The other day, I had a really off day. I felt totally overwhelmed and at the same time, inert–stuck. I didn’t know what to focus on first–disorienting for a prolific and hyper-organized list-maker like myself. So you know what you do when you find yourself in an uncharacteristic moody funk? You hoist yourself out of it with little things that brighten your day and make you feel as though you’ve taken control of the tenor of the day, and you talk to your mom (who always knows just what to say), and you realize that this, too, shall pass.
Three years ago, we had a death in the family. In the heart-rending weeks leading up to it, I remember going to Church one Sunday and the priest at my parish–an exceptional sermonist (for those Catholics in Chicago: I’m talking about Father Frank at St. Teresa of Avila on Armitage)–delivered the most pitch-perfect, tailor-made-for-my-family-at-that-moment homily. He told the story of an woman in the parish whom he’d visited at the hospital the night before. She was caring after an invalid husband who was at death’s door after years of treatment, care, and medical intervention. The woman was, against all odds, upbeat. Fr. Frank, an approachable and down-to-earth pastor, asked her: “I have to ask–How are you doing this? How are you holding up so well?” And she said, and this I will never forget: “Fr. Frank, life is bigger than this.”
I can’t tell you how many times I have said those words to myself since, both in the immediate aftermath of the death–what it suggests about an afterlife and the gift of what’s come before offered some emotional respite–and in the myriad fleeting and less important challenges that I’ve faced since. I am not, fortunately, facing anything on the order of a death in the family right now but have been navigating a lot of difficult decisions with our business, life choices, and the joys of adulting in general.
So, for those days where nothing seems to be going right, whether or not you share my religious beliefs–life is BIGGER than this. There are always more tomorrows, more opportunities, more moments of happiness in the future.
And. If that thought doesn’t help. Here’s how to elevate your mood in a pinch:
+Drive yourself to the nearest grocery (or, in my case, ’cause I’m lucky, walk around the corner to one) and snag a few festive poinsettias.
+Add some new holiday decor to the collection. I really adore this little vintage-style truck figural from Target of all places ($20) and coordinating pillow ($31). Unfortunately, our front living room uses a lot of poppy orange and I felt the reds would be too clashy, so I went with these yarn-wrapped trees ($12 for 18″, $10 for 10″) and a cozy mohair throw (on sale for $22!) I love you, Target.
+While we’re talking Target, how INCRED is this white wreath ($30)?!?! I love it if you’re going for a winter white theme! Imagine it surrounded by candles in whites and creams and maybe some satin white ribbon around a green pine garland? Or hung over a fireplace stocked with pine logs?
Shifting gears away from the holidays, here are some other easy, chicken-soup-for-the-shopaholic’s-soul treats for yourself on a gray day:
A new robe ($65!) — this one looks like the perfect pick for “getting ready.” It’s lightweight so you won’t sweat too much while blow-drying your hair, but it looks super comfortable (ahhh cotton modal). Plus, that print!
Some epic chocolate cookies ($18 for 6, Jacques Torres) — these are supposed to be BOMB.
A new book — this set of essays is supposed to be excellent. Or try Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist, which is incredibly thought-provoking and entertaining. Approachable lit crit that will challenge you and make you laugh.
A new cookbook (I’ve heard good things about this one — plus, the foreword is by Ina Garten so…how bad can that be?!)
A fun pair of earrings ($110) never let me down. These feel ready for winter vacation!