Get a Pep Talk Every Monday!

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Photo by Adam Solomon on Unsplash

I miss talking to you. I’ve been blogging on Medium, posting a few blogs here, writing a proposal for my second book, and working on an online course. But sometimes I miss the old days when I’d chat with people in the comments of my blogs and get to know my readers.

So, to stay in closer touch with you, I’ve launched an email newsletter!

It only took me about eight years to finally get around to it, and it took me one single evening of following MailChimp’s really intuitive instructions. Cool, I love when the thing I’ve been avoiding for eight years only takes two hours to do.

Every time you subscribe to my email list, an angel gets their wings and a non-binary person is appropriately gendered by someone they just met. It’s really a win-win.

PLUS you get some fun and motivational content each Monday (ish).

When you sign up, you’ll get one pep talk email immediately (check your spam folder if you don’t see it, sometimes gmail gets aggressive), and then you’ll get added to the list to receive a new pep talk each Monday.

I will never sell or share your data, because that’s creepy, and I will occasionally email on a not-Monday if I have cool news to share that is time sensitive (such as early enrollment for an online course… hint).

Sign up here! I can’t wait to chat with you.

The 8 Different Types of Love

Whether you are attending a Galentine’s Day brunch, treating yourself to a night of self-care or spending the holiday with a special someone, Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion for celebrating love. However, as many know, you don’t need romance to commemorate relationships and the love you have for someone. This February 14th, examine how you display love and how others display love towards you!

Just like a snowflake, every love is unique and there can be different traits and characteristics found in every type of love. Every relationship can have a different meaning to you, due to the different types of love associated with relationships.

For decades, humans have experienced up to eight different types of love. Sometimes you can even experience love with someone you don’t know!

The Greeks studied love and signified eight different types giving each a Greek name. Today, there are even intensifiers of love known as love catalysts that can enhance the love you feel within relationships.

What is a Love Catalyst?

A love catalyst is the part of yourself that enhances your experience with a type of love and can provoke certain feelings to arise. These feelings can lead to positive emotions like euphoria that can enhance your relationship with a romantic partner, friend or with yourself. For example, affectionate love is propelled by the mind and self-love is intensified by the soul. 

Say Hello to the 8 Different Types of Love

To help you gain familiarity with the eight types of love FTD has created eight love characters to represent the types of love found in every relationship. Find which love type you identify with by meeting each below!

Philia – Affectionate Love 

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Philia or “brotherly love” is love without romantic strings and usually occurs between friends or family. When individuals share the same values and respect for each other they display Philia. 

Love Catalyst: The Mind 

Your mind decides who you can trust based on feelings of respect and familiarity. 

 

Pragma – Enduring Love

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Pragma is a mature love between a couple that has grown and matured for many years. Commitment and dedication are required to achieve Pragma and it is also known as everlasting love. 

Love Catalyst: Etheric (Subconscious)

The love catalyst for Pragma is the subconscious. You are driven towards each other unknowingly, but there is a sense of purpose in your unity.

 

Storge – Familiar Love 

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Storge is a natural love common between close friends and between parents and children as well. This love is built on deep emotional connection and acceptance of each other. This love comes easily and immediately in parent and child relationships.

Love Catalyst: Causal (Memories)

The love catalyst for Storge is memories. As you create more memories the value and emotional attachment to the relationship increases. 

 

Eros – Romantic Love 

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Eros is a passionate love that is displayed through physical affection. This love is a desire for another person’s body and touch. Common displays are through kissing, holding hands and hugging. 

Love Catalyst: Physical Body (Hormones)

Physical touch lights a fire in you and romantic actions create more admiration for your partner. 

Ludus – Playful Love 

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Ludus is known as the “honeymoon stage” of relationships and consists of child-like play and teasing the one you are interested in. Although common in young couples, older couples who strive for this love find a more rewarding relationship.

Love Catalyst: Astral (Emotion)

Emotions inspire you to feel giddy and excited with your newer or newly interesting partner. 

