"Make it nice!" This quote, taken from one if the best Real Housewives of all (Dorinda, NY edition), got me thinking recently. We so often reserve "making things nice" for special occasions. Dorinda herself uses the phrase to describe a party she's hosting or the pompous Christmas decorations in her country house.
But what if we made whatever it is we're doing nice, or at least nicer? Every day tasks and activities that we do all the time. Even if we aimed for just 10% nicer, how much of an impact would this have on our quality of life?
Looking back I realise that I was first introduced to this concept years ago, on a council run business workshop for women. One of the tasks we were set in the first week was to place a flower on our desk, or to light a candle, while we're working. Their reasoning was that this is a quick and easy way to connect us to our female energy while at work, often surrounded by a male influenced "hustle and push, always on call" mentality. Initially I thought this was silly and a bit woo woo. But the ladies running the workshop were rather glamorous and pretty successful, so I gave it a try. And wouldn't you know it, having a flower to look at or a candle burning made such a difference. Because I had made the miniscule effort of brightening up what I was doing, the appreciation it brought was plentifold. I felt more positive, mindful and nourished. Even when I was working on things that didn't bring me any joy at all (hello, tax return!), the ritual of making it nicer really eased the dislike of completing the task. Using nice colours on my spreadsheet didn't make the tax return any easier, but at least it was pretty to look at.
This so easily translates into every day life, if you're prepared to get a little creative and experiment with what works for you. No point staring at a flower, if that's not doing it for you.
Below are some ideas for making it nice(r) every day to get you started.
School run freezing? Take some tea in a thermos / wear a super soft scarf.
School run boring / annoying / hellish? Use it to do some deep breathing, maybe in sync with your steps or whilst stuck at a traffic light. Sounds a bit out there but makes one heck of a difference.
Night feeds with a tiny baby? Wear extra comfy PJs / listen to a podcast or audio book / read / use extra pillows for comfort / get your husband to bring you snacks.
Meal / snack time? Sprinkle some nuts or seeds on your salad / soup / porridge, for extra pretty, nutrition and satiety. Rather than just grabbing a bag of crisps or a bar of some sort, put your food on a plate, make it look pretty(ish at least) and enjoy.
Struggling to get your 8 glasses of water in? Spruce it up. I bet you don't hesitate reaching for the ice and slice for your G&T, so do the same for your water. It's like a spa day - every day!
Need to fold laundry / wash up / clean? Listen to some favourite songs or a podcast.
Washing your hands a million times a day due to small kids / avoidance of the noro virus? Use some nice soap. The artisan stuff, where the bubbles feel like satin. I bet there's some lurking in the back of a drawer somewhere you got as a gift or bought at the farmer's market.
Watching TV? Rather than double screening and scrolling on your phone, do some stretches to help whatever part of your body is aching (there's always an ache somewhere am I right?) or just really enjoy watching TV.
And here's a big one: use your good stuff. Use the nice glasses / plates / mugs. Wear the special dress. What exactly are you (and they) waiting for? My husband won't use glasses we bought on our honeymoon because they might break. True, but the amount of pleasure I get from using them every day, and remembering the trip is more than worth that risk. And they're nice to hold. Very satisfying. Just like wearing the dress / skirt / top / trousers that fit just right or are a really soft fabric. Or like writing on nice, thick paper.
The list of things you could make nice(r) is endless. It's all about being a little bit more mindful. Mindful of what brings you joy, what makes an activity feel special and rewarding.
Just some tiny improvements to every day situations will make you feel more nurtured, cared for and positive. Like you are looking out for yourself and treating yourself like the number 1 you are.
Something we forget so easily, whilst looking after everyone else. I know I make damn sure everything my daughters do is pretty nice. For myself, not so much. Time for that to change.
Go make things nice!
Silke is a mum of two girls (just turned 6 and almost 2). After a brush with PND and anxiety after each baby and being offered only unrealistic coping tools or prescription medication, she is determined to unearth simple and realistic self care, mindset and stress reduction tools for mums that will leave them feeling more resilient, calm, capable and happy. Find out more on her website www.nourishtothrive.co.uk or in her FB community Nourished Mums