretty powerful statement from someone who hasn't lived in our own house 3 out of the last 6 years, because of deployments.  He really made me think about what makes me Happy at Home....and as I was surfing other blogs and websites the other night I wandered across this link and really thought about each thing it recommends.  It spoke to me so much, I wanted to share it and add to it.  So here goes.

The link I stumbled across is....at Apartment Therapy (of all places)...and it has 10 simple tips to make yourself happier at home.  Here is what they are.

1. Make your bed.....  Ok, I understand, you are busy....and for years I never thought this would make a difference in my life.  It was warm and cozy when I got out of it, why make it, when I can just crawl back into it.  But somewhere along the way, I think I grew up a little and began really appreciating a newly made bed.  Now I have to admit, there are still some days that the best my bed gets is the blankets pulled up and the pillows thrown back up to the top of the bed.  BUT I really do like a freshly made bed.  Something about the peace at night it creates.  The article these tips are from mentions The Happiness Project book which also says this is one of the simplest tasks you can do to affect your happiness.  

2. Bring every room back to "ready."  This one is a little tougher.   In my search to always be more organized than I currently am....I have found that if everything has a place it is much easier to do this.  My sister-in-law used to joke that the best way to clean is like the real estate agent is about to show your house.  There is something to that....because if you have ever cleaned like that, you realize that it doesn't take too long...and you feel SO much better when the clutter is put away.  I am a realist enough to know that some times certain things just don't have a place to BE in your home.  So I try and plan for even the unexpected.  My office sometimes is the catch all for those items, but now that I don't work, I promise myself that even that gets a once a week thorough cleaning to stay on top of it.  I find that the overwhelming feeling of cleaning a room you haven't done in a while is a blocker in itself....so back to "ready" is a great idea.  "Clutter creates stress" is a known fact....so go de-clutter!!!

3. Display sentimental items around your home.  For me, this is one of the easiest on this list, because I am very sentimental by nature.  As we travel thru different phases of our military life, I have SO many things that mean so much to me and bring back good memories that I have a hard time displaying it all.  (Remember, I don't want clutter! ;O)  "Make your home a gallery of positive memories" is a quote from the original article that spoke to me!  I love photographs and love to display ones from our family's great memories.  

4. Start a one-line-a-day gratitude journal.  How better to go to bed with a positive spirit than to think of something your are thankful for or a positive memory of the day.  I am a glass is half full kind of person, and I truly believe that in all situations, you can find something good about it (or in some cases....about a person).  No matter how bad or how good things are, if you chose to dwell on the negative your happiness will not be what it could be.  If you always chose to find the best in the situation you are in, you will naturally be happier!!!  

5. If you can't get out of it, get into it.  Oh this is a favorite....especially in our military life.  How many times have I felt like "I just don't want to do this" (DEPLOYMENT, for one)....but life continues and as in deployment if you can't get out of it, which we usually can't and don't try....get into it.  So my way of surviving those were to work for the Army and help others survive deployment as well.  It worked for me, in a quirky way.  I gained wonderful battle buddies, learned a lot, and helped others by being able to say, you too can do this.  So in your life if there is something you just don't want to do, but have to do....dive in head first and make the most of it.  I challenge you!!!  I copied this next part straight from the Apartment Therapy list, because I loved it so much.  "This tip comes from The Happiness Project. I love the message: The dishes are not going to clean themselves, so you will do it, and you will like it! (Unless, of course, you can outsource this job, in which case I say: Nice work!) Otherwise, get into doing the dishes. Feel the soothing warm water on your hands. Enjoy the tickle of the tiny bubbles. Crank your favorite album at an unusually loud volume, do a couple fist-pumps while shouting "Can I get a hell yeah for the dishes? Hell! Yeah!" and pretend you love it."  Haha...but a great example!!!

6. Before you get up each morning, set an intent for the day. Goals....they are what help us be more and get more out of life.  All the way down to the day to day goals.  Most people have long term goals, but what are your short term day to day goals and are they helping you get to where you need to be to manage your long term goals???  Well said here...."Setting a daily intent makes a huge difference. Your daily intent could be something like "be productive" or "enjoy today's delicious moments" or it could be something more specific like "say thank you to my loved ones today." But it should not be another "to do" item on your list."  My intent today is to enjoy the snow that is falling outside!  

7. Do small favors for your housemates, expecting nothing in return (not even a thank you!). (That's right, I said it: nothing!)  If only we could all in this world live by this code....I DO believe everyone would be happier.  The unhappiness comes from when you expect something in return.  Then you set yourself up for failure.  Do something nice and just get joy out of the fact that you did something nice!!!  "It's a well-known fact: When you do good, you feel good."  So go do good deeds (without anything wanted in return!!!)!

8. Call at least one friend or family member a day.   I can't say I totally agree with this one.  I really don't like to talk on the phone.  I would much rather write a handwritten personal note and mail it (old school) to make someone else's day.  The writer on the original article says that email and texts don't count, but I believe that they can.  Just to let someone know you are thinking of them.  I have received a text photo from a friend who saw something that made them think of me and they took a photo and sent it to me....I felt so good that they thought of me, it made my day.  So my basic suggestion is to make sure you are reaching out to family.  

Our homemade pizza
9. Spend money on things that cultivate experiences at home.  I firmly believe in this one.  Make your home a place you and others want to be.  We love nothing better than to make our own pizza's on our Big Green Egg grill and watch a movie at home all snuggled up!!!

10. Spend a few minutes each day connecting with something greater than yourself. "Whatever your spiritual beliefs — or non-beliefs — may be, studies show that connecting to a high power is correlated with happiness. Just stepping back to realize that we are part of an enormous universe can put some perspective on your annoyance with the those-are-definitely-not-mine-and-they-are-abso-fricking-lutely-repulsive socks under the coffee table. Before bed, spend just a few minutes contemplating something larger than yourself. Take a walk in nature. Write in a journal. Create a sacred space in your home."  

Enjoy looking from the inside out....Be Happier in your Home!!!

Well I hope this inspires you as much as it did me.  I must admit I always strive to create my surroundings that I want to be in.  So much so, there are days I am VERY happy to stay home all day.  And really look forward to those kinds of days!!!  

Enjoy your happier home,


  1. These are wonderful tips;) As another military spouse (I found you via your comment on Elise Blaha's blog) I couldn't agree more with your above statements. I find so many other spouses not making the CHOICE to be happy...it truly is one, especially with the challenges a military life encompasses. You set a great example, and I can't wait to read more! ;)

    1. Thanks Lindsay!!! I hope you get a chance to look around. I have fun sharing many things we do.