Here’s two piece of advice for you on a Monday morning: one is easy, one is hard.
First, the easy piece. You need to work more stretching into your day. Here’s some advice on how to do that. If it has been so long you don’t even remember how to stretch, I give you:
I don’t think you need a dozen stretches (but go for it if that makes you happy). I do four to six for about 20 seconds each and I find that very helpful. I try and focus on the parts of me that tend to get stiff or sore.
Now the hard piece. Does the following apply to you?
- You’re a perfectionist with high standards (and you don’t trust anyone else to meet them).
- You want to know every detail of an activity or event: Who, what, when, where, and why.
- You over-plan and get upset when things don’t go the way you envisioned them.
- There’s only one right way to do something—which happens to be yours.
- You get angry when other people mess up your plan, or do things differently than you would.
- You prefer to be in charge. That way, there will be fewer mistakes.
- You have trouble giving others free rein to do things as they see fit. Instead, you micromanage.
- You’re overly-critical of yourself and others.
That list comes from this piece: How to Stop Being Such a Control Freak. If one or more of them apply to you, you could be a control freak. It’s not a good way to be. If you would like to change that, I recommend you read that piece and work towards being less of one. The people around you would appreciate it.
(Image: link from Cup of Jo piece.)
I hope you had a chance to spend time with your family over the holidays. Here’s two pieces on families I thought are worth reading: Visiting My English Grandmother and How I wish my old diary held more detail of the night I met my husband.
It must be time for dinner parties again, pandemic be damned, because Bon Appétit had a bunch of pieces on the topic recently:
Now if you thinking of throwing a dinner party soon, those are worth reading. That said, lord they do overthink a dinner party. Rules! Playlists! Cultural relevance! I mean….
For what it’s worth, if you haven’t had people over for dinner in some time, the KISS principle applies (Keep It Simple, Stupid). If you need rules, here are some low stress ones:
- invite people you know well and who you are comfortable with. Not too many.
- know what they can and can’t eat.
- pick dishes that they can eat and you can make in your sleep.
- have people help you.
- have as much of it prepared ahead of time as you can.
- have a variety of food so that if someone doesn’t care too much for something, they can still fill their eat enough.
- have a dessert if you can. It leaves people with a nice impression. Plus it is great for people who are still hungry.
- have some appetizers if you can. It lets you buy time with early guests and hungry guests.
Ugh. Too many rules. Remember: it’s just dinner! People need to eat! Give them food! That’s it!
Unlike Bon Appétit, the blog Cup of Jo has the right approach to low key dinner parties. Two pieces of theirs I liked were:
And if you are still stressed by things, then make yourself throw a “crappy dinner party”. It’s zero pressure and 100% enjoyment.
If you want to read more about dinner parties, I wrote a ton of things and you can get them here.
(Photo is of the Canadian Thanksgiving dinner party in 2021 in Charleston, S.C. I broke some of my own rules but hey, rules are made to be broken. 🙂 )
For some time, I was doing well practicing mindfulness. I found it helpful. I don’t know why I stopped. But then I have stopped doing so many things during the pandemic, and mindfulness was one of those.
If that sounds like you too, here’s two good pieces that could help:
- How to Practice Mindfulness | A Cup of Jo
- How to Meditate: It’s Not Complicated, but It’s Not Easy | GQ
They’re also good if you haven’t done mindfulness before and want to start.
(Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash)
This is a game you can play any time, but it’s especially good to play it in a pandemic. What is the game you say? Here’s Siobhan O’Connor to explain in this piece, An Easy Way to Practice Gratitude | Forge. Key quote:
At our dinners, we sometimes played a game we called Five Nice Things. It is what it sounds like: You take turns naming things that are nice. Five is the number. It can be a thing that makes you happy, a compliment for the other person, a win at work, “This broccoli is tasty,” whatever. It’s a bit sappy, but it’s not the sappiest, and the rules were: Don’t overthink it, and be specific. We’d roll it out in other settings: group hangs, work, whatnot. It was, generally speaking, a hit. Even Eeyores can get into it if you bring to the game your Tigger energy. But it was most meaningful when it was just the two of us.
