There's practically a small raccoon inside of me. I love shiny sparkly things, and as much as I claim to admire minimalistic ideals and styles, I tend to hoard pretty things. I make an effort to very carefully choose these said pretty things though, and lately am focusing on little items and tools to focus and build my happiness, from things to actions.
Use my list to de-stress, relax, increase happiness and maybe even find a little clarity. Gift these little tools or ideas to a loved one or you that needs a little more light in their life! Everyone could use a little reflection and inspiration in their daily routine, and I encourage you to incorporate some of these. Give it a week, maybe two, and gradually boost that serotonin. You'll notice a difference; I did.
THE SIMPLE THINGS
1. Happiness Journal
Take a moment to think about what brings you joy, and see if you can work that into your daily routine. For example, I love journals and writing and lists. This 52 Lists for Happiness Journal turned out to be the perfect thing to write in once a week or even add little notes to daily. This and a calendar journal are the only things on my desk, save for the occasional bouquet of that also bring me joy.
2. Superfood Pancakes
Pancakes are great for ANY time of the day. (If you don't agree, then you haven't had mine!). Incorporating superfoods to nourish and energize and that make stunningly colorful pancakes are one of my favorite simple methods to instill cheer and happiness in my day.
Dragonfruit Pancakes Recipe
1 cup fine almond flour
2 tbsp freeze-dried dragonfruit powder
1 scoop probiotic powder (optional but recommended for a happy gut!)
1-3/4 tbsps coconut sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 chia eggs, flax eggs or regular eggs
2 tbsp avocado oil
1/4 cup water + 2 tbsp if needed
1. In a small bowl, whisk all wet ingredients (except for water) and set aside.
2. Stir dry ingredients into wet, mixing well.
3. Add water 2 tbsp at a time, adding up to 6 tbsp total if needed. Mixture should be spreadable and thin but not watery.
4. Heat a pan with coconut or avocado oil over medium heat and cook pancakes a few minutes per side, flipping once golden and set.
5. Eat plain or whisk vegan protein powder with water and dragonfruit powder to yield a frosting texture. YUM
3. Tea set
I'm adamant that anyone who doesn't love tea hasn't tried the right kind, nor the right teacup. (A beautiful teacup is my weakness; just ask my kitchen cabinets, or my appalled husband). Try a variety to see what soothes you. White tea, peony tea, green tea, ginger tea, black tea, Irish Breakfast tea and even blooming tea; the possibilities are basically endless and added a dash of almond milk, coconut sugar or coconut creamer can vastly change the taste so get creative. Yes there's a time and place for coffee (#lifesaver) but there's something just so therapeutic and calming about tea. In a pretty set. Like this teapot and teacup set for only $25 which makes watching the tea steep and bloom absolutely mesmerizing. Ah, bliss.
4. Scalp Detox/Massage:
I read an article on the importance of reducing buildup on your scalp (healthy scalp=healthy hair) and immediately purchased Bumble + Bumble's Scalp Detox. The clean tingling fresh feeling is amazing, and my normally dry and itchy scalp from this summer's intense humidity pretty much gave a giant sigh of relief. It's literally my new favorite thing, and my glossy strands couldn't agree more.
Massaging the scalp is something that should be part of your routine anytime you wash your hair. It has huge stress-relief and calming benefits, as well as stimulates a healthy scalp. Yes, please.
5. Perfect Seaweed Lotion.
Along with massaging your scalp, massaging those hands, wrists and fingers can elicit bliss, especially after a day of typing, scrolling through emails on your phone, and basically everything you do with those hands. This seaweed lotion is rich and soft without being greasy, and can soothe the most sensitive and dry hands ever; I would know (I have had old-lady hands since I was a child, seriously). It's both at Anthropologie and on Amazon but I can let you guess which site is way cheaper. I have two of these lotions; one for my purse, one for the car. I'm thinking I need one for my gym bag too because this is the. best. lotion. ever.
THE ACTIONS TO TAKE
1. Relaxing Yoga.
You might have seen this one coming; it's pretty much always on relaxation or stress-relief guides, but it is there for a reason. Even deepening your breath and stretching can help your mindset and body. Try a simple restorative yoga flow that you can do in your pajamas; yoga before bed can help achieve a deeper, uninterrupted sleep.
Use an object to focus on if you'd like, like a glass or crystal ball, or rocks, or something else nonmoving and elegantly simple. This is a trick I use to still my wandering gaze and mind. You can also sit on a bench by water: the ocean, a lake, but if you're like me you'll start people-watching or some other method of distraction.
Clear your mind and just breathe. That's the simplest, best advice I can offer, and something I often need to remind myself to do. Breathe and picture: nothing. Blank. Peace. Breathe. Do this a few minutes daily and work yourself up to 20-30 minutes at a time. You'll be amazed at the stress relief and calmness this practice brings, I promise.
3. Warm salt baths.
Athletes benefit greatly from epsom salt baths, but it's not just a tool for runners. Tired muscles and aches can be relieved by a warm salt bath in anyone. Look for epsom salt designed to soothe and nourish and encourage rest, like my favorite Lavender Epsom Salt Bath. Like a candle, and savor the spa-like experience.
4. Clear the Clutter.
Yes, this tidying-up book that started a worldwide organizing phenom is a great choice, but so it simply starting with clearing away piles, dusting and storing items (neatly) that you rarely use. There is something about clean surfaces and a lack of detritus that will instantly calm your cluttered mind.
5. Forest bathing.
Read this book to really get in-depth benefits from FB (Forest Bathing). Your mind will instantly open up and clear when you're in nature. The peace and calm of the forest will definitely affect your body and mind, and whether you're trail running or wandering slowly, turn off the earbuds and drink in the sounds of the forest. Sit and meditate for extra benefit and I dare you not to feel ten times happier.
7. Visit someone you love.
Nothing beats a hug from a good friend over a text. Physically connection is important; when you can arrange a coffee date or to meet up with a loved one when you can. There's nothing quite like the endorphin rush from being in the company of someone you truly cherish. Visit any elderly relative and ask for stories; people love sharing about themselves and it will strengthen your bond.
Smile preemptively. Someone once said they aim to be "almost aggressively kind" (sorry I forget who it was) when they interact with strangers and it works. If you smile at people and genuinely aim to connect with them (most of the time) they will smile at you too--and probably the next person or two they see.