Health & Wellness, Inner Beauty, Personal Style, Pop Culture

Happiness Advice to Take You Through the Rest of the Year

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Summertime, and the living is arguably easier. What is it about a little sunshine that makes this the happiest time of year and, more importantly, how to bottle that feeling for the other nine months?

Bare Necessities looked into the science behind summer’s golden touch. We’re here to share ideas you can draw on when fall and winter start getting you down. Bookmark this for when you need it in the back half of the year!

Embrace JOMO

Fear of missing out (FOMO) is old news. Despite what some blogger’s perfect Instagram feed suggests, there’s no way to do, be or have it all. This summer, it’s all about embracing the joy of missing out (JOMO). That means taking a digital detox. The more we disconnect from the tiny slot machines in our pockets, the better our state of mind. Sure, that can feel a lot easier to do in the summer, when engaging alternatives abound, but you can consciously bring the idea with you into fall. When you’re focused on doing you, regardless of what others are doing, you’re closer to true happiness.

Schedule more fun

Fun comes obscenely freely in the summer…there’s always something to do! The rest of the year, the daily grind can get the best of you. But not every day can be an amusement park or a vacation. To keep life’s annoyances from crowding out the delightful stuff, prioritize things that make you feel good by putting time on your calendar—daily, weekly or monthly—to do something you enjoy. Then, no matter what comes up, do not cancel on yourself! Make it a point to catch a movie while it’s in the theater, go out on a Tuesday night to see a friend’s band play or haul your tired self to hot yoga. Committing to relishing the little moments is as important as anything you do for your health.

Say yes before saying no

Just as summer gives you permission to live a little—jump off the side of the boat! start a bonfire! eat the ice cream!—any time’s a good excuse to break with the script and do things that you ordinarily wouldn’t. Novelty is the spice of life, as our sexy lingerie certainly proves.

Spend a little less

Simple pleasures go a long way. Right now, maybe that means catching a sunset, watching fireflies or going to the farmer’s market. Year-round, it can mean keeping a gratitude journal, practicing hygge or sensory meditation to help you slow down, relax and appreciate what’s going right without wrestling your mind into blank submission. Close your eyes and sit or lie comfortably, then run through your senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell to situate yourself in the moment. Or, you know, buy yourself the $5 latte. Whatever works.

Get into nature

Spending time outdoors is critical, from improving short-term memory to staving off anxiety and depression. And the cold sure doesn’t stop the people of Finland, Norway or Denmark, the happiest nations in the world, from communing with nature. Find what works for you—hiking, snowshoeing, skiing or a quick walk in the brisk air—suit up in the optimal activewear and do it as much as you can.

Go to sleep

Not unlike getting outside, a good night’s sleep pays so many dividends, it’s hardly worth the column inches defending the premise. To replicate that languid summer sleep, take baby steps: Go to bed a few minutes earlier. Sleep in by a few (early morning sleep is key to REM). Keep to a pretty consistent schedule. Take a little nap. Upgrade your pajamas. It’s not being lazy; it’s recharging the battery otherwise known as your brain.

Read a book

Reading is the jam, but other than on summer vacation, who has the time? Well, it’s time to make time. It lowers stress. It transports you somewhere else, on the cheap, without leaving the house. Book lovers are less depressed. You’ll be part of the cultural conversation. Add in a social component by starting a book club with your friends. Listening to audiobooks on the daily also counts.

Take an 8-day vacation

Yes, summer is prime time for getting away, but unless you’re a teacher or an accountant, you can pretty much go whenever. So do that. Use up your days! Grab your greatest swimsuits and go lie on a beach someplace tropical when the temperature dips at home. The ideal length for a trip is scientifically proven to be just north of a week. Eight days equals peak happiness: long enough to experience something new, short enough not to miss home and feel like you’re falling behind on life.

Go to more concerts

You don’t have to wait for Beyoncé or Taylor Swift to come back around on an amphitheater tour; amazing shows happen all year long. Regularly listening to live music is, happily, associated with living longer. That’s why we asked some of our favorite performers from this year’s Newport Folk Festival, which we checked out last month, what happiness advice they live by:

Courtney Marie Andrews (Photo: Laura E. Partain)

COURTNEY MARIE ANDREWS
What boosts your mood when you need it most?
Writing is key to uplifting my mood. It’s cathartic and allows me to process how or why I’m feeling a certain way. Playing new songs uplifts me because they’re the rawest form of what I’ve been thinking or feeling. They help me stay in tune with my identity and what’s going on internally. It feels triumphant when you finish a song and play it for the first time. It allows me to be proud of myself. I’m also an aimless walker. When I’m feeling depressed, a long walk is great for gaining clarity.

What song of yours would give us a lift?
I suggest the title track to my new record, “May Your Kindness Remain.”

How did you know you’d found your calling? How’d you find the courage to go your own way?
I’ve known since I could talk that I wanted to write and perform. I’m lucky that I’ve had my whole life to work on and for something that I love. Honestly, I think I had dumb courage before I had talent. Courage led me here, and let me improve my craft. I grew up with a single mother working two jobs, so it was important that I take care of myself and be brave.

Lucius (Photo: Petecia Le Fawnhawk)

HOLLY LAESSIG OF LUCIUS
What boosts your mood when you need it most?
The smell of jasmine, David Bowie’s “The Laughing Gnome,” the Eagles’ “Take it Easy,” lili_hayes on Instagram, or a big glass boot full of Hefeweizen.

What song of yours would give us a lift?
Part of falling in love with an artist is discovering them and taking part in that relationship. Try a couple from each record (Wildewoman, Good Grief and Nudes) and, if you like what you hear, keep digging.

How did you know you’d found your calling? How’d you find the courage to go your own way?
There were moments: deciding to play piano, to pursue singing, then songwriting, then making a band. I felt I didn’t have a choice. The only movement available to me was forward. It was a given for us both, and we never thought twice. In that way, it had to work.

Nicole Atkins (Photo: Anna Webber)

NICOLE ATKINS
What boosts your mood when you need it most?
Getting outside and walking with music in my headphones. My three favorite mood-boosters are “Rocksteady” from Aretha Franklin, “Goin’ Down” from Allen Toussaint and “Cherry” from Neil Diamond. They can make walking through a blizzard feel sunny. When I’m stressed, I walk it out until I feel better. It always helps. Even if I’ve done nothing for the day or had a really stressful brain day, I can take a walk on the boardwalk down by the ocean and feel full.

What song of yours would give us a lift?
If you like sad songs, play “A Little Crazy,” and if you wanna shake your butt, put on “Darkness Falls So Quiet.”

How did you know you’d found your calling? How’d you find the courage to go your own way?
When I was 19, the restaurant I was working at on the Jersey Shore heard me singing in the stockroom. They ended up letting me play there every Thursday. From there on out, I knew I wanted to do this forever. Be kind with yourself. Nothing’s more fun than weird! There is no graduation from your work and passion. It’s the arch of your life; don’t rush it.

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Brooke Glassberg
Brooke is the editor of this here blog. In a previous life, she was an editor at Good Housekeeping and O, The Oprah Magazine. Brooke has written for Glamour, Travel+Leisure, New York Magazine and more. She’s into concerts, calligraphy, travel and her exceptionally adorable daughter and husband.
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