+
More

27 easy things you can do to make yourself feel good instantly.

A couple years ago I shared my story about growing up as the child of an alcoholic. After years spent screaming into journals, wrestling with how to move beyond the mess and the pain, it was cathartic. But something incredibly unexpected happened after the story was published.

My inbox exploded with messages from readers all over the world who shared their stories, in shock that mine sounded so similar. My tribe. These people knew exactly what I had been through and had felt it all in their own way.


Recognizing I wasn't alone was empowering, and my newfound community inspired me to keep moving forward.

I took baby steps at first and focused on small victories. The process was slow, and I still got stuck sometimes in heartbreak or waiting for the next glass to shatter. Yet I was still celebrating life every day — even when it was hard.

[rebelmouse-image 19473071 dam="1" original_size="860x470" caption="GIF from "Parks and Recreation"/NBC." expand=1]GIF from "Parks and Recreation"/NBC.

Life will keep chugging along in its messy, complicated style, but what if we found ways to celebrate — to feel good — in the midst of it all?

Here are 27 ideas to keep you motivated, happy, joyful, positive, and having fun no matter what life throws at you. Whether you're grieving a huge loss or trying to survive a rainy day, these activities are simple, doable, and will remind you to celebrate your greatness.

1. Treat yourself to dinner after your boss gives you a pat on the back or you accomplish something big at work.

I love this place.

2. Keep a thankfulness journal.

I keep mine close by so I can grab it when I’m in a slump to look back on little memories to stay motivated and focused on the good.

3. Throw a potluck! Make the cookies and invite your friends.

4. Act like a tourist in your own city.

5. Load up on popcorn and candy at the movies.

I kicked back and blubbered through the movie "Wonder." The story is a beautiful reminder of learning to celebrate our brokenness.

6. Don’t just wing it. Plan your week ahead so you have time to relax.

7. Take a bath bomb bath.

8. Blast your favorite song in your car.

Current favorite: "Sing to You" by John Splithoff

9. Use a dry erase marker to write positive notes to yourself on your bathroom mirror.

Mine reads "I am worth fighting for."

Photo by the author.

10. Read a book that will expand your perspective beyond your own circumstances.

I love books like "Vindicating the Vixens: Revisiting Sexualized, Vilified, and Marginalized Women of the Bible," which are by a collaborative group of authors with varying viewpoints. They challenge my thinking.

11. Take a break from screens. Read a magazine or a newspaper or head outside for a walk to people-watch.

12. Pick yourself flowers — just because.

13. Take a picture with your family or friends and put it on your work desk. It will remind you that you're loved.

Photo by the author.

14. Send snail-mail birthday cards. Trust me, you’ll feel just as celebratory as the birthday star.

15. Decorate for ridiculous holidays.

16. Remember your personal milestones. Treat yourself when you’ve owned your house for five years or paid off student loan debt.

17. Get enough sleep. Feeling rested can completely change your outlook.

18. Change the conversation in your head. Instead of yelling at the driver who cuts you off on the way to work, keep singing your favorite song.

19. Make a mood board to keep you inspired.

Pinterest works great for digital mood boards, or work with your hands and collage your own paper version.

20. Let it go.

I put hard memories and pending dreams on little notes in a box on my nightstand as a way to turn my focus, calm my anxiety, and move forward.

21. Follow people on social media who will motivate and encourage you.

I love following Brighton Keller and Hannah Brencher for real-life stories about how to find beauty in everyday ordinary moments.

22. Be OK with shifting your plans.

Maybe a friend needs to skip the gym because of a hard day. Get a manicure or go for wings instead and find a reason to celebrate.

23. Throw a surprise party for someone you love.

I threw my mom a surprise 49th birthday party that she never saw coming. She showed up in sweats to a room full of people. Oops...

24. Take your passions and gifts seriously. Go to a conference that will help you develop your skills in something that really excites you, and meet people who are passionate about the same things you are.

25. Take the pottery or the woodworking class or learn something newnow — you don't have to wait for life to slow down to find time.

26. Try out a new workout class, in person or at home on your own with an online video.

These days, I’m loving barre class. I sweat like crazy and my body aches for days after, but it helps me celebrate that I showed up and pushed my limit.

27. Laugh!

Let yourself laugh so hard your abs hurt. Hang out around that special person in your life you can count on for good laughs.

