I will never forget a comment my mother-in-law made about her home when she called it her “sanctuary.” No matter what else was going on in her life, she wanted her home to always feel like a reprieve from stress and a place she could go to truly unwind, relax and rejuvenate herself.
It was a comment that struck me deeply because it is something I wanted to achieve in my own home. Now that Ryan and I have a baby in the mix, creating a home that feels safe, warm and comforting for Chase is incredibly important to me. I want our home to feel joyful, secure, relaxed and welcoming.
A few months ago, I received an email from Kathy Davis about the company’s mission to inspire others to create a life they love, find joy in everyday moments and celebrate the big and small moments in life. I love their mission and today I’m teaming up with Kathy Davis to share a small handful of simple things I do in my day-to-day life to create a life I love. I’d absolutely love to hear a little bit about what you do in your daily life to help yourself live a life that brings you joy in the comments section of this post!
How I Create A Life I Love Every Day
- Listen to Music
Music is powerful and can alter my mood – and often improve it – in an instant. Music is constantly on in the background in our house and helps keep our home environment feeling alive and joyful, especially when it’s just me and Chase at home together. I can already tell Chase loves music and now that he’s finally embraced my singing (there were a few months there where he hated it!), we sing and dance together daily which always makes me laugh and smile.
- Observe Sadie
I think my fellow dog-obsessed friends out there will feel me on this one! There’s something so uplifting about watching a dog just be a dog. Sadie is, without a doubt, one of the most joyful and energetic creatures on the planet and watching her love for the simplest things in life reminds me that the small things in life can be the source of BIG joy. The level of happiness Sadie experiences when she finds that perfect stick or when we simply say the word “walk,” is unbelievable and, as cheesy as it sounds, encourages me to focus on the joy found in the little things in life.
- 10 Minute Post-Dinner Clean Up
This is one of those simple tricks I read somewhere that I immediately began implementing in my life that made a big difference. After dinner most nights, I try to spend 10 minutes cleaning up. Ryan usually does the dishes, so while he’s doing our dinner dishes, I’ll spend some time wiping down counters, putting away baby toys, straightening up my home office or our living room, etc. It’s crazy how this simple task improves my happiness when I wake up the next morning to a house that looks a little more organized and clean.
Exercising is my “me” time and something I try to do frequently because it brings me so much joy and makes me feel good about myself. There’s something I love about working up a sweat and feeling strong and powerful at the gym or at home during one of my at home workouts. Knowing I am doing something positive for my health and my body makes me feel great and there’s no beating the rush of endorphins I get when a workout is done.
- Go to Bed Early
Whenever possible, Ryan and I like to go to bed early. We’ll often climb into bed an hour before we really intend to go to sleep because we love the feeling of entering our bedroom and knowing the work of the day is done. Climbing into bed early gives us time to read, talk and relax and the feeling I get when I crawl into bed at the end of a long day can only be described as a joyful sense of quiet calm.
Ryan and I recently upgraded our comforter which we’ve actually been meaning to do for years after Sadie ripped into our old comforter back in Ocala when we were away during a particularly loud thunderstorm. Thanks to Kathy Davis we now have beautiful new bedding in our master bedroom – without any vizsla-inspired rips and holes!
We love the calming look of the black and gray Kathy Davis comforter and I accented the neutral look with pops of teal and green to fit with our master bedroom décor. The comforter is soft and warm and also reversible. As someone who used to rearrange her room regularly as a young girl, I love that the comforter is reversible as well, so we can easily give our bedding a refresh by simply flipping it over when I am craving a small change.
- Spend Time Outside
This is a HUGE one for me! There’s something about taking the time to step outside and notice the beauty of nature that helps me look at my stress and problems in a new way. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life when I’m doing my best to work as diligently as I can during my small amounts of free time during the week. Right as I’m really starting to feel the stress, Chase will inevitably wake up from a nap in the middle of a project and I’ll feel my stress level rise. Caring for a baby while working from home means my work and projects must wait until Chase’s next nap or later in the evening when I have time to focus again.
