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As you all know, my family and I took a much needed vacation last week. I cannot tell you how much that trip helped my overall physical and mental health. It wasn't just about the trip, it was about what we did on the trip that helped all the mental and emotional fatigue that we have all experienced last year to some extent.

I am someone who enjoys the outdoors. We backpack, hike, ride bikes... you get the idea. There is not much to do in the winter, outside, unless you ski, snowboard or ice skate. I was late to the game for the downhill sports. Mark taught me to ski when I was 26, I learned to snowboard when I was 32 and I was hooked. We have gone to the hills almost every year since. The feeling I get while going down the mountain is beyond exciting for me. Its kind of hard to explain but I feel like me. I am supposed to do this. I felt the most relaxed I have felt in a long time. It made me so happy!

We should all do things that make us happy. It doesn't have to be a sport. I also enjoy knitting and reading. They bring me just as much joy as barreling down a mountain with my feet strapped onto a board. It also doesn't have to be an activity. There are 3 dimensions of happiness: pleasure and gratification, strengths and virtues, meaning and purpose. What these do is fill us with joy, satisfaction, contentment and fulfillment. After last year and the beginning of this year we all need to find ways to bring more joy and contentment into our lives. bringing more happiness into our lives helps lower our blood pressure and our stress markers like cortisol. It also can help us see the world through a more optimistic lens and make us more empathetic towards others. helping to make us happier just makes everything a bit better.

So pick up a book you want to read, volunteer if you can, pick up snowboarding, I don't care, just go do something that fills you up and makes you happy and feel good.

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