In honour of this year’s International Day of Happiness, I’m taking a miniature step away from food blogging and towards the weird and wonderful world of lifestyle listicles (also towards alliteration, it would seem).
Without holding your breath waiting for anything revolutionary, here are five free and simple things I do everyday that make me a far happier bunny.
As well as cooking on yoga retreats, I’d call myself a (very amateur) yogi. Admittedly, every day might be a bit of a stretch – a friend and I are currently on our second consecutive month of trying and failing to practice daily.
Still, exercising makes me feel good about myself – work, endorphins, work – and yoga in particular draws attention to the mental space. To me, the perfect mood booster!
Whether you practice daily, every other day, or just whenever your body fancies playing along, there are lots of free classes online. My favourites on Youtube are Yoga With Adriene and Five Parks Yoga.
I wasn’t going to not mention cooking, was I?!
Perhaps you always cook in silence, but I’m the epitome of the generation who needs a podcast, a musical, the radio playing while I’m in the kitchen, and as a chef I’m in the kitchen a lot. So, I’ve made it a rule that I cook at least one meal a day in silence, usually lunch. This gives me some time with my thoughts, and provides some much-needed mental clarity.
For you, maybe you shut off your music when you’re walking to the bus stop, do your makeup without a soundtrack or join me in making a salad without the company of Netflix (weird, I know).
This is an absolute non-negotiable for me these days. Ill, tired, unmotivated… irrelevant. I go outside for at least five minutes every single day.
There’s lots of scientific reasons to do this – go chase that vitamin D – but plenty of emotional ones, too. I feel more productive and rejuvenated when I spend time outdoors, and taking walks in the fresh air is just another chance to get some exercise in.
You’d think this would always come in a pair with going outside, but if you’ve ever seen your neighbour walking a dog past 11pm you’ll know that’s not true.
Most people do have to get dressed everyday for work or school, but if you often work from home like me or you’re having a lazy weekend, the temptation to hang about in your PJs all day can be huge. This always, always makes me feel sluggish, sad and despondent, though, so I get dressed into Actual People Clothes every single day.
For bonus points, I try to make it something I feel genuinely good in – if I died and this became my ghost outfit forever, would I be satisfied? I feel good when I look good, so I make the effort.
And finally, I make a conscious effort to end each day with positive thoughts – I lie in bed and think through my day in terms of what made me happy, what I’m proud of and what I’m grateful for. Some days, the list is one item long, other days it’d run multiple pages if I wrote it down. I have noticed the list grow as I’ve committed to doing this consistently, though.
Maybe you’d prefer to keep a gratitude journal, or exchange your thoughts with a friend. All that matters is that you actively engage in practising gratitude every day, and you’ll coax those happy thoughts up to the surface in time.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll at least have doing yoga, quiet cooking time, a walk outside and looking goooood to add to your list of positive thoughts at the end of the day.