Many years ago when I was an angsty, hormonal teenager that seemed to find fault with everything, my mom said to me, “Happiness is a choice, not a destination.” I know we’ve all heard various versions of this phrase many times, but that is something that has really stuck with me, especially when I’m in seasons of life where things just don’t seem to be going my way. Being happy is not something we achieve, or reach, after a certain set of circumstances. Happiness is a choice we make and something we find in the little things, or the glimmers, that happen every day.
It’s easy to miss these little moments, if we’re not looking for them, which is why I love the new social media trend to “romanticize your life”. I always watch these cute little reels, because they cheer me up, and give me lots of little ways to romanticize my own life by looking for little glimmers and happy moments. When you weave enough of these together, you realize that a happy life is often just a matter of perspective. So, especially now, when we are in another hard season of life where I sometimes feel personally victimized by the universe, I am working hard to look for my own ways to romanticize my life.
If you’re also in the market for some creative ways to start romantizicing, maybe some of these ideas will help you, too.
Easy Ways To Romanticize Your Life:
I came up with as many ideas as I could that are not expensive or require a lot of effort. As a busy mom, I find lists that include lots of travel, fabulous places, and tons of time unrealistic. I need happy moments that aren’t going to drain my energy or bank account. If you’re in the same place, here are some sweet and easy ways to romanticize your life every day.
- Use the fancy dishes. Don’t save things for a special occasion. So get out those fancy dishes, use the pretty glasses, and take the nice coffee mugs off the shelf. Today is the special occasion.
- Wear the clothes you love. I catch myself waiting to wear things, but they’re not doing anything for me sitting in a closet. Wearing the shoes you love or the shirt that makes you feel pretty is special occasion enough. Don’t save clothes. I’m really great about this with my kids. I let them wear their special clothes whenever they want, so why shouldn’t I do this, too?
- Light the good candles. I get in the habit of saving things, like candles, but why am I doing that? I’ve started lighting the good candles. Once I’ve burned the entire candle, I clean the vessel and use it for something else. Win win.
- Show up for yourself. What’s that thing you’ve been wanting to do, that class you’ve wanted to take, that restaurant you’ve wanted to eat at, but haven’t? Maybe you’re waiting to have someone to do it with, but what if you showed up for yourself? Years ago, I wanted to be a better cook, so I just signed up for cooking classes at Sur Lat Table and went. Sure, there were couples there, but I wasn’t the only single person and everyone was friendly and helping each other. I had a great time. Show up for yourself.
- Celebrate everything. This is why I love the holidays so much. I feel like they stop us from the relentless rat race for just a second to enjoy the passing of time. It doesn’t have to be about how much you spend at all, but just finding a quiet moment to sit down and celebrate something that has happened. I recently hit a milestone with something I’ve been working hard on for years now and it would’ve been really easy to just notice it, then move on toward the next goal, but I really let myself sit and soak it in for a little while. I celebrated it quietly, at home, by relished in the moment.
- Use the phrase “get to” instead of “have to”. I saw this somewhere and I wish I could remember where, but it stuck with me. Change your phrasing and watch how it romanticizes your life. I get to go to pilates. I get to go for a walk. I get to go grocery shopping. Change the phrasing, change the mindset.
- Do things with intention. I love the idea of taking the mundane, every day things and doing them with intention. One girl I follow picked up a beautiful water carafe and glass at an estate sale and uses that on her bedside table at night. That simple act of using a glass she loves to look at makes having water by her bed something that brings her joy. Or, some people like hanging fresh eucalyptus in their shower to create a spa-like atmosphere. These may not be things that you will love, but when I see how other people romanticize their lives, it inspires me to look at my life, my every day tasks, and ask myself how I can do them with more intention.
- Take care of your things. I find that when I spend a few minutes every day taking care of areas in my home, I appreciate my space more. It’s easy to yearn for that mansion on Zillow I’ll probably never buy, but life is more meaningful when I appreciate what I do have. Just cleaning toys off the kitchen island, giving it a good spray down, and lighting a pretty candle instantly makes me appreciate my kitchen more and it takes me 5 minutes.