 

Mania – Obsessive Love 

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Mania is an obsessive love with your partner and can lead to possessiveness and jealousy. Most cases of obsessiveness can lead to an imbalance in the relationship however a healthy dose of playfulness and romantic love can even out the relationship.

Love Catalyst: Survival instinct

Codependency can lead to a person feel desperate for their partner in order to find self-value. This lack of self-confidence can make a partner feel like they need the other to survive. 

 

Philautia – Self Love

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Philautia is the practice of self-love and self-value. It also means you recognize your personal needs and are responsible for your well-being. 

Love Catalyst: Soul 

Your soul lets you understand your needs whether they are physical, emotional or mental. 

 

Agape – Selfless Love 

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Agape is the highest level of love a person can offer. Offering Agape is loving throughout any and all circumstances. Agape is not a physical act, it’s a feeling, but acts of self-love can elicit Agape since self-monitoring leads to results.

Love Catalyst: Spirit 

Your spirit motivates you to be kind and shows others kindness before yourself. 

Perfect Your Love Combo 

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Use the different love catalysts to help you fully immerse yourself in the best traits from each type of love. 

This Valentine’s Day, inspect some of your relationships to identify what kind of love you enjoy the most. Try some creative ideas to enhance love with your partner, relationships or with yourself!  

Check out the full infographic from FTD below. All images provided by Siege Media.

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Fear of Criticism Was Keeping Me from Working on My Goals

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Photo by Skyla Design on Unsplash

The phrase, “What people think of you is none of your business” was confusing when I first heard it as a kid. But I’ve since realized it means that people are going to have whatever opinions of you that they have, and you can’t stop them.

No matter what I do, I cannot control how people perceive me.

I spend a lot of energy making sure I don’t step on toes, upset people, or hurt people’s feelings. I want people to feel welcome and loved around me. In the past, this has been to my own detriment. I’d light myself on fire to keep someone else warm.

I make compassion a regular habit but I am also getting comfortable taking up some more space. My level of compassion has not changed, except that it now includes myself.

Perception is reality

Everything has to filter through your own issues before you can process it.

I had a boss who used to say, “Perception is reality.” I prefer to think that perception is a filter.

Everything that every person does or says is perceived uniquely by everyone around them. Because everything that every person does or says has to filter through your own issues before you can process it.

An example: Age gaps in relationships. They make me extremely uncomfortable. My abuser was 40 when he met and groomed me to be his victim at 23. Age gaps of ten or more years make me feel sick to my stomach, but it doesn’t mean I think every couple with an age gap is experiencing an abuse dynamic. That’s my experience, my discomfort, my issue. And it’s my boundary to enforce if I don’t want to be around couples with a big age gap because it’s a trauma trigger.

It doesn’t mean I hate you. It doesn’t mean I have to get over it any faster for your benefit, either.

Another example: Weight loss. I can’t deal with people’s before and after photos because they send me back to the mental place I was in when I was deep in my eating disorder. Do I think everyone who has lost weight has an eating disorder? No. Do I think they’re fatphobic? Yes, actually, but that’s a post for another time.

I have unfollowed social media accounts that focus on weight loss or diet culture. It doesn’t mean I hate you.

Fear of criticism

She draws things out of me that I’m too afraid to say without careful distillation into something palatable.

It’s been almost two years since I left an abusive marriage, and I have met myself all over again. I’m discovering things I didn’t know I liked to do, because I never tried. I have a pretty active social life. I’m investing in professional services to make myself a better writer. I’m putting myself out there and promoting my work.

And it’s terrifying.

I have a professional coach whose favorite refrain is “What else?” I tell her how I’m feeling about something, she replies, “Okay, what else? What’s behind that? What’s the thought?”

Like the scene in Dead Poets Society where Robin Williams forces Ethan Hawke into reciting a sudden poem, she draws things out of me that I’m too afraid to say without careful distillation into something palatable.

Last night I said to her, “I’m afraid if I get too big people will criticize me.”

So, it’s fear. I procrastinate, I hedge my bets, I don’t push far enough — because I am afraid to tip the scales in any one direction. I’m afraid to invite criticism.

