It's a bit ironic that after pouring through shelter mags and blogs on a daily basis I can forget to appreciate or even notice my own home. Maybe it's sitting in traffic, leftover work stuff, or just a compulsion to stay busy, but I can spend an entire day (or longer) without once appreciating my home (or anything in it).
It's easy to think--oh as soon as I finish going through the mail, etc I'll sit down. Or, if I just had that clawfoot tub or if all all my ducks were in a row, etc, then I would sit down and enjoy myself, but we all know that's not the issue. Sometimes you have to just sit down even when nothing has gotten done. These are some great ways I've found to get centered once I get home. Once I'm centered I can actually look around and say "oh my gosh, what a great life I have(and what an awesome apartment).
Not all of these may seem directly related to being at home or even to enjoying it, but I've found that they all contribute to the true feeling of being at home.
• Sit down. As mentioned, this one might seem obvious. But just try coming in the door, putting your bags down and sitting. Too often we feel compelled to follow up on something for work, get to returning phone calls, or any myriad of ways to keep ourselves busy.
• Folding Laundry/Doing Dishes. Yes this does require doing something, but it's something you don't have to think very hard about, you just do it. Repetitive actions are great for freeing up your mind to wander around and have a great 'a-ha' moment. Plus, once the laundry is put away or the dishes are clean, home feels taken care of and I feel happier to be there.
• Setting the mood. I'll go around and light candles, put on some great music and spend a couple of minutes straightening up. The key is doing it for yourself, not just because people are coming over. Then I get to enjoy (by myself) this wonderful home I've made. If I go on to making dinner, sorting the mail or returning phone calls, my evening is better for having taken the time to make home, home.
• Doing things One Thing at a Time. No matter what I'm doing, even if I have a whole list worth in front of me to get done before I go to bed, I remind myself to do things one at a time so that I can be awake for them instead of multi-tasking until I'm totally spent/burned out and just want to watch TV. This being present helps me to relax even when I'm busy and I end up getting a lot more done AND have a sense of satisfaction when I've completed whatever it is. This makes my time at home less stressful and gives me a chance to actually appreciate my home.
• This is the one I'm worst at: Don't watch TV. A lot has been written about this all over the place and I'm sure you've got some opinions so I won't go into it. As much as I love indulging in TV watching I do notice that when I can keep it balanced with seeing friends, being quiet and trying new things, that I'm a better and happier person for it.
• Have a routine for when you take care of certain chores so that you can escape the urgency of everything's-got-to-get-done-now-or-it-never-will syndrome.
Do you do something that helps you transition to being at home? Are there things you do that help you to notice your home and all the work and creativity you've put into it?