Archive of ‘happy’ category
**Hey all, so my self-hosting got delayed and now it won’t be done until sometime in the next few days— fingers crossed everyone who is subscribed will transfer but if you don’t get new posts next week, then come back to the site…it’s prob because of the transfer, not because I haven’t posted. Thanks, guys!**
Now, to talk about how to be happier at work.
I don’t care who you are or what job you have, at some point, you’re going to struggle with the “I don’t want to work today!” thing or the “Ugh, I’d MUCH rather be somewhere else today” thing. I’ve been at my job for 3.5 years (wowza, longest time at a job to-date!) and so like normal, I have my good days and my “blah” days. And no matter how awesome your job is, we often need a pick-me-up….especially when it’s sunny outside and you’re just itching to go play.
Whether it’s a gray cubicle, a corner office with a window, or if you work from home in your PJs, work is…well, it’s work. And free time is always much more fun. We spend 40+ hours there every single week, so we might as well make it happier if we can!
Here are 5 things that can make you happier at work:
1) These really cute photo cubes from Shutterfly.
Seeing people you love (especially if the’re babies or puppies) will always make you happier. How cute is this cube? It won’t take up much space on your desk and you can switch the side facing you depending on your mood. I haven’t bought one yet, but I’d put in vacation photos, photos of Charlie as a puppy, photos of Jared, and photos of my sis and my friends so I can look at all the things that make me happy on a regular basis. So cute and really inexpensive.
2 ) Pandora
Listening to music always improves any mood, keeps you upbeat, and helps the day go faster. It’s not an option for every job, but if you can wear earplugs at your job, listen to music a couple hours a day. I don’t do this often enough, but whenever I have to write a grant or a memo, it helps me tune out the office chatter and focus.
3) Eat lunch outside.
Sometimes it seems like a lot of effort to grab all your food and take it out of the office to eat. However, once you get outside, you’ll realize it was well worth the effort. Just a little fresh air or some time away from the desk helps immensely. Plus, in the summer time you’ll get a dose of Vitamin D to improve happiness too. And for me, spending even 15 minutes outside helps me feel like I did “something” during the day besides work. Even better than just sitting outside? A quick walk.
4) Create a vision board that you can see while working.
Maybe it’s a photo of an amazing vacation spot you really want to go to. Maybe it’s a big screen tv or a new pair of expensive shoes. Tack something up near your desk where you can see it to keep you motivated. You are working for the paycheck, afterall, so might as well know that all your hard work gets you something fun!
Ahhh, I would love that to be ME sitting on the side of the pool. This photo is def going on my “vision board!”
5) Plug quotes into your calendar
Spend a little time plugging your favorite quotes (or silly jokes) into your calendar for the next year and set them to send reminder pop-ups or emails. Then, when you least expect it at a random time of day, a fun motivation quote will pop up on your screen. Hopefully the surprise “gift” to yourself will at least make you smile, if not have some extra motivation to get you through the day.
— What do you do to improve your work day? Anything to add to this list?
— What do you do for work? How long have you been at your job?
— Which of these suggestions did you like best?
We made it to the end of the week! Wheeeee!! You guys all know how I like celebrating the small happy things and appreciating the highlight moments. Today, I thought I’d do a week recap of my favorite highlights. It was a hard-working-tiring-packed-in week, but also pretty good, so here you go….
Friday’s Happy Highlights
1) My swim. So nice to have fit it in early in the week (I usually wait until the weekend).
2) We picked out our wedding rings!! This was one of the more fun wedding tasks! We really have the best jeweler, he’s awesome. I just got a simple band with tiny diamonds around it. So many diamonds, I feel spoiled and sparkly. Can’t wait to wear it and see the finished product.
some of the “finalists” that we tried on!
3) Monday’s date night.
