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    7 Actually Doable Ways To Feel Happier And Healthier In May

    Because it's how we improved our lives in April!

    Hey, friends! The sun may be out but vitamin D isn't the only way you can feel all glowy and happy this spring.

    TV Tokyo / Via

    Here are a few tiny ways my colleagues and I have been upgrading our lives and moods. Please steal them because we're kind of obsessed and want to spread the joy.

    1. Get a plant friend to keep you company in places you need a pick-me-up, like your desk.

    Tom Vellner / BuzzFeed

    If you like plants and you aren't following The Sill on Instagram yet, do it, do it, do it. Their slogan is literally "plants make people happy" and that is The Truth. Not only do their Instagram posts bring me joy, but I also gave one of their stores in NYC a visit and it is PARADISE. It's so bright and lush and friendly. I picked up a lil' snake plant, who I have named Hector, while I was there, and he is now sitting proudly on my desk at work. Snake plants are basically impossible to kill (you only have to water them once every two to three weeks and they can handle anything from low light to full sunlight), so you get to enjoy their cool shape and color without much work or worry. I highly recommend getting your own Hector — he makes me smile every time I glance over at him. —Tom Vellner

    2. Read Emotional First Aid for actually helpful advice on how to deal with things like loneliness, failure, insecurity, and rejection.

    Anna Borges / BuzzFeed

    I'm not a ~self-help book~ type of person. I tend to find them too sparkly and cheesy to be genuinely useful to me personally. However, I decided to take a chance on Emotional First Aid by psychologist Guy Winch, and I'm really happy I did! Basically, it employs one of my favorite philosophies, which is that mental health should be looked after with the same care and urgency as physical health. He outlines various "emotional wounds" we all sustain day-to-day, goes over longterm consequences of each, and provides "treatments."

    I came away with several actionable tips I've already started using. Many of the "treatments" involve making lists (such as journaling about your self-defeating behaviors that might be sabotaging your life, or listing people you'd like to get to know better to identify potential opportunities for social connectedness when you're lonely) or participating in exercises (such as one to help you increase your tolerance of compliments when you have low self-esteem or one that trains you to change your perspective when you can't stop ruminating about something). He provides clear and detailed guided instructions; even the skeptic in me couldn't deny that following them made me feel a little stronger and a little more resilient every time I put in the effort. It was basically like (almost) free therapy! —Anna Borges

    Get it from Amazon for $14.06.

    3. Give the Headspace app a try even if you don't quite get meditation, because it might surprise you.

    Rachel Miller / BuzzFeed

    In the past few years, I have been Going Through Some Shit. In an effort to support the healing process, I decided to give meditation a try. ​I'd thought about ​trying it​ in the past, but this blog post gave me the push I needed to ​start. After reading​ the post, I downloaded Headspace and started with the Basics pack. I was genuinely shocked by how great I felt after my first three minute session. Like, all I did was sit there and breathe​ and I just felt so...good.

    A month later, I can’t say enough good things about Headspace. Doing the Basics packs (which are very guided and some days include really wonderful short videos) ​turned out to be perfect for me. Meditation isn’t necessarily *easy*, but knowing I only “had” to do it for three minutes ​— each session gives you the option of doing it for three minutes, five minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, or 20 minutes — ​helped me stick with it​; I haven’t missed a single say since I started on April 1. Now I’m up to 10 and 15 minute sessions each day, plus I usually so a separate 3-5 minute session before bed, and I fall asleep to the ​sleep-specific​​ one using my Amazon Echo at night (which anyone with an Echo can do). I can’t say I totally *get* meditation yet,​ but I'm enjoying the process, and I can tell that it's making me more focused, present, and patient in my everyday life. ​—Rachel W. Miller

    4. Take up dry body brushing for a quick routine that allows you to spend some mindful one-on-one time with your body.

    Gyan Yankovich / BuzzFeed

    Until this month, dry body brushing was on my (quite long) list of "good habits I used to have but for some random reason stopped doing and never picked up again." Coming to the end of literally the longest winter of my whole damn life, I looked down at my dry-ass legs and realized I needed to get that shit sorted before it became bare-legs weather. I love dry body brushing not only because it's exfoliating and apparently great for lymphatic drainage, but because it's a daily ritual that helps me feel in touch with my body. My brushing routine only takes a few minutes, but it's time I get to be mindful and take note of my skin and body, and the way I treat it. Also, it just feels really, really good.

