“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” Desmond Tutu
Yahoo, a new month and a new year, and another month of uncertainty. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but every day is a gift, and we can create new intentions and new good and joy in our lives. The Actions for Happiness calendar below has many ideas to put little bits of good together!
As we enter a new year let’s turn to the beauty and natural wonder of our Earth. Every day is unique. Spend time outside or look out the window and create your own joy. It doesn’t cost money or take much effort to enjoy the beauty of each day.
View today outside my window.
Have fun and do good for yourself, your community and our world. Start each day with hope and kindness.
I have three things I think everyone should do this week. Happy holidays!
1.Wrapping gifts (Ideas from MPR)
Despite its name, you actually can’t recycle most wrapping paper. It contains too much foil and glitter.
The only types of wrapping paper that are recyclable are the ones that are one hundred percent made out of paper. This will most likely be the plain brown paper you’ve seen packages wrapped in. You can get creative and decorate the paper with drawings to spruce up the present.
You can get even more creative by using materials that you already have to wrap your presents. You could use old newspapers and compost them or cloth bags and ribbon and reuse them next year.
You can give gifts to your friends, family and the environment all at once. You could give to a cause the person is passionate about, or plan a clothing swap all while creating zero waste.
You also may want to consider supporting small businesses this year by shopping locally rather than getting things delivered.
2. Don’t Waste food.
Wasted food is a huge contributor to global warming and climate change. It is a waste of energy, labor, and water, often contributing to air and water pollution. Rotting food in landfills contributes more air and water pollution. In the United States we waste 40% of our food, and we can all do better. Read about it at Save The Food
Cook only what you need and have a plan for using leftovers.
3. Take an AWE walk
Take a healthy mindful walk and pay attention! Leave your phone and headphones at home. Look at the beauty of the trees, the sunshine and landscape. Listen for the wind and birds. Find something you love and something that surprises you. Unwind and enjoy!
Vibrant fall colors that take your breath away, unusual cloud formations and migrating birds bring joy on this big lake. Autumn beauty brings a break from this pandemic and the raw politics of this election season. Our nesting birds have left for warmer climes, but migrating yellow-rumped warblers dive at our house chasing flies. Juvenile white- throated sparrows practice imperfect singing, and groups of juncos are abundant. The chickadees are emptying their feeder and chipmunks are underfoot as they busily prepare for a long winter. A month after the monarchs had left for Mexico, I was surprised to find a caterpillar munching on an old yellow milkweed. I moved the lone caterpillar to a healthy milkweed, but there probably isn’t time enough time for it to form a chrysalis and a mature monarch butterfly. I can only hope it was able to complete it’s cycle, and catch a strong north wind to Mexico. This year not all politics is forgotten. Campaign signs popped up on our road which I haven’t seen before, but the vast majority were hopeful signs of kindness for this northern Wisconsin community.
What ever your spiritual practice, nature can heal us. Today find beauty and love whether through the gospel, through a poem or picture, time outside or a meditation. Dare to dream. Spend the day doing what you love and finding beauty in your day. If the weather permits go for a long walk. What do you love? how can you have more of what you love in your life? Find beauty from your walk or from your window. Wishing you peace.
Unplug today! Your Daily Good is to spend a day without screens! Can’t make it a whole day for one reason or another? We get it. What about an afternoon or even an hour? Spend the day doing something you love. I hope that is time outdoors with no phone.
“Make Happiness from what you have” Sam Sifton, NYT
April is an awesome month. The birds are migrating, plants and trees are sprouting, and the days are long with the sun high in the sky. It’s a perfect time to be outside and forget all the troubles facing our planet. We need to flood our communities with positive energy and kindness.
Everyday I plan to do the following: Share my gratitude for the helpers, find beauty in nature, cook healthy food, and take three deep breaths for peace on earth.
I hope you can use this awesome calandar, be safe, and have some fun in April.