In the same call, I laughed about a one star review someone left about my book. He hadn’t even read it and the review is nonsensical. I told her I wanted to frame it.

It’s so clear that the one star review is from someone who the book isn’t for. He’s not someone I am trying to reach.

A friend recently pointed out that there were some parts of my book where they thought I didn’t go far enough. I completely agree. I was over-concerned with being agreeable to every reader. A 2.0 version would have a lot of updates and would be bigger, longer, and a lot more divisive. It would invite criticism, but it would also invite more fervent support.

And that’s what I was missing.

I can’t stay quiet anymore

I need to be me so loudly that it turns the wrong people away and draws the right people closer.

I keep bumping into the fact that I try to smooth my edges to appeal to the masses. I censor myself because I’m too afraid of someone disagreeing with me. In conflict with a loved one, I soften my own pain so it doesn’t upset them.

I don’t have to be palatable. I don’t have to be perfectly portioned. I don’t have to be mass produceable.

I need to be me so loudly that it turns the wrong people away and draws the right people closer. And it’s going to suck, at first.

I’ve already lost friends for reasons I don’t understand. I regularly invite feedback and am willing to sit in the discomfort of talking through an issue, so the fact that people who were once close friends have simply written me off is hurtful, but it’s honestly none of my business. If they wanted me to make something right, they’d invite me to do so.

Just like I don’t hate the people I’ve had to take distance from, they probably don’t hate me either. Their perception of me is getting filtered through what they’ve been through and what they’re going through. And that’s okay, even though it stings.

Like my one-star reviewer, some people aren’t going to be the people I’m here to reach. But by turning myself up to 11 and not trying to be everyone’s cup of tea, I’ll attract the people I’m actually here to connect with.

I’m not for everyone, and not everyone is excited for me to change and grow into this new version of myself.

And it’s honestly none of my business.

Ready to make a change in your own life?

I’m taking one on one coach clients this year and I have a few spots open in February. Send in a coach inquiry and we’ll decide the best way for us to work together on a ninety day goal!

 

How I Check My Email to Be a Better Writer

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I aspire to be a person who goes to sleep with zero unread emails every day.

It doesn’t always happen that way, because I’ll end up saving something as a to-do and then before you know it, that little red bubble on my phone says I’m slowly piling up emails again.

But I need these.

These are my Medium digests, with important information I need to be a better writer.

These are emails from workshops, coaches, and courses I’m in, with important information I need to be a better writer.

These are fourteen thousand emails from Shaunta Grimes.

These are business expense receipts, submission deadlines, and form submissions from my website.

These are, okay, that one is just a reminder that I need to skip this month’s MeUndies order.

Getting started

I set myself a timer and decided I wouldn’t check my phone or Facebook until the timer went off. Until then, it was just me and my inbox.

I powered through about 80 emails in 40 minutes and that little red notification bubble has (temporarily) gone back to hell where it came from.

To get started, I opened the following tabs in my browser:

I ended up opening a budget spreadsheet and WordPress as well, which I explain below.

I just started at the top of the email list and went through one at a time. And I took an action with each email.

  • Medium Digests: I opened each article that I wanted to read later and saved it to my reading list within Medium, then deleted the digest email
  • Mailing Lists: I unsubscribed if no longer relevant or simply marked as read if I wanted to stay on the list
  • Bills: I paid them, opened my Google Sheet where I track bills, and recorded the payment
  • Submission Calls: I put a card in my Shiny Object List describing the submission along with the deadline and link to submit — if I have time for shiny objects, I’ll submit during my next Shiny Week
  • Guest Posts: I get inquiries to submit guest posts to my website, so I responded to these with a no thanks or a tell me more
  • Account Confirmations: If I needed to click a button to confirm my email or reset a password, I took care of it in a few seconds and moved onto the next email
  • Valuable Emails: Emails that I want to keep handy but don’t have the focus to deal with right now got a label applied in Gmail so I can find them easily later

I also realized that I received a guest post inquiry through my coaching client inquiry form, so I hopped over to WordPress to adjust the verbiage and hopefully make it clearer what each form is for.

