7 Tips for A Happy Life: Lessons Learned

Isn’t there a way that life sometimes throws us curveballs? My kitchen is my happy place. When I’m grouchy, frustrated, grieving or simply feeling blue, I turn to my pots and pans and whisks and beaters. Cooking soothes me. It puts me in the zen-zone.

I was injured recently and essentially unable to manage any cooking for about eight weeks. Yikes. Totally cramped my style. You’ve been there. Suddenly, something you’ve always loved to do becomes next to impossible. You can imagine the ride, emotional and physical. And, in keeping with my philosophy that every challenge carries a secret gift, I set about searching for the benevolent offering in a seriously broken foot and a cast up to my knee.

The present, was, well, presence. Once I got through the surgery and off the pain meds, I had a seemingly endless stretch of time before me. Granted I couldn’t get up to my usual hijinks, but I had a chance to practice some of my favourite tips for having a happy life – albeit in a rather more restricted form.

A year or so ago, I put together a little free e-book called 7 Tips for a Happy Life. In it, I offer some advice about finding everyday happiness. As a side dish, it includes some of my all-time favourite healthy recipes to complement the tips.  I re-read it recently, and here are my reflections on the seven lessons I’ve learned from them over the last couple of months.

7 tips for a happy life

7 Lessons I’ve Learned from 7 Tips


1. Get alone. Hear those inner nudges.

The break (literally) gave me time to tune into my inner voice. Despite lots of help, visits, and support there were some very long days and nights.  Keeping company with myself gave me a real opportunity to hear those inner nudges.

2. Get together. Risk vulnerability with others.

Small, goodhearted gatherings took place that helped me keep my spirits up, and let me take part in some of the holiday festivities. The big win here? Being ‘broken’, gave me an opportunity to risk vulnerability with others and ask for help.

3. Get organized. Get clear about what you need to function well.

Having limited mobility means being really clear about what you need to function well, and making sure its arranged in a way that works. With help, I entirely rejigged work and personal spaces, both for safety and sanity. And, yep, some of these strategies are here to stay.

4. Get messy. Give up the need for a perfect environment.

As a Type A multipreneur, it probably goes without saying that I’m into a bit of control. Just a bit. To be fair, though, I have always been comfortable with some creative chaos. I’m both a dreamer and a doer. In the past two months, I learned to really give up the need for a perfect environment. For that matter, I let go of needing to have my hair combed. Even for company. Some days it was just too much. Hello, messiness. Welcome.

5. Get started. Take small steps.

On the metaphysical level, I took the break very literally. As in, take a break. At the same time, I’m self-employed and highly motivated. I figured out I could take small steps to take to get started on some of my 2014 projects even without a lot of energy or focus. I’ve also found the ‘get started’ mantra very useful for physiotherapy ;).

6. Get out of your comfort zone. Say yes. Or no.

With ‘uber-capable’ as a primary identity, suddenly finding myself dependent and a little helpless was a big psychological stretch. My primary has a pretty entrenched ‘can-do’ attitude. I’ve negotiated a whole new relationship with the words “No, I can’t do that”.  And, yep, some of these strategies are here to stay, too.

7. Get cooking. Improvise.

Of course this one has a double meaning, especially in the context of this post. In the e-book, it’s about improvisation.  Well, so were the last couple of months. Almost completely. Make it up as you go along. But now – cooking! The real thing, not as a metaphor.

Download your free *copy of the e-book here. It will take to you to the Dishing in the Kitchen Facebook page. Give the page a like while you’re there. I’d love to hear how you apply the tips to your own life. By the way, the recipes are ‘clean’ and healthy, so the pie pictured is not included. I definitely think eating pie does contribute to a happy life. Who doesn’t? But I really wanted the little book to contribute to a healthy one, too.

If it’s pie you’re after, check out this blog post and recipe.

You can also download the ebook in the sidebar of the Dishing in the Kitchen website.

*Honestly, when I look at it now, I feel a little embarasssed about the quality of the book, especially the photos, although it is so goodhearted in nature, I can’t be too hard on myself. Practicing loving-kindness, especially toward the self, would have to be Tip #8.

Download your own copy and you’ll see what I mean.


How about you? What’s your favourite tip for living a happy life? Join the conversation. #everydayhappiness 

read more good stuff!:

About Vicki

I’m a coach and consultant and in my spare time I like to cook and play house. I believe happy idleness is a purposeful pathway to a contented life. And I am happiest either in my pajamas or an apron – or both.


  1. Ernie Daykin says:

    Great advice….and it caused me to pause and reflect a wee bit. Throughout life some of the happiness and fondest memories are from the kitchen. Whether it was spending time watching my grandma making an amazing pie ….or fast forward to today…..with our grandkids learning the cooking trade and good warm conversations and visits.
    Warm & cozy thoughts……Thanks, Vicki

    • Thanks Ernie. Perfect Sunday thoughts, I’d say. The kitchen has always been the happy centre of our home, too.

Speak Your Mind