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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84 comments

  1. Katrina says:

    Oh honey, I hear you on the ironing! I’m all about using the shower as an iron. (Hang it up on the shower curtain and let people shower. Eventually, the clothes get somewhat wrinkle-free. It’s the lazy person’s iron.)

    Love all the little tidbits you’ve got here! Complete the cycle, more hats, more music, more greens part 2 (YES!!! Got to get me to Trader Joe’s today!) … little nuggets of gold. I’m all over the veggies part, being a bouncy vegan gal. (One great piece of advice I heard from the lovely Colleen Patrick Goudreau was to chop all your vegetables as soon as you get home from the store — prime time to catch up on podcasts or audiobooks. Once all your veggies are in baggies in your fridge you are SO much more likely to eat them/use them.

    Thanks, as always, for the inspiration. By the way, YOU, my dear, look SMASHING in hats! Loved the Instagram pic the other day from the parade.

  2. Jennifer Wright says:

    I love that you eat those “weird bars” too! I recently discovered them after a long search for bars that aren’t loaded with sugar.

    Also, do you have a favorite place to buy hats? I have a big melon-head and struggle to find cute hats that fit.

    • Anne says:

      I end up wearing the same hats (usually one straw and one ballcap) over and over and over again. My most recent is just a boater from Banana Republic. (For a larger head, maybe try a gender-neutral style in a men’s size?)

  3. DPL says:

    My best hats for summer (and all year really) are the Victoria style Wallaroo Hat Company. They pack well, last forever and come in a more petite size if you need it. Have several as the sun is not your friend as you get older. Try one! Love your blog, your ideas, books lists, etc. Full of energy!

  4. Cathy says:

    Get a steamer! It’s so easy my husband uses it every day. I seldom have to pull out the iron anymore. It really was one of those life-changing items for our household.

    I also believe in buying a bouquet at Trader Joe’s ever week. Some flowers on the kitchen island brighten my mood and the house.

  5. Katie says:

    My favorite resolution is let go of what you can let go of. I’m so caught up in “should” and “ought to’s” that I become depressed and overwhelmed. It helps me when I reach this place to pause (aka – breathe and shower!) and mentally (or physically with a pad of paper and a pen) run through my list and evaluate each item – that is important, that is urgent, that can wait. I find that not as many things are as important or urgent I thought. Very freeing!

  6. Alice says:

    I love “complete the cycle”- great tip!
    I swear by the steaming – takes two secs… never ironed again 🙂 invest in a good professional one.
    I want to improve at getting rid of one thing when I buy a new one, plan the week for meals and have a prep day, prepare a travel drawer and bag for all the things that I always need when I travel and don’t have to look for them!
    Thanks for your post!

  7. Makala says:

    I have recently taken to getting up really early to start my day and getting a bunch of chores done in the morning so I can spend some time outdoors without thinking about all of the indoor things that need to be done .
    I also love using my bullet journal and even the notes app on my phone to keep everything clear and put away .

  8. Liz says:

    Your “complete the cycle” post has stuck with me ever since I read it! Still working on it, but I’ve found it to be super motivating when I’m almost at the end of a task.

    More veggies is a constant resolution in my house. I get so bored with the side salad.

    Can’t wait to see that post about capturing your post-it notes!

    • Keely Steger says:

      I agree that “complete the cycle” has been a game changer! Was thinking today I need to display that phrase next to my kitchen sink. I only have a few dishes that require hand washing but I use them daily and let them pile up on the counter, taking up both mental and physical space. Complete the cycle!

  9. Brush dogs every day. 5 minutes x 3 dogs really keeps the house cleaner and it’s great individual time with them.
    Grow vegetables. Nothing like fresh lettuce right now to get us to eat more greens. Good for healthy eating, a sense of real accomplishment and some exercise.
    Pretend company is coming in a half hour. Nothing gets the house picked up and clean faster.
    Read every day. Write every day. Stay in those habits.
    PS: Def get a steamer

  10. Jeanie says:

    We like ordering these bars:
    Dales Raw Foods – great plant basedbars full of protein but not the sugar. Plus they are having a BOGO sale right now. My family likes the graham cracker flavor.

    Dalesrawfoods.com

  11. I have been doing 2 things that have helped keep me sane. 1). Since I teach, I have a running countdown of wake up early days till the end of the year (28). It helps make the last push for me as the HS English teacher feel doable. 2). I have been listening to more podcasts as I’m going to work especially yours. It helps to think about all the summer reading that I can get done even though it is a bit overwhelming how many titles you talk about that I now need to read.

  12. Jane says:

    Seeing all the steamer comments is intriguing. You could also take my slacker approach. I’ve just reached the stress level of refusing to buy anything that has to be dry cleaned or ironed. Hubby’s dress shirts are all wrinkle-free and we have a steam cycle on our dryer that helps in a pinch. Works for us!

    • Jaimie Ramsey says:

      Yeah I just refuse to iron, haha! I *try* to hang up clothes that need hanging as soon as they come out of the dryer, or hang stuff to dry, and that mostly eliminates the need for ironing. I also don’t buy things that would absolutely require ironing, just not worth it. My dryer doesn’t have a steam setting but you can get the same effect by throwing in a wet washcloth with wrinkly clothes and letting it run for 20 minutes or less. (Works to reduce static too!)

    • Kyla says:

      Ha! I was thinking the same thing. I haven’t used an iron in years, because who needs that hassle! If I can’t wear it straight out of the dryer, I don’t want it.

      • Kyla says:

        Ha! I was thinking the same thing. I haven’t used an iron in years, because who needs that hassle! If I can’t wear it straight out of the dryer, I don’t want it.

