If life in a global pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we need to choose happiness to be happy. Many of those activities we miss the most are activities that help us maintain our happiness. Most people in the U.S. are still concerned about contracting the virus and social distancing for their and their families’ safety. August, though, is Happiness Happens Month, so here are 7 ways you can maintain your happiness in this and any time of stress.
1. Be Active
So many people have found that they are less active these days than they were just one year ago, and that is probably because they are working at home and social distancing. Activity is not only important for our physical health but for our mental health also. If you’re working from home, try a standing desk or active breaks, such as a walk at lunchtime or calisthenics every hour or two. Though it’s tempting to unwind from a stressful day on the couch in front of a screen, try exercise, even light exercise, while you’re watching your favorite program. You’ll find your spirits lifted and your body invigorated.
2. Eat with People
Studies show that people eat more healthfully when they are eating with others. If you live with your family, plan family meals, and make sure to include a variety of colored vegetables and fruits on your plates, like purple from Superberries Aronia berries. If you live alone, invite friends for a social-distanced dinner outside while the weather is nice. You can also eat and chat on Zoom. Maybe even compete for who can set the most inviting table!
3. Eat Healthy Foods.
Because we are spending more time at home, this is the perfect time to consider assessing your diet and adding more nutrient-dense foods. The internet is a bounty of healthy recipes. Maybe this is the time to try Meatless Mondays or explore adding superfoods such as kale to your daily meals. Aronia berries are antioxidant-rich and versatile. Superberries Concentrate and Frozen Aronia berries make the perfect addition to morning smoothies, oatmeal, and salads. Not only are they delicious and healthy, but their beautiful color will brighten up your dishes. Taking these steps to improve your health is fulfilling and might just improve your mood. And don't forget healthy snacks like Superberries Aroniaberry Gummy Chews.
4. Explore Your Creativity
There’s an old myth that creative people are born that way and there’s nothing we can do about it. That’s just not true. Everyone has creative possibility, but it just needs some nurturing. If you’ve never tried before, there’s never been a better time to explore your creativity. YouTube hosts free art lessons in every type of drawing, sculpting, or painting imaginable. You can also pick up a pen and start writing. Many organizations are hosting free online writing workshops, and the pandemic has inspired many of them to offer them online, so you don’t even have to live nearby to participate. Whatever you choose to do, do it with a glad heart. Every master artist is a beginner at some point.
5. Spend Time Outside
So many studies prove that human beings are generally healthier and happier when they spend time outdoors. Part of the reason is the natural Vitamin D our skin absorbs from the sun. We are also less likely to be focused on work or multi-tasking when we are outdoors. Whether you are exercising, gardening, or just pausing to breathe, making time to be outside every day will help you be happier.
6. Spend Time with Friends
This pandemic has been isolating for most people. Even if you live in a home bursting with family members, it is still important that you spend some time purely socializing without responsibility. If the weather is nice, plan some small outdoor socially distant gatherings. Studies show that if you maintain 6 feet or more distance between family groups, you are relatively safe from virus transmission. If you are unable to or don’t feel safe doing that, host Zoom parties. You can have informal hangouts. Many people have started online book groups with people from all over the country. Human beings are social, so make sure you spend time nurturing that part of yourself.
Maybe take fifteen minutes before bedtime to just sit and focus on your breathing. Perhaps you can fit several five-minute breathing sessions into your workday routine. If you want something more structured, learn to incorporate mindfulness meditation into your day. Your community may have a meditation center, or you can use apps such as the Insight Timer or Headspace that host recorded guided meditations. Whether you do a formal or informal practice, taking time to clear your mind each day and practice letting go of your thoughts will help lower your stress levels and lead you towards a more peaceful, happy state of mind.
Too many events of the day threaten to diminish our joy and increase our stress. By making a few healthy decisions each day until they become welcome habits, you can lower the impact of negative news and increase your own resilience and happiness. You have choices about how you spend your energy and following some of these suggestions will help you on your way to a happier you.