Building the new email habit

My goal is to handle my unread emails in this manner once or twice a day, but I’m not hung up on the zero as a marker of my success. What I want to get from this habit, however “successful” I am at keeping my inbox at zero, is a more intentional approach to my email inboxes and professional development.

It does me no good to be on mailing lists for writers and saving articles about writing if I’m not taking the time to read them, learn, and implement what they teach me.

Handling my email inbox is the first tiny step toward building the habit of improving my writing.

Work with Me One on One in 2020

In September 2019, I started working with a professional coach to help me with my goal to write more consistently. I had an idea for a new book rolling around in my head and also wanted to be more consistent with blogging.

Three months later, I was well into planning a workshop that I’ll be launching as an online course later this month, I’ve pitched four new books to my agent, and I’ve decided to open my calendar to new clients myself and help YOU reach YOUR goals the way my coach is helping me reach mine!

What does coaching with me entail?

  • Your Goals: You pick one (or a few) goals that you want to work on, and we’ll make a plan for you to achieve them or move toward them in 90 days.
  • Three Month Commitment: We’ll work together weekly for three months to focus on one or more ninety day goals you have for your life.
  • Weekly Check-Ins: We’ll have a video chat once a week to check in and work through the sticky thoughts in your brain that make it overwhelming to move forward with your new habits.
  • Individual Check-Ins: You can also text or DM me if you need to check in outside our regular call. I won’t always be available immediately but I will get back to you.

If I’ve written about it, I’ve experienced it, and I can help you do it too.

Here are some possible goals you might want to work on:

  • Taking control of a disordered relationship with food or exercise
  • Loving your body
  • Finding a new job
  • Starting or expanding a business
  • Getting a promotion at work
  • Establishing healthy boundaries in relationships
  • Navigating parental estrangement
  • Writing a book proposal

If you’re interested, I still have space in my January calendar to get started! Email me at caitlinlizfisher@gmail.com and let me know what your goals are.

 

The 9 Books That Defined My 2019

Part of being a good writer is being a good reader

After what can only be described as voracious reading of fiction and fantasy as a child, I lost reading for pleasure as an adult and switched only to “productive” reading. Self help. Motivation. Business building. Personal development.

After several years, I let myself read fiction again. I read Outlander for a book club and consumed the rest of the series, my childhood appetite for fantasy rushing back.

I switch back and forth now in a relatively 50/50 split between stuff to make my brain smarter and stuff to make my brain relax and have fun.

They’re both necessary for me to be the best writer I can.

These are the books that defined my 2019

  1. The F*ck It Diet by Caroline Dooner 

This book was the single most important book of the year for me, and honestly for every single person in the world. Go read this book. Caroline’s work changed me. I finally stopped hurting myself in the name of weight loss and thinness. I understood fatphobia and diet culture in a way I never had before. This book may have literally saved my life.

The F*ck It Diet provided the paradigm shift I needed to see the truth about my body and the fact that it’s okay to exist in it.

2. Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon, Ph.D.

Before and after TFID arrived at my doorstep, I decided to read up on other body positive books. Health at Every Size helped solidify what Caroline Dooner had already begun to teach me: my body isn’t inherently unhealthy because it’s fat. I remember calling my sister in a rage while I was listening to it, angry at the lies that had been told to me as fact about my body for 30 years. Everyone should read this book.

3. Dietland by Sarai Walker

I heard about Dietland on the Unladylike podcast and felt compelled to read it right away. This fiction novel follows the life of Plum, a lifelong dieter who is saving up for weight loss surgery. She goes on a whirlwind adventure and makes a bunch of new feminist friends, while the narrative weaves back and forth between Plum and a series of murders that appear to implicate a new friend. It was a delightful read (even with the murdery bits) that has stuck with me all year. Highly recommend.

4. Getting Past Your Past by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D.

Like TFID helped me see the ways I was stuck in diet culture self-talk, Getting Past Your Past helped me see the ways my trauma manifests in repeated patterns linked through a lifetime of unprocessed memories. Francine Shapiro, who died in June this year, developed the EMDR method of trauma processing therapy. Just reading the book helped me start viewing my trauma in a new light, and entering EMDR therapy has helped me process my eating disorder, my abusive marriage, and traumatic memories from childhood emotional abuse.

