I imagine that there are many that would agree the past year has been a bit challenging. Whether it was as simple as not getting to see your friends on a fun vacation you planned or as difficult as losing your job, many have had a few extra reasons to be down in the dumps lately.
5 Ways to Create Your Own Sunshine
If you need some actionable tips on ways to create your own sunshine, you have come to the perfect place!
1. Enjoy the sweet sunshine (or cold rain regardless)
Have you transitioned to working from home or been attending online school? Have you had any days where you’re about to head to bed, and you realize you didn’t step a foot outside all day?
Don’t feel bad if so, because I am guilty of myself. You are so busy and wrapped up in work or studying in your office or bedroom and you end up stuck inside from sunrise to sunset without even realizing it. Things need to get done, am I right?
Yes… but that surely doesn’t mean we should accept staying inside and not making the time to talk a walk, enjoy the fresh air, and smell the roses.
Getting outside is good for your physical and mental health1. So regardless of the weather, pause for a moment right now and commit to taking a walk tomorrow. Be specific (so you’re more likely to actually do it) and write it down in your planner or set a reminder on your phone.
Is it going to be cold and rainy tomorrow? Then use that as an excuse to buy a new rain jacket you have been eyeing. Is there snow outside and freezing temperatures? Splurge on a new parka.
For the best results, I suggest going during the day time (before the sun goes down) and not bringing your phone with you so you can fully enjoy your walk.
If you think you don’t have time because work is just too busy, then I challenge you to imagine the worst-case scenario if you take a 15-minute walk during your workday.
Will you miss an important message and get fired?
If the answer is no to any worst-case scenarios you come up with, then try it once and see what happens!
You will be surprised how happy and refreshed something as simple as getting outside and taking a walk during the day can make you. It really is the little things in life that change our mood for the better.
2. Take Nike’s advice and Just Do It
What is a hobby or activity that gives you joy, but you haven’t done in months or years?
Alternatively, what is a hobby, activity, or new skill you have always wanted to learn but never have because “life always gets in the way”?
Want the perfect way to create your own sunshine? Just Do It!
Do the thing you are “too busy” to do. Life is too short, not to. It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day and say you’ll do it next month, or next year, or someday.
Is it fear that is holding you back? Have you always wanted to start a YouTube channel or write a book, but you are worried about what others will think?
I promise you that disregarding what others think will make you much happier than not doing it at all. In fact, letting fear prevent you from doing what you want will only cause regrets later in life2.
So instead of finally making a YouTube channel, picking up your old hobby of playing the guitar, or starting your own business someday, I want you to pause again and pick a specific time you will actually do it!
Then tell your best friend or biggest supporter to keep you accountable. Your happiness will increase tenfold when you finally do it!
3. FaceTime your friends and family
Speaking of friends, have you talked to them in a while? What about your mom, dad, or grandparents?
While visiting those close to us may be harder or riskier these days, we shouldn’t just accept we won’t see them for a while and move on with our lives.
FaceTime, Zoom, Facebook Messenger, and Houseparty are all amazing ways to keep in touch with loved ones.
I know it makes me incredibly happy to pick up the phone and call my grandma on my way home from work. Every single time I can hear the joy and excitement in her voice to hear from me and have a quick chat.
Making her happy, in turn, makes me so happy as well.
Who is it that you could pick up the phone and call today? Don’t wait until you are stressed beyond belief and having a terrible day to call someone close to you.
Choose a few people who would make you happy to keep in touch with on a regular basis and call them in the next few days.
4. Audit every aspect of your life
If you are constantly stressed about work, relationships, or never having any time for yourself, I suggest sitting down and taking an audit of every aspect of your life.
First, list what you truly want in life. What are your personal, relationship, and career goals?
Second, list all the things that cause you to stress in your life. Take a close look and decide whether these stressors are moving the needle towards your goals.
Third, eliminate the unnecessary stressors from your life. For example:
- Toxic or negative friends
- Social media
- Weekly commitments you dread going to
- Watching the news
- Buying things you can’t afford
These tasks aren’t simple by any means. You may have a close friend who you have known for ten years, but you know, deep down only adds stress and negativity to your life.
You deserve to be happy, though, and in the long run, eliminating the things (or people) that cause the most stress in your life will most definitely make you happier.
5. Give back
Giving back has been shown to make people happier3 and is a humbling way to put your own life in perspective.
Maybe you have spent a few days or weeks dwelling over something upsetting in your life.
The best cure?
Immerse yourself in the lives of others who have struggled far worse than yours—volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter in your community.
Need a virtual option? Sign up to be a buddy for an elderly resident at a nursing home.
Giving back will help you focus more on what you have to be grateful for instead of focusing on the negative. Give it a try!
Whether you apply one or all of these simple suggestions to your own life, I hope it helps you create your own sunshine so you can be happier and healthier.