20 Ways to Romanticize Your Life–And None Involve a Dating App

20 Ways to Romanticize Your Life–And None Involve a Dating App

I have no shame: The TikTok trend of owning your main character-energy perfectly describes my life. It isn’t narcissism, and it isn’t an unmerited obsession with my experience. Instead, I’d describe it more akin to curiosity, following and tracking the thoughts and opinions that float in and out of my mind from moment to moment. (And if I had to pick a theme song, any upbeat jam would do.) During the pandemic, as IRL interactions between myself and others ebbed and flowed with the near-constant changes in comfort and shifts in restrictions, I made a conscious decision to spend more intentional time with myself. From that experience, I amassed a range of practices, rituals, and routines that all led to this: a go-to guide for how to romanticize your life.

It's a strange idea, isn't it—the possibility that we can fall deeply and compassionately in love with who we are?

As far as values go, we’ve been taught to direct our love outward. Altruism is prioritized above self-love, and we often assume that a person spending a little time alone is lonely. (PSA: they’re two different things entirely). And on the topic of self-love, despite the word’s wide and sweeping use in the common lexicon, it remains an elusive, hard-to-pin-down concept. An older iteration of Instagram had us believe that bubble baths and a marathon of spa treatments was the answer to a healthier, more supportive relationship with yourself. But as social media (thankfully) evolves, a new trend is taking place. Influencers are touting small, simple, and oftentimes free ways to incorporate a little romance into your day—and I’m totally, wholeheartedly on board.

Long story a little bit longer: Each day gives us countless opportunities to romanticize our lives. What I’ve learned from befriending myself and falling in love with the person I’ve uncovered, is that it comes down to a matter of perspective. I’ve shifted my mindset and am now actively creating space to make my life a little more awe-inspiring, a bit more beautiful, and filled with so much more love for myself.

Inspiring readers with ideas that help us all elevate the everyday has long been our goal at CS. From mindfully sipping your morning beverage to cooking by candlelight, today we’re sharing our favorite easy, accessible, and totally game-changing tips for making the most of your life, from sunup to sundown.

Feature image by Claire Huntsberger.

Dive into these 20 ideas for how to romanticize your life.

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Image by Riley Reed

1. Infuse your routines with mindfulness. Some people can commit to a daily meditation ritual. I’m not one of them. Whatever the case, despite trying to carve out precious time to spend a few minutes with my thoughts, I just… can’t. Solution? Bringing patience and compassion to my already honed-in habits. When I’m working out, I actively feel the parts of my body that are supporting my movement. When I’m writing an email, I express a little gratitude for the opportunity to connect and work with so many inspiring individuals. This small little shift has the power to make even the most mundane tasks magical.

2. Dress up your morning beverage. Whatever you’re sipping on in the a.m., supercharge your morning drink with something that’ll take the flavor and health benefits to the next level. I’m a big fan of Renude for adding immune-supporting Chaga mushrooms to my coffee and infusing my matcha with a little lavender syrup brightens my mug with a nice floral touch. Check out our list of eight ingredients to add for more ideas.

3. Ditch your phone—and pick up your book instead. I read about 40-50 books a year, but despite being an English major, I’m perhaps one of the slowest readers in the game. My secret? Whether it’s waiting in line for coffee, sitting in my doctor’s office before an appointment, or taking a five-minute break between tasks, I’ll forgo the temptation to scroll and read a page or two at a time. It’s the best way to energize every moment with a little written inspiration.

4. Take your time (and give yourself the grace to do so). Rushing is never fun and I can actively feel my cortisol levels rising when I’m in a hurry. If something has to get done or I need to be somewhere, I proactively carve out enough time so that I can slowly and mindfully enjoy the transition. 

5. Design your dream morning routine. It’s no secret that we’re obsessed with learning the ins and outs of some of the most successful women’s morning routines. And while they’re all grounded by the desire to start the day energized, they couldn’t be more different. Conclusion? Design a morning routine you find personally inspiring. Whether that’s going all out for breakfast (doctored-up avocado toast or a bougie yogurt bowl ftw), kicking things off with movement, or writing down your intentions for the day, follow this one simple rule: do what feels best.

6. Create a curated life playlist. I haven’t found anything more effective at shifting my mood than music. I love belting my heart out in the car and I take my tunes with me when I want to add a little pep to my step. Spend a little time on Spotify creating the soundtrack of your life.

