1. Go for a leisurely walk. Every. Single. Day. I know, it sounds idiotically simple, but it can make such a difference. Not only are you adding a little extra exercise into your routine, you’re also taking time to just be. You’re not rushing. You’re not stressing. You’re just going for a walk, observing the world around you.
2. Write a list of all the things you loved the most as a kid — the moments you felt most free, most alive, most vibrant. Was it when you stayed out in your backyard climbing trees until the sun started going down? Was it when you were running around with your school friends, when you were unabashedly yourself? Find something on that list you can recreate. Go climb a tree. Wave down the ice cream truck. Be silly without worrying how others will judge. Take a day to treat your inner child.
3. Sign up for a class at your local community center. They are usually held at discounted prices if they are done through your town. Maybe there’s something you’ve always wanted to learn about, like origami or dance. Maybe you’d like to further your skill level at something you already toy around with, like photography or cooking. Carving an hour or so out of your day once a week to do something out of the norm can reinvigorate your mind and spirit.
4. Curl up with a good book for inspiration. For example, Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person.
5. Create something with your hands. Even if it ends up being terrible. Try out some ridiculous Pinterest craft, or reupholster that chair you’ve been meaning to take in. Hell, try out one of those adult coloring books. Why not? Having something that requires your focus AND physical attention can often help in re-centering you.
6. Give back. Nothing puts your petty problems into perspective quite like helping those really who need it. Research a cause that is important to you and seek out ways to help any nearby charities.
7. Reach out to someone you really admire. It could be a celebrity, someone you follow on social media, or even someone you went to school with. It doesn’t matter. Everyone appreciates hearing that they are appreciated. Send a thoughtful note about how you look up to them. You never know what could come from it.
8. Write letters to your past, present, and future self. You might be surprised at some of the things you have to say. When we take a moment to step outside of our current place in life, by either reflecting on the past or envisioning the future, it can help us formulate the proper steps to go forward in a direction that will make us fulfilled.
9. Organize a weekly meet up with your closest friends. Or every two weeks, if that works better for everyone. Listen, it’s easy for us to all be too busy. Life can be stressful. But being “soooo busy” can sometimes serve as a lame excuse. If you can take an hour or two to watch reruns on Netflix, you can set aside time to see your closest pals.
10. If you have a dog, see if they qualify to become a therapy pet. In my opinion, having a dog is one of the best things a person can do. So if you’ve got a sweet ball of fur, consider sharing them with people who could use a dose of unconditional love. Your canine pal could bring smiles to hospitals, nursing homes, and more. You can check out Alliance Of Therapy Dogs for more information on how to proceed.
11. Forgive those who hurt you. I get it, it’s so much easier said than done. But when we hold onto anger and hurt, it builds up as toxic energy in our bodies. Forgiving does not mean forgetting. It just means moving forward. It means giving yourself the best chance at letting go of pain.
12. Let go of the word happy. Happy should never be the end goal. Happy is an emotion, and emotions are, and always will be, temporary things. Start replacing the word happy with things like “thriving” or “alive.” If you spend your whole life on the hunt for happiness, it can discredit a lot of important experiences. Instead, try understanding that it comes and goes. Appreciate when it’s here. Do not berate yourself when it leaves.