Since this is the season of giving, I would like to share with you some 'secret' ways of mine that I use to feel happy. I'm writing this here because I have been feeling happy lately, probably because this is the first time since school started in September that I haven't been plagued with illness, but whatever. I'm just going with it. Also, I can reference this list in January when I'm all depressed and I want to punch Unicorns, hiss at children and throw rocks at random passers by.
1.) Exercise, and make sure to do it hard enough to break a sweat.
I try to do this 4-7 times a week, but sometimes it only happens three times and that's okay too, because of number 2 (not "number 2", just keep reading...)
|Yes, this is me exercising in high school. I've been|
in the habit for some time now. (not running, just
exercising in general)
Guess which one I am!
2.) Cut yourself some freaking slack.
It's 2011 and we all have more to do than time to do it. Between kids, work, meals, housekeeping, and relationships, we are all stretched thin. It's Christmas, which means that there is extra tasking on every one's plate right now. Even if it isn't a holiday season: make yourself list of only three major things a day to attend to, no more. Three things to start AND finish. Maybe it is 1. laundry 2. shop (at one store) 3. crafts with kids (I effing hate crafts, but the kids like it). A list of three things is attainable, more can be overwhelming. You will most likely be able to accomplish the three things in a day, and if you get more done than it is a bonus and you deserve a PRIZE (like new boots or a baby kitten)! And by the way, I haven't baked one holiday treat this year, and I'm okay with that! (Brock's whining a little, but I feel fine.) And for the Love of Pete, if someone offers to help you when you are overwhelmed, FUCKING SAY YES.
3.) Shower and make yourself look decent.
I'm the first to admit that I spend a lot of time in frump mode- no shower, no makeup, pj pants, slipper and a sweater. While I believe that that is fine occasionally, I also believe in the power of putting some effort into your presentation, if for no one other than yourself. I ALWAYS feel better if I look decent (not FANCY, just like I didn't pull clothes out of the dirty laundry).
|Tah-da! I showered and dressed myself!|
The same rule applies to my home- I always feel like I can breathe better when my home is somewhat in order..... not spotless, just functioning.
4.) Laugh. As hard and as often as you can.
I love me some comedy. Nothing is more cathartic than a good belly laugh that makes your side ache and tears stream down your face. This is why I surround myself with charming, witty and funny people. I read humor blogs. I watch comedies on TV and rent them from Netflix. I randomly put on outdated clothing and insist people take my picture. I video my children when they are being silly. I ocassionally listen to my husband talk. I love to laugh. I also need to laugh. So find whatever/whomever it is that toots your whistle and chuckle away! This does it for me....
5.) Eat healthy.
Duh. Put good stuff in your body and you will get good results. Your skin will look better, your hair will look better, your waistline will thank you and you will feel better. I firmly believe that different eating plans work for different people, but we basically subscribe to a simple minimally processed/whole food plan. Because of our issues with wheat, we tend to eat a little more low carb than I like too, but it is out of necessity. Lots of lean protein, fresh veggies and fruits go a long way. And the Crock Pot is my best friend in the cold months, that way I am not trying to fix dinner directly after naptime (also known as The Demon Hour at my house).
|Round steak with peppers simmered in a tomato-y sauce,|
served with steamed green beans and baked potatoes.
Yes, that is REAL butter, certain things I
won't skimp on.
"Who Who Who wants this recipe?"
6.) Indulge a little.
We all have things that we love that aren't necessarily great for us, but I believe (for the most part) that if it brings us joy, then it can't be all bad. For instance, I love red wine and dark chocolate, this will come as no surprise to most of you. And I eat chocolate and drink wine, but not nearly as much as it seems. I have wine no more than 3-4 nights per week and it is rarely more than one glass when I do. I also eat chocolate, but no more than four pieces per day (and I'm talking Dove pieces, not entire candy bars). I'm not sharing this to sound pretentious, I just wanted to let you all in that I indulge with LIMITS that I impose upon myself and follow. This is the only way that I am not a raging alcoholic or extremely overweight with rotting brown sugar-infested teeth. So whatever your "thing" is, enjoy it in moderation.
7.) Give Love Openly.
Ahhh Love. Isn't it the best? I think so. That is why I am generous with my "I love you's" when talking with family and friends. If I care about you, you are going to know it. Life is too short not to let your awesome people know just how incredible you think they are. And what goes around, comes around. You can't spread joy without some of it coming back to you. It's a fucking fact. Look it up, you gorgeous and intelligent human, you.
|I dare you not to feel all warm and fuzzy.|
8.) Always be honest.
People will be grateful in the long run. I think..... Well, at least they won't call you a liar.
|It's true. I wanted to be a Solid Gold Dancer |
when I grew up.
9.) Snuggle with a furry animal.
It's hard not to feel happy when Smelly Cat is cuddled on my lap, purring. Even if he stinks, I still like it. I also always smile (even though it is through gritted teeth) when I just dig my fingers into Red Dog's silky coat or stroke Black Dog's head (the only part of her that she doesn't rub in cat shit). That's the good stuff, right there.
|"I like tummy rubs."|
10.) Sing and Dance, even if you suck.
I'm not talking about auditioning for a reality song and dance show (actually, if you are horrible, please don't), but most people have a space large enough to accommodate a person or two for some singing and dancing. I do this with my kids all the time and EVERY TIME we are all smiling. And we all suck.
|He isn't really a unicorn, but he doesn't know that.|
11.) GO OUTSIDE.
Sunshine and fresh air. Enough said.
|No, stay on the couch. This looks horrible.|
12.) Focus on someone or something other than yourself.
Things might be total shit in your life and you may feel like you are in a flushing toilet bowl going no where but down, but if you stop focusing on yourself and help or do something for someone else, you will be amazed at change within. A shift of focus and a change in perspective can make all the difference.
|My friend Sarah and her friend White Owl....|
I'm pretty sure he is homeless.
12 1/2.) Do something that is JUST FOR YOURSELF every day.
Whether it is meditating for 10 minutes, or sitting in your favorite spot with a cup of hot tea and a good book, or listening to your favorite music, or painting your toenails, or sketching, or writing a blog.... DO IT. No one else is going to do it for you.
Okay, I'm done here. Thanks for letting me be happy and not getting all judgy and annoyed with me. I'm PMSing, so there is no telling how long the feelings of goodness will last. I'll get back to the funny tomorrow, when I announce the WINNER of the giveaway!
Peace, Love and Joy,