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Refuge, Power Boost, and Healing in a Time of Crisis: Visit Your Happier Place

lone pelican on sign in water at sunset, Honeymoon Island, Florida

Calm down anxiety, de-stress, re-energize, and boost your immune system by visiting YOUR Happier Place: in nature (if you can) – or just in your mind.

During a time of crisis, like the current Covid-19 pandemic, there are lots of important recommendations, restrictions, and initiatives to help our physical and even financial health. However, we need to be careful that we don’t overlook our emotional and mental health during this stressful and uncertain time.

Some of the official tips could even lead to additional stress, anxiety, and depression. And that’s not great for your health. Of course, we still need to follow the essential guidelines. But we put together a slightly different list of tips to help us all cope better and stay strong.

To be clear, when we say “healing” we don’t mean that watching a sunset cures any coronavirus. We’re talking about supporting recovery and strengthening resistance through building up and healing emotional and mental well-being, which is linked to physical well-being. Of course, there are also the traditional physical benefits of fresh air and sunshine-triggered Vitamin D. Let’s start with that…

Green meadow in Tiergarten in Berlin - Happier Place
There’s a refreshing green meadow waiting for you out there… This one is in Tiergarten, Berlin.

I. Go Outside to a NATURAL Happier Place

Get some fresh air, sunshine, and mild exercise by stepping out the door and into nature. Besides the physical benefits, nature is also soothing to the mind by providing visual harmony, putting things in perspective, and reminding us that things do get better again. Think: daily sunrise, big mountains, or new spring blooms.

If you’re lucky, you have a beach, forest, mountain or a park nearby your home. But even if not, you could go looking for some grass cracking the asphalt, a spring flower blooming in a window box, or a bird on a tree. In an apartment building, you might be able to get on the roof to watch the sun rise before a day of working from home – or the sun setting before you hunker back down for an evening indoors.

During the current phase of social distancing and quarantine in many places, only do so if you can do so without using public transportation and without getting too close to other people.

Read more: Get Happier in 3 Simple Steps: Take a Break. Go Outside. Have Fun.

Let’s inspire each other: Tell us in the comments where you like to go outside in your area.

Sun flare through the forest and small creek glistening.
Forest bathing with sunshine. Classic healthier, happier place.
This stream runs in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

II. Visit Your MENTAL Happier Place

Soothe your mind and make yourself feel better by closing your eyes and imagining a place that makes you happier.

This mental state is usually referred to as “being in your Happy Place”.

We call it Happier Place because: For one, nobody can guarantee happiness, but we can always feel happier. And a Happier Place has been made better than your average happy place by any addition of your choosing. Maybe you will imagine not just a wildflower-covered meadow, but also your dog loping around like a dolphin over the waves – or maybe you’ll be sipping on a Piña Cola while imagining sitting on the beach.

Read more: Happier Place Definitions + Find Your Own Happier Place + 5 Tips to Find Your Own Happy Place

Let’s inspire each other: Describe your mental happier place in the comment section below.

Dogs and hammocks between palm tress on the beach in Xamach Dos, Sian Kaan, Tulum, Mexico
Dogs and hammocks hanging between palm trees on the beach in Xamach Dos, Sian Ka’an, Mexico. Talk about a Happier Place!

III. CREATE VISUALS of a Happier Place

So you’re stuck at home? Perfect time to look through those photos from a past outing and choose a few to have printed and framed – or design a whole photo book and have it printed by places like Bay Photo Lab or Snapfish.

Another idea is hang up a map from a National Park or other location you visited – then add your own photos.

Or instead of revisiting a place you’ve been, create a “vision board” of a place you’d like to visit. Or how about a collage of images from different places, plants, wildlife or activities that bring you joy? Sure, you could call it a Happier Vision Board.

Brooklyn Bridge Park (Piers 3 and 2), Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge seen from the Brooklyn Promenade.
Imagine yourself walking along the Brooklyn Promenade, gazing across Brooklyn Bridge Park at Manhattan beyond.

IV. Plan a FUTURE FUN Excursion

At this time, we might not be able to say WHEN we can go on a group trip again or fly to an exotic location. But we know we will eventually. So let’s fuel our strength with hope! How about imagining yourself (and yours) at a bucket list destination or doing bucket list activities? Get started on some research to focus on.