5. The Gaslighting of the Millennial Generation by Caitlin Fisher 

In 2016, I wrote a blog post about an idea I couldn’t get out of my head: The idea that millennials as a whole were being systematically gaslit by older generations and the capitalist systems at play in our country. In 2019, I published my debut book of the same title. Each chapter highlights an aspect of society that our generation has supposedly undermined and destroyed, with advice on how to keep killin’ it on a regular basis.

Maybe some parts of society suck and deserve to be dismantled.

6. The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk 

Shockingly, this book is also about trauma processing. In The Body Keeps the Score, the author discusses the physical ways that trauma manifests in the body as chronic pain and illness. It turns out that neglect, emotional abuse, and other traumas can have lasting effects not only on the brain but on the entire human body. It was eye opening to learn about and helped me get a diagnosis for my fibromyalgia this year when I acknowledged the physical pain I had been ignoring in my body.

7. Cibola Burn by James S. A. Corey 

When I was married, I read the first three books of a great sci-fi series, The Expanse. And then I didn’t read any books or watch any television that I had ever associated with him for eighteen months. No Expanse. No superhero shows. Not even the shows I had enjoyed by myself when I was with him. I was on media lockdown.

But in 2019 I met a friend who also loved The Expanse and he encouraged me to get back into the series. Reading Cibola Burn, the fourth novel in the series, was my first contact with husband-related media in a year and a half, and despite my fears it felt safe. I’ve continued to work through the rest of the books in the series this year and I’m all caught up on the TV adaptation as well.

8. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown

I have a list of things I’m going to do with my life, and they are: foster kids, rescue dogs, buy a house, and hug Brené Brown. Her work on vulnerability and shame helped me realize that I’m worthy of love and belonging right now. Brené Brown also taught me to play and have fun (which helps me read fiction and schedule socializing with friends). Whatever way you can get your hands on any of her content, you should do so immediately.

9. The Animorphs Series by K. A. Applegate 

Re-reading this series that I adored as a child is doing some kind of healing in me that I don’t fully understand. I am amazed that I still remember major plot points and even lines of dialogue decades after reading them once or twice each in elementary school between fourth and sixth grade.

As an added bonus, reading them has strengthened my resolve to start a young adult science fiction series. I’ve allowed myself to return to the parts of YA sci-fi that I loved as a kid, and my brain just tossed a fully formed idea at me in the shower, like it was the most obvious thing in the world.

My 2020 reading list

Looking over my 2019 list, I realize that I need to start branching out. Last year was about survival, this year was about laying the groundwork to heal, and next year is about becoming an improved version of myself. This will mean some of the same type of reading (and writing!) as 2019, but I also feel a deep need to read from more diverse authors.

I want to help all people, not just people who look like me and have similar experiences. And I am aware that I haven’t always examined my privilege closely and critically. In 2020 I want to open myself up to listen to the experiences of others so that I can be more aware.

Simply put: It’s time for me to stop focusing on reading work from white people.

Rather than continue to ask people of color to educate us about how we can better understand their experiences and be allies, we have to do our own work. Here are some excellent titles I’ve started researching that are on my 2020 reading list for a start:

  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper
  • Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D.
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

How do you measure a year?

In books, in words, in reconnecting with characters you thought you left behind a long time ago.

Embracing Hygge at Home to Live a Mindful Life

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Photo by Alex Geerts on Unsplash

 

As the weather continues to get colder and less pleasant, we look toward our homes as a haven. Here we can barricade ourselves from the elements and find some much needed peace of mind. What you’ve included in your home and have chosen to be a part of your daily surroundings plays a major role in your mood. You can either let the darkness outside influence your home’s interior, or you can choose to seek comfort and coziness inside. With those principles in mind, there is no better home decor trend than hygge to look toward. Hygge (pronounced “hue-gah”) is a Scandinavian way of living that promotes personal happiness and contentment through being comfortable and cozy. Here are ways you can embrace a hygge lifestyle in your home to beat the winter blues and live mindfully. 

