#67 Change the Pillows on Your Sofa

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#67

Change the Pillows on Your Sofa

One of the quickest and least expensive ways to freshen up the look of a room is to change out the pillows on your sofa. After a few years, they get lumpy or flatten and no longer offer the comfort for which they were intended. Even if the pillows are in good shaped, the room may benefit from a change of scenery and pillow covers can easily handle that objective.

Size

A standard couch pillow is 18 inches square and are frequently available as large as 24 inches. The larger and more ‘comfy’ the sofa, the larger the pillow can be and still have style. Go with a variety of sizes for the best look and make sure it’s an odd number of pillows overall.

Fill

If you want a pillow designed for lounging comfort, a feather pillow will fit the bill best. Other fillers may hold shape better but they are much more stiff and not necessarily the best choice for a sofa that is used for snuggling and relaxing.

Color & Texture

For the ultimate design experience, consider using pillows that offer variety in texture, color, and pattern. Of course, you’ll want to use colors that contrast your sofa color. If your sofa is a solid color, you can use a combination of complementary patterns and colors. If your sofa has a pattern, choose colors from the pattern for pillows of different shapes. It’s a great time to consider texture; chenilles, leather, and fringes offer a variety of textures to add contrast and interest to your design. Make sure that each of the seating options in the room has a complimentary pillow option. Chairs are great options for oblong shaped pillows that can act as lumbar support. Adorning chairs with pillows also allows for a more complete and pleasing addition for the entire room.

Pillows are another one of those things that can be purchased during January’s white sales and great options can be found at discount retailers such as TJMaxx or Marshalls in addition to online sites such as Overstock.com. A new look will be a great way for you to begin the new year and may offer a sense of newness or freshness for you.  If you are able to catch a sale, it shouldn’t take much more than $100 to …

Change the pillows on your sofa.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#70 Splurge on Nice Sheets

Merry Christmas! If this is a religious holiday for you, I wish you the joy of Christ’s blessings. If not, I wish for you the joy and love of friends and/or family and hope you have a beautiful day.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#70

Splurge on Nice Sheets

Considering that we spend somewhere around one-third of our life in bed, it’s not presumptuous to think that it needs to be a place of comfort.  A major element of a great bed are the sheets that we lie between. It’s one of those treats we never knew we needed until we’ve had the experience. Once you have the pleasure of sleeping on really nice sheets, it will be a goal.

Material

What determines how nice a sheet is? The experts say that the very first thing to look for is the fiber of the sheet – what is it made of? The higher quality of fiber, the more comfortable the sheet. 100% cotton sheets may wrinkle and be more expensive but they will absorb moisture better than anything else. If you perspire a lot while you sleep, cotton sheets are a must. They’re easier to keep clean as well because polyester blends tends to hold dirt and stain. For the most comfortable feel, choose a long fiber sheet generally labeled ‘Pima’ or ‘Egyptian long staple’.

Thread Count

After the material, you want a high thread count. [note that lower thread count 100% cotton is better than higher thread count poly blend] In my experience, typical sheets are in the 200 range (the number of vertical and horizontal threads per square inch). Thread counts can go as high as 1000 but really nice sheets are in the 500 – 800 range most often.

Weave

The method of weaving those threads is also a determinant of how the sheets feel. The most common is Percale, equally woven between horizontal and vertical threads. Percale sheets are known to be crisp and breathes more easily so they’re cooler in summer months. Sateen sheets are woven differently and are therefore much thicker and tightly woven. They will keep you warmer in the winter months and they are generally thought to be softer.

Buying

If you didn’t get sheets under the Christmas tree, don’t fret. January is known for its “white sales” where linens are generally deeply discounted. If sheets aren’t the priority right now, you’re likely to find great prices at online retailers like Overstock.com throughout the year. It’s been my go-to site for linens for years. Similar to the strategy many of us use for electronics – buy the most exquisite you can afford.

Treat yourself to the thing you never knew you wanted…

Splurge on nice sheets.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

 

#79 Go to the Library

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#79

Go to the Library

In this digital age of Kindle and e-readers and Amazon’s ability to deliver hard copy books to us in 48 hours or less, our jaunts to the library are far and few between for most of us. What was once a weekly trek to replace the books that I’d devoured in in short time has become a rare occurrence. Sadly, I must admit that it’s my loss – not taking the time to enjoy browsing the rows of hard bound books – running my fingers along the spines and choosing carefully, a new book to read.

Libraries appeal to our senses in a way the a laptop connected to the internet never can.

