As the days become a little more gray and we are spending more time inside than out, it’s important to find small ways to indulge our senses to improve our mood and patience while we manage the day to day tasks of family life. It can be too easy to dismiss the thought of pampering ourselves amid the onslaught of taking care of so many other people and things. But, it does not have to take very much time or money to make small changes that add comfort and bring a little something special to an otherwise ordinary day.
|pamper yourself when stuck inside|
The impact on daily life that can be made by paying attention to our senses occurred to me as I was standing at the kitchen sink doing dishes and not loathing the monotony as I usually would. The difference was that I was wearing new slippers and fabric lined rubber gloves. It sounds silly and is easy to take for granted, but those two small changes allowed me to actually lose myself in the task and let my mind wander, all because I was comfortable! Cold floors and dry skin in the winter are just part of reality for those of us living in New England but it also makes us appreciate warmth when we get it.
|cozy slippers are a must|
Another way I’ve been breaking up the afternoon slump at home with two kids is by drinking tea in the afternoon. This can also be a great evening ritual. I choose herbal varieties that smell great, like orange and peppermint. If you’ve ever visited a store like David’s Tea in Chestnut Hill, you know that there is as much to learn about tea as there is about wine and craft beer. Loose teas can come in almost any flavor you can imagine, but you can also keep it very simple and inexpensive with tea bags from the grocery store (which my grandmother always dried out to use again, if you’re really frugal.) To me, the more huggable the mug, the better. What has become a nice routine for me is now an experience I enjoy with my daughter. My three year old usually joins me with her Peter Rabbit mug filled half-way with luke warm peppermint tea.
|Find your huggable mug|
We can all agree that our sense of smell is powerful and sometimes inside a house with children and pets, the reason we know this is not very pleasant. Candles can be dangerous with curious, climbing toddlers, like my very agile son, but there are other ways to infuse the home with good smelling things. An inexpensive bouquet from Trader Joe’s has become a treat to myself during the usual and sometimes challenging task of getting through the grocery store. The blooms brighten my kitchen and add a fresh but not overwhelming scent. Another great way to add a welcome smell to your home is by using your crock pot! There is nothing like cooking something on low for many hours to fill your house with a cozy aroma. A third easy indulgence is scented hand lotion, which has a surprisingly consistent effect of perking me up.
|market flowers from flickr
Lastly, consider listening to more music! Smartphones make it easy to have music at our fingertips and even by knowing one artist or genre that you like, Pandora can do the rest for you! I used to only listen to children’s music when my kids were awake and playing until I was at a friend’s house one day and she was actually listening to good music that we both enjoyed. It dawned on me that not everything had to revolve around my precious little ones and that it was probably good for them to be exposed to a variety of music (so long as the lyrics weren’t wildly inappropriate, which can be harder than it should be to ensure.) Another great way to boost everyone’s mood, is to put on a few fun songs and dance! Our line up: ‘Shake It Off’ by Taylor Swift; ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams and ‘I Gotta Feeling’ by Black Eyed Peas. The funny thing is, my daughter now requests these as a lullaby at night.
|dance like no one is watching
Now that I’ve become conscious of these small efforts that make my senses happy, I’m finding more and more changes to make and items to use that all help pass the long days of January. I added a brightly colored mat in front of my washer and dryer, put a lavender scented plug-in in my bedroom, and I keep a stash of dark chocolate covered caramels in my cupboard. It’s the little things! Happy Winter.
About the author:
Liza d’Hemecourt is the blog coordinator for Parent Talk. She formerly taught kindergarten and first grade and now lives in Needham with her husband and two children.