Get talking with your friends today about meeting up again for an all-time favorite activity or revisiting an old haunt from back in the day… or just from before things started shutting down?

You could even send out our Yes, Let’s! Multiple-Choice Postcards to set the spark for a future fun time.

See more: Lots of ideas for places and activities can be found via our Pinterest Boards.

Let’s inspire each other: Let us know in the comments where you’d like to go next and what you’d do there.

Mother manatee and manatee calf swimming in clear water at Three Sister Springs, Florida
Is this on your bucket list? Swimming with manatees or just seeing them out in the wild. Manatee mother and calf at Three Sister Springs in Florida.

V. Create a Happier Place With Someone Else: CONNECT ACROSS THE SOCIAL DISTANCE

Feeling connected is so important to most people. Even if you don’t think it’s important to you – someone you know might really need to feel it. And just because due to circumstances, we can’t physically be with others, doesn’t mean we can’t feel connected. Get on the phone and call someone – especially those who live alone. Even better: use a video chat to not only hear but also see each other.

For free international phone calls between smart phones with wifi, we use the WhatsApp.

For free and encrypted text chats, we use Telegram.

For free video chats we use Apple FaceTime and Skype. You can even have a Group Video Chat with people in different locations via Skype. How? Just select one contact, then add another via the plus symbol and thus create a group you can invite to a group video chat. Or want to create a scheduled event, like our friend Jason’s Meditation During Social Isolation Group – or maybe host a regular Happy Hour with friends? Then Zoom is a convenient free software to use for scheduling your next video meeting.

So get the gang together and have fun – while keeping each other safe. And keep checking in with your mom, your granddad, and that friend living by himself without even a cat.

Want to make someone feel extra special during this time of quarantine, self isolation and social distancing? Send a postcard or a greeting card.

If you order cards from us, you’re also helping us keep our heads above water financially (especially now that all upcoming outdoor markets have been cancelled).

Select and Order: Happier Place Postcards and Folded Greetings Cards

Read more: Mail services including the USPS and FedEx will continue delivering + Make Someone Feel Special: Happier Place Postcards and Greeting Cards

Solitary house in Kachemak Bay, Alaska
Solitary house in a cove along Kachemak Bay, Alaska.

Let’s Inspire Each Other!

Please share in the comments section below YOUR ideas of how to make life happier for others and yourself during challenging times like these.

Share this image on Pinterest to inspire others to find refuge and strength in their Happier Place.

happier healthier tips: find your happier place for refuge, power boost and healing in a time of crisis

All photos in this post were taken by Luci Westphal, who considers all these locations her Happier Places – at least in the very moment she took each photo.

25 thoughts on “Refuge, Power Boost, and Healing in a Time of Crisis: Visit Your Happier Place

  1. Well for some of us in 100% quarantine like here in Spain, a walk in nature just isn’t possible. I do like the idea of envisioning what I want with pictures. I should make sort of a visual board. That would be a great idea.

    1. Hi Nina! I hope you’re doing okay in Spain. The full lock-down must be so challenging to deal with. Here in Florida, we are only under a “safer at home” order. It means we are still allowed to go outside for some things, for now. Most importantly, I hope you and yours are healthy. I also hope that making some sort of visual board helps you focus some of your energy on something hopeful and soothing and can help make you happier and stronger!

  2. I really want to go somewhere but there is a complete lockdown in my country… May God help us all in these bad times..

    1. I’m sorry you can’t go anywhere outside right now. But I hope that the full lockdown means that the virus will not spread in your country – and more of your people will get through this. I hope you’re using other methods to feel happier and that you and yours are healthy!!!

  3. Watching the birds in the tree and at our bird feeder is calming on any kind of day, good or bad, but especially during this time when we are mostly at home. They remind me that life goes on and it is beautiful.

    1. Wonderful strategy, Dianne! Watching birds is so soothing. I keep wishing we could set up a bird feeder, but because of our cats in the past and now WhiskeyDog we’ve hesitated. However, she seems to be relatively mellow with the birds that are already coming through the yard. Maybe this is the time to set one up and see. Of course, here what I really need is a pond with fish, so that the wading birds would come and visit us 🙂

  4. Today since I had to get groceries and work for 1.5 hours cleaning the office at the car dealership my son works at I stopped at Home Depot to plan for the future. I bought seeds and a flat to start them in so this afternoon I am planting my seeds, and looking forward to eating my own vegetables this summer. Even if you live in an apartment with a window you can start some plants like radishes they are fast growing and you should be able to eat in about 8 weeks. Watching a plant grow each day is exciting.

