Can I confess something? This week kicked my butt. Actually, it kicked the collective butt of our entire family. Among other things, our long-time sitter (who was with us for more than 5 years and is beloved by 9 year-old kiddo) got sick, my grandmother ended up in the hospital and I caught the death-cold-or-something going around. A week of juggling lack of babysitters (thank you grandparents!), interviewing new sitters (thank you amazing husband who was like a rock doing background research and finding them), hospital calls (thank you doctors!) while doing all the other usual crazy-busy stuff we do left me feeling like a deflated balloon by Sunday night.
Never mind, I am not a fan of analogies. By Sunday night I felt like crap. Physically and emotionally.
It was time for dinner and at first I started to dread it. UGH, more stuff to do. While thinking about what to make for my crew I was putting away the new wine glasses I got for us this weekend. (OK, secondary confession: They are inspired by the wine glasses Olivia Pope has in the absolutely addictive show Scandal. Yes, I bought wine glasses because I liked them on a TV show.) And that gave me an idea:
I was going to make us a fun “fancy” Sunday night dinner.
Dining room instead of kitchen table.
“Cocktails” (juice and lemon) in fancy wine glasses instead of just water in regular water glasses we use.
Cloth napkins and nice silverware we usually use for company.
A geometric tower made from sweet potato fries instead of just piling them on the plate.
A little music.
I baked a quick salmon steak and threw together a quick cucumber and corn salad to go with sweet potato fries tower and the entire fancy dinner, from start to finish, including setting the table, took me about 20 minutes. When I called my guys over to the dining room table, their surprised smiles were all I needed to start turning this rough week around
Has anyone ever told you that you’re awesome? If so, chances are it felt pretty amazing. And maybe it inspired you to tell someone else that they are awesome. And that’s exactly what the #MonthOfAwesome is all about.
And what’s more awesome than family? They’re the ones who are contractually obligated (ok, not really) to be there for us no matter what. To love us unconditionally, not only in spite of, but because of, our flaws. If that isn’t awesome, I don’t know what is. Here are a few of our favorite family moments from this epic #MonthOfAwesome experiment:
There’s still plenty of time to tell the people who mean the most to you and give you unconditional love and support just how awesome they are. Not sure how? Here are 31 ways to do just that. Now that’s A LOT of awesome.
November is a month where lots of people take time to give thanks. But in true Happier style, we thought: If giving ‘thanks’ is great, wouldn’t telling people they’re awesome make the month even, well, awesomer?!
And with that we decided that only great things could come from setting out to make November the #MonthOfAwesome! We’re a week into the challenge, and wow: You’ve posted so many incredible happy moments, and the tweets and emails you’ve sent have been amazing, too. Not surprisingly, friends have been a theme of many of the ‘You’re awesome!’ moments that we’ve seen. Here are just a few:
Life would be seriously less awesome without friends. If you haven’t already, why not tell a friend that they’re awesome? If you already have, tell them again, or tell another friend! Spread the love! They’ll feel really freaking amazing and so will you. Now go forth and be awesome!
I travel a LOT. Two weeks in a row without travel is rare and more often than not, there is a suitcase ready to be packed once a week. Some of the travel is fun, some of it is less than fun, and all of it is tiring to some degree, especially when changing time zones or delayed flights are involved. One of the most difficult part of traveling for work is not being with my family. Not only do I miss them, but because my husband and I both work, when once of us travels this means a lot of stressful juggling of pick-ups, drop-offs, breakfast, lunch and dinner making, and more.
I’m coming off a particularly travel-packed few weeks and it really wore me down. So the other day I came up with a list of things that help me make work travel less stressful and well, happier. I’m going to focus on making them a priority and thought I would also share them with you:
- Plan at least one fun thing to do while away. Most of my work trips are packed with meetings or speaking engagements, but I know I feel a thousand times better when I squeeze in a tiny bit of time for myself. It could be a yoga class or meeting up with a friend who lives in the city where I’m traveling to or even making time to grab breakfast at my favorite spot and actually enjoying it without rushing. Even if it’s just one of these fun plans per trip, it all goes much better, and that probably has to do with the fact that just anticipating this great experience makes me happier. (Research backs me up on this.)
