Lists help you live a chic life. They guide you to choose and curate – important for expressing your style. They offer a semblance of control in an unpredictable world – helping you retain grace, poise, and self-possession. And they let you distill innumerable options into what matters to you – offering simplicity and clarity.
I love lists!
Lists can help you feel better and happier, too. They cheer you up even when times are scary and grim.
These three lists are guaranteed to lift your mood and help you feel better. Chocolate and red wine have their place, bien sûr, but how lovely to boost your happiness and design your chic life with nothing but the power of your mind – and pen.
In completing each list, don’t stop until you reach at least 10. The gold is further down, below the obvious and the top of mind.
3 Lists To Make You Feel Better
1. List 10 Things You Are Grateful For
In this list include items about your life, yourself, your home, your friends or family – anything for which you feel thankful.
Here’s my Feeling Grateful For list:
- Music: I listen to classical playlists for a calm start in the morning, chillout to keep me company while I work, and 80s / retro for singing along and torturing the neighbours while I’m in the shower – I truly appreciate the calming and joyful effect of these melodies
- Crossword puzzles: I love doing the Sydney Morning Herald Quick with breakfast and Cryptic over lunch each day – such fun for a word nerd!
- My personality: being an introvert was a drawback for many years but now I’m immensely thankful to be happy at home and untroubled by the paucity of social interaction
- Having work to occupy me: it feels empowering to make progress each day – and it keeps me from thinking too much about things I have no control over
- My studio: I’m deeply grateful for my own little space while my husband works from home in the living room (he didn’t even suggest taking over my studio – could it be the profusion of pink, the large Audrey Hepburn print, the LED flamingo, and the Audrey, Coco, and Karl kokeshi dolls in here…?)
- Books: currently I’m thankful for the pure escapism of detective fiction, but I have a towering pile of more varied fiction and non-fiction by my bedside and I love reading myself to sleep at night
- Outlook: our living room looks onto sky and trees, and there are always birds singing, and I never grow tired of it
- TV shows: I’m finding comfort at the end of the workday in episodes of Elementary and The Mentalist (neo-Sherlockian) – or as I call them, Elementalist – as well as comedy
- Warmth: we’re approaching winter here in Australia and I’m perpetually cold, so as the days shorten and the weather cools I’m grateful for my many sweaters and socks, and multiple weights of duvet
- Meditation: I’ve cultivated my own form of practice that combines mindfulness, Internal Family Systems, and Radical Acceptance, and I so appreciate the inner peace, grace, and poise it brings.
I’m deeply grateful for my own little space while my husband works from home in the living room. He didn’t even suggest taking over my studio – could it be the profusion of pink, the large Audrey Hepburn print, the LED flamingo, and the Audrey, Coco, and Karl kokeshi dolls in here…?
2. List 10 Things You Are Looking Forward To
These could be things you’re looking forward to in the short term, or as levels of lockdown change, or when the crisis passes. Who knows how things will look in the future – but if daydreaming about these now gives you joy, then great! It’s okay to feel better during difficult times. It’s okay to feel all your feelings.
Here’s my Looking Forward To list:
- Seeing my friends again: I may be an extreme introvert who’s never happier than when plans are cancelled, but oh how I’m yearning for long conversations over red wine with my lovely friends!
- Getting back to the gym: I’m keeping up the exercise in my tiny living room but I can’t wait to be back in the studio with loud music and my excellent instructors and room to move
- Self-care appointments: including a haircut, pedicure, massage – luxury!
- Going for a lengthy walk: wherever I want, though let’s be honest it will probably be to buy chocolate
- Getting dressed up: heading somewhere elegant in a favorite outfit with cute heels and a chic handbag
- Resuming singing lessons: though I suspect for my instructor, not so much…
- Browsing at the shops: buying books, new-season heels, perhaps an orchid; but for the economy, of course
- Dining out: enjoying company and conversation and good food together
- Sunday breakfast: Having croissants with butter and raspberry confiture, plus coffee and the crossword (I do this every Sunday and look forward to it every single week)
- Being able to do the splits: it’s much harder to stretch at home on my non-stick yoga mat, but I’m doing my best, and I’m hopeful I’ll be closer to my goal once I get back to the gym.
I may be an extreme introvert who’s never happier than when plans are cancelled, but oh how I’m yearning for long conversations over red wine with my lovely friends!
3. List 10 Things You Can Do For Others
Various studies show kindness to others gives you a helper’s high – positive emotions that make you feel better and also boost health and longevity.
I’d add one proviso – be kind from a place of generosity and love, not from obligation or guilt. Not sure how to tell the difference? Love feels light, guilt feels heavy.
Here’s my Kindness To Others list:
- Checking in* on family and friends: offering love and support
- Checking in* on friends working in health and medicine: offering love and support and letting them get stuff off their chest if they don’t want to unload at home
- Suggesting or sending helpful books or audiobooks to loved ones
- Being a source of lightness and positivity: having good news, something helpful, or something funny to share
- Not taking part in negativity with family, friends, or on social media: not engaging, changing the subject, or simply scrolling past
- Practicing self-care: the better my own psychological and physical health, the less I impose on anybody else, so I feel great about taking excellent care of me
- Obeying the local rules: doing my part, being a good citizen; this will pass and what’s being asked of us is not that big a deal
- Offering extra understanding, encouragement, support, kind words, and gentleness to everyone I come into contact with: many are struggling
- Staying calm and centred: not escalating the tension when others are rude, disagreeable, or critical
- Saying a sincere thank you to anyone who does something kind for me or for others.
* I hate talking on the phone so I do this via email or text.
The better my own psychological and physical health, the less I impose on anybody else, so I feel great about taking excellent care of me.
Did you create all three lists? And do you feel better now?
I’d love to hear items from your lists – please share in the comments!