4) Baking a chocolate chip cake Thursday night to bring to a dinner Friday night. Sorry guys, it was too dark to take a photo, but I’ll show you the finished product later if I can. It’s my college roommate’s mom’s “famous” recipe and always a crowd pleaser. Baking was relaxing, felt creative, and I enjoyed doing something with my hands. You ever feel that way?
5) This guy greeting me with lots and lots of excited hellos.
I like the way he’s smiling in this photo. it’s really because I took it while I had food and he knew I would likely share, but I like to think it’s also because he was just happy and content
6) And more wedding stuff– We’re putting the invitations in the mail this morning! We want to go together to do it, so we’re walking to the mailbox at 6:30am right before I leave for work…yes, work has been rather busy lately.
7) Finding out that they were able to fix my camera!!! This is the best news ever. I haven’t had much luck with that new camera (aka, I really dislike it so haven’t used it) but they were actually able to fix my new one! I had very little hope. I am so grateful and excited to get it back next week. I keep teasing you guys that I will start posting better photos finally, but fingers crossed that will actually come true.
and 8) The Bay Bridge in SF is all lit up this month. Look how pretty!
I like making these lists and forgetting about all the not so great things that happened, cause let’s be real– there’s always quite a few in the course of a week. So now I’ll just forget about that bad traffic and the fact that I now have to go to a work event on Saturday and just go with the good stuff…they’re always much better remembered.
What are your happy highlights from the week?
Anything cool and special going on in your city now? (like our lights)
What does your wedding band look like? Did you inscribe it?
What was your best workout of the week?
Hey! When Kristin Steward contacted me and asked if she could do a guest post to help her fulfill her New Years resolution to write more, I loved that idea and said sure. Seeing someone fulfill NY resolutions is so inspiring….and I’m more than happy to help. Kristin said, “When I was in college I loved writing, so much so that I even minored in writing. Now that I have a family and kids, it’s been a challenge for me to find “me time”, let alone find time write. This year I thought it would be a great resolution to revisit my passions from years ago. So far I’ve been doing great and have been finding a lot of time to write now that the kids are back in school and busy with sports.” We all know how finding “me” time in the midst of busy everyday life is so important and I’m so happy Kristin is back to a passion. Plus, I loved the Guest Post she sent me and you guys know I’m all about the concept of appreciating the little things in life. So without further adieu…..here’s Kristin’s Post!
The Little Things That Create Smiles
by Kristin Steward
Let’s face it – today’s society is crazy, busy. It seems like we are so busy going to work, to running an errand, to everything in between, we often forget to take some time and enjoy the little things in life. When those “little things” happen, they often bring a simple smile to my face. After all, the commonly used phrase “it’s the little things that make me smile” didn’t happen accidentally.
So what are the little things you might ask? Well, they are often different from person to person. For some it may be something as simple as having exact change at the store. For others it might be seeing a baby out for a walk with mommy. For someone else, it may be picking up a small bouquet of flowers for the kitchen for no special reason. Maybe having a lady bug land on your arm while outside will bring a smile to your face. Just something little that perks up the day is always special.
I know many mommies who say their “little things” are items from their children. Almost everyone made a macaroni necklace for their mother growing up and a hand-made card on construction paper to go with it. Well, I know plenty of mommies that keep them for many years. Those gifts often go hand-in-hand with breakfast in bed, home-made cookies, and flowers pulled from the backyard.
Mothers love having little reminders always with them of their special little ones. Find your birthstone jewelry, for your mother’s day gift, on her favorite piece of jewelry. This can be a great way to always have mommy’s kids with her – no matter how old they are. Instead of flowers, consider a gift from Edible Arrangements. You can have a beautiful arrangement of chocolate dipped fruit.
Have Mother’s Day cards printed from Shutterfly as a way to remember a special day or event. Those cards will always wind up on the refrigerator or the desk at work to show off family members. Why not have a family photo taken of all the moms, sisters, aunts, and grandmothers?