- Spend money to reduce hassle. (Disclaimer: What I am about to suggest took me a LONG time to actually do. Once I did it, my travel became a lot less stressful.) Money doesn’t buy happiness but a little bit of money can reduce a lot of hassle. For example, one of the best investments I’ve made is to have a second set of all my makeup and skin-care items in my suitcase, ready to go. I save time packing my stuff from home and avoid the hassle of inevitably forgetting something I need. I get cold on flights and trains so I treated myself to a really soft long shawl to keep me warm. Investing in a good piece of luggage that fits what you need for most of your trips and is easy to carry / wheel around is another smart move, as I’ve learned myself. Think about your travel and the small moments of annoyance; can a little bit of money help you avoid them?
- Come up with a fun family tradition for when you travel (or come back). Every day I leave a note in my daughter’s lunchbox and when I travel, I write them ahead of time so we don’t skip a day. We also have this journal in which she and I pass notes to each other and while it’s not specific to when I travel, we do use it more after I come back (she usually has it ready and waiting for me, with her latest writing in it). The other day I came back from a grueling 5-day trip and the first thing we did was to go have a fun brunch as a family — before I unpacked or looked at my loooong to-do list at home. It was great and I think it’s a new post-business trip family tradition from now on.
Please share any of your favorite tips and tricks for making work travel happier in the comments – I’d love to hear them.
Many began their journey on Staten Island yesterday as the 2013 New York City marathon took to the streets of all five boroughs. While not quite a thousand miles (it’s 26.2), anyone who’s ever run a marathon can tell you that it’s filled with lots of happy, and some painful, moments. But nothing quite compares to the feeling of crossing the finish line and accomplishing something so physically and mentally demanding. And what better way to celebrate the accomplishment than being wrapped in a warm, fleecy and ORANGE finisher’s blanket?!
Congrats to everyone who ran this awesomely orange race. If you have any orange-tastic photos from yesterday’s race we’d love to see them! You can send them to email@example.com or post a happy moment on the web or the iOS app.
Thanksgiving is a few weeks away and at Happier, we were thinking about ways we can energize our community to say ‘thank you’ more often during this month. Expressing gratitude towards others is one of the absolute best ways to feel happier and a great way to make someone’s day light up. And if you say thanks maybe it can inspire the other person to say thanks to someone else — wouldn’t we all dig a world where we did this more often?
And then we came up with another idea: Don’t just say thank you to someone, tell them they are AWESOME!
It’s no secret that I over-use the word ‘awesome’. I think it’s one of the least offensive words to over-use (but funny enough, someone complained the other day that we use it too much as part of Happier and it was ruining their experience). Our lives are filled with enough difficult, stressful, annoying things that I think a little more awesome doesn’t hurt.
So I hope you guys will join us in making the world a little — or a lot — more awesome by taking on our challenge:
It can be a friend, family member, colleague, classmate, anyone else in your life whom you appreciate. Send them an email, text, FB message, Tweet, letter or give them a call — imagine how great it is to get a call from someone who just wants to say “Hey, you are awesome!”
Try to do this once a day in November, then come to Happier and share happy moments about reactions you get because you will inspire others to do it. How many people can we tell that they are awesome and make their day? 100? 1000? 1 million?
Here’s to turning the world more awesome! Take on the challenge and help us do it.
Oh, and one more thing:
In case you haven’t heard the latest, the unthinkable has happened.
Nataly cannot use Happier for 24 hours!
This is uncharted territory and as our fearless leader, we are all here to support Nataly and help her through her Happier-free day! To start we made sure that she absolutely does not cheat, even by accident, by way of a very subtle reminder.
What can you do to help? Share as many of your happy moments to Twitter as you can. This way, Nataly will at least be able to have a Happier feed on Twitter and it will be a huge help in getting her through her 24-Hour Happier withdrawal.
Because you guys are amazing we’ve already seen your happy moments rallying around the cause. So keep ‘em coming and keep on posting them to Twitter too!