Tidbits of happiness


Laura Heckenlaible

Meet my penguin Pillow Pet who I have had since I was five years old. He is my favorite snuggle buddy for when I take time for myself and watch my favorite movies while in bed.

Laura Heckenlaible, Perspectives Editor

As a teenager, it is easy to get caught up in the expectations of society, the media and even ourselves. It has become more and more common to see people trade their own joy and mental well-being to live up to the unattainable standards set. More and more professionals within the mental health and medical field, along with individuals suffering from this mental decline, have begun to search for a needed change. Sometimes that change is more drastic such as taking actions like signing up for therapy or enrolling in an institution that provides care. Other times that change is smaller and made internally by each person. It is time to prioritize the soul inside. It is never a guarantee that life will be easy. There will still be days that suck and that is okay. With a greater emphasis on one’s personal well-being, during those really dark moments, a little light can be shed. Here are a few tidbits of happiness to disprove society’s standards and boost your mental well-being:

Getting in some movement

As much as some people dread it, movement and exercise are crucial for the human body. The media has warped people’s perception of movement. It does not always have to be pushing yourself to the limits and sweating buckets, movement can range from a 10-minute walk or easygoing bike ride all the way to a longer run or yoga class. Recently after getting injured, I was forced to take some time away from my daily runs. For the first time, I went to a restorative yoga class instead of my usual intense interval class. At Ignite Infrared Fitness Studio in Sioux Falls, this flow and stretching class is promoted as “great to help your body work through any built-up tension.” With the dim lights, a hot temperature and relaxing music combined with the long holds to stretch out the muscles, I left the class fully rejuvenated. The instructor was super welcoming and throughout the class I found myself in a definite state of peace. By allowing an outlet for our body and mind, any disrupting thoughts can be put to the side for a little while. Do not bypass movement in your daily life. It does not have to be long and grueling. Take that walk during the sunrise, go for a hike and even try out that class you have always been afraid of; these acts are sure to provide a little joy in your life.

Blasting some tunes

Like exercise, music is a perfect outlet to turn to. After a long day at work, as I drive home in my Kia Soul, before I allow myself to stress over all I have to do, I turn the volume up to its max and just sing my heart out. My go-to songs as of recently to jam out to are “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars and “No One Can Fix Me” by Frawley. I love driving at dusk and breathing in the fresh spring air we are so blessed to have right now. Whether it is in the car, in your room or just around your house, blasting music and just letting yourself go provides the ultimate serotonin boost. Using a random pair of sunglasses as a makeshift microphone is one of my go-to’s. Do not worry about the other people driving or even what your family members might think, who cares as long as you are having fun?

A date with yourself

You do not need a significant other to have a good time. Being by yourself in public should not be seen as sad or lonely, sometimes being alone is what someone truly needs. Take yourself on a date. Go to a bookstore, a restaurant or a coffee shop and treat yourself. I am a sucker for a good book, so aimlessly walking around Barnes and Noble with a pile of books stacked in my hands is not out of the norm for me. Treating yourself to a coffee or some of your favorite food is never a bad idea. Try even ordering inside and just sitting with yourself. Panera or Josiah’s are perfect restaurants to find a table, order some good food and take some time to enjoy your own company. 

A chill night

What better way to find some happiness in your life than to just wind down. Watching a show or a movie are both perfect options. Go to the movie theater in your pajamas, even bring a blanket and watch a newly released film. Another alternative is of course the classic watching something while in bed. Pull up Netflix, YouTube or whatever platform you prefer and put on your favorite comfort movie. For myself, I love a good cry mixed with a little romance so I recommend both “10 Things I Hate About You” and “Another Cinderella Story” starring Hilary Duff. Do not forget to bury yourself in a pile of blankets and snuggle into that 10-year-old Pillow Pet I know we all still have. Light a candle and dim the lights and you are practically in full relaxation mode.

In order to truly thrive, you must stop putting your hope into what the world tells you and start believing in yourself. Take time as the school year comes to a close and summer seeps in to prioritize yourself. After all, you only get one chance at life so why not be happy while doing it?