As we go into month who knows of quarantine, I'm going to take a guess and say all of us have had our ups and downs during this time. For me, I've had moments where I've felt fine—sometimes even happy after a Zoom call with old friends or a socially distanced park hangout. Then, there have been moments where I've felt hopeless, depressed, sad, and lonely.
In those dark moments, I tried a lot of things to get out of the funk. First, I let myself feel those feelings. Then, I'd attempt to distract myself with Netflix, a book, meditation, podcasts, journaling, taking a nap, taking a shower, cooking, going on a walk, calling a friend, working out, online shopping… I mean the list goes on and on. I've tried it all, it seems.
But when I felt especially low last month, I remembered an article here on THE/THIRTY that was all about using gratitude to fix a bad day. So, I wrote down a list of things I was thankful for and that brought me joy. I included the big things, like having a job I love, a healthy family and friends, a safe place to call home, etc. But I also wrote down some extremely small, everyday things that made me smile, like this small plant my friend sent me one day out of the blue when she knew I was going through a tough week. Or my morning ritual of doing the New York Times crossword each day before I get out of bed. And a recently discovered song that really spoke to me and left me inspired.
I read the list over, and I can't say that my mood did an immediate 180, but it did make me feel a little better. Just thinking about all of the good things in my life—both big and small—filled me with some gratitude and self-love. It wasn't all bad in my life and in the world. So, I've taken to adding to the list whenever I feel moved, and I make it a point to read it when I get those sad, low feelings. It's not a cure, but it's something, for sure.
This month, we're focusing on finding joy in the little things. It's so easy to get caught up in the sadness, uncertainty, and fear. I know we've all had so many different experiences during this time—some of us have experienced more hardships than others. But what's universal is that seeking out or recognizing the things that make you happy or feel hopeful—even if they're so small—can really help.
So, in the spirit of that, I asked my colleagues and polled our community on Instagram to share what little things have been making them smile. See what they had to say below. And if you want to share your own thoughts, we'd love to hear them. Write a comment or send us a DM at @thethirty.
A Comforting Beverage
"I can't have coffee anymore because it triggers my anxiety, but I've been really missing having a treat in the mornings. I went to Africa last year and woke up every morning with a chai latte and it brought me so much happiness, so I thought I would try it at home. I honestly think it's been the best decision I've made in quarantine."—Anneliese Dominguez, associate editor, branded content
An Inspiring Book
"I got this book on the recommendation of a friend. If you feel like you're constantly not accomplishing enough or being efficient enough, it's a handy little book to help counteract those thoughts. It has a passage for each day of the year, so I've turned it into a daily ritual to pause for a minute, flip to the current day, and spend a minute thinking about the quote. In a funny way, I think this book helps me make more room for joy in my life. It does this by helping me minimize feelings that I must be checking something off my list every minute of the day and that it's necessary and also 'productive' to rest and relax and play."—Kat Collings, editor in chief, Who What Wear
One person on Instagram said they love swimming every day: "Exercise + keeping cool = happy!"
"Something that is bringing me joy (and to be honest, keeping me sane during quarantine) is spending time outside, safely and socially distanced, of course. I’m immensely grateful and lucky that I have access to nearby trails, but a walk around my neighborhood will suffice. I recently bought a pair of Hoka One Ones, and these days, I wonder why I went so long without them. The extra cushioning makes running, walking, and whatever else in-between that much more of a pleasant experience."—Candice Aman, social media editor
"Wearing perfume—even when there's nowhere to go—always lifts my spirits and starts my day on a good note. For the majority of this year, my go-to has been Byredo Gypsy Water because it's the most wonderfully intoxicating fragrance on the planet, in my opinion. But when I want something lighter, I'll always reach for Chloé. It's perfect for all seasons and occasions (or lack thereof)."—Allyson Payer, senior editor, Who What Wear
A New Book
Being Grateful for Loved Ones
This was a running theme with our Instagram community. One person said, "Giving love to my loved ones and saying I love them in many different ways."
One thing I look forward to every day is a new nighttime ritual I started doing recently. To help calm myself after a workday, I light a candle, turn off all the lights, and just close my eyes and meditate or listen to some music. It helps me reflect on the day and also what I'm grateful for and looking forward to.
"The cafe downstairs in my building is accepting reusable cups again! Like most places, they weren't for months out of an abundance of caution, but now they let you put it down on the counter and they'll bring over their little jugs of espresso and hot milk and pour your coffee straight into it without ever picking it up. It's such a little thing, but it really does make me feel good to go back to being able to avoid single-use containers as much as possible. I also just discovered via Instagram Stories that I have the exact same Keep Cup as my friend Lucy, who lives all the way in New Zealand, and that makes me feel good too." — Natalie Cantell, Senior Director, Branded Content
Photo:Gustavo Ramirez/Getty Images
Another response we got on Instagram was "stone fruit." With summer comes along a bounty of delicious fruits—like peaches and cherries—so we wholeheartedly support this.
"Throughout this quarantine process, I've started taking a liking to journaling. I've found it to be so therapeutic and something I look forward to doing, both in the morning to help me set my intention for the day or at night to help me reflect. I've been loving this journal from Amazon because it has various prompts and quotes that help spark inspiration."—Alexandra Flowers, analyst II, commerce and content
Being Kind to Strangers
Kindness is needed now more than ever. It's also one of the responses we got on Instagram.
"Speaking of quarantine footwear, I also recently bought a pair of strawberry-printed Crocs purely because I was influenced by someone else online. To me, these are the literal embodiment of 'sparks joy,' and they bring a smile to my face every time I put them on."—Aman