It’s easy to feel stressed out at the limited amount of time I feel like I have to get anything done these days, but there’s something about heading out on a walk with Chase and Sadie that causes me to pause and feel grateful for this struggle. Walking around the neighborhood, breathing fresh air with my baby and our crazy dog makes me feel like the struggle and stress is all absolutely more than worth it. Being a mom brings me so much joy. This blog brings me joy. And doing both things at once everyday is a blessing. Sometimes stepping away from the computer and into the sunshine is the best way for me to remind myself of this simple fact.
- Embrace Mom Mode
One of my biggest goals every day is to keep Chase my number one priority. Since I work from home, sometimes when Chase is awake, I find myself getting in my head and thinking about the next work-related task I need to accomplish but I really, really try to focus on being in the moment with my son. Never in my life have I felt more present than I have since Chase was born.
Having a baby forced me to slow down and enjoy the moments I am living in as they happen. There is nothing better than making my son smile or giggle and though I sometimes struggle with feeling like I’m not doing enough professionally when I am out on a playdate with Chase, I know in my heart that Chase experiencing new things, learning from other babies and enjoying time outside is always more important than everything I’m not doing. The number one piece of advice I’ve received from moms with older children is to embrace and cherish the younger years of a child’s life because they go by so fast and it’s something I try to take to heart. I love being a mom and cannot put into words the amount of joy mothering Chase brings me every day.
- Listen to Podcasts
Podcasts inspire me in my professional and personal life. Focusing on the professional side of things, as a blogger, it can feel isolating at times to work for myself at home with no coworkers. While I know I can always text or call blogging friends, sometimes I miss the energy of the workplace and camaraderie among coworkers working toward a similar goal. Listening to entrepreneurial podcasts or podcasts created specifically for bloggers helps me feel connected to people with similar goals and desires.
Podcasts like Chopped and Blissful Bites often teach me something and leave me feeling motivated to continue to pour a lot of time and energy into blogging and all the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes into creating and maintaining a blog. On the personal side of things, the Happier podcast is one that constantly encourages me to focus on my happiness by making small, simple changes in my daily life. Love it!
Kathy Davis Giveaway
And now here’s your chance to win your own set of Kathy Davis bedding to help you create a life you love to live!
KATHY DAVIS™ & PB Fingers Bedding Giveaway
Question of the Day
- What is one simple thing you do every day to create a life you love to live?
I would love to see a blog post with all of your favorite podcasts. I am always looking for a new and interesting podcast!!
Alyssa @ RenaissanceRunnerGirl says
I try to spend time outdoors and embrace nature as well!
Fiona @ Get Fit Fiona says
Music and early bed times are big for me too. They make such a big difference in my mood.
Awesome post! I like starting my day off with prayer and thanking God for my many blessings! I also love a good workout to keep me feeling great!
Before I start any kind of work or read my emails, I check my favorite blogs (yours included!) at my desk. It brings me joy to not feel like a hamster on a wheel at the workplace and I love starting my day with things I love reading. It only takes 10 minutes and it puts me in a great mood to start my day!
Love that! And thank you so much for reading!
Amanda @ Exploring Life & Things says
I always try and start my day with writing 1 thing I am grateful for in my gratitude journal. It puts my mind in a positive spot and gets me ready to start the day! It’s super cool to reflect and look back through the journal every so often:)
Julie–I love your bedroom furniture! Would you mind sharing where your bed and nightstands are from? Thank you!
Thank you! We ordered the bed from Overstock.com and I actually found the nightstands on sale at Big Lots a few years ago!
Angela @ WittyAspirations says
I love the stools/cubes at the end of your bed! Where did you get them?
Thank you! The brand is Safaveih and I ordered them on sale through RueLaLa a few years ago.
Nicole @ Blunders and Absurdities Blog says
I love that picture of Sadie! I try to get up when my alarm goes off instead of hitting snooze so I’m not rushed in the morning and can grab something healthy for breakfast. I also love turning on the Food Network for background noise – it makes any mundane work I’m catching up on a lot more pleasant!
