Whether you like it or not, most of us are now spending so much time at home. As an introvert, I love staying home, but as much as I enjoy my alone time, I also love going out to eat, drink, and especially, to see live music. Since I cannot go out these days, staying home, which is usually one of my favorite ways to spend my free time, is starting to make me feel a little blue. If we think about the reason why we are all staying home, it helps to understand the meaning of it, but it does not help us to feel better.
However, since we cannot change the situation, the best thing we can do is to try to make the most of it – to try to make our time at home as happy and positive as possible.
Of course, as it is already very popular, hanging out with friends online will be one way. We can feel that we are still connected, and knowing that might soften your anxious feelings.
But it seems like it is going to take a long time until things get back to normal, and we will not always have time to call our friends, it might help you if you know how you can make yourself happy even when you are stuck home alone. Here are the 10 little things anyone can try.
1. Decorate your home with flowers.
It is easy to feel bored when you have to stay home all the time – especially if you live by yourself like I do. Nothing will move or change unless you do something. If you are stuck with the same view all the time, things might start to look like monotone – even if they are actually not.
Needless to say, flowers will add some beautiful colors and scents to your home. They also change over time. You have to take care of them, so that will give you some responsibilities and hopefully will keep you busy even a little bit. It will absolutely make you feel happy when the buds bloom. Flowers do not live forever, but that will make you try harder to take a good care of them. Through those feelings and experiences, flowers will keep your heart warm and peaceful.
2. Get ready as if you’re on a date.
Since you are not going to meet anybody, you are safe to be lazy. You don’t need to wear makeup, get your hair done, or even choose your outfit. To be honest, that is awesome! However, if you are someone who usually enjoy any of these things, staying lazy for a long, long time can eventually make you feel down.
So get ready, as if you are on a date today. Wear whatever makes you feel great! Try some crazy makeup or hair style you were too afraid to try before. Put your fancy dress you thought you need to save for a special occasion. You can make today special, just by yourself. It is great to get ready just for yourself.
3. Put fairly lights on.
Fairly lights are one of the things I have always been jealous about when I look cute rooms’ photos from overseas (mainly from Western countries) on Instagram or Pinterest. I don’t know why, but it is very hard to find them in Japan! I was very surprised when I finally found them at a homeware store near my home, and I’ve been loving staying home ever since. I cannot explain enough how relaxing it is to see these tiny warm pretty lights blinking.
4. Make yourself a cup of warm comforting beverage.
More and more people are working from home, finally in Japan too. Luckily, I am one of who have the luxury to get to do so. When you are working, having a cup of hot drink aside definitely helps you to stay calm. When you are busy or focused so much, it is easy to forget breathing or hydrating yourself. You might be holding tensions in your body, like rounding your shoulders or frowning for a long time. Warm beverage will help you to take a little moment to stop and relax, which actually will be a great help to keep you productive for the rest of the day.
For a little lazy person just like me, instant powder latte or tea will be your best friend. They are also very reasonable. My favorite at the moment is “Cafe Latory” series from Blendy. When I need a little caffeine, latte is my go-to, because black coffee makes me feel tired too quickly. When I want something sweet to relax, I love drinking the ginger milk tea. You can find them at convenience stores, supermarkets, and pharmacies.
5. Have cheeky drinks once in a while.
I don’t usually drink at home, especially when I am alone. Just because I didn’t really wanted to. I enjoy going to parties or nomikais (Japanese way to call casual small parties or going to have dinner or drinks with friends or colleagues), but mostly because I love meeting and talking to people. To be honest, as long as I get to see my friends, I did not really need alcohol to enjoy night outs. I’m not strong either.
But since now I am staying in a tiny room of a tiny apartment in Japan all day long – when I am working, blogging and also when I am relaxing – it is very hard to switch on and off my “work mode” and “private mode”. So I finally started to enjoy some sneaky cheeky drinks at home alone, at the end of a busy work day.
6. Find your favorite music video.
I love music. I honestly believe I cannot live without it. When I’m alone, I always listen to music – but since I’m staying home all the time, I started to watch music videos more often. My current favorite is “When I Get Home” of an amazing singer, Solange.
Most music videos are a length of one song. However this is a 40-minute movie for a whole album. I promise that every second of this video is beautiful, in modern, stylish, and artistic way. You may enjoy this video just like watching a movie, or if you turn down the volume a little, you may enjoy it as a background. It will calm you down and excites you at the same time – hopefully, you will know what I mean when you watch it.
