6 mini-resolutions keeping me healthy and happy and sane this spring

6 mini-resolutions keeping me healthy and happy and sane this spring

My conscious mind is finally catching up to the fact that the season changed. Spring is here, in earnest. We’ve even had a few days already felt like summer, 85 and sunny.

With the new season comes new routines and habits—some good, some not-so-much. I’ve been taking stock lately, doing a sort of spring cleaning of my home and habits, in an attempt to emphasize the good and shed the bad.

There’s nothing dramatic I want to change, but I did come away with a list of mini-resolutions for the new season. Here’s what my list looks like right now. I’d love to hear yours in comments.

1. More hats. Perhaps this should be on my year-round list and not my NOW list, but it is what it is. Suddenly the sun is brighter and the UV index is  higher, and it’s no longer such a good idea to go for a long walk at 10 a.m. with no sun protection. (Sunscreen and I don’t get along very well, sadly. This is the best thing I’ve found but I still don’t like to use it every single day.)

Instead, I’m trying to remember to plunk a wide hat on my head before I step outside for more than 5 minutes. It gets the job done, plus I can use it every day with no risk of irritating my skin from constant use. (My hair is another story—any hat hair tips would be much appreciated in comments.)

2. More music. I don’t always think to turn it on—especially not while I’m working/thinking—but a little music does so much to brighten the mood. (One recent fave, right here.)

3. More green vegetables. With baseball and track and all those outdoorsy spring events, I’ve been on the go a lot more—which means I’ve been eating a lot more on the go. I keep a stash of almonds and these weird bars in my purse to stave off blood sugar issues, but the green stuff isn’t quite as portable or shelf-stable. It took me a month to realize I wasn’t eating as many green vegetables (which means not as many vegetables, period) these days. That’s not good.

I’m still on the go, and I’m still not packing vegetables in my purse much, but I’m prioritizing the green stuff while I’m at home—even if it sometimes means spinach for breakfast.

4. More greens, part 2. I’m filling up the house with green stuff these days. Every time I go to Home Depot (which admittedly is NOT terribly often), I can’t resist buying a houseplant, even if it’s just the $2.99 kind. The same goes for Costco (although it sure is hard to fit your groceries AND two giant boston ferns in your cart at the same time!)

I’m cutting all the pretty things from the yard and bringing them in. And even though our own backyard is overflowing with green stuff, when it’s ranunculus season at Trader Joe’s I can’t help myself.

Perky living things = instant mood brightener, so I’m plunking pots and vases everywhere.

5. Write it down. A couple of weeks ago, a friend came over to my house to record a podcast. (It’s a good one, and it’s airing tomorrow.) He took one look at my desk, which was blanketed with dozens of post-it notes, and said “can I give you a tip?” He wanted to tell me about his favorite organizing strategy (that gets its own post—coming soon!) but his comment made me realize why my desk was at Peak Mess: all that stuff belonged on my calendar or in my bullet journal, and I hadn’t taken the time to properly capture it. Ten minutes later, my desk looked much better.

That “properly capturing” part really belongs under the next point …

6. Complete the cycle. aka for the love of all things tidy and sane, FINISH WHAT YOU START. This nifty phrase blew my mind when I encountered it earlier this year. I’m not implementing it perfectly but I am implementing it regularly, and it’s making a big difference in how my home looks and how I feel—because when my bed is a mess because I haven’t made time to put my clothes away, I start to feel frantic, and I hate feeling frantic.

Laundry is a big place where I tend to leave the cycle open, and unfinished laundry makes me feel like my whole world is a wreck. I am sorry to report that I’ve realized “completing the cycle” as far as laundry is concerned means actually ironing my stuff that needs ironing, and I hate ironing. (My friend hinted recently that a steamer might change my life, but I haven’t investigated yet. It would be amazing if this were true.) But this weekend I ironed my three shirts (just three, in as many loads of laundry) that needed it and put them away and I was ridiculously pleased with my accomplishment.

Do YOU have any mini-resolutions that are keeping you healthy and happy and sane right now? I would love to hear all about them in comments!

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  1. Merrilee says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your spring tips!! One of my biggest life changers was the Due app I use on my iPhone. It’s a To Do list with scheduled reminders. It has completely removed the post-it mess from my life 🙂 It took me a few weeks to fully trust the system, but now my head and desk are free of all the cluttering thoughts and worries because I know I’ll be reminded to do them at an appropriate time in the future. And my favorite bars are the RX Bars. These were game changers for me because the egg whites actually fill me up. They’re paleo and most are even Whole30 too!

  2. Sky Sanchez-Fischer says:

    Oh Anne! I could have written this list. More vegetables, check. Hats! Check. I also cannot find a sunscreen for my Extremely sensitive/eczema skin. Hats….I love them but don’t wear them. This’ll change. Especially since I have a couple of really cute ones. I need more music (but can’t pull away from your podcast, which is the only one I seek out regularly….nightly and alone car time.) And I live in California so I need to find those ranunculus fields, stat!

