The Recipe for Happiness in 2020: Focus on the Little Things in Your Life
What happens when a big change such as a global pandemic comes and disturbs our normal daily life? We start making sourdough bread and Dalgona coffee, we get on TikTok, and we cut and bleach our hair. But why?
Life is full of changes — that’s how we and everyone/everything around us grows. That’s what makes life so unpredictable and exciting at the same time.
Yet, who would have thought that in the first half of the year we’d all be working remote and staying inside all the time, going to work meetings, conferences and concerts online, and learning how to cook almost anything we’ve seen on Pinterest?
Now more than ever, we are looking for those things over which we have control while we still struggle to cope with what we don’t control right now. And what better place to get inspired and start this journey than the digital kingdoms of Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.
These days, social media platforms are full of videos of people baking bread, redecorating their bathroom or bedroom, doing all kinds of TikTok challenges and cutting/dying their hair or letting their spouse do it. This is the funny digital world we all live in now.
But that’s actually how we cope with a significant change that affects not only me and you but every individual on this planet — we hold on to some piece of everyday life normality and share it with others so that they can see that everything is going to be okay.
So, if we can’t — for now — go out, meet people, have coffee at that charming street corner café, go to the office and gossip with our co-workers or travel to far-off Instagram-worthy places, we’re going to create a new routine with the help of video apps and social media.
How do you spend your time at home?
It all comes down to how you perceive the whole situation.
You can either choose to keep your optimism and spend your time doing pleasant things like reading, learning, gaming, etc. or submit to ‘what if’ horror stories born out of the dozens of negative articles you’ve read and just haunt the rooms in your home while resharing that same panic-filled news with your friends.
I’ve chosen my path — I believe that the world will learn from our current situation and eventually heal. Now and then I will have a relapse to the dark ‘the-world-is-ending’ way of thinking, but my family and my boyfriend always succeed to bring me back on the right track.
My advice (also the internet’s recommendation) for this period is this: focus on the little things that belong to your sphere of control and that bring you comfort and happiness.
Here are some of the most popular ways in which you can keep your spirits up until the quarantine ends:
- Do a quarantine Bake Off
Food makes us feel good, so that’s why we love it and why your fridge has seen your face more times than your friends on Zoom these days. The extra time we now have to spend inside gifted us with lots of opportunities to get braver with our recipes. Maybe even change our diets for the best (I said ‘maybe’ so don’t throw tomatoes at me yet).
Have you been initiated into the ancient art of making bread? I know that a good half of my acquaintances on social media did. I haven’t baked any bread yet, but I learned almost all the ways in which pasta can be cooked.
With the help of my mom’s advice, Pinterest and Google telling me how much is a cup of flour in grams, I can say that my cooking skills have much improved. I call this the best achievement of a good Victorian wife.
- Give your hair a makeover
Put down the scissors for a minute and hear me out. The amount of videos of girls cutting or bleaching their hair with unfortunate results that I’ve watched these last few weeks is a bit frightening. I get it, not everyone is a pro at this and not everyone has a hairdresser in their family.
Also, I understand this dark need to do something different to your hair. I haven’t cut mine yet, but I coloured it using some semi-permanent dye (I know, I’m a coward).
If you haven’t done anything to your hair yet, I’d recommend you first watch these two videos on how to properly cut your hair and colour it without ruining it. They don’t make any what-did-I do-to-my-poor-hair regrets disappear, but they’re quite educational.
- Learn something new
The artist in you just can’t wait to browse the DIY board on Pinterest. At the same time, the Duolingo owl is ready to haunt your emails and your dreams as you might actually learn a few basic phrases for a future (hopefully soon) trip abroad.
There are thousands of online courses you can choose from. That sentence already cut your motivation to start any of them in half, am I right? Having so many choices might paralyse you but try to choose one or two subjects you like most and focus only on those.
- Play truth or dare with your partner
Living 24/7 with your partner is an opportunity to get to know each other better but also to learn how to respect each other’s boundaries and not kill each other until the quarantine ends. In my case, coronavirus made living together with my boyfriend happen. So, for now, we share the same space with a mischievous, occasionally Hades-worshipping cat named Rexona.
It takes some time to get used to the other’s habits and to establish new house rules such as who throws out the rubbish, who washes the dishes, who cooks today, who vacuums the rooms and disinfects all the surfaces.
In our home, the whole we’re-all-in-this-together situation sounds like this: I am kind of a clean freak, my boyfriend not so much and my cat is a proper tornado of fur, kitty litter, stolen chocolate candy wrappers, hair ties and whatnot. Please pray for us.
- Keep active with your favourite workout
I don’t know about you, but for me, this whole ‘stay active’ vibe lasted only for the first 2 weeks of quarantine. Now I take it easy, running after Rexona to stop her from breaking things around the house is the best workout I could dream of.
If you’re one of the people blessed by the Universe with a garden, I really hope you read this article while sunbathing or doing yoga or whatever you people with gardens do. (oh, how I miss the garden back home)
- Grow your own indoor garden
Some thyme here, some basil there and some oregano and rosemary over there. Don’t forget about some pretty flowers to put by your bedroom window. And some for your bathroom too, whatever you like.
Investing some time in caring for your small apartment garden will bring you some peace of mind. This is true unless you’re a cat owner.
- Binge-watch like your life depended on it
You know all those series that have been piling up on your must-watch list, now’s the time to see if what your friends recommended is really that good. Maybe you’re one of those rare creatures like me that haven’t yet seen Game of Thrones.
- Join TikTok
Depending on which quarantine stage you’re at, you either hate this idea or you’ve already downloaded the app. There’s no in between.
Make the most out of this time so that you can tell your grandchildren how you bravely fought for your mental health during a global quarantine… and how you almost became a TikTok star or why your cat has more followers than you on Instagram, but you can tell those stories some other time.
Keep safe, everyone.