Elevate Your Mind: Small Ways To Be More Chic

Living a chic life is about more than sartorial elegance or polished style. It transcends closet, coiffure, and carriage. It also matters that you elevate your mind.

A lovely way to be more chic and elevate your mind is to expand your horizons by learning new things and exposing yourself to fresh ideas. Elevating your mind adds a layer of sophistication to your life, it adds depth. It raises your conversation and makes you more interesting – to yourself as well as others.

Early in the lockdown my life was mostly work, household management, a little exercise, a lot of chocolate, and detective novels or comfort TV in the evenings. There was much listening to my own thoughts and more than once I caught myself stifling a yawn. Not very subtle.

So I started looking for ways to elevate my mind. Nothing too heavy, nothing too time-consuming.

Elevating your mind adds a layer of sophistication to your life, it adds depth.

Small Ways To Elevate My Mind

Here’s what  I did.

  • I signed up for an online art history course. Each lecture is 30 minutes, but I watch at 1.5 speed, so that’s only 20 minutes a day. I watch Monday to Saturday.
  • I purchased a French language app. I already had the art class to view, so I wanted something that wouldn’t need extra sit-and-watch time. I found an audio app I can listen to (et repetez, s’il vous plaît) while clearing the breakfast things and making the bed – so I spend 10 minutes a day, max. Again, I get Sundays off because I’m essentially a child and apparently such a demanding schedule requires a day of rest.
  • I started an online calligraphy class. I already had calligraphy supplies at home, as it’s something I’ve wanted to learn for ages – but hadn’t got around to. I do a little each day, sometimes 5 minutes, occasionally 15. Mostly my work looks like a drunk spider has bathed in an inkwell and is now trying to find its way home while also boot scooting. Sometimes I swear I can hear a tiny Billy Ray Spider as I form my letters.

All up, these practices take about 30-45 minutes a day, Monday to Saturday. That’s not much, you might think, but the truth is, it’s a lot. You can’t add time to your day, you have to subtract it from elsewhere. For me, that elsewhere was out of my TV time. (RIP extra TV time.)

You can’t add time to your day, you have to subtract it from elsewhere. For me, that elsewhere was out of my TV time. (RIP extra TV time.)

Small Ways To Elevate Your Mind

What about you? What interests you? How would you enjoy cultivating your interests? There are so many apps and online courses that allow you to elevate your mind in a few minutes a day.

Here are some ideas:

  • Learn a language
  • Do an art appreciation or art history course
  • Read a classic novel
  • Watch a documentary
  • Listen to classical music or opera
  • Read politics or culture sections in the paper
  • See a play
  • Attend an art exhibition

It’s worth mentioning that deciding to elevate your mind doesn’t mean you have to relinquish your pleasures, even the guilty ones. If reality TV or Kardassians make you happy, then listen to your own heart. Like Homer Simpson, we can enjoy all the meats of our cultural stew. But if reality TV is all there is, perhaps you could begin something new, to elevate your mind and add a little refinement to your life.

I really enjoy having these small ways of cultivating my mind. I love understanding more about art, it’s fun learning a language, and I find joy in developing a creative practice. Although each takes only a little time each day, as the weeks pass I’m gaining proficiency. And when I’m alone with my thoughts, I no longer catch myself trying not to yawn.

Elevating your mind doesn’t mean giving up guilty pleasures. But if reality TV is all there is, you could begin something new and add refinement to your life.

Your Chic Life Assignment For Week 4

  1. Review my list above for small ways to elevate your mind – does anything excite you? Schedule time this week to spend on cultivating your mind in one of these ways.
  2. Nothing appeals? Then your assignment this week is to find at least one way to cultivate your mind. Ask friends who know you well for ideas. Or pour yourself a glass of wine and spend an hour googling topic ideas. Then investigate classes, books, groups to join. Commit to yourself that you will find something this week to elevate your mind.

This post is part of my 12-Week Series: 12 Ways To Live A Chic Life.
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