7 Days of Happiness

Entry 8 Eight 7 Seven Days of Happiness Week Happy Learning Warwick Castle Challenge Trebuchet German Vitamin D Try Something New Sweet Treat Charity Charitable Adventure

I’ve been trying out different ways to consciously introduce more happiness into my life for a while now. It’s been a lot of fun but pretty sporadic and unstructured which is good, because happiness itself is a little erratic and does as it pleases.

However, to kick things up a notch, I decided to take the ideas from my first 7 blog posts and consolidate them into one intensive week of hard-core happiness. 7 ideas, 7 days, any order I liked but I had to fit them around my day-to-day life and make sure nothing was missed out! I’m going to set myself this challenge after every 7 posts so if you want to follow along at home, this is Week One:

One | Do Something Charitable
Two | Practice Learning a Language
Three | Get Some Vitamin D
Four | Try Something New
Five | Be Childish
Six | Give Someone an Adventure
Seven | Give Someone a Sweet Treat

The night before I started I planned out which activity would fit into which day. It was already a busy week so it was important to be prepared!

Entry 8 Eight 7 Seven Days of Happiness Week Happy Learning Warwick Castle Challenge Trebuchet German Vitamin D Try Something New Sweet Treat Charity Charitable Adventure

Wednesday | Get Some Vitamin D

I concluded it doesn’t matter when you start as long as you can plan 7 consecutive days of happy tasks. I began on a Wednesday.

Getting Vitamin D was the hardest task to plan into the week as it is entirely weather dependent but I was lucky today. The sun was shining and I work just down the road from a park so I spent 50 minutes of bliss, tucked up on a wall with “The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend” by Katarina Bivald. I managed to do this for several lunchtimes this week but as we reach autumn it’ll be harder to get good sunlight so Vitamin D supplements are a must to keep me healthy!

Thursday | Practice Learning a Language

I’ve been learning German with Duolingo and you only have to practice for a few minutes each day to keep the cogs whirring! Thursdays are often a busy day for me so I chose this task and managed to practice for ten minutes as I was getting ready for bed.

Friday | Be Childish

When I was in school I’d spend all my time in the art room so the recent trend for adult colouring books ticks a lot of my boxes. After we’d been out for the evening my boyfriend and I sat down for a couple of minutes at the end of the day and relaxed with our colouring books and a film. I am much better at staying within the lines than I used to be.

Entry 8 Eight 7 Seven Days of Happiness Week Happy Learning Warwick Castle Challenge Trebuchet German Vitamin D Try Something New Sweet Treat Charity Charitable Adventure

Saturday | Give Someone a Sweet Treat

Saturday was a very busy day, packed with happy activities! I had plans to see a friend in the evening and we are both big fans of superheroes, Harry Potter, Disney and junk food so I made us some teeny fairy cakes and decorated them. I have affectionately named them “messy little nerd cakes”. Fortunately she was able to identify the symbols without too much embarrassment on my part! If anyone has any icing tips, I’m all ears!

Entry 8 Eight 7 Seven Days of Happiness Week Happy Learning Warwick Castle Challenge Trebuchet German Vitamin D Try Something New Sweet Treat Charity Charitable Adventure

Sunday | Give Someone an Adventure

My partner and I already had plans to visit Warwick Castle on Sunday as we’d bought a combo-ticket for that and the aquarium several weeks ago. When we arrived I also bought us tickets to see the Castle Dungeons as part of our adventuring. We left, happy but horrified, after a gruesome journey into the dark history of the castle. I want to go back towards Christmas and see how they decorate for the festivities!

Monday | Try Something New

I play hockey fairly regularly and also visit the gym and swim but I decided to join my Mum at her Pilates class and try it out for the first time. I had no idea what to expect and it turned out to be a gruelling hour of arm exercises that would leave me incapable of reaching high shelves for days! I definitely felt the burn and enjoyed it, despite struggling through! I have since discovered that the instructor assumed I was 6 years younger than I am (presumably because my mum looks too young to have a 23-year-old 😉 ) and was taking it easy on me! Yikes!