Mommy is usually the person that takes the kids to dance class, play dates, haircuts, school…the list goes on and on. If there is anyone who looks for those “little things” it is definitely mom. Those “little things” don’t have to be expensive and some don’t cost anything at all. They just have to be special to you – and that’s all that matters.
So, what are YOUR little things that make you smile? I totally agree with her on having exact change at the store
Anything to add to this list?
Which of Kristin’s “little things” idea did you like best?
Are you good at appreciating the little things?
How are you doing on your New Years resolutions?
Disclaimer: It’s Friday and I’m exhausted and highly caffeinated, so this post is a little all over the place. please excuse any rambles or typos today.
January was a big month for me. I planned 80% of our wedding– we signed venue contract, booked photographer, dj, florist, limo, bus, hotel room block and hair/makeup person, bought my dress, chose bridesmaid dresses, ordered the invitations, and more. Whew. I threw a huge dog toy charity event….and since then have expanded the organization and have some exciting things in the works. We went to Tahoe. I discovered my new favorite workout obsession (kickboxing- I look forward to it all week). I subbed at Sunday School (the kids are so cute). I saw that guy die at my gym right before my eyes. And then, of course, Jared’s grandma died and we flew back to Florida unexpectedly a few days ago.
At least January has been full of really, really nice sunsets
January has been full. It’s been stressful, trying, and exhilarating. Some of it was a lot of fun. But some of it was tough too. The tough parts reminded me once again to appreciate what we do have in life and to stay grounded in the simple things.
It’s so easy to forget how lucky we really are.
After having two death experiences this month, it’s made me a little reflective. I know it’s been said many times before, but at the end of someone’s life, they’ll never say they wish they spent more time working or more time doing errands, etc. We want our life to be full of the things that really matter. And more often than not, it’s really the simple times just being fully present together that we enjoy most. It’s up to us to make the most of life before it’s too late.
In case you were wondering where I spend 40+ hours of every week….this is it! Exciting stuff, huh? Coffee, suglasses, photo of jared are pretty much constant accessories
I’ve said it before on the blog, but I often need to be reminded to appreciate the simple things.
I want to be more consciously grateful for the things I take for granted. I was at a friend’s birthday happy hour last night and met a girl who is a doctor and spent the past 18 months in Rwanda. She said that since moving back to Cali, she is so fearful of getting back into the materialistic mindset that is so common in American culture. “We don’t even realize how good we have it!” she kept saying. And she’s right. If we have a headache someone will always have Tylenol to help you, we have full grocery stores, we can (usually) walk down the street safely, we can afford tvs and warm clothes when we need them, etc. We stress about the trivial things like not having the right outfit to wear to a party.
So in February, my goal is to capture one thing I’m thankful for….kinda like Kate does on one of my favorite blogs.
I tried to do this a few months ago, but I felt so boring that I stopped recording it. But I promise to stick to it this time. It might be a second post of the day or I might combine it with my regular post…some might be really, really mundane and simple and some might be more interesting…we’ll see how it goes. I’m hoping that by the end of the month, I’ll have done a better job adding gratuity to my life and appreciating how lucky I really am.
So here goes…..really simple things number 1 and 2 from yesterday:
1) I’m grateful for having a Starbucks near work that I can walk to…..
Some days you just need fresh air and just need some caffeine. A 15 minute walk for coffee makes some afternoons, including yesterday, just so much better. I work in the subburbs….if I was in the City, this wouldn’t be an issue because there’s a coffee shop every 2 blocks, but I’m not. So it is.
tall coffee, s’il vous plait.
2) The post office….
Now this might sound really silly, but I actually think it’s kinda neat that you just drop something in the blue box and then it gets to whomever you want it to get to in only 2 days (ish). Plus, finding a card or a magazine in your mailbox is SOOO much better than just opening your email inbox.
Okay, so this was my long way of saying that I’m going to count my blessings and become more grateful this month. We’ll see how it changes me by the end of February!
