Sunday, April 26, 2020

Happiness Care Package

Hi friends! We're going through some interesting times right now. If you're not used to the isolation that can come with social distancing, then loneliness and depression can creep in. So I've put together a little happiness care package for you. I hope this gets you through some difficult times. Feel free to share these ideas with anyone you think might need some help. Stay home and stay safe! 

Shows and movies to watch for happiness

My favorite movie of all time is The Princess Bride. This is a classic that never fails to lift my spirits, and one of the few movies that I will watch more than once. I even have a DVD of it (bought used), so I can access it whenever I want. It's actually the only DVD that I own.

TV series The Good Place. Kristen Bell is one of my favorite actresses. It's great to see Ted Danson back in action, and the rest of the cast just comes together seamlessly. This is the first show in a long time that I looked forward to watching each week.

YouTube channels that will increase your happiness

i_am_puma: Russian couple who have a rescued puma as a beloved pet. Guest appearances from their hairless cat as well. You don't need to understand Russian to laugh at their fur babies' antics.

Kittisaurus: Maybe large cats aren't your thing. Claire has the solution--lots of adorable house cats that are clearly the center of her universe (and her apartment). My husband wants to steal Lulu.

Tucker Budzyn: If you're more of a dog person, check out Tucker the Golden Retriever. He has great comedic timing. You can watch him and his furry friends on their adventures, including food taste tests, checking out new toys, and trying to fight mom's curling iron.

Julia Westlin: This independent artist has the voice of an angel. She covers songs, sometimes a capella, where she and her partner sing every single part and make every instrumental sound--something that looks like it would take hundreds of hours to record. She also writes and performs original works. Well worth a listen.

2CELLOS: Cello music isn't always classical music! It's amazing what these guys can do beyond the music you typically expect from cellists. Look up their covers of "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC and "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana. I wonder how much money they spend on bowstrings every year...

My channel: I haven't added to it in a long, long, time, but I have lots of old travel videos on there, and some funny pet-related stuff as well. You can also get a tour of two of the previous rigs that we sold, in case you're curious how we had things set up.

Books to increase your happiness

Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More by Courtney Carver. Courtney is a blogger and author who has also been a mentor to me in my own soul-centered minimalist life. In this book, she tells her story and provides actionable tips for creating a happier, simpler life for yourself.

The Healthy Habit Revolution: The Step by Step Blueprint to Create Better Habits in 5 Minutes a Day by Derek Doepker. Why not take this time at home to make some changes to your habits?

The Alchemist by Paul Coelho. The story of a boy who goes on a journey following his heart.

Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey. If you're old enough to remember this mini-skit from Saturday Night Live, then this will bring you back to a good chuckle or two. If you have no clue what I'm talking about, then you may not get the joke if you read this book...Google the book's title and author name to watch some clips from the show first.

Little treats for happiness

I used to love eating Nutella, but it contains milk products and I don't do dairy anymore. I just recently found this chocolate-hazelnut spread which is non-GMO, organic, and vegan. The containers are BPA-free and they donate part of their profits toward sustainable agriculture.

Speaking of chocolate, I now have to do something I never thought I'd do, which is to drink caffeine every day. I have a CSF leak, and conservative treatment includes caffeine to try to raise back up the pressure. I can't tolerate coffee, so I opt for either matcha or hot chocolate. But I get sick of plain hot chocolate, so I found this tasty cinnamon oil to add to my chocolate. Just a few drops are enough to make my drink a real treat.

I'm not big on scented candles, but I do love the light smell of lavender. Lavender essential oil diluted in a spray bottle and sprayed on a pillow or around the room makes for a relaxing atmosphere.

I'm a big advocate of taking a nap. I know lots of people are against the idea because they think they're too busy or it makes them lazy. But sometimes it's necessary. 

Other ideas to make you happy

  • Join a group of people who have like-minded interests through a website like Facebook or Meetup
  • Download a video conferencing app and have a virtual party with your friends
  • Give yourself a spa day at home using things from your kitchen, like oatmeal, sugar, oil, and lemon. Look up free recipes online for inspiration.
  • Turn on your favorite upbeat music and dance and sing.
  • Start a journal
  • Begin a morning routine
  • Learn how to let go of negative feelings
  • Manage stress better
Remember, with the world put on pause, this is a time when we can hit the reset button. We can start making better choices and building new routines to create a happier life for ourselves. I'll be talking about that more in the future.