Hello! It’s time for another Fortune Cookie Friday, and with that, I’d like to discuss something before we get to our fortune for today.
I love giving my own takes on fortune cookie messages, and I know you all like them, too. I’ve been doing a schedule of every other week, but having a set schedule is not always where my inspiration is, so I’d like to make some adjustments.
I’ll post them when inspired, but I’m sure you’ll get at least one per month. You might even get two in a row some weeks! The good side of this is it gives me the flexibility to share inspiring stories, articles, fortune cookies, and other content that I really enjoy writing, without making it about a schedule.
TL;DR: you’ll still get fortunes, they just won’t be on a set schedule! Win for everyone! :)
Okay, so I picked today’s fortune cookie message because it really jumped out at me:
Is it encouraging you to get out the house or your comfort zone more? To spread your wings and fly?
Or is it talking about taking care of house and home first because that’s where your nest is?
Or maybe something else? Drop me a comment below and let me know your take!
What this fortune did for me was make me think of the topic of “nesting,” which many people use in terms of pregnancy: a pregnant mom spends time getting “the nest” ready: cleaning, organizing, setting up the nursery, etc., so that everything is ready for her baby. That was the first way in which I’d heard the word used.
But then over the years, I’ve heard the word adopted by others who are not pregnant, so I did a little research. It turns out there are several dictionary definitions using the term in a more global way. To quote one of them, nesting is “the tendency to arrange one's immediate surroundings, such as a work station, to create a place where one feels secure, comfortable, or in control.”
As you know, this blog is about disrupting negativity. We can start with our own spaces, first, right? So the theme of today’s Fortune Cookie Friday will be
* 9 Ways to Create a Happy Space *Our environments often represent our states of mind, emotions, and/or health. Clutter, chaos, dirt, and disorganization fall into a bit of a chicken and egg scenario: Do they cause us to feel low energy, ill, or depressed, or are they symptomatic of these conditions?
Either way, doing something about your space will help, even if you take tiny steps. Since it’s spring, a bit of spring cleaning in your “nest” seems like just the thing! You can implement these in your home, your office, or your patio and have a bit of a happiness reset.
1. Open a window, especially during a rain stormFresh air is great at clearing out a space, and there’s something so fresh and renewing about a rain storm. Whenever it rains in spring and summer, my husband and I throw the windows in the front and back of the house open so some cross-breezes can get through and whoosh! all the stale air out. This is especially effective in spring, when the house has been more closed up over the winter.
2. Organize a drawer, a closet, or a shelfPut away winter clothes and blankets and bring out your spring/summer stuff. Clear off that coffee table. Go through that junk drawer. Some people love the idea of decluttering or organizing and start with enthusiasm, but then get disheartened if the task seems bigger. Don’t be! Any improvement is going to make you feel better, so don’t make it about the end result; take pleasure in the process of doing just one thing. You can even Marie Kondo it, if her techniques resonate with you. I always take things in small chunks and give myself one small task in a session. Today it was to get my winter/summer clothes & shoes switched out. Ahhhh—I feel better already!
3. Let go of things that no longer serve you.Hey, when you’re going through things, why not set up a couple of small boxes and have one for donate and one for sell? Anything that is truly trash, I throw out, but if it’s in good shape and I think it’ll appeal to someone, I’ll put it up on eBay. Anything else that’s still in good condition but I don’t think will sell, I put in a donate box. Though a small side note: please don’t put in stained/torn clothes and broken items; that doesn’t help the organization you’re donating to, no matter how much “life” you think an item still has.
Additionally, I know getting rid of books can be a bit of a controversial subject, but I will speak from my own experience: I had stacks and stacks of books taking up space because I treasured each one. They were getting dusty and looking cluttered, and I realized I wasn’t really happy with the situation. I assessed which had a particular memory attached versus what I just enjoyed reading. I ended up selling or donating many of my books, keeping only enough super-special ones to fit on one bookcase. I do most of my new reading electronically, now. Since the advent of e-books, you can get a great deal on an e-reader or a tablet and store your hundreds (thousands?) of books in the cloud or on the device, reduce your clutter, and still enjoy reading them over and over again.
