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It’s New Years Eve! I’ve always liked the holiday. I appreciate the option to make a resolution and try to stick to it! I enjoy reflecting on the year I’ve had and looking forward to how the next one could be better. Although this year had a few bright spots, for the most part, I’d like to forget it ever happened and maybe some day I will. But since I recognize that even if I did forget, that probably wouldn’t change the fact that 2015 was the year I was personally introduced to Cancer, I’m going to do what I do and look on the bright side. I’m looking forward to a happier, healthier New Year. Don’t you want to be happier in the New Year? Me too. Here are 10 ways to be happier in the New Year.

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  1. Don’t be a jerk. Easy, peasy right? But I mean for real. Don’t be mean. To anyone. Your husband, your girlfriend, your dog. Instead, try this: Be nice. Even if someone says something that is mean to you (ex: “You’re a bitch”, “this meatloaf is terrible”, “somebody smells around here”), you don’t have to be mean in return. This can be really hard. But consider why they are saying that? Is it just to be mean? Were you actually being a bitch? How good is your meatloaf? Do they have an aversion to onions? Are they pregnant with superhuman smelling powers? Truly they should stop being a jerk too, but you can’t control them, you can only control you. What if you responded to their meanness by telling them that they hurt your feelings? Or that it’s your great-grandmother’s meatloaf recipe? Some people are just mean, but consider responding with kindness-not fake kindness dripping in sarcasm, but actual kindness. What’s a big bully going to say if you tell them they hurt your feelings? Hopefully nothing and then the next time they think about being mean, maybe they won’t be.
  2. Stop bickering. I’m a huge culprit of this. It’s not that I don’t value my husband’s contributions to the household. I do, truly, but I just think that my way is better. So when I ask him to do something and he doesn’t do it exactly the way I want him to, I tell him about it (like folding the towels a specific way). Not cool anymore. I’ve tried to live by the “if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself” philosophy, but since The Cancer I’ve needed to rely on other people. Like A Lot. So I have had to let go of MY WAY. And guess what, I’m just happy that shit gets done around here. Not one person has commented on the disarray of my towels.  And I’ve stopped decreased instigating my husband because of a job not done to “my standards.” We are all happy.
  3. Sing more. Obvs.
  4. Dance more. Even more obvs.
  5. Only complain about things that are really worth complaining about. To make it easier, here is a short, non-extensive list about complain worthy topics: racism, police brutality (samesies), the defunding of Planned Parenthood, your child’s school not meeting your child’s needs, etc.                                                                                             Things not worth complaining about: Who’s turn it is to take out the trash, who exactly left hair in the drain of the tub, why your partner is wearing “that shirt” when you wish he was wearing a different one, the weather.                                                                                                                         You get it, right? I mean, you can complain that people are driving too slow, too fast, the cold, the heat, but Good God y’all, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Say it again. Once you start complaining-once you let that negativity get in, it can be infectious. So just stop that. Life isn’t supposed to be perfect and that’s okay. If your husband can’t seem to understand how to separate the clothes or never empties out the drain in the sink it’s probably going to be just fine. I bet there is a ton of stuff that he does that you never do so it all really balances out. Being a super complainer kind of makes you a jerk so see #1.
  6. Drink green juice. I’ve been using a Nutri-bullet for years making smoothies and one of my friends suggested I make juice in it, which never occurred to me before for some reason. So I have. I peel an apple and cut it in quarters, throw a few carrots in, a handful of spinach or kale, maybe a little ginger, a little prune juice, some echinacea tincture, fill with water and blend for a long time until it’s nice and smooth. Sometimes my kids even drink it. I’ve never been a juice drinker, but I am confident that I’m benefitting my body in some way and not just adding “empty calories” to my diet. Bonus: I get to tell people I’ve been drinking green juice, and I’m pretty sure that makes them think I am a pillar of good health. Fooled you.
  7. Get dressed and put makeup on and do your hair. This seems superficial, but what I notice is that when I stay in my jammies too long I start to feel a little depressed. Some of my happiest moments in the midst of this cancer have been when I’ve gotten dressed in a nice outfit, complete with accessories and a wig, scarf or hat. People give me mad compliments. If you take care in what you wear, you too will look great and people will tell you! Compliments can go a long way in making people feel happy. And who doesn’t love a little rouge on the cheeks?
  8. Hug more. Hugs release oxytocin which is a hormone that lowers our stress and dopamine, which is our pleasure hormone. Before Cancer, I didn’t mind hugging, but it wasn’t my favorite. I’m changing my mind now, I love hugging. I recently met some old friends and their adorable little offspring at a local coffee shop. The woman gave me one of her amazing-ly awesome hugs. She is one of the best huggers I have ever met. I don’t know exactly how you achieve this. It’s something about the pressure of the squeeze, length of time in the embrace, and positioning of the arms. I’m sure there is some formula, but this chic has NAILED IT! And she has always been this way. I can think of a few other people who offer optimum hugging experiences, one woman from undergrad, a good friend’s husband….I will strive to be a great hugger in the New Year!
  9. Do less. Which means say no more. Packing a bunch of activities into one day can be hard on you and your kids. It’s hard to get everywhere and see everyone. Especially if you struggle with FOMO, like me. But more makes life harder. And nobody will be mad at you for saying no. I’ve been actively working on my FOMO and sometimes I still give in, even when I regret it later (like staying up too late last night!), but we are all just works in progress, so I’ll keep pushing through!
  10. Lastly, Make your own fun! I have a “Chemo With Friends” Calendar so I’m never alone at Chemo and always have company. My friend or family member will pick me up, drive me to the clinic and hang with me and then drive me home. Sometimes on the ride home my friend says, “well that was fun.” They immediately regret the words, because Chemo must suck….but that’s why I invited my friends, so it would be more fun! Don’t wait for a good time, make one!

So that’s it! I’m ready for 2016! Bring it. I’ll be smiling and laughing my way through it! What about you-will you be happier?