Despite our many differences, we can all agree on one thing: life is crazy. Whether you’re a gal juggling AP classes, an after-school job, and your field hockey practices or a sleep-deprived mama staying on top of your 9-5, 80 baskets of laundry, and getting the kiddos to practice on time- life is jam-packed with daily stressors. I get it. And I am not here with organizing hacks to make you feel even worse about your pantry/laundry room/life in disarray. I am here with some little stuff that makes you big-time happy.
Here are 10 of my favorite mood-boosters when I am having a day, or month, or year that just needs a little more happy.
1. Read an actual book
I know, I just acknowledged life’s business and I am telling you to, *gasp*, leisure read?! This woman clearly does not get it. But I do! 20 minutes of paper (or Kindle!) in hand is the cheapest escape there is. And it doesn’t have to be anything intense- it can be a fluffy beach read, a home decor magazine, or a book on an issue you really care about. I recently finished this book and it was excellent. I would also recommend this one, and this one, and this one. You will feel about 10x more refreshed after reading than after a Netflix or Instagram binge. Guaranteed.
2. Bake something
You love the $4 scones at Starbucks? Bake them yourself. On a Sunday afternoon or Saturday morning, put on your favorite tunes, light a candle, and bake something delicious. I just made the double chocolate zucchini bread above. IT. WAS. SO. GOOD. And it only took 30 minutes. And nothing quite makes you feel on top of your game like eating a homemade baked good while curled up on the couch.
3. Make breakfast plans with someone that energizes you
We’ve talked about energizing/draining friends before. We all have those friends who are fun and encouraging and you leave your time with them feeling full. Text one of them right now and set up a breakfast date. I am constantly amazed at how carving out just a little time for the good people in my life pays off. Good friendships are rare and totally worth cultivating. And friendship + carb-filled breakfast food?! = ???
4. Do a chore you’ve been dreading
Take the 20 minutes to actually put up the laundry or reorganize under the sink instead of ignoring it for the 80th time…little accomplishments energize us and take virtually no time. Plus FINALLY going to the bank after putting it off for a month will make you feel like wonder woman.
5. Be active
Whether you take a short neighborhood walk or decide to do another HIIT round at the gym, being a liiiitle more active goes a long way. Plus, as Elle Woods once said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” Instead of a movie night, plan a kayaking day with your girlfriends (cheap rentals are at Freeman Lake!). Instead of watching a 3rd episode of your latest Netflix binge, Youtube your current favorite song + “dance tutorial” and have a little sweat session in your living room. We won’t judge you for your uncoordinated attempt at recreating the Beyonce Formation music video- promise.
6. Buy a new candle
It is mildly embarrassing how much I love a new candle. And with fall around the corner, I know you are itching to buy some of those amazing fall scents we wait all year for. Do your 20 minute chore (#4), and light that new candle. And here’s an amazing life hack- Tj Maxx always has a huge array of boutique candles majorly discounted. This one is my all-time favorite- and it’s usually about $5 at Tj’s!
7. Manage your thoughts
This one is free folks. And LIFE-CHANGING. Ever had someone tell you “Oh, don’t worry!” as if you were going to magically then stop worrying…not super helpful right? Instead, identify what’s bugging you and replace it with a positive truthful thought. Here’s an example…I am laying awake the night before I host Easter at my house thinking:
“Oh! I need to remember to make the banana pudding! I forgot to take the tea bags out of the steeping tea! I need to put fresh hand towels in the bathroom. Okay, what time do I need to set my alarm again to make sure I am up, ready, my house looks like a human has never lived in it and my Easter lunch is perfectly styled?!”
Andddd that inner dialogue goes on and on in my head two hours past bed time. Instead I could recognize that I am worrying, what I am worrying about, and replace those bad thoughts with better ones, like this:
“Man, I worked dang hard today cleaning and cooking- pat on the back! While I am sure there was more I could do, perfectly steeped tea and a dirty hand towel doesn’t really matter. Tomorrow, I will focus on what does: opening up my little home and sharing it with the people I love most. If worse comes to worse and everything doesn’t get done, it does not matter- my family loves me despite my cleaning skills and the little imperfections in our lives are what make people feel at ease.”
SO GOOD. This method was the only thing that could help me sleep in a season riddled with anxiety and depression. Try it!
8. Evidences of grace
Grace: unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their renewal. AKA, the good stuff in life we don’t deserve that helps and restores us. One of my mentors once told me to refocus my thinking and look for “evidences of grace” in my life. Um, what? What they meant was, “Hey, actively point out the great things happening all around you so you don’t get discouraged in hard seasons.” It seems simple but made the biggest difference in how I saw my life. Instead of focusing on where I thought I should be or constantly being self-critical, I began a habit of thankfulness- for a new friendship, a day off, large coffees, Sunday dinners, etc. These evidences of grace helped me answer the question “How am I doing?” in a positive and productive way.
9. Delete Social Media
Just do it. Even if it is for a week- delete Facbook (or Instagram or Snapchat). You will be amazed at how much you don’t miss it and how much more you want real human connection. Those little 2-minute social media checks really add up through the day. You will be more focused, more tuned in to what’s going on around you, and will have a little more time to read and cook and exercise and do all of the good stuff that usually gets pushed to the back burner.
10. Actually fix your hair
If all else fails, wake up 15 minutes earlier and do your hair. Nothing unleashes those womanly super powers like a freshly washed and styled head of hair. It makes you feel like you can take on the world, and girl, you can.
I hope these little happys bring some calm to the crazy. And if your crazy involves an unexpected pregnancy, we are your people. Request an appointment online at any time. Here’s to a happy week where we can make a little space for the good stuff and stop and smell the roses (or fall candles ?).