When the natural light of the morning streams through the windows in my reading nook, or when the evening light as the sun sets kisses the top of my pillows on my sofa as though reminding me to settle down and relax, my days soften, my breath deepens, and simply because I have taken notice of something out of my control, yet in my control to appreciate, something that is beautiful and calm to my eye. As well, something that is fleeting and therefore requires my full attention to savor because once the sun rises or sets just a bit further, in reference to the two examples mentioned, the natural light will have changed.
What brightens our days will be unique to each of us, but it is in knowing what brings brightness and choosing to welcome the beauty that provides the necessary grounding to appreciate more fully everydays we love living.
Today, I would like to share with you 18 ideas to add a touch of brightness to your everydays whether in your home or elsewhere that while won’t last all day or last year-round, will be intentional details you can add to your life to elevate the quality even more than you may have imagined possible. By simply intentionally adding these details to our lives, we are prioritizing the need to extend gratitude, and while we may not express it verbally, when we witness what we have chosen to brighten our days, it holds our mind in a constructive place from which wonderful, beautiful and heartwarming moments can unfold. Why? Because what we focus on grows. What we exercise becomes strong. And if we are focused on not only noticing but actively choosing constructive, beautiful and moment-elevating ways of living our life, then we are growing a life we will love living each day.
Let’s take a look at the list.
1.Make your own tea or coffee slowly and intentionally
Recently, a dear and long-time TSLL reader shared with me his coffee brewing ritual of using a Chemex coffeemaker, and how the brewing is a ritual that offers an elegant simplicity, offering the time to savor each sip, a ritual he has come to enjoy.
As tea drinkers, why not use a paper tea filter (I recently began using these, and quite like them as they are biodegradable, and easy to fill and place in the teapot), steeping the loose leaf tea as long as needed, perhaps place a tea-cosy on your teapot, and enjoy a moment in your day to have your proper cup of tea.
2. Plant a single tulip or daffodil bulb in a small terracotta pot in autumn, place outside during the winter, and . . .
. . . when it begins to stretch from the soil, bring it inside and place on your work desk, kitchen counter, any place that you see often to brighten your spring days.
I learned of this idea while listening to a gardening podcast recently as Alan Titshmarsh shared the idea if you happened to have an extra bulb that doesn’t fit in your large pots, to place a single one in a small pot, and instead of keeping outside when it begins to bloom in spring, bring it in to brighten your sanctuary, the office desk was his suggestion, which is what I look forward to doing as well. (Pick up Titshmarsh’s new gardening book that was just released in the UK here.)
3. Snuggle with your pet and let go of having to be doing something while you sit (except sip a favorite Cuppa perhaps)
4. Take a walk surrounded by autumnal colors
5. Make a meal using seasonal ingredients (or add seasonal ingredients to a dish you ordered to bring home)
Over the weekend, I was at the deli in my favorite local grocery store, and while picking up ingredients for my dinner, I noticed a new salad consisting of gigante beans and cherry tomatoes, dressed in a red onion and champagne vinaigrette. I ordered a small serving to try, and upon arriving home, took a bite, loving the overall flavor combination and profile, but I also noticed the tomatoes weren’t as fresh as what I had in my garden, so I stepped outside and pulled a few of my yellow cherry tomatoes, slicing them in half and adding them to the salad. My first bite with the new addition deepened the flavor profile and created a satiating taste that was far richer, sweeter and less tart. Parfait!
Similarly, when you can make something with seasonal ingredients from either your garden or picked up at the market that you know were grown locally, your tastebuds will thank you, and you will bring a smile and thus brightness to your meal and your day.
6. Grow a small pot of daffodil paper whites (Ziva) for indoor winter color
Come December, much of the garden will be frozen and covered in snow, so why not bring some natural beauty simply into your home? Each to pot up, place a few bulbs (not too deep) into a favorite pot (rocks work as well as soil), and come the start of the new year, you will have white blooms to add a touch of brightness inside.
~I grew my own paperwhites in 2020, and you can see below they grew quite tall (yes, there were some white flowers at the top of the length green stems, but they were too tall for the shot).
7. Take a yoga class with fellow yogis
Whether you are a regular student or just being introduced to a studio and its instructor, being in the same space for an entire hour with fellow yogis who value this physical mindfulness practice and appreciate the value it adds to their life always lifts my days, and I walk out of the studio breathing more deeply, thinking less incessantly and am able to be more fully present as the rest of the day unfolds.
If yoga is not your preference, attend a class for physical exercise or activity that brings similarly-minded folks like yourself together. The gathering and appreciating the task you all enjoy will hold you in the present and brighten your mood as you engage in doing something you deeply savor.
8. Tidy up one space in your home that is in your line-of-sight frequently
As I look around my own home at the moment, I have dog toys left strewn about the hardwood floor, one on the sofa, one next to Norman (Little One brought it to him and left it as he was napping) and another on the rug in the living room (now she sleeps, but I am not rushing to pick everything up), and these are just the toys I can see from where I am sitting – there are more. While I will pick them up later today, what is tidied up is the sofa as well as the chairs sitting next to the fireplace, both in my line of sight. I walk past them everyday, many times each day, and so seeing small vignettes in my home that are tended to, thoughtfully picked up, brings a smile when I see other areas that indicate a healthy, happy pup feels right at home and now sleeps soundly due to her exhaustion following playing robustly with each of her many toys. This time in her journey won’t last forever, so I am letting go of the toys being floor decoration at the moment. Both bring a smile and add brightness to my days – the tidiness and the enjoyment of the toys.
