10 Things Helping Me Through This Hard Time

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2020, am I right?

I think I’m still in a bit of shock over everything that’s happened this year. I rallied hard the first few months while sheltering in place, and now I cry at most commercials, and sometimes break down at the dinner table. I know there are others who are dealing with much bigger challenges than me right now, but I can only speak to my own experience. We fear our kids won’t be able to return to school in person next year, I have no idea when it will be safe to host my best friends for dinner again, or hug my own mother. It’s…a lot.

For a control enthusiast like me, I’ve felt tested in very deep and uncomfortable ways. I texted my wise friend, Laura, the other night and told her I was struggling. She replied, “we’ve all been there. Sleep, exercise, and alcohol help.” I’ve never been much of a drinker, so I took a long walk and went to bed early that night. It helped. Here are the other things I’ve been doing that have made me feel (even a little) better.

10 Things Helping Me Through This Hard Time by Shira Gill Home

Do Some Good

My mom always taught me that the best shortcut out of a pity party, was to get out of your own head, and put your energy towards helping others and doing some good. I’ve been doing my best to focus my energy on signing petitions, donating to organizations I believe in, and reading about how to be anti-racist. Less “me” and more “we” feels good.

Pick Up a Book

Reading. Remember reading? One of the things I always complained that I didn’t have time to do before the pandemic. I just finished Untamed, and next up in the lineup is I’m Still Here, and Wow, No Thank You. I only do non-fiction. It’s fine, don’t judge.

Fresh Flowers Everywhere

When I have fresh flowers all over my home, I become instantly 75% happier. I’ve been clipping olive branches from our yard, and also snatching up peonies, tulips, and eucalyptus from our local markets whenever I can. I love simple bunches on our mantle, by the kitchen sink, and on the nightstand. The more the merrier.

fresh flowers table

Homemade Ice Cream

I skipped the sourdough bread craze, and went straight to homemade ice cream. I used to churn it with my Dad in our old fashioned ice cream maker, and one of my most treasured possessions is the Ben and Jerrys ice cream cookbook he left me. It takes a few minutes to whip together the simple sweet cream base, and the girls have been having a blast inventing their own flavors – salted caramel with pretzels, anyone? We pour our concoctions into this ice cream maker we got 14 years ago for our wedding, and have smooth creamy ice cream within twenty minutes.

Setting the Table

My friend, Naomi, taught me the importance of thoughtful presentation, and inspired me to order a linen tablecloth and some simple candlesticks for our dining room table. We miss hosting friends and throwing dinner parties, but it does feel lovely to sit down to flickering candles, a little music, and cloth napkins – almost like our own little restaurant! We’ve also been driving to Marin each weekend to treat ourselves to our favorite fresh bread, and the kids are obsessed with car picnics. We turn on some music, open the roof, eat lunch, and hang out together.


I’ve been a soap and water girl my whole life, but have finally come around to a little nightly skincare routine. I’ve invested in a handful of clean beauty products, including this lovely face cream, this brightening eye cream, and this lemon scented body butter. The girls are obsessed with peel off face masks, so we’ve been doing a little nightly pampering together.

Feel Good TV

When I found out a new season of Queer Eye was coming out, I audibly squealed. I’ve also binged my way through The Last Dance, Cheer, and Home. Also thrilled that Hamilton has just been released on Disney+ and can’t wait to watch it multiple times with the girls.

10 Things Helping Me Through This Hard Time by Shira Gill Home

Bite-Sized Organizing Projects

Have you tried my 30-Day Organizing Challenge yet? You can print out your free worksheet and checklist RIGHT HERE, and start at any time. I’ve been joining along, and have confirmed once again that de-junking my junk drawer, or cleaning out my freezer, makes me feel like I am winning at life. These daily prompts are designed to take fifteen minutes or less, and help you get into a state of flow which contributes to a sense of overall happiness and well being.

Listen Up

I’m a bit of a podcast junkie, and now that I’m rarely in my car, I’ve been listening while I get ready in the morning, while doing the dishes, etc. Current favorites include Second Life, Unlocking Us, More Than One Thing, and So Money. Can’t wait to work my way through this list of 12 podcasts to uplift and entertain.

Create Something

It feels good to create something from nothing. I’ve been pouring most of my energy into my book, but I also decided to create a brand new program. Doing something creative always helps me feel more positive, focused, and energized. Clutter-Free with Kids will launch soon, and will include all of my best tips, hacks, and habits for creating a streamlined, spacious, and family-friendly home. I can’t wait to share it with you soon…

As we all start to wrap our heads around this strange new normal, one thing is clear – we will need to learn how to be more flexible, resilient, and creative. I’d love to hear the things that have been working for you, and providing a little levity, joy, and meaning.

Image Credit: Vivian Johnson Photography

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