COZY UP YOUR FURNITURE

The furniture you include in your space says a lot about you and your home’s personality. For example, a leather sofa can communicate that you like things sleek and polished, while a soft sofa with lots of pillows says that comfort is your top priority. What accessories you choose to include in tandem with your furniture also speaks volumes. These extra decor pieces give you the perfect opportunity to not only add more personality, but also easily incorporate hygge.

With the chill in the winter air, a soft blanket offers a dual purpose. It’ll keep you warm during those times you want to curl up and cuddle, while also cozying up the space when draped on the back of the sofa. Add in some plush throw pillows and you’ll be all set! Your coffee and end tables can also be cozied up with the addition of a few candles for soft lighting — candles are very hyggelig. These minor additions can transform a space from a bland room to one that promotes comfort and relaxation. 

LOOK FOR CALMNESS IN COLORS

Color is extremely important in any space you spend time in, as it has the ability to impact your mood. With this in mind, you want to ensure you’re using calming colors on the walls of specific rooms. The most important places to create this sense of tranquility through paint color are your bedroom, bathroom, living room and home office. Neutrals or muted tones of blue and green are some of your best options when trying to create a tranquil and relaxed atmosphere. 

Once you have the wall color decided on, work shades of that color throughout the rest of the room to spread its calming nature. Rugs, throw pillows, blankets and small decor pieces are all great places to expand the color through any room. Loud, boisterous colors like bright reds, oranges and yellows, can have an adverse effect and agitate you instead of calming. It’s alright to use these colors if they speak to you, just use them sparingly. 

FIND COMFORT IN BED

One place we can always rely on for comfort is our beds. But what about when you start tossing and turning or waking up with back pain? If your bed is no longer a source of comfort, it’s probably time to get a new mattress that can satisfy your needs. Then once that’s under control, you can make sure the rest of your bed/bedroom accessories are helping you get the best, most comforting night’s sleep possible. 

Consider what type of sleeper you are. If you tend to get overly hot at night, look for moisture wicking sheets, a lighter comforter and some cooling pillows to help keep you from waking up drenched in sweat. Being able to look toward your bed as a reliable source of comfort is essential, especially in getting the rest you need every night. Without the comfort you should be finding in bed allowing you to sleep well, you’re putting your overall health and wellness at risk. 

INCLUDE SENTIMENTAL TOUCHES

Nothing will provide your home with comforting and calming touches quite like personal items that have special meaning to you. Whether it’s an heirloom or an item that evokes a fond memory, using them as decor in your house will help make the space feel like home. That old sewing machine that belonged to your great-grandmother, for example, might make a great statement piece in your living room. 

Photos are another easy way to add a sentimental touch to your decor. Make a hanging canvas print to hang in your entryway and greet you with fond memories every time you enter your home. You can also include old family photographs from past generations in with your more current images to show off your personal history and keep you always surrounded by the comfort of family. 

CREATE A BATHROOM OASIS

If there is any place in your home where you should feel comforted and pampered, it’s your bathroom. Take the space from bland to spa-like with only a few minor adjustments! Start with color. As mentioned previously, this is one of the places where you’re going to want to use calming tones, both on the walls and in your accent decor like rugs. 

Hygge is all about finding comfort in your space, so light some candles in the bathroom and take a hot bath with epsom salt to warm up before you go cozy up on the couch.

While you’re focusing on the bathroom, consider if you want to upgrade your bathroom’s metal features, like rods and faucets, if you haven’t done so before or are just in need of a simple change. This quick makeover isn’t required for your hygge transformation but it can make a big impact on how you think about your space. Copper is a great choice when you want to give a chic and spa-esque impression. You can also upgrade the inside of your shower with a new showerhead that mimics rainfall. That way every time you shower, it’ll be a peaceful and relaxing experience that allows you to escape even just for twenty minutes. 

Adding hygge into your home’s decor provides you with the perfect tools to live more mindfully and focus on your personal wellbeing. Taking the time to include comfort and coziness into a few key areas can truly make all the difference in your happiness.