        Ok. I’ll fess up. I do sometimes use my flat iron for my hair to do quick cuffs/collar spruce ups. 🙂

  13. Angela P says:

    A steamer is a life-changer! Invest in one. You won’t be sorry.
    One more thing that’ll do in a quick pinch is to make your own wrinkle-releaser that you spray on the shirt and then hold taut for 20 seconds or so. Use 1 cup distilled water plus 1 Tbsp liquid fabric softener and mix together in a spray bottle. Amazing stuff! And it’s waaaay less expensive than buying the wrinkle releaser at the store.

  14. Michelle says:

    I’ll echo the steamer converts. I first started doing this when I got a nice mini-travel one and found it ridiculously easy and more effective for many items. I wish I’d realized this much earlier in the game and would have invested in a professional one. My husband does get his dress shirts laundered and pressed, wears each twice, and we both consider the cost an affordable luxury.

    Yes also to expanding the ‘hat wardrobe’. I got two last year I love. One a floppy sun hat from Costco for about $13 that’s crushable. It’s not fashion forward but cool and keeps the sun off my face and neck. I even wear it in the woods hiking/camping to ward against creepy-crawlies that like to drop into my long hair. The second is technically my husband’s but I wear it a lot also, an olive Tilley Airflow. I had no idea the cult following these hats have when I bought it, but understand the devout love now. 🙂 Anne, you definitely need one!

  15. “Complete the cycle” resonates with me the most. I start things then get so far and walk away. It’s much easier to “complete the cycle” then to find time to go back and finish what you were doing. Last week at a yoga class, the teacher told us all congratulate ourselves at the end of class because we completed one thing that day. Our yoga practice. It felt great to have accomplished something.
    Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

  16. Jennifer N. says:

    Gosh – I feel like I’ve started the spring season behind, too! I have a few resolutions, but I think I will need to think further and flesh something “official” out in my bullet journal.

    1. Wear more hats – This one works for me. I am very pale and I have a lovely wide-brimmed hat one of my best girls bought me for my birthday that doesn’t see the light of day. This should change.
    2. Clean up my dang yard – Since hurricane Matthew, my yard has still not recovered (we lost two trees, just to start.) We will probably have to hire help, but this needs to happen soon before the termites find the piles of wood closest to our house.
    3. More weekend adventures with the kids. Strawberry picking, local parks, kids museums… my husband is a bar manager and thus works most of the weekend, but that doesn’t mean we have to stay home!
    4. Do more “grocery” shopping at the Farmer’s Market. The state farmer’s market is an easy drive from home and we really should be spending more time there.
    5. Read more frequently. I’ve fallen into the habit of only reading before bed, which has had two effects: I’ve developed a “Pavlov’s dogs” response to reading, in that it puts me right to sleep (unless it’s really exciting), and my kids never see me reading. Since I’m the reader in the family, they’re only going to get that example from me. I need to read at other times when folks are around and I’m not so ready to snooze.

  17. Amy says:

    What a great idea!! I have to think a bit about what’s on my list, but there would definitely be some overlap with yours. Making sure I get outside every, single day (weather-permitting), is definitely a big one for me. I can get so wrapped up in chores, reading, blogging, etc., the whole day goes by without having any quality outdoors time. And I’ve noticed lately that being outside always gives a big boost to my mental health!

  18. Ooh, that sunscreen powder thing you linked to looks like it might be right up my alley. Last year I switched to mineral-only sunblock and it really helped my cranky skin… but the only kind I could find in my budget is super thick and leaves a noticeable white cast even on my pasty nerd skin. So I took to mixing it with tinted moisturizer, but that is just not ideal with the heat/humidity around here!

  19. I just received an ironing board as a gift from my bridal shower. It has a cute pattern so I’m hoping that will be an incentive to actually start ironing!

    We also just bought a new house so one of my mini-resolutions is literally taking time to stop and look at our flowers. We had no idea what was planted around our yard, so it’s such a delight whenever something new pops up! All the enjoyment with none of the work.

  20. Kyla says:

    I’ve recently made a hat resolution too. I do fine with baseball caps, but feel like I need a wide-brimmed hat too. I just feel like I’m not cool enough to pull them off and end up looking much older than I am! Ideas?

    • Michelle says:

      The key to cool-girl hats IMO is simply owning it. Nothing defines your style more then your attitude. As for making you look old…wrinkles come from sun exposure/NOT wearing a hat, and they are the ultimate in adding years, so… 😉

  21. Donna says:

    I love your list and just the general idea of new season = new habits. Here are a couple of recent ones I’ve been doing.
    1. More Music – I recently bought an Amazon Dot and because I have Prime membership I can listen to their playlists on it for free. They have a playlist for everything you can imagine and it’s helping me to stay current on new music.
    2. Start my day with a glass of warm water + lemon. Sounds small but I feel like it makes a difference-it helps wake me up and feel rehydrated.

  22. Heather says:

    Love these kinds of posts! I hate ironing and got a travel-size steamer a few years ago. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like it’s fun – but I like it so much better than ironing. At some point I want to invest in a larger or more powerful one.

  23. As a rule I don’t buy anything that will require ironing because I know I just won’t do it. That’s my way to avoid ironing 😛
    I love hats and where them all summer long! However, it’s a full day commitment. Once that hat is on, my hair is done for. So, any hat hair tips would be lovely!
    I’ve also been working on eating more greens! I have a few different salad recipes that I make at the beginning of the week so I can toss a bit in a tupperware container and take it with me to work.

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