Sure, this list may seem trivial. But these small choices add up, shaping us into people who celebrate instead of dwelling on the pain and negativity.

Life will still throw us curveballs. Maybe we’ll catch them or maybe we won’t. But you deserve a life of celebrating you. Go find your joy.

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

Keep ReadingShow less

Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson in 2006.

A startling number of professional athletes face financial hardships after they retire. The big reason is that even though they make a lot of money, the average sports career is relatively short: 3.3 years in the NFL; 4.6 years in the NBA; and 5.6 years in MLB. During that time, athletes often dole out money to friends and family members who helped them along the way and can fall victim to living lavish, unsustainable lifestyles.

After the athlete retires they are likely to earn a lot less money, and if they don’t adjust their spending, they’re in for some serious trouble.

In a candid interview with NFL Hall of Famer and TV personality Shannon Sharpe, Chad Ochocinco (legally Chad Johnson) revealed that he saved 80 to 83% of the $48 million he made in the NFL by faking his lavish lifestyle because it made no sense to him.

Keep ReadingShow less

Finally, someone explains why we all need subtitles

It seems everyone needs subtitles nowadays in order to "hear" the television. This is something that has become more common over the past decade and it's caused people to question if their hearing is going bad or if perhaps actors have gotten lazy with enunciation.

So if you've been wondering if it's just you who needs subtitles in order to watch the latest marathon-worthy show, worry no more. Vox video producer Edward Vega interviewed dialogue editor Austin Olivia Kendrick to get to the bottom of why we can't seem to make out what the actors are saying anymore. It turns out it's technology's fault, and to get to how we got here, Vega and Kendrick took us back in time.

They first explained that way back when movies were first moving from silent film to spoken dialogue, actors had to enunciate and project loudly while speaking directly into a large microphone. If they spoke and moved like actors do today, it would sound almost as if someone were giving a drive-by soliloquy while circling the block. You'd only hear every other sentence or two.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

American mom living in Germany lists postpartum support and women are gobsmacked

“Every video you make gets me closer to actually moving to Germany.”

U.S. mom living in Germany shares postpartum support she received.

Having a baby is not an easy feat no matter which way they come out. The pregnant person is either laboring for hours and then pushing for what feels like even more hours, or they're getting cut from hip to hip to bring about their bundle of joy. (Unless you're one of those lucky—or rather not-so-lucky—folks who get to labor for hours only to still end up in surgery.)

Giving birth is hard and healing afterward can feel dang near impossible, especially given that most states in the U.S. only offer six weeks of maternity leave and it's typically unpaid. But did you know that not everyone has that experience?

A mom who had her first child in the U.S. before meeting her current husband and relocating to Germany is shedding light on postpartum care in her new country. The stark contrast is beyond shocking to women living in the U.S. and she's got a few considering crossing the ocean for a better quality of life.

Keep ReadingShow less

Meghan Elinor chimes in on the Starbucks tipping debate.

Tipping culture is rapidly changing in America, so understandably a lot of people aren’t sure what to do when they buy a coffee and the debit card reader asks for a tip. It used to be that people only tipped bartenders, drivers, servers and hairdressers.

Now people are being asked to tip just about any time they encounter a point-of-sale system. There is a big difference between tipping a server who lugged around hot plates of food for an hour-long meal and someone who simply handed you an ice cream cone.

"We're living in an era of inflation, but on top of that, we've got tipping everywhere—tipflation. I take it a step further and call it a tipping invasion. Because that's really what I think it is," etiquette expert Thomas Farley (aka Mister Manners) told CBS 8.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

One moment in history shot Tracy Chapman to music stardom. Watch it now.

She captivated millions with nothing but her guitar and an iconic voice.

Imagine being in the crowd and hearing "Fast Car" for the first time

While a catchy hook might make a song go viral, very few songs create such a unifying impact that they achieve timeless resonance. Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” is one of those songs.

So much courage and raw honesty is packed into the lyrics, only to be elevated by Chapman’s signature androgynous and soulful voice. Imagine being in the crowd and seeing her as a relatively unknown talent and hearing that song for the first time. Would you instantly recognize that you were witnessing a pivotal moment in musical history?

For concert goers at Wembley Stadium in the late 80s, this was the scenario.

Keep ReadingShow less