“I have found meaning, in a world that sometimes seems meaningless to so many people.” Greta Thunberg, Swedish 16 year old activist
What can we do to have more meaning in our lives? What can we do to have a happier and healthier world? As I write this many places in the world are in crisis. It is flooding in Japan, a hurricane is bearing down on the United States and Bahamas. The Amazon, Alaska, and Canada are burning up, and Hong Kong is in political chaos, and many others are starving and face daily violence. This is all serious stuff, and even worse we are so lacking leaders with vision, with positive thoughts for the future. We need leaders that really care for our Earth and all the people that live here. It is stressful. We can all lighten our stress on the world by being aware of our actions and the impact we make.
Yes, many are under stress as is our Earth. I think the best thing you can do for your mental health is to be outside and find beauty in each day. Go for a walk, a bike ride or just sit on a bench. Search for quiet and beauty. Get out of your car, and unplug those phones! Everyday do something good for yourself, but also for the world, and for others. Our actions matter. Set some healthy goals for yourself and get outside for a walk as much as you can, take your nature-pill
The Actions for Happiness group has a calendar with good ideas, take care of yourself, and find better meaning in life. See below. Good luck!
May is a magnificent month. I have been able to spend the first days of May outside gardening, biking, hiking and just looking for the new beginnings of spring. Birds are flying around my yard with nesting materials in their beaks, and I see new migrating birds everyday. The spring ephemerals(wild flowers): Dutchman’s breeches, spring beauty, bellwort, and blood root cover the forest floor with their magnificent plants.
May is Mental Health Month, and I promise you if you spend 20 minutes a few days a week connecting with nature and May beauty you will be much happier! Get outside daily to see the daily changes and beauty of nature. Look around pay attention and get connected to the outdoor world! I watch for butterflies, birds and new sprouting plants everyday.
The Actions for Happiness Calendar has ways to make your beautiful May Meaningful. See below.
The power of trees is enormous. They add beauty and quiet to our lives. Trees work to keep our air and water clean, and they keep us healthy and happy. Be mindful of the trees in your life! Trees create that sense of belonging and community, see the video below.
“Whether you plant trees around your home and property, in your community, or in our national forests, they help fight climate change. Through the natural process of photosynthesis, trees absorb CO2 and other pollutant particulates, then store the carbon and emit pure oxygen. Planting trees helps fight climate change.” Arborday.org
Have you been outside today? Have you found beauty or something new in nature? If you haven’t spent some time outside today, do it now! This is the perfect time of the year to get outside, walk and experience nature. Relaxing time outside is a nature-pill.
It is my fear we have become such enormous TV watchers and phone addicts that we forget to get out of our houses and cars to enjoy the outside.
If you don’t have a yard, find a park or garden near you to which you can walk or bike. Hopefully it is quiet and a place you can experience the new buds and flowers on the plants and trees, or see the birds/butterflies, or just watch the clouds pass by. Spend just a few quiet moments to just breath, relax and observe. Be mindful of the time you have outdoors.
A new study from the University of Michigan tells how time outside makes people so much happier and less depressed and stressed.
“Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature.” Mary Carol Hunter
“We know that spending time in nature reduces stress, but until now it was unclear how much is enough, how often to do it, or even what kind of nature experience will benefit us,” says Dr. MaryCarol Hunter, an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan and lead author of this research. “Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature.”
“Participants were free to choose the time of day, duration, and the place of their nature experience, which was defined as anywhere outside that in the opinion of the participant, made them feel like they’ve interacted with nature. There were a few constraints to minimize factors known to influence stress: take the nature pill in daylight, no aerobic exercise, and avoid the use of social media, internet, phone calls, conversations and reading,” Hunter explains. Read more about the nature study here.
Take your free outdoor nature-pill, find outdoor beauty, plant seeds, touch, draw a picture, walk, observe, listen, and breathe.
Driving or using your phone doesn’t count, you need to find places near you. A place where you can take your nature-pill. I know you can find places if you try. Find a quiet place outside that helps you connect with nature.
Action for Happiness has the best calendar yet. How can we be more mindful in our lives? There are some terrific ideas for mindfulness below. I would add some outdoor time. Watch for signs of spring, and look for beauty everyday. I have seen new buds, birds migrating and flowers blooming. Enjoy and good luck