Tuesday | Be Charitable

Tuesday. Last day! It’s been a lot of fun. I couldn’t manage anything quite as drastic as in my original blog post as I’m still waiting for my hair to grow back but there are plenty of other ways to make a difference. In the last couple of weeks I have had a sort out and given loads of my books, clothes and DVDs to the British Heart Foundation to sell. Some of my stuff wasn’t suitable for selling but would be useful to a local homelessness centre so I popped onto their website today and checked out the section that says what they need and took that list with me to the supermarket. It cost very little to get loads of the items they needed and add them to the pile I was donating.

7 Days of Happiness | Week One

This intensive week of happiness is over but I’ll keep using the ideas from it wherever I can. If you’re interested in giving it a go then just follow the list I’ve made and plan it around your weekly schedule. The best thing about this is that it’s designed to make you happy so if you’re not feeling like doing something or can’t make it fit into just seven days then there’s no pressure and no guilt. It’s all about doing the things that work for you. Let me know if you try it out!

Entry 8 Eight 7 Seven Days of Happiness Week Happy Learning Warwick Castle Challenge Trebuchet German Vitamin D Try Something New Sweet Treat Charity Charitable Adventure

Give An Adventure

Learning Happiness Give An Adventure Wistow Maze Maize Family Fun Day Out Surprise

Everyone knows the old saying, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Now, I’m a big fan of both but I certainly think that a great deal of personal happiness can be found in making someone else happy.

A week ago I saw an advert in a magazine for a fairly local activity and it struck me that my parents and boyfriend would probably enjoy it as much as I would. I asked them all to check their diaries and make sure they were free this weekend for a spot of adventuring and they each confirmed that they were. However, the precise nature of the adventure was kept a complete secret. I simply advised them to choose footwear suitable for walking and to prepare for all weather-eventualities; we live in England so it could easily have been a disaster.

I kept my secret all week and it was still a mystery to my three passengers when we began our journey. I elected to be designated driver, feeling it may be safest that way, and I had organised a bag of supplies for each person so that sustenance and aid were available during our travels. The contents included two lollipops, a breakfast bar, and a couple of tubes of bubbles (a cryptic note explained that they were for use as flares if anyone got lost).

It was very exciting to keep a secret but a little nerve-wracking too – what if people didn’t like the idea as much as I’d hoped? Fortunately, as we drew close and the destination was finally sign-posted, my passengers caught on and were delighted. I drove into the car park of Wistow Maze and we all piled out into the sunshine.

Learning Happiness Give An Adventure Wistow Maze Maize Family Fun Day Out Surprise
My commemorative postcard from the trip!

Wistow Maze is a maize field, cut through with around 3 miles of winding paths and dead ends. Every year is a different configuration but this year, in honour of Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday, it’s been drawn as the BFG! The maps they give you at the beginning show the aerial view of the giant and Sophie but it’s impossible to identify the shape once you’re in there; it’s just sunflowers and corn as far as the eye can see.

We split into two teams to complete the challenge (they have themed questions on boards hidden throughout the maze) and separated at the first fork. Then it was a fun two hours of getting thoroughly lost. We bumped into each other a few times and tried to sneak a peek at one another’s answers but to no avail. All in all, the surprise was a success, the sunshine held out and my team completed the quiz fastest and we are therefore supreme winners!

Planning a special day out made me feel really satisfied and I know that my family and partner loved the surprise and the extra little treats I mixed into it. Afterwards, we wandered around the rural centre and then I took them on a trip to the cinema to see, you guessed it, The BFG!

If you want to add a little happiness to your weekend and know someone who deserves a treat, see if you can plan a surprise for them. It doesn’t have to be a grand adventure, it could be as simple as breakfast in bed or an unexpected gift. And if you can’t decide whether or not they do deserve a treat, take them to a maze – if they’re annoying you part way round, pinch their map and leg it!

I hope everyone has had a happy Saturday!