- Read a good book. I used to read all the time. Then I had kids. I stopped reading. In the last year, I’ve started reading again and wow I did not realize how much I had missed it. I’ve found a bunch of new authors that I love and now, when I need a short break, or have a few quiet minutes to myself, I escape in a good book instead of zoning out to endless social media posts or something else. On nights when there are no good TV shows on, I go back to reading instead of rewatching something I’ve seen 100 times. It’s a great escape and with apps like Kindle Unlimited and using the local library, it can also be a very affordable break.
- Practice the art of doing nothing. Not every culture prizes constant busyness the way that Americans do. In fact, some have perfected the art of doing nothing. I have really worked on this in my own life the last few years and want to raise kids who are comfortable with downtime and days with no plans.
- Explore your area like a traveler. I met a woman recently who had just moved to California and had a list of all these places she wanted to go and try. Many of them I’ve never been to and some I’d never even heard of. Life gets busy, bills need to get paid, but it’s important to enjoy your life. That doesn’t have to be an expensive vacation. Explore your area like you’re visiting for the first time or look for people on social media who are posting places they’re visiting in your area for ideas.
- Walk somewhere new. All the old philosophers were walkers. As I get older, I really appreciate the value of going for a walk. But, mix it up. Find walking trails nearby. Ask a neighborhood group for recommendations. Get your steps in while also changing your scenery and experiencing something new.
- Go Inside. I’ve gotten so accustomed to ordering things online, waiting in drive throughs, and using curbside pickup that I forgot how fun it can be to actually go inside places. I recently took my daughter to a store to pick out some clothes for school and she was so excited to shop in person and to see and try on the clothes. It was really cute and it made the whole experience so much sweeter. It reminded me that there is value to going inside, even though it initially feels like such an inconvenience. Whenever I take the time to go inside a coffee shop, I am reminded of this, because I have always loved coffee shops and I spent a lot of time hanging out in them before I had kids. When I make time to do that, it always ups my mood. It’s my version of smelling the roses.
- Help others. If you really want to appreciate your life, set aside some time to help others. It will usually give you a mood boost and you’ll go home and see your own home and family with a new perspective.
- Go for a drive. Have a little time to kill and feel stuck in a rut? As a mom, we end up with all these strange pockets of time, whether we are waiting for our kid to finish an activity or we’re early for an appointment. Rather than just sitting in the car, sometimes I go for a drive. I’ve discovered all sorts of cute places, parks, and neighborhoods we’ve gone back to visit just by cruising around for a bit.
- Start a garden or get a plant. Greenery improves our moods. Whether you have the space/desire to plant an herb garden or just need to pick up a plant that is hard to kill, it’ll add something extra to your space. A couple Christmases ago, I picked up a hydroponic herb garden for my chef husband and not only have we been astonished with how much it has produced (so, so much) with almost no effort on our part, but it adds a fun touch of life and greenery to our kitchen that we love. Here’s the one I picked for him and we’ve really enjoyed it.
- Refresh your space. Tired of everything? Hate all your stuff? Maybe it’s time to refresh your space. Start by selling or donating things you don’t want and then pick up pieces you really love as you find them and can afford them. But, here’s the thing: don’t rush. There’s so much joy in having a project and a purpose. Take your time to find exactly what you love. I admire people that spend hours walking thrift shops to find that one piece that they can refresh to make something so unique and cool. Or, the people who pick up some piece of free furniture and transform it into something extraordinary. While I may never get into furniture refurbishing, I can find ways to refresh my space and often the process of hunting for that perfect thing in my budget is the best part.
- Declutter. I am a huge fan of this one. When we moved into our new house 5 years ago, we had so many empty rooms because I got rid of so much stuff. Then, we slowly just added things as we found them. Now, when I start to feel toys and things piling up and threatening to suffocate me, I get to work decluttering. I love the phrase, “outer order, inner calm”. It is so true for me. I really appreciate my spaces more when I don’t feel overwhelmed by them.
