You know what is nice? Instant gratification. Especially when it comes to money. Double that when you're a self employed artist. Lemme tell you, some of my darkest despairs have come from working hard and not seeing the response as quickly as I hoped. While I'm dreaming of a jet setting future with more then enough income to cover my bills, I've started incorporating small habits that help me feel like I'm living the life (even though my bank account might not reflect it yet)
Here are 7 ways to feel like you've got it all (and be fiscally responsible at the same time)
1) Clean your house.
Yes, I KNOW. I hate cleaning too. It absolutely sucks to do, but it feels so refreshing to be in clean, beautiful space. What works for me is to give my self about 20 minutes of chores a day so it doesn't encroach too much into the rest of my life. Just thinking of my chores as a free way to improve the quality of my life makes me more likely to do it.
2) Infuse your water.
Having chilled, infused water is just a matter of having a pitcher and a lemon or cucumber (or frozen fruit), but it can make drinking water feel spa-like. Even if you don't infuse it, make sure you're drinking the recommended amount of water. If you're regularly sluggish or cranky, dehydration may just be the cause.
3) Shop your closet.
It's easy to forget everything that's in there, so every once in a while pull every thing out. Sell or donate anything that you don't wear anymore (unless it holds sentimental value) and play dress up with what is left over. You can also scope out pinterest for ideas on how to update or refresh what you already own. You can also shop your bookshelf if you're a book-a-holic like me. Get rid of the stuff you will probably never read again, and re-discover those books you bought but never finished. Bonus points if you do a book or clothing swap with your friends.
Cluttered heads are just as draining as cluttered space. Sitting for five minutes before sleep and just focusing on your breath is a great practice, especially if you have a problem with insomnia. I also meditate by staring into space over my coffee in the morning while my brain slowly kicks on.
5) Appreciate beauty.
Are there art walks where you are? There are in most cities. Art walks are a great time to go into galleries and sometimes even museums and enjoy all of the creativity that abounds out in the world. If you're in a small town, a good nature walk works as well.
6) Celebrate successes.
If gratitude is a tough one for you, know that I am WITH you. Growing up as a pastors kid, "just be grateful" was a tool used to invalidate my emotions, desires, or criticisms. So I replaced the word grateful with the word celebrate, because that's basically what real world gratitude is about. Write things down in your journal or planner as they happen. Give a reward speech to your mirror every night. Give your self stickers when something works out well. Make a game of noticing the things going right in your life every day.
And yes, it's cool if there is still shit you're frustrated about, it's not about running over your feelings with a Zamboni, it's about going out of your way to pay attention to the good stuff instead of getting laser focused on the shitty stuff.
7) Host a party.
Every year for my birthday I host a murder mystery party, and I try to make each a little more over the top then the last. My friends have a blast dressing as different characters and trying to suss out who the killer is. I would love to just be able to throw regular, totally over the top themed parties all the time, but hosting one party everyone looks forward to makes me feel like an eccentric debutant. Here are some ideas that cost hardly anything:
Have a themed pot luck (desserts only, eat around the world, favorite dishes), host a grown up sleep over, host some art - see if your favorite local artist would be interested in hosting a pop up show in your home. Many musicians (myself included) will play in people's homes for donations as long as we get to be the center of attention while we do it.
8) Explore your Neighborhood
I would love to be a world traveler some day, but in the meantime I treat my neighborhood like it's some cute Parisian town in the country (and if I can do it living literally right next to a mall, you can too) I like to scope out cute Mom and Pop shops, restaurants or bistros and visit them. I might not be able to afford a trip to Germany, but I can usually spring the $5 for a delicious beer made by one of my neighbors.
9) Get OUtside
I'm pretty lucky in that Western Washington has a plethora of amazing parks to enjoy. It's a 15 minute drive from our apartment to a beautiful 3 mile hiking loop. When it's hot, it's easy to head out to a beach or a lake with a good book, a blanket, and a sun loving friend. Even without easy access though, a little bit of natural beauty can greatly improve you're experience of life. Get a house plant. Drink your morning coffee on the patio. Play a youtube video of the ocean and watch the waves. Walk during your lunch break.
10) Commit to making art Every day
If you are an artist, then making and appreciating art should be towards the top of your priority list, but it often gets bumped down due to day jobs and recovering from them. Skip a few episodes on netflix and take out your paints instead, even if you aren't inspired. Read a few poems. Strum your guitar. It's hard at first, kind of like starting a workout routine, but making your art is about celebrating who you are and there is nothing more luxe than that.
What little things do you do when you need a satisfaction boost in your life? Even small steps in the right direction will make lasting changes over time. Pick one thing off of this list that resonates with you and give it a try.