De-stressing is essential and you shouldn’t need a specific day to cut yourself some slack, but since today is International Day of Happiness it doesn’t hurt to embrace it as an excuse to take some time to yourself and re-energize. Doing self soothing techniques builds up emotional resilience as well as our self-esteem. In turn, our view changes to a sunnier predisposition and suddenly the unconquerable seem manageable. So take a few minutes, a few hours or a few days if you can to only focus on you and doing some simple self soothing before tackling the bigger projects.
1. Got 5 minutes? Take a walk around the block (or around your lawn!)
Breathe, relax, and don’t take your phone. Just be with yourself. If that’s too awkward, turn on some relaxing music while you enjoy the stroll. Got more than 5 minutes? Walk longer! Not only will you be relieving stress, but you’ll be building physical resilience via the exercise route.
2. Create positive contact with another person.
Send a text or make a phone call to anyone you’d like and let them know how much you appreciated them. Spark a conversation about the pleasant (you can vent some other time- today is a day of happiness).
Put on some music and dance around! Happiness, health, and an inevitable smile. Sing along if your heart desires!
4. Do an act of kindness.
Don’t wreck your brain though. The point is to feel happy, not encumbered. Look for a small way to help out. Ask a friend or loved one if they need help with anything and offer to lend a hand.
5. Have a cup of tea.
Herbal teas are a great way to stop and enjoy your surroundings. Making a hot cup of a soothing chamomile tea forces you to sip slowly. The added benefits of the herbal tea are just a plus.
6. Play with your pet.
Fido’s always happy to provide you with some stress-busting play. If you don’t feel like being too active, just petting the animal is enough to decrease stress hormone cortisol and increase positive brain chemicals.
7. Take a tip from the monks…
…and meditate. Just 5 minutes changes our brain structure, strengthening the areas associated with emotional regulation and paying attention. You don’t have to sit still for this. You can lay down and close your eyes, or you can walk if you’re a bit more restless. Just keep your mind still and focused. There are many resources on the net to help hone the practice. You can also just turn on some soothing sounds and try your own version of meditating.
8. A little nap never hurt anyone.
Speaking of laying down and keeping the mind still, don’t be afraid to slip into a doze. Just set your alarm for 20 minutes and catch up on some energizing sleep.
9. Name three things that went well today.
And explain why! I.E. ‘I finished all my errands early…because I re-organized my schedule and prioritized my list instead of trying to tackle everything at once today!’
10.Wear your favorite outfit.
It’s ok that you’re just going to the grocery store to pick up some milk. Dress up for it. Spend some extra time on your hair and makeup (if that makes you feel good!) and pretend like you have an amazing event to attend tonight, even if you’re just cuddling up with Fluffy and watching a chick-flick.
11. Cook your favorite meal.
Turn on some music, slow down and enjoy the experience of cooking. No need to rush it. Then light some candles and savor the delicious dinner. Make it special. Have a glass of wine too while you’re at it!
Only if you think of it as a pampering activity. If you think of it as punishment or something that’s already part of your schedule that you ‘have’ to do, lay off it today and just take a 30 minute stroll. But if you think of it as something that boosts your confidence, make your heart pump a little today! Remember, pleasure, not punishment. You look good regardless of whether you do it or not though.
13. Spend time doing any activity that makes you happy.
It might be (window) shopping, drawing, watching a movie, painting, playing an instrument, singing, reading or even doing your hair. It doesn’t matter how small or insignificant the activity may seem, just spend some time doing it. Your brain and heart will thank you.
14. Pamper yourself with a spa experience.
Get your nails or hair done. Get a massage or facial. You can get those at the salon or do them at home (massage might be harder to do at home by yourself though so you might opt for the spa).
15. Plan a mini-vacation!
Choose a weekend, a destination, a budget, and get yourself hyped up for a weekend getaway! Something to look forward to brings instant-happiness.