A Cozy at Home Challenge for You

In a few days, the calendar page will turn to November. The cozy home, cocooning season is here and for the next few weeks, it is also a holiday-free time of year.

It is the perfect time to slow life down before the busy rush of the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is upon us. Why not take a little time for yourself to recharge before the busy season sets in.

cozy fall on the deck line up of black Polywood rocking chairs
POLYWOOD Rocking Chairs – Presidential and Shaker Style

Afternoon naps. Fireside chats. Kicking back to watch the game. Or snuggling in for a movie marathon and my favorite pastime – sitting on my deck watching the sunset over the lake every night.

sunset on lake murray

I try to do all of these now that the cozy season is here and partnered with Birch Lane to share with you how I take time to enjoy my life at home each day, even if it is only for a short time on the busiest of days.

I love this time of the year in South Carolina. The temps are in the mid 70’s during the day and cooler at night when I can sit in my outdoor space in one of my favorite POLYWOOD rockers wrapped up in a chunky knit throw.

I love these chairs so much that we just added two more to the deck. They are the chairs that everyone wants to sit in. The first two rockers I got 8 years ago. They are outside uncovered all year long and still look brand new.

bowl of stew on an outdoor table

Ed and I eat dinner outside every night and will do so until it gets too cold to sit on the deck for a length of time.

He eats plant-based like me two nights a week. Lately I have been making big pots of soup and stew and freezing them into portions.

sunset over lake

Doing this makes dinner easy and more time to watch the way the sun sets with different colors and cloud patterns each night.

Wood candle lantern on fall decorated outdoor table

It gets darker earlier now and having battery-operated flameless candles lit gives us just the right amount of light and ambiance that makes these simple dinners out on the deck feel special.

The set of 5 candles comes with a remote that works to turn all of the candles on and off at once.

There is no need to have to open up the wood lanterns and individually turn each candle on.

battery operated candles with remote

I just have to stand close to the candles and press on/off button and voila – candlelit ambiance.

3 white candles in large wood lantern

The remote also allows you to dim the candles as well as put them in timer mode.

I know once we can’t go outside anymore in the evenings, I will be bringing the candles, side table and chunky knit throw inside to add a cozy atmosphere in my living room to enjoy every night.

Start a Cozy at Home Challenge

I read about taking a cozy at home challenge a few years ago. It was a two week challenge. I know many of us don’t have time for that, but part of a cozy lifestyle is simplicity as well as taking things slowly that I found worth doing.

Pausing and savoring special moments, which in the business of life tend to slip by unnoticed. Make it a point to notice and do something that will relax and reset your day to a more enjoyable one.

Cozy fall outdoor decor on lake side deck of a home

One or all of the ideas below may become habit and lead to a less stressful life.

Large candle in seeded glass hurricane on kitchen table with smaller candles around it to provide cozy light.

Turn Off The Lights

Turn off or dim the lights in a room, then turn on a favorite movie from your childhood.

You know those movies – the ones you can recite every line from. Select one you love and remember fondly, and enjoy recalling wonderful memories while under the warmth of a cuddly throw or blanket.

Fire roasted vegan tomato soup being cooked on a stove.

Good Smells In the Kitchen

Cook a meal that needs to simmer on the stove all afternoon long or bake something warm and delicious.

There is nothing quite like the anticipation of waiting for the oven timer to beep or the smell of a favorite soup bubbling away.

If you are not a skilled baker, baking pre-made cookie dough can be just as delicious. :-)


Create an Inside Picnic

Have a candlelit picnic dinner on the floor of your family or living room. If you have kids or grandkids, they will love doing this and will ask to do it more.

Cozy at Home with a Hot Buttered Rum

Enjoy a Hot Beverage

Make a big batch of Hot Buttered Rum from scratch. Keep it in the fridge so it is ready to enjoy when you want to spend down time with something warm and soothing to wrap your hands around.

Hot Buttered Rum Recipe

Read a Cozy Mystery

Read a cozy, light-hearted mystery. Not only will it be enjoyable, it will get your mind off the depressing world news.

3 fur throws on Blanket Holder for living room wall.

Un Plugged Time

So many of us spend our days chained to a computer or cell phone. Then after your work day is done, we head home where we sit in front of the television or scroll social media for hours.

Instead, enjoy an evening unplugged. Light some candles, take a bath, listen to your favorite music or playlist, grab a book, or simply have a conversion with your family or friends while you are all snuggled under soft throw blankets you keep hung on the living room wall or tossed in a basket.

Tourists walking along a road in Giverny France

Go For a Walk

November can be either filled with vibrant fall colors or gloomy depending on where you live. When it is nice out, make it a point to get outside, walk around and breathe in some fresh air.