Kristy Engelke says
It would definitely be embracing mom mode as you mentioned and just taking it easy and soaking in the moments with my preschooler and toddler.
Absolutely! Sometimes it’s hard when there are a million things on our to do lists, but nothing is more important than being Chase’s mom to me. <3
Sarah @ Sweet Miles says
Spending time with Adeline after work SANS cell phone and tv! Kind of like how you mentioned being present. I find myself always reaching for my phone when I’m with her that recently I’ve started leaving it in the other room and just having quiet time just the two of us without ANY distractions!
Karianne Ortiz says
I LOVE this topic!! I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. My hubby is military so we’ve moved recently, I stopped working full time, and we now have a 5 month old! In the midst of our craziness I found myself feeling really happy and have been wanting to capture, enhance, and capitalize on those feelings. (Because heaven knows, life is not always like that.) I teach fitness classes which ALWAYS offers a pick-me-up, whether I want to be there or not. I’m also trying to focus on the simplest way to get things done (like a 5 minute clean up before bed or putting something away every time I get up or move rooms). My background is journalism and PR, so I’ve also been trying to get my writing itch out by returning to my blog and also doing graphic design projects for fun.
I love this post, there are so many small things you can do in a day to improve your life. I went on a long walk in my neighborhood last night and took pictures of flowers… it dramatically improved my mood! I think doing small acts of kindness also helps:
I always try to let the people I love know that I love them, either through words or actions. Spending time helping or doing something for others, no matter how small, makes me feel happier. Who doesn’t want to make those they love happy too?
cara zimmer says
What a great post! I was off yesterday and spent the day running kids around to their scheduled events and running errands. I was exhausted come supper time and VERY cranky. I decided to put a smile on my face while I cooked supper and asked myself what would make me happy right now. I ended up snacking on a handful of m&m’s while cooking a healthy supper and listening to my fave music. Felt amazing after that!
Paige Russell says
Hi! Where is your beautiful bed from? I just got married and we have been looking for one exactly like it! Thank you so much!
We bought it on Overstock.com a few years ago!
Absolutely loved this post. Every once in a while you post things that really get me thinking, and did just that. Spending time with my family, taking long walls with my fiancé, running and going to the country side always get me in a better mood. And now that we are moving to another country, donating superfluous things has really helped me reflect on how to better spend time and energy. Less is always more, I tell ya
Thank you, Ana. I love your comment and ideas! Good luck to you in your upcoming move!
I have a cup of tea or hot chocolate every evening to unwind from the day and relax. As a busy mom/wife/nurse I enjoy the me time over my cup & reflect on the day.
Allison H says
I love you headboard/bedroom set! We’re looking for something very similar, where did you purchase it?
A few things keep me relaxed to love and live life. Fresh sheets almost always guarantee a good nights rest. I try to read a daily devotional either first thing in the morning or right before bed. A clean and organized home is refreshing and even de-cluttering from time to time helps. I also agree with you that getting outside, music, and exercise are all great for stress relief. I recently started a garden and find working in my garden relaxes me and I’m getting a puppy soon, I can only imagine how much joy that will bring into our home!
Katy @ Dirt to Delish says
Thanks for the podcast suggestions! I don’t leave as much time as I’d like to sit and read through a magazine, so I think of podcasts as magazines that can join me on a run or walk. 🙂
Although it doesn’t happen every morning, taking a few seconds to make the bed before I leave for work makes the end of the day much more pleasant and relaxing!
Torry @ The Gluten Free Wheat Life says
I love your tip about spending 10 minutes after dinner cleaning up. That is such a good idea and one I think I am going to start doing too!
It’s one of those super small things that makes a big difference for me. I really love waking up in the morning to a CLEAN kitchen/living room!
Working out while listening to a fun podcast or the Hamilton soundtrack. Also cooking with my husband and having things put in their place before bed.
I like to take some time to tidy up, check out Pinterest for a minute, check out blogs I like to read and I actually do like going to bed early too!!!
I want to get into podcasts I just don’t know where to begin.