    1. That is such a brilliant idea – not only to have vegetables and fruits later, but also to channel the energy we have right now and to focus on something productive and simple like helping grow something. Great tip about the radishes – and even growing on balconies! A friend of mine in Germany grows strawberries on his little balcony in Hamburg every year. We’ve got tomatoes and herbs going right now. Our soil so close to the beach is pretty bad, more sand than anything. But we’re thinking of building a raised bed to try our luck with more vegetables. Are you starting the seeds indoors or are you putting them straight into the outdoor beds?

      1. Here in Central NY we can’t plant out until end of May so I am just starting the seeds inside.

  5. I am planning to go the park tomorrow which barely has anyone. I can’t afford to go anywhere but the park is a great place to enjoy nature.

    1. I hope you’re still able to go to the park! It’s lucky if one doesn’t have to travel far to enjoy a little bit of nature.

  6. Everyone needs a smile each day. The person in your mirror would love a smile. If you smile at the person in you mirror they smile at you. I have found it very encouraging to get a smile each time I look in the mirror.

    1. I absolutely love this “exercise”. Thank you so much for sharing this, Shary. I have tried the experiment of smiling at people to see that they actually can’t help but must smile back. Now I’m going to add this Mirror Smile to my morning routine. What a gift!
      Be well and healthy, my friend.
      xx Luci

  7. Love all of this. Especially the beautifully worded “some grass cracking the asphalt, a spring flower blooming in a window box, or a bird on a tree” as this is a nice reminder that nature is everywhere. Also a nice pointer to take the time to write some greeting cards to loved ones – a lost art on many, and now is the time where this can really make a difference in someone’s life!

    1. Thank you for your wonderful comment, Nick! It is too easy to forget how much nature is around us when we’re running around in the city with so much distracting our attention. I truly believe that if we take a moment and pay attention to something beautiful – something natural that’s surviving and thriving, it gives us so much joy and encouragement. And I think I might just send you a card this week… Please act surprised.
      Stay well, stay healthy, stay you,
      xx Luci

  8. Thanks for the wonderful posts and also thankful for you & Scott staying in touch with me & Grandmother. Looking forward to being able to share some Happy time with ya’ll.

    1. Thank you for your sweet comment, Ellie. It’s good to focus on the fun we can have together once all this is over. We’ll be sure to visit you as soon as it seems safe again – or if you need us to be there, of course! Until then it’s great that we’re able to talk to each other on all of our devices! Video chat ya soon…
      xx Luci

  9. Great post! it is definitely we need now, in these unsafe times

    1. Thank you for your comment, Lyosha. I hope you’re doing well!
      xx Luci

  10. I had been through hell recently and from my own experience I can tell you that these are very effective which you have mentioned here. It helps in keeping mental sanity.

    1. So sorry to hear you’ve been through such a hard time lately – but so glad to know that it sounds like you’re on the other side of the hell now! And it’s great that some of these methods worked for you, too!
      Wishing you well and good health!
      xx Luci

  11. For me it’s about getting into nature. As well as the general level of anxiety my mum’s partner has just passed away from an aggressive cancer so I have been grieving over that. These are really challenging times for everyone so thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I’m so sorry you and your mum have gone through such a hard loss. It must make all of this even more challenging and surreal. Wonderful to know nature is a soothing escape for you as well.
      Be well and take care of yourself and yours.
      xx Luci

  12. Thank you for sharing this. It is very much needed in times like this. Personally, I am planning what should I do when this is over and having those plans helps me cope with whatever is going on. I keep telling myself that this will soon be over.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Clarice. I’m glad you also think it’s a good and helpful idea to start planning good things for when all this is over. My birthday is in late April – and I always go on a short trip during that time. Would be amazing to already travel again by then – but right now I’m trying to just envision WHERE I might go, not so much on when.
      Be well!
      xx Luci

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