I know I am not alone in this world when I say, “Calgon, take me away,” (yes, I am dating myself with that expressionl). Even if I could sit in a bubble bath, alone, on a different planet, without children screaming through the door for advice, homework help or snack, I would probably compile lists in my head regarding the groceries, meals, and upcoming camp preparation. Before you know it, the bubbles have fizzled out, and I realize, “Wow, I still need to lose those 7lbs!” Ugh.
Nevertheless, this is what life is, a careful balance of carpools, rehearsal schedules, afterschool activities, variety shows, plays, karate, Hebrew school, and oh, yes, eked out relaxation time with the family. Tucked within this blurry of activity is a schedule peppered with holidays, special family occasions and grandparent visits that jolt us out of the mundane and remind us to be grateful.
It’s hard to keep our heads above water, and when you are in the throes of life, it’s hard to feel happy when you feel the crushing weight of responsibility. In this scenario, the best that one can achieve is to strive to find a few minutes of happiness each day, even if the day is turning out to be a complete bust. I have comprised a list of the top ten things, requiring minimal amounts of time that will leave you with a little piece of happy. J
Always put your keys in the same place
How does this make you happy? Well, if you’re like me, you have placed your keys in your pocket, purse, table, hall table, coffee table, bedroom, which inevitably is covered by a paper, book, or sticky paper towel. This ensues in a 10-minute manhunt for AWOL keys, thus prompting a string of obscenities that only a sailor could love. Once the kids overhear this rated R language, it requires a 5-minute freakin’ sermon on why cursing is bad. The keys are located, I’m off to my destination, with a traumatized child and desperately seeking a good explanation other than, “I couldn’t find my keys,” in order to save face. As I mentally tick off a respectable reason for being late, I go through a red light, prompting a cop to follow me. I worm my way out of a ticket, and arrive really, really, late to my destination. I am mad, frustrated and stressed. If I had just put my keys in the plate (that I specifially made at Made by You Pottery specifically for keys) on the counter, my day would have been soooo much happier. Seriously. I now make a very conscious effort to return my keys to the same place.
You would be amazed at the power of the flower. I love looking at fresh flowers on my dining room table. They don’t have to be a fancy bouquet, just a cheap bunch from the grocery store. My personal fave is the sunflower with it’s cheery, bright disposition. They are nature’s anti-depressants, and they make me smile in the morning, even though it’s an ungodly hour to be awake and making school lunches. Just make sure you keep the water fresh, and throw them out before they begin to stink…dead, rotting flowers could be a real happiness buzz kill.
Dates with the Weights
Sooo hard. I write all morning, run errands, and then begin the second part of my day with the kids. Realistically, I don’t get to workout until after they are in bed. 9:00 p.m. workouts are challenging! There have been times where my workout suffered due to sheer exhaustion! However, on the nights I keep my dates with the weights, I am rewarded with a feeling of calm, a sense of accomplishment and more importantly, a snack… because you should always eat after a workout.
Scrub Your Way to Happiness
I have a faux Clarisonic Microdermabrasion Brush that I bought on sale a few years ago. I’m sure it’s not as effective, that being, it doesn’t rotate as fast as the gold standard. Nevertheless, I began using it again, after I unearthed from under the bathroom sink due to a leaky pipe. WOW! What a difference in just a few days. It just feels good on my skin, and I really do believe it enables the skin products to work even better! Soft, refreshed, clear, invigorated skin is definitely something to be happy about!
Break with Breakfast Boredom
I eat oatmeal EVERYDAY! I love oatmeal. However, every now and then, I cannot even manage to choke it down. Changing up your breakfast is not only good for your psyche; it also helps rev your metabolism. It’s like exercise, if you don’t challenge yourself; use the same amount of weight; identical cardio program, your muscles adapt to that and don’t grow. It’s the same with food. If you eat the same thing, day in and day out, your body becomes accustomed to that. Change it up-Whole Wheat Ezekiel bread with nut butter and banana, a smoothie, whole grain cereal with berries, or try my Healthy Little Debbie’s. http://lifeisgoodlickthebowl.blogspot.com/2013/04/a-healthy-little-debbie-recipe-of-week.html
Living with Laundry
Tooo funny. For those who know, I have been lamenting about laundry for years because I never seem to get ahead of it. All is right with the world when everyone has underwear, socks, and pants neatly tucked away… at the same time. Admittedly, I haven’t perfected the laundry system by any means. Normally, the pile of laundry is overwhelmingly high. When I actually wash it, however, it never seems to make it’s way upstairs thus forcing me to go down to the cold, basement, in the wee hours of the a.m. on a dryer hunt for socks. I have to admit, it makes my morning stressful. I am a work in progress on this one.
Heat and Serve
Leftovers are a gift in my opinion because it saves so much time regarding dinner! Nothing makes me happier when I don’t have to think about what to prepare. Heat and serve my friends, heat and serve.
Ditch the Dinner Guilt
There is one night a week where our schedules are so hectic; we don’t even get home until 7:00. It’s hard at this point to start cooking, so I have resorted to pizza night; an individual, pre- packaged crust that each kid gets to make themselves. It takes 10 minutes from start to finish. The kids lavish it with olives, broccoli, sauce and cheese and eat with a large salad (yes, my kids fortunately love salad…and Brussel sprouts, go figure). In the scheme of life, it’s not a home cooked meal, but it’s a compromise. It’s fast, filling, and compared to greasy takeout, it’s not so bad. Sure, I could make my own whole-wheat pizza crust from scratch, but there are many days where frankly, I just don’t want too. Don’t get dinner guilt because one or two meals out of seven isn’t so great. Your guilt only makes you unhappy, which trickles down to them.
Fuzzy Sock Fetish
It’s the little things in life that make us happy like cozy…fuzzy socks. They are like hugs for your feet. Everybody should own a pair.
Say, "No" to the News
For some, watching CNN is akin to watching sports. News addiction (in my opinion) can be detrimental to your happiness. I am most happy, when I don’t watch the news. However, I don’t want to be uninformed or ignorant either. I usually watch the 10p.m. news, for the first 5 minutes. After the litany of stabbings, home invasions, and fatal traffic accidents, along with the headlines, I am usually ready for a Seinfeld re-run. If there’s a compelling cover story, I will suck it up, along with a read through of the weekend paper. In short, if the world is coming to an end, I am sure my mother will call to tell me. I don’t have to watch it on the news.
There you have it…10 things that require minimum effort and cost very little to nothing at all. Try our own happiness project and let me know how it goes.