Happy International Day of Happiness!
I know these days do not feel particularly happy, so I wanted to create a happiness checklist for you. I wanted to share some activities and rituals you can do to boost morale, to boost your happiness and wellness quotient today and beyond.
Let’s get right to it:
- Be social from a distance. My girlfriends are having morning coffee dates over FaceTime, happy hour over Zoom, and we had a little block party on our street Sunday outside with everyone outside in their driveways. How about a FaceTime dinner party with another family? Keep the social connectedness to fight feelings of isolation. Check in with family and friends, virtually.
- Introduce your kids to Khan Academy. A wonderful site to keep kids’ brains sharp during their time out of school. My absolute favorite way to learn!
- Create your bucket list. To this date, my Bucket List blog post is one of our most popular. Just putting the pen to paper on everything you want to accomplish in your life will send your brain positive messages. American psychologists did studies on writing about our dreams for the future, and the studies are in: writing about our dreams can actually make us happier! After writing about their dreams 20 minutes a day, after 4 days, the subjects felt immediately happier and this effect lasted for several weeks.
- Get Your Space Decluttered and Organized. Get organized and overall simplify. What rooms and areas have you been wanting to declutter and organize but never had the time? Closets? Toys? Pantry? Photos? Now is a great time to make photo albums of all those 2019 pics on your phone. Decluttering makes us happy.
- Automate systems at home to encourage a well-run household. Yes, I did a TV segment recently on how to run your home like a CEO. My boys are switching between who’s in charge of cleaning breakfast and lunch. I take dinner. Who’s taking out the trash? Who’s folding laundry? C’mon moms and dads — we’re all helping out now. Everyone should know what they’re doing, so things run more efficiently now that everyone is at home, all day, every day.
- Treat your day working form home as if you would a normal work day, starting and stopping at the same time to ensure proper work-life balance. Structure your day as if you’re in the office. Work, take a break, eat lunch, take a break, and then end your day at the regular time. When kids see their parents are structured, they will be structured and will feel a sense of calm with a routine in place. Which leads us to…
- Take CREATIVE breaks! Now is the time. Go for walks, drives, bake, go for a bike ride, start a puzzle, play street hockey with your family, play a board game with the kids… now is the time to be creative in your down time. Work breaks are no longer at the water cooler– they can be in your driveway playing basketball with your kids. Now, how amazing is that? Silver lining.
- Make a daily schedule for yourself and your kids and post it in a visible spot. Make sure to incorporate something new each day – switch up the daily routine to keep it fresh!
- Wake 20 mins earlier each morning and start a mindfulness / meditation / yoga practice. There are a lot of apps out there to get you started. I shared some of them recently on Instagram. My favorite breathing exercise for sleep and anxiety is the Dr. Andrew Weil 4-7-8 breath (inhale for 4, hold for 7, exhale for 8, for 4-6 rounds). Or I like simply inhaling to the count of 4, and exhaling to the count of 5 – deep diaphramatic breathing sends an all-clear signal to our central nervous system that our body is safe and okay. There are wonderful yoga apps out there as well such as Down Dog, now offering the app for free since the outbreak of coronavirus. Or you can stream a yoga class. I’m live-steaming a zen yoga class TODAY at 12pm EST on Instagram. Please join me! Harvard medical school recommends yoga to deal with COVID-19 anxiety. Self-care is pertinent.
- UNPLUG 2 HOURS BEFORE BED. I know this doesn’t sound like a fun happiness-boosting activity, but trust me, your future self will thank you. Experts say to unplug 60 minutes before bedtime, but I am saying at least 2 hours before bed these days to ensure better mental health care. Now more than ever, please disconnect from social media and from the news before bed to ensure proper sleep. A reminder that adults should be getting 7 hours a night – restorative sleep is an immune boosting activity. Take it seriously.
- Journaling. Now is a pretty amazing time to start journaling. Enough said.
- Listen to a podcast! You just have to go online to get some great suggestions. There’s a podcast these days for just about everything. How about The Erica Diamond Podcast? Hint hint! There are wonderful podcasts for kids too. I shared those on my Instagram recently as well.
- Go for a drive! With your family only, of course. We go driving every single day. My son is 16 and with his driver’s permit, and he is getting some good practice, I’ll tell ya that!
- Activate Screen Time and apps such as Moment. You should he monitoring your screen time daily, and having your kids monitor their own as well. Moment allows you to track how much time everyone is spending on their iPhones and iPads. Users can set daily limits for themselves and also reserve device-free meals. Once the app is activated, phones emit a blaring noise if anyone tries to sneak screen time. We can’t let screen time get the best of us during self-quarantine time. Be vigilant.
- Cook some heathy fresh meals daily with your family. We are cooking fresh food, nothing processed (minus the Mac and Cheese the other day), and making sure we are eating immune boosting foods to stay healthy. My family is on a daily multi-vitamin and probiotic. I don’t have to remind you – we all need to stay healthy now.
- Give each other space. To save your marriage! How about, “Honey, can you watch the kids so I can go for a walk and have a moment alone, then we’ll switch?” Or how about, “Honey, you get the bedroom now, and I’ll get the den. Or you get the dining room and I’ll take the kitchen.” We need to respect each other’s need for personal space now more than ever. These are unprecedented times.
- Dive into a great book. Please see my most recent recommendations on Global TV.
- Watch a funny movie! Humor has become my saving grace. The highlight of my day is getting into bed at night and watching the show Younger. It is comedic relief and escapism at a time we could all use a little. Let yourself laugh!
- Watch an online concert. Music is life! John Legend and Pink both streamed free and magnificent concerts this week. More musicians are hopping on board. It’s making me happy.
- Take a free online course. I’m currently taking a free marketing course from Wharton. Check out this amazing article sharing 450 Ivy League courses you can take online FREE today!
- Remember, you’re a role model to your child. Try and maintain a sense of calm in front of them. If you yourself are triggered with feelings of anxiety, speak to a friend, or family member, or therapist over zoom, or medical doctor. But try and maintain a sense of calm as best you can around your children. They take their cues from you.
- Surrender to what you can’t control and serenity will be yours. Yes, these times are teaching us how to surrender. Things will be postponed and cancelled. That will cause a lot of disappointment (trust me, I’m there x20). But we have to surrender to these things that are beyond our control. We have to stay home, do our part, and in time, this too shall pass.
Sending you so much love and good vibes. Remember, if something is worrying you right now; say it. Give it a name. When you say it, label it and identify it, you can begin to problem solve, which helps decrease some of the worry.
Be safe, be healthy, stay home and love each other.
I’ll see you at noon today for a zen flow yoga class.
Sending virtual hugs,