7. Date yourself. Newsflash: You don’t need an excuse to treat yourself to a drink or dinner. While we’ve been told to reserve evenings out for romantic connections only, putting on your favorite outfit and enjoying a little mood lighting is an activity that can be fully enjoyed with yourself and yourself alone.

8. Have fun with flowers. My local market is an overlooked treasure trove of colorful stems. Every few weeks, I’ll spend a little time perusing the in-season options, pick out something I personally find pretty, and bring my bundles back home for a little artistic fun. The process itself is enjoyable, and I can love on my blooms for days to come.

9. Switch up your space. There’s a reason so many rom-com movie montages involve the protagonist shifting around her furniture. Whether it’s updating a bookshelf or totally overhauling your space, finding new homes for your favorite pieces will invigorate your home with new energy.

10. Plan your best day ever. Every once in a while, I’ll reserve a weeknight for planning out my perfect Saturday. This might look like getting up early, treating myself to coffee and a doughnut, and driving out to the (beautiful!) Oregon coast for a walk on the beach. Spend a little time with your journal reflecting on what a perfect day looks like for you—and then go out and do exactly that.

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Image by Claire Huntsberger

11. Go to the movies. One of the most surprising things I discovered when I lived in Paris is that the French are obsessed with the movies. They make a weekend ritual of going to the matinee and discussing the film over an apéritif afterwards. And while I love going to the cinema with a friend, if I’m dying to see a new obscure foreign film (which is oftentimes the case), I’ll happily and unapologetically sit through the whole thing solo. There’s nothing like reemerging into the sunlight with a fresh perspective and a new narrative to consider.

12. Find inspiration through art. I love love love setting aside a weekend afternoon for a trip to a museum. Immersing myself in an art movement or the work of a single artist is the perfect escape. Nothing beats surrounding yourself with beauty.

13. Thank yourself aloud. While this might sound like another gratitude practice, trust me—it’s totally different. Set aside a day where you actively pay attention to how you speak to yourself, and dedicate your self-talk to saying “thank you” (yes, to yourself!). Examples: “Thank you for working out and giving your body the stretch it needed.” “Thank you for nourishing me with colorful, vibrant food.” “Thank you for going to bed early and waking up refreshed.” The possibilities are endless.

14. Own your ambition. Despite having a long-standing writing practice, it took me years before I finally felt comfortable calling myself a writer. But here’s the thing, and I’m about to get technical on you: The definition of a writer? Someone who writes. The definition of a painter? Someone who paints. Whether it’s a hobby or a career, start practicing and getting comfortable with owning what you do, and give yourself the credit you deserve.

15. Go analog with your communication. When it comes to staying in touch with friends and family, in a pinch, texting and DM’s get the job done. But as someone who values her relationships above all else, I love taking my time to mindfully interact with loved ones. Arm yourself with beautiful stationary and sit down to put your thoughts and gratitude on the page. I also love calling someone out of the blue for what often ends up being an hours-long catch-up. You never know how much it might mean to someone.

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Image by Teal Thomsen

16. Burn the candles. Yes—even the nice ones! I find it fascinating how many of us are hesitant to use the things that’ll bring us joy. When I write, read, and spend a little time indoors (even during the daytime), I’ll let a lit candle contribute to the ambiance. This same principle applies to everything else you have reserved for special occasions. Sleep on your satin sheets. Break out the nice silverware. Fall in love with the way you look in your favorite dress. Repeat.

17. Cook by candlelight. On the topic of candles, this is one of my favorite ways to take my weeknight cooking routine from a chore to something I look forward to at the end of the work day. Turn down the lights, turn up the music, and sprinkle your space with tealights. Tuesday night, transformed.

18. Dance it out. Because it feels good, no matter what it looks like.

19. Surround yourself with scent. I love engaging all of my senses with beauty, but one of the most overlooked is the power of scent. Find your favorite fragrance and don’t hold back. Whether that’s in the form of a candle, diffuser, or plug-in device (I love Pura’s smartphone-controlled diffuser and their Sunshine Bloom scent), choose an option that fits your space best and get ready for the goodness.

20. Unplug. Instead of looking outward for the answers, disconnect and spend your time looking within.