Anyone want to participate???
– Have you ever kept a gratitude journal?
– What’s one thing unexpected January has taught you or made you think about?
We’re only three days in to this brand NEW year, but a new year is an incentive to open a new chapter and try NEW things. I get stuck in my regular habits pretty often, but this week I’ve made a point to acknowledge and celebrate the new things in my life.
Sooooo….in honor of the NEW year, here are 5 NEW things from the past 3 days…
1) I went to a kickboxing class last night!
I haven’t done kickboxing consistently since college (ever since my college class when a girl punched her arm out of the socket right next to me, I’ve been haunted with that image every time I go back…ugh….but I digress…). Last night, i got home early (no traffic!) and Jared was at an event, so I checked the gym schedule and laced up my sneakers for an hour of kickboxing.
You guys, it was such a good workout! And fun too! 15 minutes in, covered in sweat, I was wondering if I would be able to finish…..and then it just became fun and I spent the next 45 minutes figuring out how I could rearrange my schedule every Wednesday so I can become a regular! It’s not offered any other day or time, boo.
Last year around this time, I started my “Gym Class Challenge” and challenged myself to try as many new gym classes as possible. I went to arial yoga, spinning, and a random class called BodyArt…but I never found anything I loved. Trying new gym classes isn’t something I do very often, but this time it was a success!
2) New Vitamins.
I’ve been watching Dr. Oz recently (I guess that’s a new thing too?) and he often talks about certain vitamins, including milk thistle Milk Thistle aids our liver and our liver is so key to our entire bodies. Soo…I needed new vitamins and ordered a few, including milk thistle, to my vitamin list. Hopefully they’ll all be good, healthy additions!
3) New Book.
I started a new book yesterday…The Age of Miracles. I really like it! (so far, I’m only a few chapters in). It follows a girl and her family when they find out the world has stopped rotating, the days are becoming longer, and how it changes the whole world (sounds random, but really good and read-able, I swear!). Finding a good book always encourages me to read more! Def a good thing for the new year
Okay and this is my favorite NEW thing that I’ve been working hard on the past few weeks……
4) Dog Toy Drive Event!
I’ve mentioned my Dog Toy Drive a kazillion times on the blog in the last 2 months and we’re just about finished. People have been so generous! And if any of you donated THANK YOU. Amazon weirdly doesn’t tell you who donates something from your wish list so I keep getting packages and don’t know who to thank
To close the drive, I’m hosting an event next Thursday! It’s at a great happy hour spot and we’re hoping to get a big crowd to drop off toys and stay for a drink or two. If you’re in SF, you MUST come!!
and lastly, but importantly…..
5) A new camera!
I haven’t actually gotten it yet (hence no photos in this post) but after breaking two cameras last year and going for the past 7 weeks without one (the iPhone camera+ app and I are bffs now), I am so excited to have a regular camera again! I had gotten so used to carrying my camera with me all day every day and taking blog photos that I’ve really missed it the past few weeks!
I have no idea what 2013 has in store, but I hope it is full of new adventures, new discoveries, and new joys.
Oh and can I just say that it was light out at 5pm yesterday and it made me SOOO happy to see that it actually is geting a little bit lighter every day! Every little bit counts on our way to summer!
So tell me…
- What’s new in your 2013 world?
- What vitamins do you take?
- What charities are you involved with?
- What gym classes do you take?
There’s something just so incredibly amazing about sunsets.
And every time I see them, I can’t help but feel so truly lucky.
Late yesterday afternoon- 4:30ish- Jared, Charlie and I piled into the car and drove across the City to the beach. A friend organized her birthday bonfire and luckily, we got there just in time for the sunset.
It was a (rare) clear day in San Francisco and unlike many days when the fog is too heavy to even see the sun.
Sunsets always make me feel so incredibly lucky.
