5 little things smaller

If you’re like me, the daily grind can get a little grating. Some days the work piles up, others you’re riddled with anxiety, or sometimes you can’t seem to get out of a funk. In the past, I would succumb: I’d work halfheartedly and spend twice as long doing it, I’d let anxiety paralyze me, I’d collapse on the sofa and waste the day watching Parks and Rec on Netflix for the third time (it happens).

But over the summer, I realized that incorporating little rituals into my everyday routine can make a world of difference. Even something as small as going for a short walk can reinvigorate you. So, for the next time you find yourself feeling crazed, or uninspired, here are some of my favorite ways to re-center.

1 // Hang up some string lights.

Turning on lights is basically a guaranteed mood-boost, especially in the colder months when it starts getting dark early. But there’s something undeniably magical about string lights: they’re delicate and whimsical, and I always feel a little happier when I have mine on. Around Christmas time, my mom lines the living room windows with them, so they always make me feel warm and cozy. I love these from IKEA – they feel a little less stark than a regular white string.

2 // Treat yourself to an afternoon pastry.

I do this one so frequently that it’s practically become a part of my routine. I’m partial to cinnamon buns and scones, but whatever the pastry, taking a break in the late afternoon for a little snack is one of my favorite indulgences. I’ll grab a pastry in the morning (or make it myself on the weekends) so I have it waiting for me when I get back home. Knowing that I have a treat waiting for me usually helps me push through my work and gives me something to look forward to.

3 // Curl up with a milky cup of tea and the news.

I usually combine this with the previous idea. I’m at my most calm when I’m wrapped up in a plush throw (the one pictured, from Urban Outfitters, is my latest obsession) with creamy black tea in hand, scrolling through the New York Times on my iPad, classical music playing in the background.

4 // Read something funny.

Laughter, after all, is the best medicine. There’s nothing quite like reading a “Shouts & Murmurs” story or revisiting a favorite David Sedaris piece to snap me out of a funk. (Here’s my favorite book of his – but they’re all good.)

5 // Listen to a podcast while you go for a walk.

Now that the weather is cooling off, going for walks is one of my favorite things – especially in the evenings, when it’s cool and crisp and dusky. In the interest of multitasking, I like to listen to podcasts while I walk, so I’m learning something new and exercising at the same time – some of my favorites are The World in Words (all about languages), 99% Invisible (cool design history), and The Stockholmer (stories of people doing amazing things in – you guessed it – Stockholm). Alternatively, switch out the walking for coloring in a coloring book if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

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