I think the way to make it easy to play is to avoid trying to find the five NICEST things. Five low key nice things are fine. For example five low key nice things for me are:
- Waking up in the morning and feeling good and energetic
- A bright sunny day after days of overcast skies
- Walking by a store with lots of tulips for sale in buckets on the sidewalk
- Buying a hot mocha on a cold winter day and sipping it as I walk
- Late at night, looking at a yard filled with new fallen snow and seeing how uniform it is and how it sparkles
Just thinking about them makes my brain feel better. I think once you come up with some, your brain will feel better too.
(Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash)
Coziness is in the eye (body?) of the beholder. For example, I find the above image cozy. Other people might find the picture below cozy.
Regardless of which one you prefer, I think having a cozy corner in your home is essential, especially as the cooler weather starts.
If you don’t have one or need inspiration, here’s 12 cozy corners from Cup of Jo you can check out and steal ideas from. A nice couch helps. So do blankets and pillows. Sleeping dogs and cats are nice. As are books and fireplaces. But don’t let me tell you how to be cozy: I think you should get there however you think best. 🙂
(Images from links to that blog post on Cup of Jo).
Congrats! It’s the weekend! You made it. Perhaps you want to relax. If so, here’s a list of books you might be interested in reading: 2020 books: Feel-good reads with guaranteed happy endings – The Washington Post
Hey, it’s the pandemic: you could use some more upbeat reading material.
If you are not the relaxing type, why not check in on that friend you haven’t heard from lately and drop off some soup. Need convincing that it’s a good idea? Read this: Soup for a Friend | A Cup of Jo
Obviously homemade soup is great. But if you live in Calgary, consider getting some soup from my friend, Carmie. She’s a great cook, and you can order soup from her company, SpoonFed. Get some bread or crackers, too.
The weather is getting cooler and the days shorter. Good soup can help you and your friends.
(Top image from the Cup of Jo blog post. Bottom image from the SpoonFed site.)
Someday we will have dinner parties, post pandemic. When we do, we will be very rusty having them. Plus, we will be so happy to have people over that the food, while important, should be secondary to being able to host people. So, what to do?
Easy, Through a very easy dinner party, like they did over at the blog, A Cup of Jo. It looks like a wonderful time with the least amount of effort. Which is fine! More than fine, in fact.
We will have dinner parties again. Read this and be ready.
P.S. Of course you can do just the opposite and throw an elaborate party to celebrate. That’s fine too! 🙂
Flowers from grocery stores and other such places are often uninspiring. Sure, you could take them home and stick them in a vase and be done. Or you can go over to this post and get some better ideas on how to make even a few stems of anything look beautiful: How to make basic flowers into something beautifulHow to Arrange Grocery Store Flowers | A Cup of Jo
The photo above is just one example. Go to A Cup of Jo to see some other smart examples.
Is this home featured here: This Cozy Minnesota Home Will Make You Want a Candelabra | A Cup of Jo
You really out to go to the site and check it out. Meanwhile, here’s a peek to show you what I mean:
Some thoughts on this:
- There is a ton of objects in this photo, but they are orderly. There is a place for everything; things aren’t just thrown about.
- The objects are all attractive: nothing is just stuck somewhere.
- It helps to be in a nice room, but the good thing about maximalism is that you can turn even a boring box in to something attractive. (Much harder to do with minimalism
- The colour scheme is consistent here. That helps rest the eye as it moves around the room.
I highly recommend you go to Cup of Jo linked to above and see the rest of it. It’s inspiring for maximalists like myself. 🙂
Meanwhile a bold maximalism is achieved here, not so much by the amount of items as by the amount of bold colours and prints used throughout the place. It’s still not a big place, but it feels right. I guess that is all relative, but I love this.
For more, see This Manhattan Home Feels Like a Jewel Box | A Cup of Jo
(Image a link from the above article in A Cup of Jo)
August 31, 2019 in homes, new!
Tagged colour, cupofjo, decor, design, homes, Manhattan, newyork, smallspace, smallspaces, tinyhomes
And here over at A Cup of Jo are Six Stretches for People Who Sit at Desks
These are good stretches….even non-flexible people like myself can do them. 🙂
Over at A CUP OF JO is “15 Genius Tips for Living in Small Spaces” that really are worth a read if you live in or plan to move to a small apartment or condo or dorm. It’s advice taken from a couple that live in a 250 square foot place, and they practice what they advise. 250 square feet is very small, as you can see:
And yet it looks like a beautiful space. Take a look.