Lucky to be able to enjoy the sunset, lucky that mother nature puts on such an incredible show, lucky to live near the ocean, and just lucky to be alive. I know it might sound cheesy, but it’s true.
Sometimes, we need that reminder.
I had a really busy, stressful week last week and a sunset’s reminder was just what I needed to stop and appreciate the small stuff.
And I realized, I really am so lucky. We all are, really. But, here’s my sunset reminder lucky list.
I’m lucky because…..
Of the major things: I have a roof over my head, a monthly paycheck, plenty of food on the table, and a family and boyfriend who will do anything for me. I know I complain about all of them frequently, but I’m lucky I have them to complain about.
Of the things I sometimes forget to feel lucky about: for example, I live in San Francisco- I know, I sometimes have a love-hate relationship with it, but I really am so lucky to call this place home. Also, I’m not allergic to chocolate and can eat it everyday (cause life without chocolate would be less fun) ha
Of the things that happened this week: Saw good friends, got to work from home one day, received a fun package in the mail (more on that next week), and didn’t have to wait in line for the treadmill ever.
And of the silly things….I’m lucky because I wore boots last night and they kept me warm, we picked a clear night to go to the beach, we found parking right away, Jared drove (I didn’t have to), because we got there just in time for the sunset, because the city keeps the beach very clean, because Charlie ran all over and made us laugh, and because I got to be there with Jared.
A night remembering the lucky stuff is such a boost of energy.
After the sunset and a beach walk, we met our friends at the fire pit (we had gotten there before them). We sat around the fire trying to keep warm for about an hour before wet Charlie (played in the ocean) started shivering and we left to go out to dinner.
We ended up skipping/postponing Jared’s fancy birthday dinner in lieu of just grabbing a burger at our favorite place and coming home to pack for Arizona (the sag guy picks up his bike today). I frosted cupcakes while watching tv…and ya know what, I’m lucky I get to eat cupcakes today
Tell me, why are you lucky this weekend? I want to hear your silly and your serious things!
The house in the background look familiar?
We spent a few hours at the Full House park, catching some sun. Charlie met a dog friend and they chased each other around for quite a while….the other owner and I were thrilled that they were tiring each other out. Like promised, I didn’t change out of yoga pants yesterday. I call that a good day.
I did manage to make this hefty lasagna though. Someone (aka the Ironman I live with) is working out a ton and not eating much lately, so I thought some “man food” was in order. Recipe coming in another post.
And now to talk about happiness…………
I was reading an article on happiness the other day from Prevention Magazine (I think Julie of PBFingers posted the link) and found it really interesting. The article was about the science behind what makes us happy. They equated happiness with a deep contentment for life. And not surprisingly, it isn’t about close relationships, money (duh), or a career success.
Here’s what they said about the three things that make for happiness:
“One is the pleasant life, full of pleasure, joy, and good times. The second is the engaged life, in which you lose yourself to some passion or activity, experiencing what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, PhD, calls flow. And the third is the meaningful life: It may not have many high moments or blissful immersions, but it is packed with purpose.”
These three things are rather simple, but reading it made me think. Bringing joy into our lives, the little moments like laughing. Engaging and really living, not just standing to the side analyzing or going through the motions. And then there’s having a purpose. I really agree with the last one– the times in my life when I felt the most purpose, I felt the most happy. I’m happy, but I think I don’t have enough faith in my own purpose at the moment. And I don’t think I lose myself and fully engage enough either– I’m way too focused on just getting things done and going through the motions (aka, get through the workday, make food as fast as I can so I can get to the next thing on my to-do list, etc).
Easy to engage in the moment when you’re playing on the beach at sunset
Anyways, they also had an interesting article in April about Everything You Know About Happiness is Wrong. Check it out.
I like reading articles like this because more often than not, they encourage me to stop the rat race and remember to focus on the things that matter. That these are the things that truly count. They encourage me to keep finding that purpose, to fully engage when I can, etc.