- Take the long way. You know that errand that annoys you? You know that thing you hate to do? Take the long way. Take your time and find a way to make it less horrible. There’s an activity one of my kids does that is 45 minutes from the house. There’s a way to get there that is 5-10 minutes faster and sometimes I have to take it. When I am running early, I take the long way, which winds through much nicer areas and neighborhoods. If I’m really early, we have time to stop at a sweet little coffee shop for a treat and I get a coffee. It makes that task that can be cumbersome and makes it something I can romanticize and enjoy.
- Take breaks. This is something the younger generations are so much better at than the rest of us. They understand that living for their jobs is not the way to go. Take your breaks. Use your PTO. Take your sick days. The company will always look out for itself. Nobody is going to prioritize your life and mental health but you. So, make that your number one priority.
- Savor sweet moments. Making an afternoon cup of tea or your morning coffee? Savor it. Enjoy it. I love the British habit of tea time. What a great way to press pause on your day and savor a sweet moment. I try to remind myself to find ways to do this when I start to feel like a spinning top. One way that I like is to take a few minutes to set up a comfy space before I read or relax. I grab something to drink, a cozy blanket, maybe even light a candle, and then settle in. Because I am more comfortable, I enjoy it more. Or, if we’re going to watch a movie as a family, I’ll take a few minutes to make popcorn, get plenty of pillows and blankets, and get everyone comfy before getting started. It’s a small, simple shift that signals to everyone – this is something special.
- Don’t buy it if you don’t love it. I’m the queen of buying what’s on sale and then realizing I don’t even like it. Then, I end up wearing the same stuff over and over or I hate all my home decor I got on clearance. I’m trying to break this habit and only buy things if I love them, even if they’re on sale. I’d rather have less than have a closet or house full of things I don’t really like. I am doing the same for my kids. We used to buy all kinds of toys just to make their Christmas or birthday piles seem bigger, but now we buy what we know they’re going to love and enjoy, even if it’s less.
- Prioritize experiences. It’s easy to just let the days pass you by and get sucked into spending money as a substitute for your presence. We have been and are continuing to work on prioritizing experiences and memories over buying things. There is always something that we feel the house needs or that we should do with our money instead, but every once in awhile, you’ve gotta take the trip, buy the tickets, and do the fun thing. We have never regretted these decisions, even when they haven’t been the most fiscally responsible choices. Make a list of the things that you truly love or want to do and use this as your guide whenever you find yourself with the opportunity to choose an experience.
- Buy the flowers. Trader Joe’s has amazing flowers for such an affordable price. For $10-$15 I can make 2-3 bouquets that I set around the house and it really lifts my mood. I don’t do it all the time, but whenever I do, it really feels like a luxury. Fresh flowers are a fantastic way to romanticize your life. If flowers are not for you, find the version of this that speaks to you. Maybe you really love new shoes, cozy new blankets, getting a pedicure, expensive coffee drinks, or doing a certain hobby. Whatever brings you joy, find a way to invest in that as often as you can – and that will look a little different for all of us.
- Let life surprise you. One of my favorite parts of raising kids is watching how amazed they are with everything. It’s so sweet. As we get older, we can get stuck in a rut. It’s time to let life surprise you. Be open to new experiences and opportunities and say yes when you’d normally say no. It’s amazing where life will go if you let it lead sometimes. Let life surprise you.
You know, when I look at these lists of how to romanticize our lives, I see a common theme. It all comes down to slowing down, living with intention, and surrounding ourselves with the people and things that we love. Stop waiting for some day in the future when it makes sense to wear those gorgeous shoes, light that beautiful candle, and use the fancy dishes. Today is the right day. Celebrate waking up each morning and being alive.
That way, when we reach the end – we feel like we have really lived our lives and have not just been passive observers or passengers on someone else’s journey.
Have you seen the social media trend to romanticize your life? What are your favorite ways to do that?
If you like posts like this, you might also like these ones:
- 7 bath accessories for the perfect bath
- 5 Detox Bath Tips
- 9 Meditation Apps to Help You Relax
- How Practicing Mindfulness Can Reduce Anxiety
- 12 incredible benefits of castor oil packs and how to do them
Have a fabulous day,