Aromas

There’s something whole-hearted about being in a library. That smell, the aroma of paper and glue, of dust and ink. If it was a glass of wine it may have hints of acidity and grass or vanilla and smoke. The old ones are my favorite as that old inviting scent seems to have permeated the walls.

Comfort

They seem to have more nooks and crannies that allow you to hide, or escape with a book. It’s one of my favorite places to go if I need to concentrate on a project as I hope that the collective wisdom, represented by the volumes of information will guide me.

Sounds

The hushed quiet is reassuring in some way. It’s as if we must be still in order to absorb what our eyes are experiencing. The complimentary noises of books opening and closing, of being moved around on the shelves, and of people searching connects to our brain in a way that may remind it to scour for its own collection of information. It’s as if sitting in a library reminds us to dig deeper into our own knowledge banks.

History

There’s a bit of history in libraries that has yet to be captured by the world wide web. Certainly, we’re not yet at the point where each and every book has been scanned electronically. There are historical collections of newspapers, magazines, and lessor known copy that exist in libraries – especially the larger ones – that can offer a historical perspective unavailable in our technology. There’s something magical about holding a book published in 1940 and understanding that it’s been moved around our culture and literally shared by thousands of people since. Touching it connects you to that history – joining your combined energy and adding your own historical fingerprint.

If we don’t make the effort to continue to support these institutions, they will disappear and the world will lose part of its vitality; an element of its heartbeat. So, the next time you pass by… make the effort and take some time to…

Go to the library.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#84 Go Solo

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#84

Go Solo

In a world where we talk so much about belonging, I am going to recommend that – at least for some time – you ‘go solo’.

What does that mean?

Depending on who you’re talking to, the term ‘go solo’ may refer to a number of things. Some people immediately take it to the far side and assume you’re spending some ‘intimate’ time with yourself. Others wonder if you are going to ‘go out on your own’ professionally. Still others conjure visions of sitting in a movie theater or a restaurant by yourself. A few may even imagine travel.

Being Alone

No matter the definition, in fact, any of the above can apply… the goal is to find a comfort level with spending time with yourself – and only yourself. This may be uncomfortable for some of you if you think of this from the perspective of sexual pleasure and yet as we narrow down these 365 days, I’d be remiss to leave out this discussion. Indeed, personal pleasure time is very important to a healthy perspective about sex and a satisfactory sex life. If you don’t understand how your body experiences pleasure, how are you ever going to introduce another person to it? The key is to explore and experiment in the privacy and safety of your own company so that you can engage more fully when you are with a partner.

Out & About

In almost every memory I have of attending the movies, I recall seeing at least one person there solo and I’ve always admired their courage to sit there by themselves. My mother preferred going to the movies by herself because (she said) no one would interrupt her experience by asking questions or talking in the middle of it. Another friend prefers to eat lunch alone everyday and seeks restaurants that are quiet and less crowded. She asks for a booth where she can ‘hide’ from the world for that hour and she considers it a reprieve from her stressful job.

Professionally

If your career is in the trades or professional services and you’ve considered or made the decision to ‘go solo’ – bravo to you for taking the initiative of entrepreneurship. It takes considerable courage and commitment to step outside the safety of a group or organization and accept the risk of not knowing where or when your next client will surface. Not everyone can or will be open to existing in that arena but for those that do… the reward is often worth the risk.

Travel

I’ve read blogs and talked to people who have experienced solo travel as “one of the highlights of their lives” and indeed, some prefer it. I stepped out on my first solo travel trip this past summer with much trepidation and had fun although for me… the jury is still out. I love adventure and hesitate to submerge myself in unfamiliar situations without a safe harbor close by. It’s part of my current development plan and a ‘work in progress’.

Self Care

Learning to spend quality time with yourself is vital to your overall emotional health. It’s too demanding on social systems to provide 100% of the comfort that we need as individuals and so it’s imperative that we learn how to be still with ourselves. No matter the platform, consider including some ‘solo time’ into your self care plan. Eventually, you’re sure to establish some comfort in your ability to …

Go solo.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#126 Make a New Friend

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#126

Make a New Friend

Life is just better when we are sharing ourselves with other people who are like-minded. Some of us who are more introverted may hesitate to reach out in ways that allow us to make new friendships. Others, are challenged to keep up with the friendships that already exist. And for some of us, the friendships we have may no  longer be meeting our changing personalities or needs.

Like-minded Peeps

Friendships are built upon like-mindedness; shared interests, values, and inspirations. When our daily activities or the things we value change, so may our friendships need to change. It may be that as we grow into a new interest, we discover that surrounding ourselves with people who also like those things may inspire us to go further than we knew we could.