4. Do one small household cleaning task.Can I tell you how much satisfaction and freedom I feel in my space when I do something simple like run the dust mop over my floors or clean the bathroom mirror? I am no June Cleaver. I like to live “comfortably” (which may be a bit more disorganized than some of your homes, but I’m okay with it). But I do value cleanliness, so wiping down the counters, putting the dishes away, cleaning a mirror, or running through the house with a mop—each of these tasks takes maybe 10-15 minutes. I feel better, something is cleaner, it’s a win-win and I can breathe a bit more easily.
Literally, actually. With allergies to dust, mold, and chemicals, I only use products that don't make us sick when I clean.
Another simple, quick space fix is to change the sheets and fluff up the couch cushions! I bought myself a new, pretty duvet cover for Spring. My bedroom looks much cheerier! Don’t forget your outdoor space, too: the other day I hosed off my porch and porch furniture and then put the outdoor furniture cushions on so my husband and I can enjoy sitting on our porch and taking a breather.
5. Place photos, meaningful mementos, posters, or affirmations around your home or work space.When I worked in a traditional role, I often decorated my desk with photos of friends and loved ones, meaningful quotes, posters, and tiny mementos. For affirmations and posters, you can buy them in any home decor store, or you can even make affirmation signs yourself! It’s very easy and affordable: find a quote or affirmation you like, then use free design software like Canva to create a pretty design with the quote. Buy a photo frame, print out your design, stick it in the frame, and voila! Easy DIY affirmation/inspiration!
6. Buy some fresh flowers or a house plantFresh-cut bouquets have both a visual and olfactory component to them: they look happy and pretty, and smell great, too! A houseplant brightens up your space, and has the added benefit of releasing a little oxygen back into your home. If you have a brown thumb or not much space to work with, why not try succulents, bamboo, and air plants?
7. Light a candle or hang lights up.The light of a candle can act as a focal point for a meditation or provide a cozy atmosphere. This is particularly nice in winter and fall, when we don’t open our windows as much and it gets dark outside too quickly. If you don’t like fire in your space, they make really nice-looking battery-operated candles these days. If you’re in a college dorm, this is especially important, or you can use string lights to brighten your space. My former office mates and I once hung string lights when our desk space was basically in a closet, and it made all the difference in the world to how we felt about our work space.
8. Burn sage or light some incense.Smudging with sage is an indigenous practice and is to be respected as part of many cultures’ spiritual work. I was interested to learn, however, that there are some studies that show smudging with sage can reduce airborne bacteria. Many cultures also use incense as a part of their spiritual practice (growing up Catholic, my favorite services were the ones where the priest broke out the incense!), and according to one source, incense can help reset your emotional state, soothe you, or inspire you.
9. Use sound to your advantage!Play some uplifting, happy music. Music can affect the brain in positive ways, which will help uplift your space. Let good memories take over with those songs. Do you play an instrument? Start strumming, drumming, or letting your fingers wander over those piano keys—the tones will transform your space and your mood. Watch a comedy and laugh. When was the last time you had a full belly laugh? Try it—the sound of laughter is so healing!
Want to know my daily sound trick? I ring a bell! I use this one every single day. It sits in my office and when I enter, I take a moment, take a deep breath, hit the bell with the little mallet, and then let myself stand in the wash of its harmonic tones. It’s an amazing way to start the work day: it clears a space instantly, and I highly recommend it for raising your vibes!
So there you go: if you want to like your nest best like the bird in the fortune, I hope these tips inspire you in your nesting goals. By all means, try one of them or all of them, but don’t take this as the end-all, be-all list, and don’t feel overwhelmed and like you have to do them all. Even doing one of the things on this list will help lift your mood and clear the energy in your space.
I’d love to hear some of your favorite ways to create a happy space, too. I’m sure some of you will inspire me, so drop me a line and share!
Until next week, be happy! 💛🐝