9. Begin your day listening to music that helps you ease gradually into it
For me, it is classical music. And with a classical music station I trust, they play music that helps lift the day, not adding anything heavy or stressful, just a gentle energizing motivation to turn the lights on, have a good stretch and step into my slippers to begin what has the potential to be a great day.
10. Take a walk outside to breathe in the fresh air, no matter how cold it may be (bundle up!)
If you have pups, take them with you, but even if you are walking sans chiens, the physical moment and being outdoors will refresh your mind, your body and reset your focus if you choose to let the magic of Mother Nature work. The walk need not be long – 5 or 10 minutes, but oh, what power in those handful of minutes you will find.
11. Pick up or order a good book you look forward to reading, and wait until you head to bed (or in the evening) to read, giving yourself something to look forward to
Knowing what type of book to read before you fall asleep is powerful information. For example, I no longer read non-fiction, psychology or science-focused books before bed, but instead light-hearted reading; however, the book still needs to be something I find value in, enjoy and holds my attention so much so that I want to keep reading, but my eyelids are too heavy to keep open. Looking forward to such a book brights my nights every single day.
12. Go treasure-hunting and find a beautiful vase, then fill it with fresh flowers. Place in your home – somewhere you pass by or sit next to often
As much as the fresh flowers brighten our day, so too does a thoughtfully paired vase, so have fun shopping for vases to keep your collection. I came across this ink-storage container at a second-hand shop in Bend a handful of months ago, and for many reasons fell in love with it. For fewer than $10 or so, I brought it home and have been loving the sturdiness it gives to blooms that have heavy heads such as dahlias.
13. Make this simple drink to sip (bring it to simmer over the stove, and then keep at a low heat) – apple juice or cider with cinnamon, clove (an perhaps a splash of Cognac)
14. Take a hot bath in the middle of the day or afternoon, letting yourself be immersed in the water anytime you need to soak (it need not be in the evening)
One of the best ways to sink into a hot bath without a bit of guilt is to have completed something you have desired to complete, no matter how long it took. Sometimes after a morning of gardening on the weekend, I will draw a hot bubble bath, and upon emerging, while yes, relaxed, in a few hours, I am reenergized for a lively afternoon or evening.
Taking a bath while traveling or after traveling, whether it be in the morning or mid-day, I have found to be a powerful brightener to our energy levels, staying in the bath as long as necessary to feel rested.
Similarly, if you have office work to day while you are at home, tending to the necessary work, following completion, taking a hot bath, brings a calm not only to the bather, but your sanctuary as well (both of my pups will often take my baths as a cue to rest as they know we will be up and walking later in the day without a doubt).
15. Read a book that teaches you the skills/tools you have been searching for
16. Place a candle on a table where you sit and relax
17. Grow a rose that has a fragrance that makes you swoon
Whether you have garden space or a beautiful pot to place a shrub rose, consider growing at least one shrub rose, selecting it first for its scent and then its beauty. I added David Austin’s Golden Celebration to my garden this fall, and already it has shared a few blooms, and the one you see above and below is the first one, and its scent . . . ohhhhhh, myyyyy. Richly scented and described as strawberries and Sauternes wine (made with semillon, sauvignon-blanc and muscadelle grapes). If you love yellow roses, this one is a gem, prolific and with oodles of petals.
~Currently Golden Celebration is on sale at Oregon’s Heirloom Roses (where I purchased mine).
18. Begin collecting something that you love and has meaning to you (whether others understand or not), then make sure . . .
. . . to create a thoughtful spot in your home to display your finds discovered over many years.
This idea is not a new idea, but when I was watching a new House Design video from House & Garden UK recently of interior designer’s Carlos Garcia’s English country home, a home I continually draw inspiration from, he shared his collection of 18th and 19th century Mocha ware on a shelf in the kitchen. How he chose to display them demonstrations that you can do so to make them look intentional and meant to be in the kitchen – not cluttering, but still something clearly special and potentially useful. However, to you, the collector, seeing them, just might make you smile as it is not something easily accessible and the particular focus of your collection speaks to something meaningful to you.
For me, while I don’t collect many particular items, I would say, it is my copper pans. I use them, they have come from a variety of French locales and various trips as well as gifts, and they hang above my stove – not cluttering, useful and provide decoration as well. I wouldn’t want too many, which makes the pans I choose to by all the more special and considered.
The little touches, the thoughtful details that we either create, add or witness fully and with intention have the ability to raise the quality of our days to a deeply enjoyable level. Take a moment today to consider what you can add, even if it is just one idea from the list above or an idea that was sparked by today’s reading and prioritize doing so as soon as you can. Wishing you a wonderful start to the new week and month.
SIMILAR POSTS/EPISODES YOU MIGHT ENJOY
episode #337, 10 Everyday French Details I Incorporate Into My Routine