10 Happy Triggers for Self-love and Self-care

I know you’ve seen these lists before, and you might be thinking, “Blah, blah, blah…she thinks she has a cure for the blues.” But that’s not my intent for this list. In light of last Thursday’s post, “Ask Yourself, What Makes Me Happy?” I decided to ask myself that very question.

This is a partial recipe for happiness because I could list a million. I want to share it with you in case you want to nibble at a few of them or all of them on your journey toward self-love and self-care. Without some of these things on my list coming from others, I wouldn’t be where I am today. So, remind yourself that it’s about experimenting and finding what’s right for you.

One thing I know for certain, though, is that if you aren’t actually ready for the good that you could have, if you’re not ready to work hard, even though you so desperately want to feel good every day, nothing will work. Believe that things will change and they will. Then, make positive habits and practice, practice, practice!

Lecture complete. Commence list.

1. Fermented ginger carrots: Oh. My. God. I could eat these all day long. They aid digestion and add good bacteria to your gut. They are amazingly delicious and so, so, freaking good for you. Plus, they’re pretty. 😉 Recipe here. I use tons of ginger because yum.

Ginger carrots fermenting in my pantry. :D

Ginger carrots fermenting in my pantry. 😀

2. Chai tea: Sometimes, I need a little spice to wake me up, energize my taste buds, clear my sinuses, and warm my soul. This recipe is from my yoga instructor, Brienne Brown, from Whitewater, WI. It. Kicks. Ass!

20 black peppercorns
20 green cardamom pods gently crushed
15 cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
3 slices of fresh ginger
1 star of anise pod (optional)
2 black cardamom pods
1/4 teaspoon of nigella seeds (optional)

Fill a large soup pot with water. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat, cover, and simmer for at least an hour. Usually, the chai cooks down about one fourth. Turn off heat. Add tea of your choice (I use jasmine, green or some other low- or no- caffeine option for yoga, but black tea is wonderful), a dollop of honey, and some almond milk to taste. Cow milk is fine too; I do non-dairy since I know some of my students are sensitive to it.

If you’re going to make the tea in earnest, Cardamom is extremely expensive if bought at a regular grocery store. I would find an Asian grocery where you can get a big bag for $5. The same can be said for cinnamon sticks.

3. Witnessing both the sunrise and sunset almost daily: ❤ This pulls me into the present and reminds me to breathe deeply.

Sunrise. Clover Valley Rd. Whitewater, WI.

Sunrise. Clover Valley Rd. Whitewater, WI.

Sunrise over Whitewater Lake. Whitewater, WI

Sunrise over Whitewater Lake. Whitewater, WI

Sunset. Kettle Moraine Scenic Dr. La Grange, WI

Sunset. Kettle Moraine Scenic Dr. La Grange, WI

Yes, getting up is hard. I have major crabby pants in the morning, but I kick those under the bed and grab the smiley pair. Get up. It’s worth it.

4. A Hot Shower: I think the reason for this one is obvious.

5. This list of my all time favorite albums: Everyone should have a list of go-to albums as a reminder of what music reaches deep within you and pulls out whatever needs to be pulled out. Music is tremendously healing, without a doubt.

Read “What’s the Buzz? Sound Therapy” for an interesting look at what my godmother and cousin is doing in California. Obviously we don’t have gongs and tuning forks at our disposal in our homes, but music in general still deeply affects our bodies.

6. This passage from the novel The Legacy of Luna (find it on Amazon):

The woman narrating this story did a “tree-sit” on behalf of the Redwoods in the late 90s for two years. She literally stayed in the tree that long, and this passage not only makes me happy for her realization, but reminds me how happy it is to finally let go (something most of you know is difficult for me sometimes). Legacy of Luna PassageLegacy of Luna PassageLegacy of Luna PassageLegacy of Luna PassageSpeaking of trees, this is a good time for #6.

7. Taking pictures of trees: If you are a close friend or family member of mine, or follow me on Facebook/Instagram, you’d see how many tree portraits I take (and sun portraits…and trees with sun portraits). ;P It’s become a running joke now when I post one: “Oh look! It’s another tree picture!” 😉 Seriously, though, taking photos of trees, especially while amongst them, grounds me, or reminds me to stay grounded. Trees have tremendous energy. Don’t believe me? Go sit under one for a few hours and let me know how you feel afterward.

Me in the forest of Natureland County Park outside Whitewater, WI.

Me in the forest of Natureland County Park outside Whitewater, WI.

8. Dancing: This one ends up on every list I make about anything. Why? Because letting go of your ego and dancing your ass off is so liberating. So is dancing naked. 😉

9. Daily Journaling: You don’t have to be a good writer to do this, friends. Just talk to yourself. Tap into those hearts. Seeing my thoughts on paper or in a word document is therapeutic and so powerfully healing. I have journals dating back to 3rd grade. Self-awareness and self-love begin with paying attention to yourself– body, mind, and spirit. Just be sure you take away a meaning from what you’re writing. 😉 Here are two interesting articles on this topic:

10. Yoga: Because stretching, strengthening, self-acceptance, deep breathing, and sweating are sexy.

Me doing extended right angle pose in 2008! My bff, Kasey, of KaseyK Photo took this portrait.

Me doing extended right angle pose in 2008! My bff, Kasey, of KaseyK Photo took this portrait.

What makes you happy? Write a list. It’s enlightening.

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