    • Laura says:

      I am allergic to most sunscreens, but I don’t react until the sun hits the sunscreen, causes a chemical reaction and blisters my skin. I’ve discovered that sunscreen made for babies doesn’t do this (Aveeno is the kind I used, but any baby kind works). It doesn’t have the added perfumes/extras that make sensitive skin flare up. You should try it.

  3. Rachel says:

    Ever since I read your previous post about completing the circle- I’ve been applying that phrase to laundry and other housework. I hate completing the laundry circle usually because I find the process extremely boring, but being able to identify that as a problem has really helped me.

  4. Diane says:

    Try sugar snap peas for an easy way to add greens to your day. Great with hummus and it satisfies my need for crunchy and no cooking! 🙂

  5. Nichole says:

    I finally have laundry under control after listening to the podcast from A Slob Comes Clean. She recommends a laundry day for those of us who are easily distracted and messy. And it works! You don’t have to try and remember every single day what’s going on in the laundry room. And then run the same load 3 times because you forgot it and it got mildewy. But you do remember on laundry day, because that’s the only day you wash, fold, iron, put away. So sad that I had to be in my 40’svto learn this!

  6. Kris says:

    To simplify life, I made these changes: Too many dishes – so I gave away a LOT of our dishes – plates and glasses. Less clutter = less stress. Now if we are short I just need to wash rather than declutter a whole sink or dishwasher (or both). Also switched to smaller plates for meals = brainless portion control. Switched to Norwex (silver-infused cloths) for all cleaning, no more toxic and expensive cleaners. Also the face cloths have removed any need for fancy face soaps or exfoliating creams, and my skin (and blackheads) are the best ever! I now do Dream Dinner meal prep 1x a month. All prepped in the freezer ready to go in usually :30 with no dicing or searching for spices etc. Covers us for nice sit down family meals 2-3x a week, with leftover for work lunches. I only need to grocery shop for staples, breakfast & snack items now. Got rid of Costco membership – we are a small family and it was just an excuse to overbuy. For sunscreen I use CoverGirl Aquasmooth – built in SPF30, foundation and powder in one (great coverage!). Only used that for 20 years now. On very sunny days I wear my hat too, but at least I know my face is covered.

  7. Jillian says:

    I had a hard time finding a good sunscreen that didn’t irritate my sensitive skin or burn my eyes. I really love Algenist ultra lightweight defense cream. The tiny bottle lasts me the whole season.

  8. Kyla says:

    I’ve also been making lots of green smoothies lately, with lots of spinach and cucumbers, nut milks and or nut butter for protein, and whatever fruit I happen to have around for flavor. It takes a couple of minutes to make, but then I can take it out the door with me when I’m on the go.

  9. Joy in Alabama says:

    Wow. I must be the only woman left in America who likes to iron. I iron once a week and listen to a podcast or watch a movie on my laptop. I find it relaxing to just stand there and iron. Plus, I iron my husband’s clerical shirt and khakis daily. My mom kids me that they are going to bury me with my iron. Lol

    • Jennifer N. says:

      I sew (sometimes), therefore I iron, lol. I don’t mind the act of ironing nearly as much as I mind pulling out my ironing board and iron and then putting it away when I’m done! I will say, there is satisfaction in ironing slacks and shirts with nice crisp creases. My usual version of ironing is throwing the item back in the dryer (with a damp cloth, occasionally).

  10. Kimberly Abbate says:

    I make green smoothies with my magic bullet or blender. Fruit with spinach and kale and some cinnamon are my current favorite.
    My husband wanted to stop at Lowe’s yesterday to return something. I said maybe I should stay in the car. I went in and left with 3 plants. Yep, it’s my favorite time for year for plants and flowers too.

  11. I feel your pain about sunscreeen, Anne. I burn at high noon in a few minutes, and yet I am not fond of hats. Hat hair and then they do get hot and sweaty. My solution is a small colorful umbrella that folds up small. I can put it in my purse. Pull out for the sunny area, and then fold it up when it is shady. My umbrellas have saved me many a burnt face and neck. Now it is no problem walking during the middle of the day, visiting the zoo, or being outside.

  12. Laura says:

    Your post about completing the cycle, as simple as it may have sounded, has totally revolutionized how I do things and how I feel about housework! It is no longer hanging over my head!

    What has been a life saver for me lately is carving out 30 mins (8-8:30am every weekday) every morning to sit and read my Bible on my deck with my breakfast. It is my FAVORITE thing that is keeping me so happy right now!

  13. Lydia says:

    I am trying to say “Good Morning” to at least three people in the morning – even if it is before coffee 🙂

    I am also working on REALLY studying the Bible at least three times a week so that I can have a solid foundation for my happiness and survival.

    Apple Cider Vinegar shots every morning.

    MAKE more presents for my friends/family instead of buying them.

