What’s Your Secret: Happy Days!
I like lists, can you tell? I think it’s genetic – a maternal birthright that has plagued husbands and coworkers for centuries.
Today, I wanted to put together a list of simple ways to make average days feel like somethin’ special. We’ve all seen embroidered pillows imploring us to “Seize the Day” and Hallmark card wisdom that says “Live every day as if it were your last!” But how? HOW!
Here are a few ways I do it, and please add yours to the list in the comments section!!
- Be a kid! When I was 23 and had just moved to Washington, DC – 2 friends and I ran out into the rain and jumped in puddles like complete yahoos, and it was SO FUN. Sure people stared, but you’ll be smarter than I was and won’t wear a white t-shirt. Or you can roll around in the dirt with your friends playing Kick the Can (favorite pastime of Midwestern children). Something about getting mud on your clothes (intentionally) is awesome. I love how Liz Stanley at Say Yes to Hoboken has “Never Grow Up” mornings with her son where they do all the crazy/messy /loud stuff that’s usually off-limits.
- Drink your morning orange juice out of a wine glass. It’s a small thing, but it makes waking up feel like a day at the spa instead of a medieval torture trap. I once dated a fella who brought me OJ in a wine glass when I was sick, and it seemed so absurdly extravagant that it immediately lifted my mood. (This is the same person who let me sleep in a baseball cap at night because I didn’t want him to see the Mt. Vesuvius-sized zit on my forehead.)
- Learn something new. My mom always told me I needed a hobby (I suspect that’s a thing all mothers say). When I turned 32, I got 8 of them (hobbies, not mothers). She was right – it feels good to be learning something new at my age! A quick 5-minute French lesson or two before bed, and I fall asleep dreaming about baguettes and fields of lavender. Check out the app Duolingo for Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Portuguese – I’ve studied languages all of my life, and this free tool is outstanding. If language isn’t your thing, try picking up a musical instrument, learning to sew, volunteering, playing club sports, upping your photography game, etc. etc.
- Buy a plant! Studies say caring for houseplants, gardens, and freshly cut flowers makes us feel happier, healthier, and even more creative. But don’t fret, if your thumb is more black than green, silk and paper flowers are making a comeback – I think these are stunning. And here are some ways to arrange them on the cheap from one of my favorite bloggers A Cup of Jo!
- Sing or dance like you’re crazy. Grab a hairbrush microphone, put on your favorite record, and cut a rug. I recently started doing “dance breaks” with my students when they are lacking focus, and it gives them a great jolt of energy and positivity without fail. One of my students, Ronnie, even says it makes him feel more confident. Can’t argue with that.
- Make a root beer float. I mean seriously – when was the last time you had one? For me, it might have been the A&W in my hometown where the waiters came to the car on rollerskates. I realize you now think I grew up in Pleasantville in the 1940s. Not that into root beer? Here are some yummy alternatives! Sluuuurp.
- Ride a bike with a basket. If you’re like me, you enjoy pretending you’re an American novelist living in the English countryside, and you’re about to peddle your bike right into Mr. Darcy.
- Lay on a lawn or a roof at sunset with binoculars (not you, peeping toms) or a digital camera. There are few things as peaceful as a beautiful sunset or a clear night sky, and too often we don’t stop to appreciate them. How about these incredible sky photos?! If you want to take it up a notch, “buy” a loved one a constellation – you can’t actually do this, I’m told (companies that say you can are a scam) – but nothing’s stopping you from making a sweepingly romantic gesture by printing up a certificate with the coordinates of the constellation you’re “dedicating” to your loved one and giving it as a gift. You would literally be giving them the universe. How’s that for metaphor.
- Give a stranger a compliment, and practice compassion and gratitude actively. Not only will you feel good doing it, but you’ll probably live longer. Win-win!
- Make something thoughtful – like these heart-shaped grilled cheese sandwiches and put the comfort into “comfort food!”
- Leave post-it notes for your favorite people – on the bathroom mirror or your friend’s computer or anywhere really. Several of my coworkers leave me notes on my monitor in the morning – something as simple as “You inspire!” or “Fill the Damn Candy Bowl,” but it always puts a smile on my face.
So these are just a few ways to spice up any-ole-day – please share yours!