Cold Hands Warm Heart

Tips for Making Every Day Routines Sacred

When I was little my aunt used to tell us, “Cold hands warm heart,” whenever we put our icy hands in hers. She would come in from outside, we knew we were getting gentle and cold fingers on our necks and big hugs. It was such a part of our winter routine that now I say the same thing to my kiddos, “cold hands warm heart,” and bury them in my arms. It is a ritual and a memory, a simple way to make common occurrences sacred. 

This winter I am striving to create more meaning in my daily practices. My showers, skin-care routine, the way I go to sleep and the way I wake up. These are daily events that I often rush through. Time lost in the past or in the future – Did I put the clothes in the dryer? I need to pick up milk. The saddest part is that this happens every day. By focusing on our anxieties or worries we loose opportunities to create nourishing rituals.

Tips to make small moments brighter.

  1. I purchased a small box of mindfulness cards that I open each morning to give me a mantra, intention, or reflection that I can use to intentionally begin my day.
  2. Adding sweet smelling soaps and lotions to my showers and skincare routines. They add delight to the experience and remind me to slow down.
  3. Cookies! After my meditations I am savoring chocolate shortbread cookies with strawberry icing. These sweet treats being a little taste of summer into my chilly winter afternoons.

None of these shifts is monumental or expensive. Yet they are excellent tools for making my everyday routines sacred. I am feeling hot water raining down on my skin, smelling coconut and remembering summer, beaches, and fun. The biggest revelation is the practice of staying in the moment. I am not just going through the motions. Beginning my day engaged and delighting shifts my perspective and improves my mood.

The simple act of enhancing my daily practices makes my life richer. It is wonderful to be able to brighten my own day and surprise myself. It is the little things that make life nice and remind us of the many joys of being alive. We don’t always have to remodel the kitchen or take off on vacation to feel special. Sometimes all it takes is a cozy reminder – cold hands warm heart, have a hug, we’re so loved. 

What little gifts can you give to yourself that would make life more lovely? How do you make your daily routines special? What scents bring joy to your heart or what loving sayings did you grow up with in your home?

15 Simple Pleasures to Make Life Lovely

I always love a new suggestion on how to make the sweet life sweeter. Especially in winter when the days are long and cold, it’s nice to be reminded of some very good things we don’t always remember to do. I compiled a list of small things I do to make life more lovely and hope you’ll try a few. I hope they bring as much simple joy and wholesome happiness to your days as they do to mine.

  1. Read a good book – A new read or an old favorite always puts me in a good mood.
  2. Take a bath – Not too hot in winter but warm and cozy, I double the delight by putting on a face mask or bringing my Italy towel with to turn bathing into a Korean spa.
  3. Make a hot cup of tea – Harney and Sons Raspberry tea is my absolute favorite. Add a teaspoon of honey for a sweet and lovely moment.
  4. Bake a batch of cookies – Whether you use the break apart type or whip something up from scratch nothing makes a space smell like home like a batch of fresh cookies.
  5. A good stretch – Even if all you know is child’s pose a few yogic stretches can get blood flowing and warm your body up. I love legs up the wall before bed, it helps improve circulation and isn’t too strenuous.
  6. Lotionize – In winter I make a point to keep my feet moisturized and soft by using a thick cream and then layering on cozy socks. Add a little lavender essential oil to your lotion for a heavenly aroma.
  7. Add peppermint or tea tree essential oils to your shampoo – I don’t wash my hair every day but on days I need a pick me up I add peppermint to my shampoo. Another trick my stylist just taught me is to add tea tree oil to get rid of winter dandruff or dry scalp.
  8. Call an old friend or a new one fit to make an old one out of – Science shows connection releases feel good endorphins oxytocin and serotonin. Call a good friend for a quick pick me up, it’s even better if you can share a laugh.
  9. Hug your knees, partner, or pet – A good cuddle and squeeze even as short a six seconds releases endorphins and has an immediate relaxing and calming effect. It benefits our health and even improves our sleep.
  10. Dance – even if it’s alone in your kitchen, pick your favorite jams and twirl yourself around the floor. 
  11. Make Yourself Your Favorite Meal – It doesn’t have to be complicated or fancy. Any meal that reminds you of childhood or a favorite memory can be special. Take your time and enjoy the process or prepare it for a friend and share the story of why this meal is special to you.
  12. Get creative – Even if it’s only for a few minutes, draw, color, or rearrange the furniture, whatever creative endeavor brings you joy give yourself some time to do it!
  13. Take a walk – Get outside into the weather and breathe deeply. A walk around your neighborhood or on a trail will always change your perspective and improve your mood. Shinrin-yoku, or Japanese forrest bathing, is a long practiced tradition for improving quality of life and health.
  14. Simplify Your Space – Research shows clutter can feel like a loss of control, especially for women. You don’t have to scour the baseboards but clearing off your desk or even a small part of your work space can feel freeing and invigorating.
  15. Purge – Even if you only set up a box for donations by your door and make a plan to place items inside of it. Getting rid of those pants that don’t fit or your tights with runs is freeing – you’re making space in your wardrobe and in your life for what comes next and that is powerful.

Let me know which of these you try and if you have any recommendations that I missed! I love learning and remembering new ways to create comfort and coziness at home.