–What do you think? Secrets to Happiness?
–Do you agree with the three things they mentioned about being the most important thing to deep contentment in life?
– Do you like reading articles like this?
Just what is it that makes us happy? How come some people seem naturally more happy than others?
Last night, I watched the movie “Happy,” a documentary filmmaker’s journey to figure out just what makes people happy. He interviewed various cultues– from tribes in Africa, to ultra happy families in the US– trying to figure out their “secret.”
And it’s true, isn’t it? Don’t some people just seem to have unlocked the happy secret?
Trying so hard to be happy is more of a modern thing. Hundreds of years ago, people cared more about trying to survive and making ends meet than being exceptionally happy. But lately, if you’ve noticed all your girlie magazines and social media, Americans especially are preoccupied with trying to be happy.
The movie was really interesting. A couple of stand-out parts to note:
- Money really doesn’t buy happiness. People are making more money than ever now, but happiness levels are staying the same. Whatever amount you have, you always want more. (True, huh?)
- Beauty doesn’t mean happiness either. The video profiled a former beauty queen who got disfigured in a horrific accident. She talked about how much happier she is now and how the accident allowed her to appreciate new things. I’m sure Caitlin would have plenty to say about beauty=happiness (which is sorta what the lady in the video was insinuating), but all in all, she went through life-changing adversity and she came out happier in the end.
- Japan was found to be the LEAST happy country. They are so overworked and business focused, that people aren’t enjoying life. It even showed a new phenomenon where many people are literally dying from working too hard (stress, heart attacks on the job from those who would be otherwise healthy, etc). Scary.
- Denmark is the MOST happy nation and a big part of that is there is a large sense of community in the nation. Sharing and working together makes everyone happier in general.
- You can live in the slums of India and be happier than someone with every material<possession they want.
So what did the filmmaker figure out? What makes us happy?
- Working together. A sense of community.
- Be grateful. Count your blessings. Those who do are happier in general.
- Create meaningful and close relationships. (Better to have a few close friendships than several hundred facebook friends)
- And the most effective key to happiness? Give to others. Be a part of something bigger than yourself. Have a desire to help the community.
What do you think?
These aren’t revolutionary things he discovered, but are a reminder that the simple things in life really are the most important.
Life has its ups and downs. Some days and months really seem much, much happier (or unhappier) than others. But I can’t help thinking that a lot of that has to do with attitude.
We can choose to be happy. Choose to focus on the simple things in life. The relationships that you DO have, money you DO have, not the ones that you don’t.
And, know what makes YOU happy.
Here are 10 random things that make me happy:
1) A really good morning run.
2) Lying in the sun on a beach chair.
3) Seeing a shooting star.
4) A chocolate ice cream cone.
5) A super cute puppy. (Ok, all puppies are super cute!)
6) Baby giggles. (how can you help but giggle yourself!)
7) Watching the sunset or sunrise (esp on vacation).
8) The smell of baking bread
9) The day new magazines arrive in your mailbox each month
10) The massage chairs at the mani/pedi places.
“If only we’d stop trying to be happy we could have a pretty good time.” - Edith Wharton
What are 5 things that make YOU happy? Name the first things that come to your head.
Whew, we made it to the weekend! Happy Friday!!
Ok, this is totally non-food-and-fitness-related, but since it’s Valentine’s Day weekend, I thought we all could use a little Friday Love, Audrey-Hepburn style:
Love this. Isn’t her hat amazing?
And the very best motto:
I believe in chocolate.
I believe that laughter really is contagious.
I believe that “sleeping on it” works and a bad day will be erased by morning.
I believe in fresh flowers, singing in the shower, and dancing in the rain.
And I believe that in the end, it really will all work out, so you might as well smile and enjoy the journey.
What do you believe?
Happy Friday!! Take Audrey’s advice– have a laughing-kissing-believing-in-tomorrow kind of weekend.