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.

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 new now — 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.

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As millions of Americans have raced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, millions of others have held back. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, of course, especially with new vaccines, but the information people use to weigh their decisions matters greatly. When choices based on flat-out wrong information can literally kill people, it's vital that we fight disinformation every which way we can.

Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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