Isn’t it wild to think that this time last year, we were all assuming that staying at home would only last a few weeks? Now, here we are a year later, and many of us are still staying home whenever possible. We work in our kitchens and host date nights on our couch. When we gather, it’s in super small groups with those who we love most of all. And even as the world slowly opens up, there are some practices I’ve started in the last 365 days that I plan to keep in my life. They’re the small moments and actions that have kept me sane and inspired even in, dare I say it once more, unprecedented times ? They may have come from 2020, but these are the habits I’ll keep forever…
Picking One “Early” Night a Week
If you know me, you know I’m a night owl. I can stay up until 1 or 2AM without effort or a single yawn. But that’s not a healthy move for the next morning! And when quarantine started, I looked at it as a chance to reset my sleeping schedule. To make up for hours and hours of sleep lost over the last few years and hopefully get to a more rested point in life.
And for the most part I’ve been able to do just that! Don’t get me wrong, I still have a late night now and then where I’m up into the wee hours to finish my latest thriller for book club. But I overall have been going to bed earlier than in years past, and have especially focused on having at least one “early” night per week where I am in bed and off my phone by 9PM.
I had a call with the Woolroom team at the start of the year and learned that we all spend an average of 26 years of our lives in our beds, which blew my mind! Since then, my early nights have taken on an even bigger priority and I’ve been reveling in my cozy nights under the covers with a good book. And you won’t take that from me even when bars re-open!
Friday Morning Cleaning
I started living alone right before quarantine – Great timing right ? It’s actually been a fun learning experience and made me love living alone a lot more than I ever thought I could. One thing I learned right away though, is that I did NOT clean my old apartments enough. Now that I live alone, I am keenly aware of any mess I make and honestly want to do a deep clean of my place pretty much every day.
To stay sane, I designated Friday mornings for a bit of house cleaning, whether that’s cleaning my stove top or my bathroom mirror. One of the quickest things I can do that makes me feel better though is vacuuming! So, while I use my big floor vac for larger areas, I have loved having my little SwifVac for my desk area, bedroom and even kitchen. It fulfills my new goal of always shopping small when I can, and it’s also literally small itself, which makes it great to whip out for those spills and stray dust bunnies I see throughout the week. My home has never been cleaner than during quarantine…now I just have to keep it that way ?
Lighting a 5PM Candle
This was an idea I got from the ladies at Cupcakes and Cashmere, but it’s been one of my favorite daily rituals. Sure it’s not always right at 5PM and it’s not every day, but lighting a candle as my work day winds down has brought me so much calm and joy every time I strike the match. Plus, I’ve been collecting candles for years and now I’m finally using them!
Shopping Small and Local
This honestly should have been my practice all along, but better late than never! From Chicago-based (and women-led!) fashion companies like Pareto and Katie Farnan, to all the other creative Chicago companies I found during my holiday shopping…there’s so much to love from the businesses in my hometown! And while I still buy from Amazon when I need something ASAP (I know, I know, it’s bad), I always look locally first whenever I shop now.
Minimizing My Beauty Routine
I think I’m not alone when I say that I have been leaving behind makeup and instead really focusing on skincare for my daily routine. I never loved makeup, but more wore it because I felt like I “had” to in order to look “good” enough to be seen out in the world. It’s sad that it took a stay-at-home order to make me realize this was a crazy beauty standard, but at least I’ve gotten to this much healthier spot and standard for myself.
I’m now only wearing makeup that makes me feel GOOD and the rest of the time just focusing on treating my skin well. A good overnight mask or a cooling under-eye cream makes me feel much better and even prettier than trying to figure out how to contour. One of my favorite brand finds for the year was the BABOR line of clean-beauty skincare products, but overall, I am looking forward to just treating my skin right for years to come. And to tossing more of the makeup I held on to for years but never used (looking at you shimmery eyeshadow!)
If you need a recipe idea though, I made a Blackberry Vodka Mojito last week with Zyr Vodka and it was stellar! All you have to do is muddle 4 basil leaves and 4 blackberries (you can also use blueberries if that’s your jam!) in a highball glass before filling the glass with ice. Then, then add 1 ½ ounces (about 1 ½ shot glasses) of Zyr Vodka and 6 ounces of Sprite. The combination of the basil and vodka nicely balance the sweetness of the fruit-forward flavors, plus you get a gorgeous color to boot! It’s the perfect sip to jump-start your at-home happy hour ?
Not all memories of quarantine will be bad ones. Even with the fear and uncertainty, there were moments of joy, of calm and simplification. And these aren’t the only habits and skills that came out of this year that are worth keeping for months and years to come. I’d also recommend keeping up with…