Guys, I get it. Life is hard. It’s filled with duties and responsibilities and to be honest, often the daily monotony of going to work at a job that may not entirely excite you. But, you gotta pay the bills, and if you want to travel the world, eat good food, and buy that new pair of shoes, well, you’ll need money for that also. I’ll admit, I dread the roll around of the work week as much as the next person, and I find myself desperately wishing the weekend’s arrival as soon as I wake up Monday morning. But, the weekend days only make up a finite amount of time in our lives, and what kind of life are we living if we’re constantly urging it to move faster?
I know we’re all busy with obligations, so it’s not always easy to schedule that happy hour with friends or enjoy a leisurely breakfast during the week, but if you look, I promise there are little pockets of time where you can squeeze in some happy – where you can add a touch of joy to the mundane tasks of your life.
- Play the soundtrack to your life. This one, I’ll admit, is new to me. I’ve never been one to keep up with current album releases, and I generally don’t play music unless it’s for an intentional purpose. But I got myself a pair of Beats by Dre headphones (they’re rose gold, no big) and have been listening to music on repeat: when I take my dog out, when I ride the train, when I walk to and from my job or a workout class. It’s unreal how happy this makes me – putting a literal skip (or jig, let’s be real) in my step. It may sound cheesy, but hearing music as I walk through this world makes me see it a bit differently. Music is an instant mood lifter and takes no additional time out of your day. It’s like I’m living my own musical, and I’m pretty dang happy about that.
- Take advantage of your lunch break. We all have to eat, and if you work an 8 hour day job, I’m pretty certain you’re legally allowed to have a break. TAKE IT. Do not sit at your desk to eat. Even if you bring your lunch, heat it up and go sit outside – anywhere. A park, a bench, a staircase, a random patch of grass. Being outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine never fails to lift my mood. And that friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with? She has to eat too. Invite her along during the week and kill two birds with one stone.
- Always carry a book with you. Anyone who says they don’t have time to read is most likely not telling the whole truth. How much time do you waste scrolling your phone, zoning out as you open web page upon web page upon web page? Next time you find yourself unlocking your phone, take out a book instead. While you’re waiting in line for coffee, as you ride the train to work in the morning, when you’re dining alone. Even if it’s just for 5 minutes – the time will add up, and eventually you will have read a whole book. I can almost guarantee you reading will make you happier, more knowledgeable, and more fulfilled than spending another 30 minutes on Instagram. I always keep one in my bag for those free moments in time.
- Help your chores be less annoying. Another certainty in life we can’t avoid (unless of course you make millions and can pay others to do them for you – in that case, good for you!). I abhor washing dishes (we haven’t had a dishwasher in 4.5 years), but also, I am not an animal and can’t stand a sink piled with dirty dishes. Since I can’t wave a wand and magically wash ’em, I try to find other ways to make the chore the slightest bit more bearable by lighting a candle and listening to a podcast. You’re getting to actively experience something you do enjoy, which will hopefully out-shadow the very task you hate doing. Having your mind engaged usually makes time seem to move faster too, so those apparent “hours” of cleaning will feel more like 15 minutes.
- Turn your desk into a friend, not a foe. Many of us can’t (at least not right now) avoid the 8-5 office grind. I wish we could all work from home or from the patio of a café , but alas, that is not often the case. Since you’re going to sit at your desk space five days out of the week, help it lift your spirits. Add a cute plant to your space to greet you every morning. Buy a small desk calendar that will provide a funny joke or happy note each day you tear off a page; last year I had this one, and it never failed to put a smile on my face. If you sit next to a window, keep the blinds open. Have a stockpile of snacks in your drawer – because nothing is more of a mood killer than hunger – and a cardigan in which you can cozy up. Don’t let yourself sit in discomfort for 8 hours a day.
So, there you have it. Five easy and actionable steps you can take to make your day-to-day life a little bit brighter, a little less grinding. They don’t take a lot of money or a lot of your (precious) time, but they do make a big impact.
What do you do to make your happy each day?
P.S. If you must stare at a screen, why not make it easy on the eyes? Here is a pretty wallpaper for your phone.