We are smack in the middle of winter. With winter comes some emotions that we may not be expecting, though are totally normal. Seasonal depression is a real thing and can sometimes be incredibly difficult to recognize and work through. I know for me it comes in a couple of different forms. Lack of motivation, general unhappiness, and wanting to sleep all the time are the ways that seasonal depression manifests for me. This year I decided I want to make it easier for me to combat. I remembered when I was younger, there was a Girl Scout badge that had me create a “Happy Box”. It was a box in which I put things that made me happy. If I was feeling a little down, I could open that box and there would be something there that could cheer me up! Though I did it for a badge, I used the box often. My mom would remind me it was there is she felt I needed a little cheering up. In the box there were photos, books, quotes, activities, cd’s, cards I’d received. I figured if it worked then it would work now. Just putting the box together lifted my mood. I thought if I could share how and what I put in my box it could be useful for others fighting the winter woes.
Step 1: Choose a Box
The first thing I did was find a box that I could use to put my happy stuff in. When I was a kid, I just used an old shoe box that I decorated with scrapbook paper and quotes. I looked around my house and decided on an old fire proof box we found when we were moving. It is such a cool box that on its own makes me happy. It has the date February 10, 1925 as well as the address of the original owner written on the inside of the lid. I thought it would be the perfect box for holding my happiness keepsakes. Any box will do. A shoe box, a plastic bin, a wood crate would all work. If you can’t find a box maybe you make a “Happy Bag”. All you need is a single place to put your items.
Step 2: Fill with Happiness
This is the fun part. Take a minute and think about the things that make you happy. It can be anything. If I have learned anything from this experience it was that regardless how big or “out there” the thing that made me happy was, I could find something to represent it. Now take those happy thoughts and do just that, find an item to represent whatever it is. It could be the item itself, maybe a letter or photo that you really love. It could be something to tie back to the happy thought, a keepsake that reminds you of a trip you took or a person that you love. You can put self-care items in your box as a reminder to treat yourself, such as a bath bomb or even a bottle of wine. The box can always be refilled or changed. If it brings you any sense of joy put it in the box! The items don’t need to make sense to anybody but yourself. You could put a chewed piece of gum in there if it makes you happy and that would be great. This is for you and nobody else. If you are struggling on what to put in the box here are a couple of things that I put in mine.
-My favorite tea
-A bath bomb (that will definitely be used)
-One of my favorite books
-A list of songs that make me happy
-A blank “Thank You” card (because showing gratitude always makes me happy)
-Letters from family and friends
-A list of 10 things I love about myself
-A tube of paint (to remind me of my love for painting)
-A notebook for my favorite quotes and happy moments”
There are of course items in my box that I can’t explain. Items that mean something to me and me alone. They don’t need an explanation. So, don’t worry about what others would think about your box because it’s not for them.
Step 3: Use your “Happy Box”
Find a place that you can store your box and it be easily accessible. I put mine on a shelf in my office that I can always get to. I like having it out in the open because just seeing it brings me joy. I know that not far away is a box filled with happiness and love. It can be under or next to your bed, on your bookshelf, on your desk. It doesn’t matter where your box lives, as long as it gets used. It is there to make you happy. It is there when you need a boost, it is there on a rainy day, it is there for you. It is an act of self-love. You preemptively created a resource to help you when you may need it most. Your future self may thank you later, so don’t be afraid to use it often.
Sometimes we can get a little blue, and that’s okay, it’s human nature. This “Happy Box” is there for those moments. It is there to remind you of all the things in life that bring you joy. We can get so caught up in the things that we have to do, the serious stuff, that we forget about the little things. Your box is a getaway when you need it the most. A vacation from what we need to do in the comfort of our own homes. I know that this little project helped when I was a child. After putting my new box together, I know that it will help me now. I hope you can find as much joy in this project as I did. We all deserve a lot-a-bit of happy.