5 ways to bring a little peace and happiness to friday (or any other day)

It's officially spring at our house: the first of Marcus' orchids have bloomed. Photographed with Nikon D300, 35mm lens.

After crazy weeks like these past two, I crave time to myself -- some quiet time, to help ease me back into my normal routine.  When this happens, I have a few favourite things I like to do to help make my day a little more calm, and a little more special.  And so, in the off-chance you guys have had  similarly manic weeks, I thought I'd share them with you:

1. Take yourself to lunch. For once, don't eat at your desk, or worse, skip lunch altogether. Tell your coworkers that you have lunch plans. Then on your lunch break, pick up a healthy lunch (or grab your brown bag), and find somewhere quiet to sit and enjoy the view -- a favourite cafe or a park bench or whatever. Take that novel you're in the middle of (or start a new one). Or grab the latest issue of your favourite guilty-pleasure magazine. Or journal. Use your lunch break to escape.

2. Listen to some great music. Instead of listening to the same-old playlist (or foregoing music altogether), listen to something brand new. A great resource: Pandora, where you can input your favourite song or artist, and Pandora will play those tunes plus songs and other artists of the same genre -- all for free. It's a great way to learn about new music (right now, as I type this, I have bossa nova playing nonstop). Tune in while you're getting ready in the morning, plug in earphones while you work at your desk (no need to disturb your coworkers!), listen this evening as you wind down, or before you go out later. Just give your groove thing a little shake.

3. When you get home this evening (or after the kids go to bed), have a cup of tea and light a candle. While you're drinking your tea, look into the flame, and think of nothing but the flickering of the light and the taste of your tea. When your mind starts to wander, bring it back to the flickering of the candle and the taste of your tea. Just for the time it takes you to finish your cup of tea, think of nothing but that flickering flame and that warm tea taste.

4. Buy yourself some fresh flowers or a small new houseplant. 'Nuff said.

5. Grab your camera or camera phone and take a photograph of something pretty. Just because. For bonus points, print out the image and display it somewhere you'll be able to see it every day. Feel free to swap out images (or add more) as necessary.  Trust me on this one -- it will definitely work.

Happy Friday the 13th, everyone. May today be your lucky day.

Song: A vizinha do lado by Roberta Sá

(Crossposted at Shutter Sisters)