7. Move your body.
It is scary, how easily you can spend a whole day – or even days – staying in bed or on a couch. It’s great, maybe for a few days, but if you keep living that way for too long, you will eventually feel depressed. Not moving your body enough is unhealthy not just for your body but also for your mind. I know gyms are all closed these days in many places in the world – but don’t worry, there are plenty of exercises you can do at home, even if you’re living in a tiny apartment just like I am.
I am a big fan of “Yoga with Adrien”, a YouTube channel where Adrien Mishler and her lovely assistant dog Benji teach you Yoga. What I love about this channel – other than how cute Benji is – is that Adrien is not focused on showing off fancy crazy yoga poses. She teaches us how to slow down, calm down, focus and be mindful about our bodies. Since I started doing yoga watching her channel, I learned to be aware more of my body’s condition. Where I am clenching, where I am relaxing, and what is different from yesterday, and etc. If you’re not an athletic person (which I am not, at all) or when you’re too tired for intense workouts, I highly recommend you to start with this channel. I can guarantee you that you will feel much more peaceful and happier afterwards.
This video is the introduction of her series named “Home”, which you can do yoga with her everyday for 30 days. (Actually I started this 30 days challenge today! Do you want to join?)
If you’re not feeling like doing proper yoga or workout, just dance a little to your favorite music! (I already miss dancing to live music so bad…)
8. Educate yourself.
Do you have something you have always been interested, but never found time to learn? Do you have something you wish you knew more about? Whatever intrigues you, go for it. This should be the right time to start learning something new. I believe that satisfying your intellectual curiosity is also a very important thing to stay healthy.
Learn a new language, study for an exam or to get a license. Reading will also be a great way to learn new things. Even though we cannot go to classes, we can still take high quality online lessons for very reasonable prices.
I also have wrote about this before, but “SkillShare” is an amazing online learning service. If you pay annual fee, you can take almost all the classes with no limits. Teachers from all around the world is providing online courses about wide range of topic. For example, language learning, cooking, marketing, sales talk, speech, flower arrangement, water coloring, and so forth. I took several classes about WordPress and blogging, before I started this blog.
Recently I am interested in “MasterClass” on which you can learn from world class top professionals online. You can learn creativity and leadership from Anna Wintour, and acting from Natalie Portman – how exciting and motivating is it already?
If you have a very limited budget now, you can go to YouTube and find tons of practical and informative tutorials with pretty good quality.
As I wrote before, I learned English mostly in Japan, where unfortunately not so many people speak English fluently. Since I was mostly learning English on my own with very limited budget, YouTube videos and drama series were the biggest help for me to improve my listening and even speaking skill. How? I just kept watching them in English, without any subtitles. (I wrote about that in detail, in a series here. Sorry, it is available only in Japanese for now!)
9. Think of the things you feel grateful for.
Who knew 2020 will be like this? It is horrible. I think everyone in this planet earth will agree on this one point. But if – this is a big if – we can see the silverlining of this situation, this year definitely taught us how precious and valuable each simple thing we used to do was. Even the things we took for granted were actually miracles. Who knew?
Who would have imagined that talking to your friends face to face can possibly be dangerous? Who would have thought shaking hands and hugging can be a threat to your life?
If you feel comfortable with trying to be positive about this situation, it might be a good time for you to think about what you feel grateful for, what is important to you, and how you want to live after all of this ends. If you want to share your positivity with someone, call or message them and tell how much you appreciate them.
10. Be creative, and keep a good balance of consuming and creating.
There is one thing I always pay attention to stay as happy as possible – it is to keep a good balance between consuming and creating. This might sound a little overwhelming, but it’s actually a very simple thing. It just means that if you are always passively receiving or being entertained by something other people created, you will eventually feel bored and exhausted, so you also need to positively engage or participate in something excites you.
There are so many things we can consume. I can easily spend a day just watching Netflix, reading, scrolling Instagram feed, listening to music, and eating some snacks. I will be happy to get to do all of these things – but if I keep living like that, I will start feeling down.
So create. Anyone can be creative. Try whatever makes you look forward to doing. Cooking something you’ve never tried will be fun. For me writing is my favorite way to be creative. You can decorate your home nicely. KonMari-ing your home will also awaken your creativity. Take some photos and upload on social media, start journaling, or just dance by yourself or sing in shower – whatever it is, when you are positively doing something that excites you, you are “creating”. I genuinely believe that creativity can be a key to stay positive, even in a difficult time.
These are the 10 things you can do to make you happy at home. You can try any of this even if you are living alone.
I hope you can find peace and love in this hard time, and most importantly, please stay safe. Hopefully we can do hanami – going to see beautiful cherry blossoms – next year.