By Catherine Lang-Cline
Is it even possible to find happiness during a pandemic? Does the idea of it even make you feel a bit guilty? Truth is, what everyone is dealing with now is stressful and exhausting. Yes, we have all had some experience with stressful things, but nothing like this. First time for everyone! And so far, we are doing pretty good. So how can we take a break from it with our options so limited? Here are a couple of things that I have tried that were so good, I had to share.
1. Online learning. Not your bag? Well, hang with me for a minute. Yale University is offering a FREE course in happiness. Why is it worth watching? Because you will find out very early in the course what it is that makes you happy. Therefore, do more of that. When I took the first quiz I discovered that the top three things that make me happy are; 1. Learning, 2. Honesty, 3. Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence. So once a day, I dedicate 30 minutes to an hour to do one (or all) of these things. The best part, it is working. I can watch the news, work on keeping my business moving forward and plan a strategy for purchasing toilet paper, you know stressful things, and then do something in my happiness zone to balance me out, ie; webinars and podcast, keeping real with my emotions, looking at photography or watching a great movie.
Aside from learning what made me happy it goes into things that we think should make us happy, only to prove that it really doesn’t. It also includes exercises you can try to get yourself to practice better happiness and it’s easy enough to weave into your day as it includes video lectures and a few tests. You can find it all here.
2. Podcasts. Everyone is doing a podcast so you should have no problem finding one that has a topic that interests you. Definitely subscribe and take the time to listen. What I will recommend is picking a topic that is not only interesting to you but also makes you happy. I like podcasts that tell great stories or that make me laugh. My list contains a number of those but the one that I am giving a shout-out to in this blog in the new one by Brené Brown, called “Unlocking Us” because while Brené is usually on-point with many of her talks, in the podcast she is addressing a lot of the emotions people are dealing with right now. Vulnerability, despair, fear, grief. Yes, grief. As her guest and grief expert, David Kessler put it, “we are grieving for the world as it was.” Think about that. Which is why now more than ever we have to find our happiness.
This is what I have been working with right now. I invite you to start here or if you just know what you love, start doing that. Some things may be challenging as we have just passed opening day for baseball. Maybe you watch the reruns, play it on a video game, or if it is just the competition you like, play a board game with family and friends virtually. If you like plays and musicals, Broadway performances can now be downloaded, so can images from art museums. Set up a virtual happy hour with your work team or Friday night gang of friends. It is just as it sounds, a video call where people can drink and socialize. If you haven’t done it, it works pretty well. Want something even simpler? How about simply rewatching your favorite comedy right before you go to bed?
Bottom line, we are in this together for a while. As a human, you cannot function well in a continuous state of worry or fear, you just can’t. You need to be on-point for yourself and your family so take the break, find your happiness. And don’t be afraid to try a few things because in a demanding world that just got A LOT more demanding it might feel odd to secure that oxygen mask for yourself before you help others. But hey, this is all new for all of us. Cheers!