  14. Michelle says:

    A few people have mentioned ‘hat-hair’ as a frustration or deterrent to loving hats more. This is really going to depend on your hair (short/long/bangs/etc) but I tend to start with something that’s not going to be much different than what I ‘salvage’ when my hat’s off. The results are usually much better. My hair is long, with bangs similar to Anne’s. I start with the bangs brushed to the side and a low ponytail, braid, or tucked behind my ears. Sometimes I use cute bobby pins to pull back my bangs completely. When I had short hair I usually just tucked it behind my ears, and kept it fairly straight. In a pinch a small brush and running some smoothing paste/gel/cream through your hair can work wonders to revive hat-hair (I like Avedea smooth infusion). In the long run, skin damage is always worse then mussed up hair IMO.

  15. Kerri says:

    Re: hat hair – I read a hair stylist’s blog once who recommended that you flip your hair FAR to the opposite side of your normal part before you put your hat on. Then, when you take it off, flip your hair back to normal and it won’t look so squashed. (I think this works better for curly/ thick haired heads… but even with my straight, fine hair, it works better than just putting the hat on regularly.)

  16. Ali Ahern says:

    Love the tips you shared here!
    For greens @ breakfast I enjoy few whole leaves of romaine with a bit of almond or peanut butter spread in them. They are good with banana slices in them too. This idea came from Dr. Fuhrman’s “Eat to Live” book I believe.
    One thing that is helping me right now is more Instagram, less Facebook (=more pretty pictures, less political discord). I am not trying to put my head in the sand, but instead setting limits based on the level of information I can handle and still stay sane.
    Another thing that has improved my life – I recently attended a workshop on Ayurveda and have enjoyed trying some of the take-always from that. You can take quizzes on https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/prakriti-quiz to determine your original constitution (based on lifelong qualities/traits), what dosha is out of balance now (based on how you’ve been feeling the last 3 months or so), and then read tips on how to bring that dishes back in balance. There are also time of day and seasonal recommendations. For instance, rainy spring days are high Kapha times (bringing heaviness and lethargy), and can be countered with things like more vigorous exercise, adding more pungent spices to meals, & diffusing lemon oil. Some suggestions are a little more foreign-feeling than others, but in general I like the idea of looking at things through a different lenses and finding some more tips and tricks to feel my best!

  17. Alicia G says:

    We just moved & I’m rocking a sprained ankle so my resolution is to take it slow and lots of rest. It’s hard b/c I went to do *all the things* but I also want to heal & 6 weeks feels so long!!! I’m trying to do one quick thing then rest. Repeat all day until 3 when we have a TV break then 4 take daughter to park & I park my butt on the bench!!

  18. Diana says:

    I’m totally with you on the buying houseplants, every time we go to Lowes I seem to come home with something and it’s so wonderful to fill the house with that extra life!

  19. K says:

    When I wear a hat, I make sure that the top part where the hat will sit is either braided (that way it doesn’t get messed up) or a soft “messy” look that is easy to fluff once I take the hat off (the biggest problem I have from wearing a hat is that my hair goes flat really quick). I keep any ponytails below the level of the hat band, so that I don’t have to adjust my hat all the time or mess with my hair just to keep the hat on. I also try to avoid having my fringe around my face when wearing a hat – it’s just too difficult to keep it looking nice once you take the hat off, it always sits funny. I tend to either clip it back or incorporate it into a braid, and save the “fringe down” styles for non-hat days.

  20. Pat Hambly says:

    Hats and sun – wow you must all be from the south! So, here I am in Western Canada with Spring coming in a temperate climate – not like the rest of Canada. Our general needs here are so different in many ways. I love plants too, to brighten things up inside and outside. Trying to downsize clutter & stuff, forever it seems. I came across a list a year or so ago of 200 things to get rid of – small and big things. It sure helps although a lifetime of keeping up with clutter on a daily basis. Enjoy your hats – not needed here yet!

  21. I think I would put my hand on the iron for a full minute if it kept me from an afternoon of ironing (maybe). I got a steamer for my 30th birthday (gateway to adulthood), and it was a game-changer. You should probably treat yourself to a $30 steamer, Anne. (I use a mini/portable one and it’s perfect.)

    Also, thanks for the music suggestion. I’m dancing in my chair as I type this.

  22. Nicholette says:

    Ok so I tried to wade through the comments to see if this was a repeat but I had a really lazy guy friend in college who hated wrinkles as well as ironing. He put all his shirt in a closet on hangers with a humidifier and shut the door. Done! Just an idea 🙂 and I agree with the green smoothie idea if you’re looking for veggies but I personally can’t stomach them. I am also not an avid veggie eater like I should be though.

  23. Susan says:

    You should be able to find dried green beans, roasted edamame, or snap peas for your portable snacking greens (bonus that the edamame has protein if you want to swap out the bison bars!). This past week I came back from vacation and was trying to do too many things to unpack and the “complete the cycle” phrase came out of my mouth, so thank you.

  24. Eileen Slater says:

    Anne, instead of ironing or a steamer I use Wrinkle Release by Downey! A few strays on a hangar and clothes look much better! It works very well on t shirts and casual clothes! I can’t live without it and am surprised how many people don’t know about it!

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