It is uplifting for your mood and will boost your energy levels.

Stay Cozy pillow on guest room bed

In the Morning

Set your alarm clock an hour earlier on some mornings. Pour your coffee or tea in your favorite mug, and head back to bed to enjoy some quiet time before starting your day.

Sausage and Lentil Soup in orange bowl

Host a Soup Exchange

Just like a cookie exchange party that you may host for Christmas. Once the weather starts to get chilly outside, invite friends to bring a big batch of soup to share, as well as a few food storage containers.

Everyone leaves with several soups to enjoy at home and a few hours one-on-one, face-to-face spending time sharing, laughing and catching up with each other.


Create Warmth Through Lighting

This is not actually something to do each day, but rather something to support your daily cozy making efforts.

Twinkle lights or fairy lights are not only for Christmas. They look magical all year around. Hang a string or two in your bedroom or living room. Instant ambiance.

Adding soft lighting and checking that the light bulbs in your lamps are on dimmers.

Kitchen counter lamp

Cozy Up The Kitchen

This is another cozy supporting thing you can do that will help you feel less stressed. Add a small lamp to your kitchen counter. It will add soft light that makes your kitchen look warm and cozy without having to do much else.

I feel like the lamp adds the cozy country living at home in the kitchen vibe I see in magazines.

All in all, when it comes to a cozy lifestyle, listen to what your mind and body are telling you, take a little time each day for yourself and do things that you love.

Start with one small thing a day. Before you know it, taking some cozy time may just become part of your daily routine all year long.

cozy at home ideas that make a difference in your life

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  1. Bev Grabowski says:

    Such great ideas! Can’t wait to try them out. Just reading them made me feel more relaxed. Hope you’re feeling better!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Bev – I am feeling better with each passing day. I am enjoying taking the Cozy Challenge – makes life so much less stressful.

  2. Becky in 'Bama says:

    Good suggestions. I wish my husband was of the same mindset. He still works a high pressure job, so his evenings are usually spent in his recliner just vegging out. He is not a walker (knee surgery recovery) and refuses to eat out of doors. But I do enjoy sitting on our back deck and enjoying the pleasant afternoons this time of year. Me and the cat have had some great bonding time. I hope and pray your hip surgery goes well and is everything you need to be more mobile. Did I miss your post about your hip problem? Happy weekend.

  3. That photo of the chair with the throw on it and the candles either side really makes me wish I was there, it looks SO inviting

  4. Stephanie Atherton says:

    Love this post, Diane, and appreciate the practical reminders to find time to create the life we love every day! Sending best wishes for your quick recovery. You are such a special and positive influence for more people than you can imagine! Thank you for all you share.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Stephanie – Thank you for the nice note, it made my day. My recovery is going well and I am feeling better everyday… and thanks for reading my blog.

  5. What a great post! Could you share the soup recipe? It looks so yummy!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Teri – I will post the recipe on Friday. It is very yummny!

  6. I agree with the ceramic mug/cup when drinking hot tea. Don’t forget to take some special flavors of tea with you to the hospital if you want to pamper yourself. I’m sure someone can get you a cup of hot water.

    BTW my sister had a hip replacement surgery last month. She’s doing great! Hope you have a smooth recovery.

  7. Barbara Pilcher says:

    I love this post. It’s something we all need to hear, no matter where we live or what our lives are like. Lately, I’ve been cooking more hearty things, and skipping the salads and lighter fare. I’m also turning off overhead lights in the evening and using table lamps for a more relaxing vibe. Thumbs up for less screen time and more time chilling with a book. Thanks for the encouragment!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Barbara :-) – I look forward now to when it gets dark outside. The candles go on, I go outside or listen to my favorite tunes – it is so relaxing and cozy.

  8. Clearissa says:

    Nice article. I love this time of year and the cozier the better. I am cooking soups as well. A hot bowl of soup in the evening or a cup of good hot tea in the morning makes everything feel even cozier. Thank you for your tips.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Clearissa – thank you. I agree cozier is better and a good cup of tea in the morning makes everything feel cozier. I am having surgery tomorrow and packed my teacup since I know at the hospital if I ask for hot tea, I will handed it in a paper or plastic mug. Drinking hot tea and being about to wrap your hands around a hot ceramic mug is part of my love and enjoyment of tea drinking. Enjoy being cozy. :-)

  9. LindaSonia says:

    Oh my I was drooling over that soup photo – LOL! and that sunset pic!!?? – GLORIOUS!!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Linda – The soup is made with black-eyed peas and tomatoes. It is yummy. The sunsets never get old and are never the same.