Breaking Barriers

Sometimes we realize we need to make new friends yet we are limited in our opportunities to meet new people. This is when we need to break barriers of comfort and habit. This is when it becomes necessary to branch out and create opportunities to be introduced to people like us via clubs, groups, volunteering, etc.

First Move

If you know that new friendships will enrich your life, be brave enough to make the first move… ask someone to lunch with you or suggest a get together. Initiate conversation or invite them over for an evening that encompasses that ‘thing’ you share. Take the initiative in opening up; be vulnerable!

It’s really not possible to have ‘too many’ friends – people that really matter to you and that share common ideologies. If you’ve notice that the number of people in your life that are innately connected, perhaps it’s time to …

Make a new friend.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#160 Practice Mindful Compassion

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#160

Practice Mindful Compassion

One of the ‘new’ buzzwords in psychotherapy is ‘mindful compassion’. It’s not new really… Buddhists have been practicing mindful compassion for thousands of years and one might even argue that most prayer regiments are akin to this practice. Mindful compassion is the specific expression of empathy, goodwill, and compassion towards oneself and/or others. It’s learning how to extend a deep level of compassion, without judgment, to oneself or to others.

Imagine

Think for a moment of how you would comfort a child who has just lost his mother. Imagine that child sitting on your lap in a deep state of sadness and you are helpless to ‘fix’ the problem. Your only comfort can be a deep level of empathy and compassion for the pain that this child feels. Now, imagine that you can generate this same level of compassion for yourself each time you experience emotional discomfort or send that compassionate energy – via thought waves – to another human who may be suffering.

Extend It

This level of comforting – this extension of deep compassion – can be very healing. Cultivating an ability to self-sooth is the focus of new treatments for anxiety and depression. It is also a wonderful way to begin each day – extending compassionate ‘vibes’ to people in your life who may benefit from a little extra love.

Doing so is quite easy if you sit quietly and imagine yourself in a state of deep compassion; going to your core. Next, create an image of the person you want to send energy to… and offer these words:

“May you be well; May you be happy; May you be free from suffering”

Spend 5 minutes in that space, sending love and energy to one or more people – or even yourself. Practicing this on a daily basis will not only increase your personal depth of compassion, it will calm you, build inner peace, and increase the endorphins that are associated with acts of benevolence.

Learn More

This suggestion is a mere blip of an introduction to mindful compassion and I encourage you to investigate leading teachers and practitioners such as Sharon Salzberg, Kristin Neff, Paul Gilbert, or Christopher Germer, just to name a few.

Benefits

This is one of those ‘tips’ that anyone can do; requires no tools; is completely FREE; benefits others; improves mental health; and can be accomplished anytime – anywhere. It may be a perfect activity! So, sit quietly for a few minutes and let the sun shine on your face as you close your eyes and …

Practice mindful compassion.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

#259 Replace Your Pillows

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#259

Replace your pillows

Do you have a plan to replace old, worn out pillows? If you’re like me, I think about it when I am changing the linens and then I forget or put them at the bottom of my priority list – you know, below pedicures and sushi nights. Admittedly, there have been times in my life when I was forced to double case a pillow to hide the dried drool stains and evidence of age if I was in a pinch. At those moments, new pillows became a priority.

Let’s face it, one-third of each day is spent in bed with our heads on a pillow; having the right one is a necessity for a good night’s sleep and potentially, for our health. According to some experts, the basic poly-fill pillow needs replaced every six months (what??). The more expensive memory foam pillows can last as long as 36 months (double what??). I’m embarrassed to admit that mine are much older.

Indeed, my primary – my favorite – pillow is perhaps 8 years old at this point and I’ve kept it because I can’t seem to find one that I like as much. There are so many different pillow options these days and if money isn’t a concern three are plenty to consider. We must choose between content; feathers, down, memory foam, microbead, water, gel or buckwheat. Then there are the different body parts that pillows support; neck, body, and shoulders. There are pillows for health; sleep apnea, allergies, back pain, and migraines.  And, not the least of which is important is the degree of firmness – several options in that arena are also available.

The best time to buy pillows is in January when most of the major merchandisers have annual white sales but I for one, am usually not shopping that time of year… more like recovering from December’s blown budget. It makes good sense to bite the bullet and search sales for new pillows on those beds that get used daily at least annually… (yes, I’m inclined to buy the cheaper ones).

If I’ve totally grossed you out now that you are thinking about how old most of the pillows are in your house, the fix is simple… for a mere $12 or so (each) this weekend at Macys you can …

Replace your pillows.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Photo by Martin Castro on Unsplash