Your full-day happiness prescription

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lola berry the happy cookbook
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Whether you had a crummy day at work or have been feeling down for months, sometimes you just need a full day to reset. It sounds like a luxury, but it shouldn’t; devoting time to rejuvenate is an integral part of taking care of yourself. (All hail self-care!)

No one knows this better than Australian wellness blogger Lola Berry, who happens to radiate warmth way beyond her 109k Instagram followers. The food and DIY beauty guru just released The Happy Cookbook, which has 130 recipes “for health, wellness, and a little extra sparkle.” (Um, who doesn’t want extra sparkle?)

Needless to say, she’s spent some time ruminating on just what inspires joy all day long—and she’s sharing.

Here, Berry lays out her tips on planning a full day (we’re talking from morning until night) built around happiness. The best part? You don’t have to change out of your PJs.

Here’s the Lola Berry guide to having a day of happiness.

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Photo: Pixabay/evitaochel

Start the day with a serotonin-packed smoothie

Hitting the gym when you’re feeling down has become the go-to advice experts give for beating the blues, and for good reason—the endorphin rush really does help. But if you’d rather stay in your sweats all day, you’ll love Berry’s advice: eat something!

Specifically her special smoothie, which is full of foods high in serotonin, AKA the feel-good hormone. “Banana smoothies are a great mood-booster because they are really high in tryptophan, which is the precursor to serotonin,” she says. Along with your favorite greens—according to science they make you happier—Berry recommends adding in coconut oil and avocado, both good for your brain (saturated fats are one of the main components of brain cells).

2 cups coconut milk or almond milk
1 banana
1 cup chopped spinach or kale
1 avocado
8 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp honey or maple syrup

Photo: Stocksy/Marika Mandic

Netflix and chill—with a face mask on

While you savor your smoothie, queue up a movie or TV series that you 100 percent love (no judgement). But before you press play, head back into the kitchen to whip up Berry’s favorite DIY face mask, which reuses a lot of ingredients you’re already putting in your smoothie. “Avocado and coconut oil make a really good base because it’s binding and oily,” she says.

If you’re looking to go beyond the metaphoric and really leave the past behind, opt for a little exfoliation instead. Berry’s fave skin-buffing hack is to add in roughly chopped steel cut oats to your DIY mask. Mashed bananas and a bit of honey (again with the smoothie leftovers) are good add-ins too, because the A and E vitamins in bananas get things glowing while honey works as an antibacterial—great if you’ve got a not-so-fun pimple. “I love to add cacao nibs too for the antioxidants,” Berry says.

Oh and by the way, the face mask tastes pretty darn good, so feel free to save any leftovers for a midday snack.

1 avocado
8 tsp coconut oil
1 cup steel cut oats, roughly chopped
2 mashed bananas
2 Tbsp honey
4 tsp cacao nibs

Photo: Stocksy/Daniel Nevsky

Do a little midday meditating

Sometimes there’s something specific that has you feeling down (your job, a relationship, money, a certain Presidential candidate…) and other times it’s lingering and deep-rooted. Either way, Berry says it’s good to work some meditation into your happiness day—even if it’s just for a few minutes.

“Going to a yoga class or meditating at home helps pull yourself out of your head, putting things in perspective,” she says. Don’t know where to start? Try a guided mediation through an app.  

Photo: Foodiesfeed

Fill up on serotonin…again

Even a smoothie packed to the brim with happiness-boosting nutrients can’t leave you buzzing all day. Not a problem, says Berry. “Fill a leafy green salad with turkey, pumpkin seeds, and a white cheese like feta, ricotta, or cottage cheese,” she says. “They all have tryptophan.” (Reminder: It’s like the red carpet that leads to the good-mood Oscars.)

Berry’s go-to veggie snack? Tomatoes topped with goat’s milk feta (which is featured in her new book). Here’s how to make it:

4 regular tomatoes, cut into slices
1 pint heirloom tomatoes, halved
Basil leaves, coarsely chopped
4 ounces goat’s milk feta
Balsamic vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

Layer the sliced tomatoes and cherry tomatoes.

Scatter a layer of basil leaves on top. Crumble feta on top of the basil leaves.

Drizzle on the balsamic vinegar and then the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Photo: Stocksy/Bonninstudio

Take an oat bath

Life is so busy, you’re more likely to be shaving your legs in a 10-minute post-workout rinse-off than actually bathing (as in taking an indulgent soak). But if there’s any time to do it, it’s during a day devoted to happiness—and hey, pour yourself a glass of wine while you’re at it.

“When I get stressed my skin gets irritated too, so I have an oat bath, which calms both the nervous system and the skin,” Berry says. Her no-mess hack? Grab an old pair of pantyhose, fill it with oats, and run the bath water through it, so the water gets milky. Then, you can use the pantyhose as a loofa, gently exfoliating the skin. Genius, right?

Photo: Pixabay/Alex Van

Use lavender oil to take you to dream land

If your bed doubles as your de facto desk (been there), it’s especially important to revamp your bedroom so that it serves its intended function: as a place of rest. Berry is a big fan of lavender oil, which calms the body and mind. “I put a few drops on my pillow,” she says.

So turn off your phone (gasp!), sink deep into your lovely scented pillow, and get ready to wake up rejuvenated.

Want to learn more about essential oils? Get the full low-down here. Plus, check out the science behind how what you eat effects how happy you feel

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