Right now, millions of people in the US are spending more time than ever within the same 4 walls. Whether they’re working from home or staying home from their previous work, it can be difficult to stay positive. We’ve written before on steps you can take to be a bit more optimistic in general, but we thought we’d dig into it a little more here. Some of these tips to be happier at home are more serious, others are lighthearted. Take what you need and leave the rest behind!
Get Things Out of Sight
There’s actually a ton of research out there about the effect of clutter on our mental health. When you think about it, it kind of make sense. It’s like your never ending to-do list has come to life and is staring at you from the couch. Plus, it can contribute to depression and fatigue, which are two pretty obvious ruiners of general happiness. If you can’t escape the clutter, it might just be time to face it head on.
Make the Bed
Look, no one is asking any questions these days about what time you’re waking up. It’s okay, we won’t judge. But when you do get up, try making the bed. Surveys on the topic seem to show that bed-makers are 9% happier than their non-maker counterparts. When routines are totally upended, it’s often good to have firm boundaries between parts of your day.
Go Through Sentimental Stuff
You’ve probably heard about the research that says experiences make us happier than our possessions. Well, now’s the perfect time to put that one to the test. Go through old photos, ticket stubs, wedding invitations, the foul ball you caught, that foreign currency pocket change and other sentimental items.
Stretch It Out
This one is especially great for people in tight quarters right now. Stretching can help improve circulation, which in turn can decrease the physical stress on the body and mental stress. You can stretch anywhere from the comfort of your bed to a yoga mat in your kitchen.
No one is too old for games — in this case board or card games. If you have someone else around to play with, great! If not, check out solo board games or look up single person card games. In a time where you’re feeling like your goals are put on hold, see if these fictional ones can offer a little bit of oomph in your life.
Look, art isn’t just for artists. There are heaps of research on the effect art can have on your mental health. There are entire professions dedicated to it. Use a creative outlet to scratch that itch for feeling productive, and just make something. You don’t have to hang it on the wall at the end of the day, but you will have an accomplishment nevertheless.
Do Favors for Others
This is another of those where the research is rock solid. Doing things for others makes you happy. Oh, and it makes you seem more physically attractive, too (we’re serious). If you’re chilling inside, it might seem like your options to do favors are a bit limited, but they’re there. If you have a partner or a roommate, that’s pretty obvious. Flying solo? See if you can help others through the good old-fashioned internet.
Eat Your Way Happy
If you’re anything like us, you may very well have hit the Nutella jar a few times already with a spoon. Check out a list like this one for an in-depth look at which foods may help improve your mood.
Stick Your Nose In a Book
Yep, the ultimate escape. And we don’t mean pick up that NYT Bestseller you’ve been meaning to read for the past 3 years. You know, the one absolutely guaranteed to make you cry? The one you’ve been avoiding? No, we mean the books you can read in a day. The ones that you can eat like cotton candy, ripping off huge bites and finishing the whole thing no matter what. The bodice ripper romance. The pulpy sci-fi. The beach reads. The autobiography of a celebrity you love and hate. Yeah, those.
Cook or Bake
Yes, that’s right. Become one of those people making sourdough at home for the first time (if you can find flour). Learn how to make macarons. Bake a soufflé that doesn’t deflate like a popped balloon. Nail a mole sauce. It can make you happier and feed your soul (and body) at the same time.