I spend a good deal of time talking about mindfulness in the workshops that I lead, to the yoga students I teach, and especially to my very own children. Yet, I have a confession to make. Last week, I was leaving Costco, which was a bit nutty as it was the day before Valentine’s Day and extra customers seemed to be scrambling for last-minute chocolates and flowers. I had already covered Whole Foods that morning, and I was soon due at a doctor’s appointment, for which I was currently tracking to be late. But before I left Costco, I really wanted to squeeze in one more task: I wanted to grind the whole-bean coffee I had just purchased to avoid later issues at home with my tiny and inadequate grinder.

I quickly spotted the industrial-strength coffee grinder and, with a one-track mind and purposeful focus, pushed my very full cart toward it, leaving it in front of one of those picnic-style benches. After grinding my coffee—which was spilling everywhere as the handy-dandy adhesive closing strip was not adhering as promised—I headed back to my cart. I was looking straight forward as I assessed how many carts were in the exit line ahead of me. How much time did I think it would it take me to get out of Costco, unpack the cart into my car, put the cart away, and then drive down the road to my appointment?

I literally tossed the coffee in the front carrier, put my full weight behind the oversized cart, and started pushing quickly towards the door. Until I heard, “Excuse me, miss! You have my cart!” Sheepishly—and the slowest I think I had moved that morning—I turned around, mortified, to apologize to the nice pizza-eating man staring up at me from his bench.

You are probably anticipating that I will now emphasize the importance of mindfulness, and the drawbacks of mindlessness and multitasking. Well, yes, mindfulness is an extremely important concept that I had clearly let slip that day in Costco. But I actually want to talk about recognizing when you’re doing too much, and tell you what I like to do when I realize I really need to slow down.

When life gets too busy, and the days seem way too cloudy and cold, and my tight shoulders feel like I’m carrying the weight of the world, here’s what I like to do to create my own happiness and practice self-care:

  • Listen to a good audiobook or podcast
  • Write an inspired blog post
  • Schedule coffee or a walk with friends
  • Take a yoga class
  • Take a dance class
  • Say no to something I don’t want to do
  • Say yes to something I do want to do
  • Schedule a change of scenery—such as a visit to an out-of-town friend or family member
  • Play a board game with my kids
  • Have lunch with my husband
  • Say yes when someone offers to help
  • Watch the Saturday Night LiveWeekend Update I’ve recorded
  • Watch Shawn Achor’s TEDx Talk, “The happy secret to better work”
  • Watch Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake’s The History of Rap
  • Block off time to attend the World Happiness Summit in March
  • Text my best friend from high school—sending her a question that will undoubtedly bait her into a witty exchange. “Katie, remember when our band teacher completely lost his cool during band camp? And we … Could. Not. Stop. Laughing?”

What makes you happy, who makes you happy? Do more of that, connect with them more often, show down, smile, and build a better day. Making happiness happen really does work. Especially when it’s cold and grey, and February in the Northeast. And you’ve just stolen someone else’s cart at Costco.

SandySandy Campbell, a 2018 CiWPP graduate, is a Health and Wellness Coach, and holds an MS in Counseling from Villanova University, a degree from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and a 200-hour yoga teacher training certification. After working for 10-plus years for a major pharmaceutical company, Sandy decided to step out of the corporate world and focus on improving her health, quality of life, and happiness. Her passion evolved into helping others meet their full potential through small but highly impactful dietary and lifestyle shifts. Focusing on nutrition, stress management, and positive psychology, Sandy works with clients in person and remotely; leads corporate wellness workshops for businesses and organizations, including the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, Mylan Pharmaceuticals, and the Community College of Allegheny County; and leads on-site and online programs, including her 11-Day Pure Energy Program, a clean eating boot camp. Learn more at sandycampbell.net or on Facebook at Sandy Campbell Wellness.