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  • Writer's picturesianynleigh

Little Things That Improved My Life

After two years in this panda-whatsit situation, I’ve found there are a few things that make me feel a little bit better and contribute to my life satisfaction. These are things that I have always used to perk myself up a bit, but I never really thought about how much I appreciated them until this past year.

Public Parks: I am not what one would call outdoorsy. I get sun poisoning easily, can’t stand the feel of sweat, and being constantly attacked by bugs drives me absolutely bonkers. But I do like fresh air and exercise, especially walking. It’s also easy to be socially distanced in a park. Whenever I wanted to clear my head or just have a fun outing with my dog without worrying about crowds, I headed for my local park. There are 3 in my town with decent walking trails and quite a bit of shade cover if I need a rest.

Nail polish stickers: It’s vain and silly, but having decorated nails really makes me feel put-together and pretty. But I’m not exactly talented in the cosmetic arts. I used to paint my nails by hand, but they always smeared or chipped right away and looked messy. Fake nails are too troublesome and having my nails done professionally is too expensive. Ever since nail polish stickers popped up in every cosmetics department, I have been hooked. They’re little stickers made from cured strips of nail polish. They come in different colors and designs. You just peel, press them on and viola, perfectly painted nails for the next 10-14 days. They don’t chip or smear, it’s really hard to mess up the applications, and they’re fairly affordable. I can feel pretty and decorated in only 5 minutes, and it’s a simple matter of peeling them off when I want to change the look.

Samsung Laptop: This isn’t simple or little, but it has improved my life drastically. Having to start my life over from almost scratch forced me to live in very small spaces - like, a friend’s couch and a square foot of the bathroom vanity small. I needed a solution to no longer having my own office or living room. So I splurged and spent way more than I should have on a Samsung Galaxy Pro 360, but it has more than repaid the cost in convenience. On this single device, I stream video, bank, work, blog, write, play games, manage my schedule, be social, and all the other digital things on a super fast laptop that fits in my purse and turns any 13in x 10in space into a mini office. It has allowed me to keep watching the shows I love and write anywhere while I try to find some equilibrium.

A simplified wardrobe: Pre-panda-gimmick, I was a bit of a clotheshorse. My wardrobe took up half my bedroom in racks and shelving. And while I did wear most of it regularly, there were a lot of pieces I kept “just in case” I was invited to a special event or went somewhere with a fancy dress code. Except for a whirlwind year with a great group of gals in 2014, that never happened and it seems unlikely to change now. Living in smaller spaces and having most of my belongings packed away, I needed to downsize my wardrobe just so I didn’t have to haul it around anymore. Taking into consideration my new lifestyle, what I enjoy wearing, and the likelihood I’ll ever need anything fancier than a simple little black dress, I culled my clothes down until they fit in half of my friend’s walk-in closet. I made sure everything I kept went with everything else so no matter what I grabbed, I looked good. Now I have less to wash, fold, and store, and I don’t even miss the gratuitous amount of outfit options I used to have. I just get up, toss on 2 random items of clothing and I’m good to go.

Instant coffee: Oh, I can hear the coffee snobs calling for my head now, but seriously this has been a game changer. Before I switched to instant coffee, my morning brew was a whole big process. Fill the machine, wait for it to brew, clean the machine. When I switched to the french press, it wasn’t much better. Fill the pot, wait for it to steep, press, and clean. It took 15 minutes before I could even pour a cup, then another who knows how long before it was cool enough to drink. Few of my friends drink coffee, so if I stayed at their house, I would have to do without or try to find a coffee shop that didn’t charge an arm and a leg for brew so bitter it would scrape the flesh off my tongue and leave me wondering why I hated myself so much. So I ditched the machines, the pots, and the shops and switched to instant. Just a cup, a spoon, and some hot water (acquired from any available source, such as a tap, electric kettle, pan on the stove, the Texas sun). Simple, fast, convenient. I can make as much or as little as I want, anywhere I want (providing I have some grounds in my purse in the form of those handy-dandy little packets). Time saver, space saver, and life saver when I find myself living on an anti-coffee friend’s couch.

Day to day living feels simpler, easier, and less stressful with these little things. I get up, toss on whatever, make my coffee in under 3 minutes, and sit in any available space to write on my little powerhorse laptop with my pretty little nails, and then go take a nice afternoon stroll in the fresh air. It’s pretty much the same on work days, minus the stroll and writing. Simple, easy, and I can focus on things that really need my attention, like building a better future for myself.

What are some positive changes you’ve made in your life since the pan-demonic began? Are there any tips you’ve learned in dealing with stress and improving your quality of life in small ways? I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Keep writing!

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