Feeling out of sorts as the long nights of winter arrive? Check out this list of 18 easy things you can do TODAY to make yourself happier.
It always sneaks up on me. Even now. Even though I know the warning signs — I start to tap my fingers impatiently, I begin to feel my jaw clench with irritation…
I’ll be in the middle of something (even a meaningless task), one of the kids will ask me a simple question and I just, well — all the stress that comes with “being busy” surfaces and I explode.
Guilt immediately follows.
I see the look of surprise on my daughter’s face, and I know…
Has this ever happened to you?
Over the years, I’ve learned some day-to-day tricks for adding a dash of UnBusy into my life. Here are a few proactive ways to prevent emotional storms from brewing.
18 Easy Things You Can Do Right Now to Make Yourself Happier
Below are eighteen simple self-care actions you can do right now to bring joy to your life:
1 | Set an alarm to remind you to watch the sunrise tomorrow.
You have the opportunity to calmly start your mornings this way every single day. So get out your phone right now. You need to set your alarm today so you can take advantage of tomorrow’s sunrise. If you’re not an early bird, the best time of year to watch a sunrise is in autumn, after the equinox but before daylight savings.
2 | Write down three things you are thankful for today.
Using a gratitude journal is one of the simplest things you can do to start your day off on a happy note. If the word “journal” overwhelms you, check out this excellent five-minute alternative. I love it.
3 | Take a photo.
Many people use meditation as a tool toward mindfulness, I’ve found photography to be the best teacher. One of the most pleasant, yet unexpected, side effects of learning more about photography is that you start to notice the beauty in every day — in small moments with your family, in how the light catches, in the little everyday details of life.
4 | Go for a walk, run, or hike.
Consider signing up for a 5K to give yourself a reason to get out and walk or run every day. If you want to take it a step further, plan a vacation around a run or support your favorite charity through fundraising. Or keep it simple, and just go for a hike for the sake of sauntering.
5 | Practice saying no.
We’ve all taken on too much. Steer clear of time-sucking activities that don’t add meaning to your life. Say yes to less.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: A Practical Guide to Saying No
6 | Watch a TED Talk.
Check out the life-focused TED Talk playlists and find something that catches your attention.
7 | Make plans to travel alone.
Plan a short weekend getaway, just for YOU. Eat where you want. Stay where you want. Do what you want. And it’s all on YOUR timetable. Be sure to check out these ten tips for traveling solo.
8 | Enjoy a catnap.
… in the middle of the afternoon. Guilt-free.
9 | Make a date with yourself at the bookstore or library.
Slowly wander around. Enjoy the quiet while you browse titles, slow down, and feel inspired by all that’s around you.
10 | Appreciate the beauty in our world.
Give yourself flowers. Order them online or pick yourself up a bouquet at the local farmer’s market. Better yet, pick some flowers from your garden and display them in mason jars on the window ledge in your kitchen. We’ve planted sunflower gardens in our yard, merely to be able to gift huge bouquets to friends this fall. I swear sunflowers are the happiest flowers.
11 | Try a 5-minute meditation.
Scientific studies continue to show the positive effects meditation can have in your life. You have 1,440 minutes today; find 5 for yourself. I double-dog dare you to try this 5-minute meditation from the UCLA Mindfulness Awareness Research Center.
12 | Get creative in the kitchen.
Experiment and try a new recipe. Have fun making it—and then EATING it.
13 | Give someone you love a 6-second hug.
Wrap your arms around them and hold them tight for a full six seconds. You’ll BOTH feel the benefits.
14 | Watch a movie.
…by yourself. Head to the bedroom (or any private place) with your laptop in hand, or go to the local movie theater with popcorn money in your pocket. (You can do this. Really. It’s fun—AND you deserve it.)
15 | Enjoy some fresh air and the warmth of the sun.
Head outside for a nature break, or stand in the light of an open window to feel the sunshine warming your face or a breeze blowing in. It only takes a few minutes to do wonders to reset your mood.
16 | Join a book club for “recovering readers.”
Love to read, but haven’t picked up a fiction book in years? Then this low-stress, online book club is for you. If you feel like you need an excuse to sit down with a book, this is perfect.
17 | Smile at strangers.
Take a quick walk around your block holding hands with your partner and say “hello” to smiling strangers.
18 | Watch the evening sky.
Steal a minute to enjoy the sky as it transitions from day to night. Be awed by the moon. Star-gaze. In other words, look up once in awhile.
BONUS TIP: Forgive yourself.
Did today not go the best? Let it go… Tomorrow’s a new day.
In the end, it doesn’t matter whether it’s writing in a gratitude journal, taking an hour for buckram yoga, or doing sudoku on the subway ride to work—You need to find some way to treat yourself to a few UnBusy moments to keep your spirits lifted.
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