10 Ways to Be Happy

10 Ways to Be Happy

I last wrote about a happiness boost of refreshing my apartment. Since then, my mental health has taken a turn towards the less-than-awesome, and I’m working harder than ever to get out of this. (There’s a lot more behind this that I will discuss someday but I’m still processing it myself.) Until then… I thought I’d present you with 10 ways to be happy that have worked for me thus far, as well as some things I’d like to try. None of this is earth-shattering, just some things one crazy girl is trying. Also, I’m cognizant that some of these might not be budget-friendly, but I’m trying to include a mix of both.

10 Ways to Be Happy

Flatiron Building

1. Catch up with a friend you haven’t seen in a while.

My friend Meggie moved to LA (boohiss), so I only see her every few months but love catching up with her. (P.S. She’s also on Ali’s podcast, so you can catch up with her too!) No joke, after having coffee with her, I felt better than I’d felt in at least 10 days. (Or maybe that was just all the coffee I had???) This sunny day in Flatiron didn’t hurt either. But don’t be deceived, it was still cold AF.

I’m also setting up lots of coffee/run dates with other people I haven’t seen for a while or don’t know as well. I have The Best Friends Ever, but sometimes a little new blood doesn’t hurt.

2. Volunteer!

I’ve been volunteering with the New York Junior League for 9.5 years, but I’ve always been internally-facing. I started off working on our communications, and the nature of our league, at least, is that you end up getting pulled into different things.

I’ve been looking at opportunities both within and outside the League, and I’m thinking of volunteering my running or writing skillz to help others. If you’re not familiar with it,  idealist.org is a good place to find volunteer opps.

Sweat Glen Rock

3. Try a new fitness class or activity.

My girl Liz used to teach at my beloved Uplift but has since moved back to NJ. Random fact: we are both from Franklin Lakes but didn’t know each other until we met at Uplift. She’s now teaching at Sweat Glen Rock. Her class is bootcamp-style and fairly similar to her Uplift style, but it’s always fun to try a new studio. (Or one you haven’t tried in a while — this morning I went back to Rowhouse.)

santa monica beach

4. Get away.

If you can fit any kind of last-minute getaway into your schedule and/or budget, DO IT. It doesn’t even have to involve getting on a plane or getting a hotel or Airbnb. A few weeks ago, on one of those freak warm days, my BFF and I played hooky and drove out to Montauk for the day, working our way back west. The fact that we were playing hooky felt so forbidden (hello goodie-two-shoes who has never taken a true hooky day in her 13-year career), that it was part of the fun.

I also love this idea of a DIY writing retreat. Even if you’re not a writer, I think you could still use this to hole up and work on whatever your side project is — or just have a lovely little getaway close to home.

5. Retreat.

I am SO excited to go on this writing retreat in a few weeks and be surrounded by inspiring creatives.

6. Sign up for a class.

This one is super high on my list right now (and I have to say came as a great push from my therapist — I’d been thinking about it for some time.) I’m personally thinking of signing up for a writing class (duh?), but I think either honing existing skills or finding new ones is an excellent way to get your mind excited about something new. I took one improv class a few years ago, and mayyyyy return. TBD 🙂

Sites like CourseHorse or Skillshare are excellent places to start to look for IRL classes. I’m much more of an in-person learner, but if you don’t mind online, Coursera looks great — or just google whatever it is you want to learn and DIY your own learning experience.

7. Sign up for a race.

(You knew I’d say this one, right?) But really. It gives you something fun to look forward to, and if you’re new to running, a new goal/activity to strive for.

8. Change up your physical space.

Obviously I’ve been going pretty hardcore on this one, but I think even re-arranging furniture or buying a new candle (I’ve been loving this one lately) can make a difference in your outlook.

9. Send a friend a letter to let them know how much you love them.

My friends have been nothing short of amazing during these tough few years, and I like (/am trying to do so more) to send them little notes in the mail to let them know how much I appreciate them. Knowing I’m going to brighten someone’s day, even if just for an instant, makes me feel better.

10. When in doubt, Kimmy Schmidt.

I can’t watch that show without smiling at least a bit.

What about you? What are reliable happiness boosts for you?

14 comments on “10 Ways to Be Happy

  1. Mindy

    WINE. Duh. But also, diving into a fun/mindless book – I don’t know how much it’s a happiness booster, but it’s often a good escape from reality and way to destress for a bit.

  2. Lisa

    I have had a rough year and it’s been forever since I had a real belly laugh. Nailed It on Netflix fixed that! Omg I laughed so hard I cried!

  3. Lindsay

    I love the idea of a DIY retreat! Also, I’m with you on number 9 – I think I might love sending snail mail almost as much as I love receiving it. Happiness boosts that work for me: numbers 1, 4, 8, 9, and 10. Also: walking around a lake here in town, getting fresh flowers for my place, lighting a bunch of candles, and crossing things off of my “to do” list.

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  5. cathryn ramsden

    Theodora, I saw you had a really rough week last week and I just wanted to send as much love and as many hugs as is possible through a ‘leave a comment’ box. So many people are rooting for you including me.

  6. Kay

    I absolutely admire how proactive you are about your mental health, and that you share what you are going through. It so important for people not to feel ashamed and that people from all walks of life go through it.

    I really hope things improve for you. So many complete strangers feel for you and are rooting for you!

    Meanwhile, I love to do something crafty/arty to lift my mood. Zero actual talent, but that’s beside the point! Hahaha.

  7. Annie

    Thank you for sharing these ideas. Realizing this is probably NOT what you want to think about right now, could you possibly link to or point me toward the books/resources you used for grief? I swear I read a post from you on it once, and now I can’t find it. And I’m sad to say now I need those resources myself.

    Keep caring for yourself and sharing your journey — I’m sure it helps many more people than just me!

    1. Theodora Blanchfield Post author

      I just went to stalk your FB. I’m so sorry for your loss <3

      I have a whole page on stuff I've written related to grief: preppyrunner.com/grief

      I thought I wrote a post too on books, etc, but I can't find it! Some helpful books:
      Rules of Inheritance OR After This by Claire Bidwell Smith (she's also amazing to follow on IG)
      Modern Loss by Rebecca Soffer + Gabrielle Birkner (this is an awesome irreverent take on grief)
      A Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
      Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed (technically I haven't read this yet but I saw the play and have it to read :))

  8. Jenny

    Hi –

    My husband is a counselor, and frequently recommends the book The Wild Edge of Sorrow by Francis Weller. I’ve been following your journey through grief, and as I read my husband’s description of the book (he just revamped his website and I was doing some proofreading), it made me think of you. I realize a book is never going to take away the pain of loss; however, I have witnessed a glimpse of your path through grief via your blog, and thought this might appeal to you. This is my husband’s description of the book:

    This is perhaps the book I’ve recommended most over the course of my professional career. I find it to be a must read for anyone who has experienced a significant loss (almost everyone who has lived). Weller does an extraordinary job of articulating the complexities of grief, and he offers an expansive view for those who’ve perhaps only understood loss to encompass those few days after a loved one passes. I believe that our culture has failed to hold on to many of the ancient beliefs, practices and rituals that would better aid us in processing our grief. This book beautifully outlines ways in which we could reclaim that all-important, sacred practice. It may well be one of the most important texts of our time!

    If you’re curious, my husband’s website is http://nd4life.com/.

    I admire you for your honesty , authenticity and vulnerability as you navigate this loss.


  9. Jill

    You might want to check Youtube for guided meditations to counter depression – I have found some great ones to fight stress.


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