To show how something (despite size) can be zhuzhed

Don’t you love a good “zhuzh?” 

I just love that word and have been using it for the past two decades — so much so, my kids quote me often when they say, “Always be Zhuzhing!” It’s become my tagline!

The dictionary defines Zhuzh as a verb that means to make (something) more lively and interesting, stylish, or appealing, as by a small change or addition. That sounds great to me!

The term first appeared in the mid-1960s in the U.K. in gay communities and was meant “to improve the look of one’s clothing or outfit.” I remember Carson Kresley using it in Bravo’s show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy nearly two decades ago. Loved him. Loved the word. The zhuzh!

Who can argue with wanting to make something more appealing in our lives. There’s always room for improvement. Am I right?

To say that many of us have been in a funk is an understatement. It’s been a tough year, but Spring has sprung and most of us are itching to zhuzh our lives once again. Here are a few ways you can do that!

  • Take Stock of Your Health

It seems obvious, but now more than ever we need to be more vigilant about maintaining our health and caring for loved ones than ever before. Take a walk. Get outside and breathe fresh air. Eat better. Move more. Buy produce. Make healthier choices. Learn new healthy recipes. You get the picture. Get online for a class. Get off line and do it yourself.

If you’ve been fortunate enough to have come through this pandemic up to this point, that’s a plus. It’s easy to take your health for granted. Stop doing that. Embrace what it means to be healthy and grateful for it. Gratitude begets gratitude. The more we’re grateful the more grateful and aware we become. Simple, but are we expressing our gratitude? If not, it’s not too late.

  • Improve Your Environment

Although seemingly superficial, I am a firm believer that you can control your environment and should make it serve you. The real estate market has gone crazy this past year — just when you might have assumed it might have tanked. People got hip to becoming unsettled in their existing space with new rules of work and education being conducted from home. Urban dwellers (especially a year ago) were opting to make a move to the ‘burbs or a second home if they were lucky enough to have one.

You don’t have to move to improve where you live. You simply have to want to make a change — or a zhuzh — and do so. Converting a guest room into a home office, or place for your kids or grandchildren to learn from home. I’ve also seen a large number of people (some of my clients) who have opted to stay put and make small to major home renovations and improvements. If you need to modify your living environment — you are not alone.

  • Prioritize What’s Most Important Each Day

Having a to do list and making sure the top three things get done first, is a great way to feel productive and get things done. Start with a long list of items that you need to tackle each day — ideally by the end of each day. Then, prioritize what really needs to be done first, second and third. This can be work or personal — doesn’t matter.

After checking off these items early in your day, you begin to feel better about getting things done and that builds momentum. What could be better than that? It’s a great way to start the day on a productive note and reach or exceed your goals consistently. It can be as simple as committing to showering and dressing presentably. A good personal zhuzh is a great way to give yourself a boost and positively launch the day. 

It’s also a great way to get a good night’s sleep by writing this down the night before. It’s also not bad to have a pad of paper and pen bedside as well. Write it down and integrate that “to do” to your list in the morning.

  • Stay Connected to Others

Loneliness and feeling disconnected to other human beings leads to depression and anxiety. Zoom is not the answer to beat real human interaction. It’s been a substitute that allows us to virtually see others and little to no effort is made to show up the way we might have if we had to make an effort to zhuzh before seeing someone.

Vaccines are now more available and more things are opening up. It’s a great time to schedule a time to meet in person with someone you miss and care about. Sit outside if that makes sense for your health or makes you feel more comfortable, but just do it. It’s not normal for people to have no physical contact with other people. It’s easy to get sucked into complacency and fear of being with other people, but it can be managed and occur in controlled environments. Host a friend for dinner and a catch up night. Visit a relative or friend who lives alone. Connection impacts our self-esteem and can actually improve our immune system. Who couldn’t benefit from that? 

  • Create Something to Look Forward To

We all want and need to have hope and one way to have that is to have something to look forward to. So much has been put on hold this past year, but it doesn’t have to last forever. Write a bucket list of things and places you want to do or visit. What would need to happen to make that possible. Start the process.

Spend a night looking for destinations you may want to visit. Planning trips to see friends and family you haven’t seen in ages. This is part of zhuzhing. It doesn’t have to end with throw pillows and belts. What part of your lifestyle needs a zhuzhing? How will you do that? The options are endless, we need to keep the mindset alive and well and know that better times are ahead and we just need to seize the moment.

These are a few ways to zhuzh your life now and not wait for . . . another time (that often never comes!). After suffering from a long illness 16 years ago, I made a bucket list that included attending the Sundance Film Festival, taking my children to Disney World, visiting a dear friend in the UK. I didn’t use anything as an excuse NOT to do these things because I knew life was short. It still is. Enjoy and remember to always be zhuzhing!

Written by Nancy Michaels. Sign up to receive her Free Decorating Resource at