7 ideas for planning a beautiful day to increase your happiness
In these times of stress and uncertainty, we need to ensure we are taking care of our mental health, especially as we move into winter, which brings with it shorter, colder days and for some, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). An important part of maintaining optimum health year-round, and especially during stressful times, is to practice self-care.
Self-care is finding time to care for ourselves and doing things that bring us a sense of connection, energy, rejuvenation, and contentment. Many of these feelings can be achieved by doing something that makes you happy.
Here are seven ideas for building a beautiful day full of self-care to increase your happiness.
Strengthen social connections
Just being around people can make us happier – even if you’re not spending time with them but doing something as simple as smiling or waving at a random stranger. People with close social connections are less vulnerable to illness, have better responses to stress, and feel a strong sense of connection and support.
So go for a walk on a trail and wave to a passerby, call a friend you haven’t chatted with in a while, organize a Zoom chat, or spend some time with family or friends who are in your bubble.
Expand the variety of activities you enjoy
To break up your usual daily routine, try a different activity, explore a new neighbourhood, or sit down to enjoy a meal or snack in a restaurant or coffee shop you haven’t yet visited. Variety keeps us engaged, so switching things up actually re-engages us and helps to make us happier.
Savour the moment
Enjoy and appreciate what you do have, rather than lamenting what you don’t have. This can help decrease the stress created when we strive for too much.
In our often busy and hectic lives, we forget to stop and enjoy the little things. Begin forming a habit of starting each day by savouring a moment and notice the little things that can make your day special: a smile from a friend, the laughter of a child, the antics of a pet, the kindness of a stranger, or the beauty of nature.
Spice up your culinary routine
Brew some coffee using locally roasted beans and enjoy it with a treat from a local bakery while watching the sunrise from an east-facing window or bundle up and sit outside to watch the sun come up – either way you don’t even need to get out of your PJ’s!
Is there a restaurant you’ve always wanted to try and just haven’t gotten around to it? There are so many amazing culinary destinations in Prince George that represent many tastes, cultures, and food styles. Have a look at the Support PG “Open Now” Directory then decide if you want to order take-out or eat at a restaurant.
Feel more like eating in for lunch or dinner? Download a recipe app or Google new recipes then head to a local grocery store to get the ingredients and start whipping up your new creation.
Incorporate exercise and movement
How about enjoying the green spaces and nature that’s right on our doorstep? A walk around Ferguson Lake, the view from Connaught Hill, or feeding the birds and searching for tree carvings on the trails of Cottonwood Island Park are all great ways to get some exercise, fresh air and offer a chance to practice savouring the moment. With winter making an early appearance, consider picking up a new sport like skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or cross country skiing, or dust off that outdoor gear and get outside to enjoy the crisp air and fluffy snow!
Find a new hobby
If you want to learn to draw or paint, stop by The Makerie and choose from one of the crafts on the Craft Wall, or check out Watts Art Academy, the Two Rivers Gallery, or one of the many paint nights around Prince George. Try the drop-in dance lessons at Dance North, or learn to Belly Dance – it may be a much-needed chance to step out of your comfort zone. Or take a cooking class with All about Coffee and Food. The possibilities in Prince George are endless, whether you try your new hobby alone or with friends and family.
Wind down at the end of your day
At the end of your beautiful day, take time to reflect on a moment when you felt at peace and truly relaxed. What did you see, feel, hear? After you’ve found your moment, take a deep breath and take yourself back to that feeling of peace. Maybe do this while indulging in a cup of tea or unwind in a bath. Then relax and let go of any pent up emotions and prepare for a good night’s rest by reducing screen time, and maybe doing a light stretch or some reading.
By recalling your special moment, the positive feelings will stay with you until you can plan your next one. So the next time you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, take a deep breath and remember your moment.
What does your beautiful day look like?
Would you sleep in or get up and watch the sunrise? What things would you like to do or where would you want to go? Is there somewhere new you’ve been wanting to go or a new activity you want to try? Now is the time to start thinking about it and making a plan. Think of this day as a reward you give to yourself. Remember, you don’t need to travel or do something grand – just taking time to explore your own backyard can be a beautiful day.