Love this post!!!
Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment says
I am in love with my Mom’s dog, Nellie. Who doesn’t love a dog with an eye patch. Here is to you Nellie on your first birthday!
Your post really made me think! We just recently moved into a new home 2 months ago & we’ve been working hard to create that ‘sanctuary’ feeling–it can be hard at times when a house feels so foreign! I look forward to when we’re really settled & it feels more like home.
I also like how you & Ryan get into bed before you actually plan on going to sleep. During the school year, my husband & I try to stretch our nights out as long as we can & try to fit in our favorite tv show, but then find ourselves getting into bed & falling asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow. Then I say we never talk before bed, nor do I get a chance to read. I love this suggestion though!
Regina Andari says
I love that you mentioned taking to heart the advice to spend/enjoy as much time as possible with Chase because of how fast time flies. Most of the time when I hear someone say that, it’s after those precious years have passed. Your priorities are in order! What I do to create a life I love is spend time each day in my craft room. Of course, knowing that the house is in order makes that time more enjoyable. 😉
Love that, Regina!! <3
Anastasia White says
I have a cat that plays fetch believe it or not. He knows the sound of my alarm clock and will hop into my bed in the morning with a toy. We will do a couple rounds of fetch until it’s time for me to get up and it always starts my day out happy knowing he just had a blast!
Erin @ Her Heartland Soul says
Ohh I need to check out those podcasts!
Jennifer Oplinger says
Awesome topic! I love getting up an hour earlier than I need to, just to get in some quiet alone time before the rest of the house wakes up. I drink coffee and do whatever I feel at that moment. Sometimes it’s catching up on reading or straightening up the house or looking at menu options for dinner, etc. I’ve also begun yoga in three past month and love it. It helps me with anxiety and also focusing on mindfulness. It’s a physical workout but also a mental one, and it leaves me feeling like I am doing something to really improve my health and my life in general.
Jamie @milestohomestead.com says
This was such a timely post for me. I couldn’t help but feel so overwhelmed last night when I got home and had so much to still do around the house. I don’t want to feel like that when I come home. I couldn’t agree more with your mother-in-law. Incorporating a little joy in your daily life is such a great, rewarding practice!
Mary Beth Richardson says
One mantra we have in our house is “choose your mood”. Everyone has bad days, but we all have the choice to choose joy at the end of it. Sometimes it’s harder to just flip that switch, so I rely on the people in my life – coworkers, family, friends – & I have no problem turning to them and saying “I’m cranky….help me out of it” and by the end of that day, I’m laughing! I also live a few miles from Lake Michigan and let me tell you – beach therapy is a beautiful thing. 365 days of the year!
Heather L says
I love this post! Not because I’m super great at creating a life I love but because I needed this post right now. I’ve actually been trying to do this exact sorta thing and boy is it difficult. One thing I do is listen to audio books while I drive and exercise. My 3 year old daughter really likes to listen to the words, but my 5 year old daughter prefers music so we switch back and forth in the car. Having 2 preschool kids and a newborn is kicking my butt right now so this post is very appreciated! Thanks!
I always try to start my day talking to my sister! It’s a great start to my morning!
Maggie L says
I am trying to be more present in the moment now that I have a 2 month old baby. I know that though at times things seem overwhelming, I’ll look back and realize these precious moments pass quickly.
My husband and I eat dinner together almost every night. We put crappy tv on in he background because we like it and talk.
Hannah Biggers says
I make my bed every morning- something so simple makes me happy. I also keep the kitchen clean and house picked up (it helps because my husband also enjoys a clean space so there’s hardly ever anything to put away) – we are expecting our first baby in 2 weeks though 🙂 so I will find joy in being flexible and compassionate and not always having a perfect house.
For me it would be laughing. Which sounds so cliché and “duh”, but even if I’m having an off or down day, I try to find something to make me laugh, and I mean a deep down, belly laugh. Which usually my husband, or family, has a way of doing for me lol.
Kate C says
Love this post!!!! Music and working out also really influence my mood!