    The brush I use is also amazing in its own right. I decided to buy this one after seeing it had over 1,500 reviews on Amazon and a 4.5-star rating, and honestly, it's just as good as I anticipated. It's soft and fits perfectly on my hand, and came with a small hook which I attached to one of the walls in my bathroom, so it's easy to find before every shower. —Gyan Yankovich

    Get it from Amazon for $9.95.

    5. Take a day to catch up on all the doctor/health appointments you've been putting off.

    Jen Lewis / BuzzFeed

    It's easy to procrastinate on your to-do list when you work Monday through Friday and value your weekend for relaxing, so I took a page out of my colleague Rachel Miller's book, who recommends occasionally taking a random weekday off to run errands and get shit done. Except I didn't need to run to Target, go grocery shopping, drop off my laundry, or do various other errands. I needed to go to the optometrist. And endocrinologist. And gynecologist. And dentist. And oh my god, I did not want to. But it got to the point that I was like six months overdue for various annual checkups, and even though there was nothing imminently wrong with me requiring medical attention, I decided to do the adult thing and knock them out.

    And let me tell you! It was so much more effective than the method I used to try, which was promising myself I'd go to an appointment a week for a month — only to go to one and never schedule any of the others because I was reminded immediately how much I hate doctor appointments. So pack a day with them (though space them at least two hours apart so you have wiggle room for shitty waiting room times) and rip the bandage off. —AB

    6. Make a big batch breakfast once a week so you have one less thing to worry about in the mornings.

    Rachel W. Miller / BuzzFeed

    This month, I started doing breakfast meal prep! I typically eat breakfast at my desk, and I knew it would be cheaper, healthier, and faster to bring it with me instead of grabbing something from one of NYC's many breakfast purveyors. So I spent a Sunday working up a sweat in the kitchen, making a big breakfast casserole.

    If you're curious, here's how I made it:

    - Made a batch of bell peppers bruschetta

    - Chopped up a yam into bite-sized pieces and roasted in the same 400-degree oven as the peppers

    - Cooked an 8-ounce pack of nitrate-free bacon and then chopped it into bite size pieces

    - Chopped up two cups of fresh spinach

    - Added all of the above to a big casserole dish with a dozen whisked eggs and lots of seasoning, and baked for ~25 minutes at 400 degrees

    All that chopping took some time, and next time I'll replace the yam with a sweet potato (or just skip it entirely), BUT it was so nice to have a pre-made meal ready to go for breakfast all week! If making (or buying) breakfast is slowing you down in the morning, it's totally worth getting ahead of it on a Sunday afternoon! —RWM

    7. Find your perfect house outfit that you'll look forward to putting on every day when you get home.


    We need to talk about house pants. I'm talking the kind that you put on the second you get home, and only take off when it's time to go to bed or leave the house. They can be sweatpants, yoga pants, literally whatever feels best to you — but for me, they're these Lou & Grey Zen Bounce Upstate Sweatpants. I'm not exaggerating when I say they're the softest things I've ever felt. It's like a cloud, cotton, and butter all met up and decided to join forces as a fabric that once you put it on, it feels like a crime to take off. I bought them at full-price because it physically pained me to leave the store without them. That's how good they are.

    Since then, they've become the single best part of being home. They elevate all of my regular homebody activities — doing puzzles, drinking tea, watching Real Housewives — into a state of sheer bliss. They're perfect house pants for me because they're loose and forgiving, but still have a drawstring so that they stay in place at all times. The main reason I don't wear them outside is because, thanks to my stature (I'm 5'0" with short legs), the fit is too pajama-y to make them work in a setting that isn't my couch. But! If you're taller or like that look or fit, there's nothing saying you couldn't wear them during the day! I'm just saying that for me, they're absolutely ideal house pants. Yes, $69.50 is a lot for something that may never see the light of day, but they bring enough joy into my life to more than make up for it. Some people spend that kind of coin on skincare treatments or yoga classes, and that's great for them! For me, though, slipping into these bad boys at the end of a long day is the gateway to true comfort, relaxation, and self-care. —Terri Pous

    By the way, our teammate Rachel also owns these pants and our entire team has confirmed that this super extra review is, in fact, true. They're very soft.

    Get them from Lou & Grey or LOFT (where you can use LOFT coupons/sales on them) for $69.50+.

    That's all we've got! Here's to making your life juuust a little easier.