What lights you up and brings you joy?
I’ve been a happy person my whole life, definitely a glass-is-half-full kind of gal. Yet, while juggling my roles as a military spouse, mama, full-time scientist, and part-time entrepreneur, making time for the little things that support my happiness hasn’t been easy. Living with a positive attitude certainly helps, but the game-changer for me was recognizing that happy can co-exist with tough days, struggles, and stress. They’re actually just opposite sides of the same coin.
Embracing that idea has come with time, age, and experience and has also played a role in shaping my company’s mission and community. Our motto—everyday reminders that every day matters—is not only what we say around our studio, but what we encourage within our community. Happiness is tied to the things you focus on every day. Reminding yourself what’s most important to you is the key. Here are a few ideas to invite happiness into your everyday life. While they may seem like simple practices, they have the power to change how you live and enjoy your life.
CELEBRATE THE EVERYDAY MOMENTS
I’m a big believer in celebrating everyday moments, even if it’s just a happy dance in the kitchen. Busy schedules and lots of responsibilities can overwhelm our day-to-day and we forget what really matters. Celebrating little wins reminds us that life happens in those moments when we’re waiting for the big stuff. My family loves our weekend movie nights. We cook up our favorite recipes and snuggle on the couch under a ton of blankets. In that everyday moment, I stop and remind myself that I’m surrounded by the people who are most important to me. Your everyday moments are a unique part of your family’s story. Taking the time to be present and grateful in the moment makes them even more special.
INSPIRATION—GIVE A LITTLE, TAKE A LITTLE
My community was built on the idea that we all have the power to inspire someone else. There are days I feel inspired to share something I’ve learned and other days I turn to someone else for inspiration. It’s like the penny jar you find at a store register—give a penny, take a penny. In this case, I like to extend it to inspiration—give a little, take a little. Some days your inspiration jar is overflowing, so you give a little. Other days, your jar is empty, so you take a little from a friend. It’s important to look for opportunities to lift up and empower others, whether it’s within your friend group, your family, or social media. A thoughtful comment, a random act of kindness, and even a smile, have the power to inspire and completely change someone’s day.
FIND WHAT BRINGS YOU JOY AND BE KIND TO YOURSELF
If I could go back to my 30th birthday and whisper something in my ear, it would be to slow down and be much kinder to myself. When I think back to the days of raising babies, toddlers, and young kids, I realize I was totally immersed in what everyone else needed, while still trying to enjoy what I loved. As the caretakers of our families, we forget that taking care of ourselves isn’t selfish, it’s necessary. What lights you up and brings you joy? Reading a book, enjoying a bath, heading to yoga or out for a run, cooking or baking a yummy recipe? Be kind to yourself. Invite happiness into your everyday, and enjoy a break to feed your soul.
EMBRACE COMMUNITY OVER COMPETITION
Since starting my business over eight years ago, I’ve met some incredible women with diverse stories to tell—military spouses, artists, mentors, entrepreneurs. Although we walk different paths, each has taught me something valuable. Through the years, I’ve learned that my style, my story, and my brand are unique to me, just as everything you do is unique to you. There is more than enough creativity and success to go around. Embracing a spirit of community over competition by offering guidance and sharing resources is not just the key to being a successful entrepreneur, but to being a kind human. Making connections within a supportive community is so important for our well-being and happiness. You never know what you might learn by spending a few minutes getting to know another spouse.
Taking the time to create happiness in your life doesn’t have to feel like another big project on your to-do list. As Abraham Lincoln said, “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Choose to give yourself grace each day to enjoy the little things that light you up.
Wendy Hively is a retired Navy spouse, mom of two girls, a full-time scientist, and owner and founder of Charliemadison Originals—an online shop named after her daughters and filled with meaningful jewelry that serves as your everyday reminder of what you cherish most. She is proud to honor the three generations of her family who served in the military, as well as the military community she loves, by donating 5% of your purchase to organizations that support military service members and their families. She has lived around the world as a child and again as a military spouse and currently lives in Maryland, just outside our Nation’s Capital.
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