making bread

Whether you’re looking for a way to overcome a recent stressful event, or you’ve found yourself enjoying yourself less than in the past, there are a few tips almost everyone can do to boost their enjoyment each day and find mental satisfaction, even when things seem difficult.

1. Break the routine in small ways.

It feels inevitable for a routine to build up over time, but routines are not only boring; they can be dangerous. Time passes quicker, the mind becomes careless with following the routine, and it’s challenging to live in the moment. Having small breaks in this routine will allow you to slow down the process and have moments of relaxation in your day. In the early morning, try having a cup of tea.

Not everyone is lucky enough to live in a silent home, but if you choose to wake up earlier than your family members or apartment neighbors, you’re most likely going to have a moment of peace. If this isn’t possible, take any breaks you have to go for a short walk outside or around your work building. These methods are all about allowing you to be able to explore something at a time when you usually wouldn’t.

2. Bring new people into your life.

Take a moment to start a conversation with someone you don’t know well. If you aren’t a social person, this may be difficult, but it allows you to break down your boundaries and become more receptive to the positive behavior surrounding you. When you force yourself to interact with those around you, you’re going to have an easier time when approached and asked questions, or when others want to chat with you. Even during a time of social distancing, opportunities to make new friends abound. Go online and participate in social events. There are many fantastic social opportunities on that are set up with proper social distancing or meet on video camera.  

Driving by Ocean Beach by artist Ane Howard. Copyrighted.

3. Discover a new passion! Take up a relaxing hobby. Or a passionate hobby if that fits your personality better!

This doesn’t need to be a time-consuming craft project. Nearly anything can be a hobby. When you have a moment to spare, close your eyes and breathe slow, or pick up a book of haikus to read a few each time you get the chance. Ane Howard from Studio Fine Art by Ane said to me, “I’ve picked up painting when I was in my late fifties, and it changed my life. I am selling and showing in reputable galleries and it has greatly improved my life.”

Alternatively, spend more time making home-cooked meals or replace scrolling through your phone with listening to classical music. Learn to play an instrument.

4. Address diet and exercise.

There is no way around this. You probably see this suggestion often, and for a good reason. Simply being low in a nutrient can lead to painful muscle cramps, fainting, depression, and a plethora of other problems. Ensure that your diet offers the recommended amount of vitamins, not too far above or below, and eat whole, fresh foods as often as possible. Regarding exercise, if you lead a busy life and don’t have time for full workout routines, incorporate weights, and do just a few reps to get your blood pumping.

If you suffer from health issues such as a hernia where most workout routines are too intense, stretch your muscles and go for a walk instead. If you want to get more creative, dancing and swimming are great full-body workouts that you may enjoy. Your body will thank you, and you’ll appreciate your body when you find it easier to do daily tasks.

5. Spend some time outside.

If you have access to fresh air, this is a fantastic and straightforward option. Hikes and outdoor sports are great, but something as simple as sitting on a bench can clear the mind and potentially help you think more deeply. When you’re stuck in a building or a house with less greenery and more people, less oxygen is available, and breathing isn’t as effective as in the outdoors, where there are fewer humans in the immediate area and much more plant-life.

6. Appreciate things you usually take for granted.

You might think you regularly meditate on all the good things in your life, but sometimes it isn’t enough to just take a moment to think about your blessings. The next time you take a bite of food, stop to think about it and enjoy it honestly. And the next time you check your phone, appreciate the fact that you have access to such easy communication methods.

As you go about your life and try these tips, remember that not every day, week, month, or year is going to be a happy one. Suffering is, unfortunately, a common part of life, but it is in no way the end of happiness. Look to the joy ahead, remember how you overcame sorrow in the past, and remember to live in the moment.

7. Volunteer. You may lead a longer and better life for doing so. And get a better job, too!

Giving of yourself is the most uplifting experience a human being can do. And it may even prolong your life. The Mayo Clinic has conducted studies that have shown that individuals who volunteer lead a longer life than those who don’t and that being part of an organization helps them develop a better coping mechanism with everyday tasks. It also helps with lowering high blood pressure and is an excellent brain exercise to fight the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. And it also may help get a better job. Volunteering shows to a potential employer that you are a well-rounded candidate.

And finally Tip Number 8. Adopt a pet.

Freddie having a cocktail.

Nothing will bring more joy to your life than being greeting at the door by a wagging tail or the headbutt from a kitty. Your local shelter has plenty of pets that will fit your needs and lifestyle. And if you’re feeling lonely, the unconditional love your pet will give you is unbeatable to kill the blues.

What are some tips that you have used and that you would like to share that have helped you? I’d love to hear about them.