Staying happy and positive isn’t something that always comes naturally, and, unfortunately, isn’t something that is always easy. People say, “do what you love,” but realistically speaking, that’s not always possible. I love travelling and eating funnel cake but right now I’m not exactly among a traveling circus in Paris. It’s definitely important to set goals, make an attempt to reach them, and have dreams to fulfill, but for those days in between when you’re sweating through the thick of it like the most of us, it can be a challenge to keep your chin up.
I’ve become a bit of a master, if I do say so myself, at finding bite-sized ways to smile each and every day, and with my tips below, you can be, too.
- 1) Park your car in the direction of the sun. Seems really silly, actually drastically improves your mood. Settling in for your commute home in a vehicle that has already been brightened and warmed with natural sunlight just makes you smile more. Bonus points if you can park in front of a patch of grass, a nice grouping of trees, or other pleasant landscapes. I simply parked my car on the opposite side of the parking lot at work once I noticed a little patch of grass that tended to get a lot of birds, bunnies, and sunshine, and I can’t imagine going back.
- 2) Try smoothies or juicing. I’m vegan, but you don’t have to be to enjoy the delicious fruits (pun intended) of your labor. There is something really satisfying about seeing a bunch of whole chunks of your favorite fruits and vegetables ground up or squeezed out to make something delicious for you to consume. You don’t have to stress about a recipe: throw some of your favorites together and let mother nature do its thing. It can never hurt to add plant-based (or animal-based, if you don’t roll that way) milk, cinnamon, and vanilla extract for a punch of dessert-like flavor and creaminess, but experiment with what you like.
- 3) Do something you would normally do alone, with your favorite company. Sometimes all you need to brighten a gloomy Wednesday evening is a narrator for your favorite one-player video game that will have you crying laughing. If video games aren’t your thing, it never hurts to have a reading buddy, workout buddy, cooking buddy, etcetera. Life feels less like a chore when you spend it in the presence of people you love.
- 4) Don’t wait until the weekend. Working in a more conventional 9-5 job setting has made me realize how many people don’t allow themselves any real fun or memories unless it’s the weekend. There can be a lot to pack into a hectic work-week schedule, especially if you meal-prep, exercise, are part of any extracurricular activity, etcetera, but you can’t let yourself just “get by” through 71% of your life (I did the math). Give yourself permission to live a little and do things that are a bit out of the ordinary. Easing up on the reins will only make you happier.