I believe that life is in the details. That is why I always make sure not to get caught up in the roller coaster of life, pause and enjoy the moment. To join the festivity of the new year, I decided to start the 31-day happiness challenge and make this year count.
1- Cheer someone else on for their efforts. Give them full support.
I did this one with a little twist since I have no friends with side-projects to support. I decided to text my two best friends words from the heart reflecting on how great of a person each one is, how much I appreciate their friendship and their whole existence. Now this was the best way to start off this challenge; I ended up having a heart-to-heart conversation with one best friend (because apparently the text was just in time to uplift her, at the moment, gloomy spirit) and a 20-minute phone call of pure joy with the other best friend for making her day. I slept like a baby that night!
2- Celebrate “Friendship Day” by connecting with the best friend.
With everything going on in one’s life, sometimes, you miss out on chances to connect with your best friend (whether through a call, a text or an outing). I always fear that my best friend would mistake my absence, at times, for negligence. I texted her explaining my unintentional attitude sometimes, commenting on how amazing of a friend she is and showing respect to her for deciding to weather the storm. My very long and slightly poetic text moved her to tears and made her day! Drawing a smile on someone’s face makes me content.
3- Express gratitude to someone who has helped you.
Everyone has a favourite teacher who one will never forget the valuable lessons they taught us. My favourite teacher was the best thing about my high school years, the reason I am where I stand and who I am today. I sent her a very long heartwarming text thanking her for her efforts that are still paying off until this day, thanking her for all the advice she gave me and telling her that I am forever grateful to her. She is a true role model to me, to everyone.
4- Get in touch with your grandparents.
We are all so caught up in life; we forget to regularly check up on our grandparents. This challenge made me pick up the phone and have a short (yet uplifting) conversation with my grandparents. A 3-minute phone call full of excessive kindness and care from my grandparents made my day and theirs as well! I will absolutely try to do that more often.
5- Go out for ice cream or frozen treats.
I bought two ice creams, one for me and another for my brother. We enjoyed our ice creams while watching TV. (Serious brother-sister bonding)
6- Go out for lunch and leave a big tip.
If you know me well enough, you’d know that I don’t usually leave tips. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about the good deeds and stuff like that. I just think that I don’t have to pay a waiter extra for doing what he is assigned to do…his job! Anyway, this challenge literally challenged me to not be Nour and leave a generous tip to one lucky waiter. And so I did!
7- Find the good in doing a task you hate.
You don’t have to know me very well to know that I HATE home chores (who doesn’t?!) One home chore that I hate the most is changing bed sheets, because the bed mattress is heavy AND I move around the bed constantly to make sure that it is equally covered on both sides of the bed so it tires me out, I hate it! Also, my cat loves getting under the bed sheet before I fix it in place so we play a little and I get lightly scratched before I force him (I refuse to refer to my cat as “it”) to leave the bed. One thing I love though is sleeping on a clean bed sheet. Especially when I sprinkle perfumed talc on the sheet before I sleep; it smells like heaven!
8- Head to the beach or take in some sunshine where you can.
Since there are no beaches in Cairo and there aren’t any decent parks either to enjoy the sun, there was only one place to head to…the balcony! It was a regular sunny day where the clouds looked completely normal, nothing artsy about them. But, me being Nour, I noticed the little things. For instance, there was a gardener working while a group of teenage boys were hanging around in the garden near him. There were also builders working on the illegal to-be-built apartment building (yes, you heard it right. Illegal!). There was a woman walking down the street and by the look of her, she is probably a stay-at-home mother who was grocery shopping before the family got back home. When I listened carefully, I heard the noise of a crowd of school children playing and the builders’ equipment too. I find joy in noticing the little things because, in my opinion, it holds more meaning than life itself.
9- Spend time reading your favourite book.
I don’t have a favourite book but I do have a list of favourites; The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks is on that list. It is a feel-good book for hopeless romantic people (like myself), which I think is so underrated. Therefore, I suggest it to anyone who needs to read a great book. Whenever I start reading a book, I always have my highlighter with me. I always highlight beautifully written words or words I can relate to, so that whenever I feel down I only read the highlighted lines in a book. These lines moved me then and they still move me every time I read it:
10- Watch a movie or a TV show that makes you laugh.
If you know me well enough, you’d know that my all time favorite tv-show is F.R.I.E.N.D.S. I have watched the whole show 5 times already, I have watched all the bloopers and interviews on youtube, I own two F.R.I.E.N.D.S t-shirts AND I have also used it as an attention getter material for all the presentations I have done so far. Lately, I randomly pick an episode I’d like to watch so, that day I watched: The One Where Joey Speaks French (minute 1:30 always kills me).
11- Have a dance party in your living room.
My brother and I always throw a dance party in our living room, almost weekly (shhh, don’t tell him that I shared that piece of information). We always try to do the dance moves we see in music videos or movies, so imagine the amount of fun we enjoy then. It is always refreshing and uplifting.
12- Make an old family favourite recipe.
My parents weren’t home that day so I just cooked a meal that my brother and I love. We enjoyed the meal whilst watching a movie, each of us on a laptop. (Not so serious brother-sister bonding after all haha)
13- Learn something new.
I struggled to find something interesting for me to learn. So…ever since I started this blog, I’ve been googling blog-related stuff and I learn at least one new thing every day. (Ehem, zero points to me for not trying harder.)
14- Get some exercise (walking – cycling – run).
I refused to leave my bed in that cold weather so I decided to skip this particular challenge. However, four years ago, very early in the morning (around 6 am), I used to walk the running track. It was winter then, so I enjoyed some rainy days, some windy days and some cold days. As long as I wore enough clothes to resist the cold, I was good to go! I used to take pictures of the beautiful mornings, so here are few: (I knew keeping these pictures would come in handy!)
15- Spend some time in meditation.
I am currently listening to meditation songs as I’m typing this. It is my first time to do that! I am hearing sea waves crashing on the beach, I can imagine the sea splashing on my feet. I can hear instruments playing as well, so I imagine they are being played in a nearby beach cafe. This, surprisingly, feels nice! You should try it too.
The first part of the happiness challenge was easy to do, and actually very fulfilling! There are 16 daily challenges of the Happiness challenge remaining that I am excited to talk to you about! You will find out about them in the next post.
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