Living

The Small Joys Compendium, Vol. 1

One thing that became and remains obvious during the pandemic is how much small joys matter in the every day. By “small joys,” I mean things, material or otherwise, that just add a little something special to our homes, our lives, and ourselves. When you’re stuck with the same people (or, when you’re single like me, with yourself) for a period of time, within the same walls, anything that can brighten that experience and maybe bring a bit of novelty is welcome.

I made a bunch of discoveries during this time, but the ones I’ll write about are those which have become permanent additions to my life. Consider this post the first of a series.

the be.come project

Here’s something I came upon tangentially that has now become an important part of my week. I follow writer Kelsey Miller, author of Big Girl: How I Gave Up Dieting and Got a Life, on Instagram. Sometime months into lockdown she posted about her love for this fitness program, and I had a feeling that if Kelsey liked it, so would I. I was right. The be.come project is revolutionary in many ways, but mostly because it focuses on body neutrality. In other words, it’s not about loving your body—it’s about doing something good for it no matter how you feel about it.

Instructor Bethany Meyers is fun and their routines are super creative and set to great music. I regularly end up looking up the playlists on Spotify because I’ve come to love some of the songs they use. The workouts are 25 minutes long, so their easy to fit into my schedule.

I love so many things about this program. One is that Bethany stresses the importance of just showing up rather than how much or how well you perform the routine. And you can send questions for help with the routine and either Bethany or someone from their team will respond within a day or so. In the past one thing that made it difficult for me to stick with an exercise program was getting discouraged if I couldn’t perform an exercise well or at all. The be.come project eliminates that feeling by showing how common the challenge can be for many, and by providing alternatives for moves to make them work for each individual.

There’s a new routine each week, which you perform as many times as you want, as well as the previous week’s—in case you want to go back to what’s familiar, prefer that one, or don’t feel like you had enough time with it. For $35/month, it’s really like getting a personal trainer—one who just wants you to be kind to yourself.

A “work” candle

I know I’m not alone in this. Now that so many of us are working from home, one thing we can do that we couldn’t in an office is light a candle. I love scent anyway; its power to transport, evoke memories, calm, and relax is just what I need when travel is so limited. During the shorter days I got in the habit of lighting a scented candle on my desk. The Overose Euphoriasme candle is my current choice. The color puts a smile on my face and the scent, meant to evoke a Parisian bakery, smells of sweets and roses with a faint aroma of baked pastries in the background. I may be stuck in the same room I’ve been in for a year, but I can pretend I’m working in a Paris cafe.

A “fireplace”

I’ve always wanted a fireplace. And I’ve always rented. I knew there were electric fireplaces, but the ones I’d seen in the past were about as large as the wood-burning kind, and my place is tiny. But then I discovered that there are what are essentially fancy electric space heaters dressed up as wood-burning stoves. These things have become so popular, it’s hard to choose from the hundreds out there. I picked one for the color and appearance of the “fire”—basically an effect made with lights and fake logs. How well it worked as a heater wasn’t too important for me. I live in Los Angeles and probably would mostly use it without the heat feature turned on.

I got this thing and haven’t stopped using it. It’s kind of ridiculous, but it just cozies up the place. During the holiday season, I draped it with cedar garland and lights. It was the best ~$100 I spent last year.

Robyn Kern is the Tangentier. A long-time writer based in Los Angeles with a degree in screenwriting and an interest in mindfulness, many tangents led her here: a place where people can come to find and share inspiration, dwell in each others' passions, and learn how to surround themselves with what they love on the daily.

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