It is one of the most sought-after periods of all time, and it doesn’t even technically exist. Much like the eighth day of the week of Beatles fame, the elusive hour (or most often hours) known as “Happy Hour” hangs out at corner pubs and trendy clubs alike. But how is it so “happy”? Is happiness defined by dollar hot dogs and discounted blue-ish purple-ish mystery shots?
The concept behind “Happy Hour” is a good one. Yes, you should unwind and reward yourself for a job (or several jobs) well done. Yes, you should allow yourself some social time and kick back where everybody knows your name (or at least your alcohol preferences.) Yes, relaxing should be a part of every single day, even if it’s only for 60 short minutes.
But what if being beyond tipsy before the sun goes down isn’t your idea of a good time? Maybe you work late into the night, long after the free popcorn has pooped out. Maybe you’d rather spend your time in quieter spaces or with younger faces. With or without drink specials, you deserve an hour of happiness every day. If that seems Utopian, just commit to once or twice a week. You’ll soon find you’re more addicted to these “Happy Hours” than you ever were to those Jell-o shots down the street.
Think you’ll be bored without the booze? Here is a list of happiness-inducing activities that take an hour or less!
- Play a game with your family. You can fit in one round of Monopoly, or several of Candy Land.
- Take a Pilates class. You should have extra time left over for stretching, smoothie drinking, or admiring your new-found abdominal muscles.
- Get a manicure and a pedicure. You may need some extra time for drying if you do both. Avoid the magazines and focus on the soothing sensations.
- Write in your journal.
- Donate blood. You’ll be amazed how quickly you can help save lives.
- Hand-write a letter to an old friend, stamping and mailing time included.
- Prepare a healthy new recipe. Eat slowly as you savor every bite.
- Take a dance lesson. You can show off your new moves for years to come.
- Strap on the Rollerblades. Jump on your bike. Hit the driving range. Take Fido for a walk and try a new path.
- Take a nap and sit and watch the sun as it sets.
- Roam through the library or bookstore. Find a comfortable chair and read without distraction.
- Re-visit an old hobby. Make headway on that scarf you never finished. Print and frame your favorite photos. Find all the corner pieces on that 1,000-piece puzzle.
- Breathe, meditate, reflect, restore, renew, revive, release.
And if your “Happy Hour” plans do include alcohol, make a heart healthy choice — one glass of red wine! Red wine:
- contains high levels of resveratrol, which has been shown to help aging people prevent degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
- can raise the levels of good cholesterol or high-density lipoproteins in the blood. It can also help lower bad cholesterol, which can prevent stroke!
- has cleansing properties which can aid in situations from food poisoning to dysentery.
- can cure various gum disorders and diseases. The polyphenols in red wine have been shown to reduce the free radicals in the mouth that cause infection and bacterial build-up.
- can prevent future skin damage brought on by cell oxidation.
© 2009 New Perspectives. Permission to copy this article is granted provided the author is notified and the following bio information is included:
Annie Passanisi is the daughter of motivational speaker, Kathleen Passanisi. If that does not tell you enough about her, she is also a Chicago-based actor, singer, freelance writer and editor, 1950s pop culture enthusiast, and swing set champion. For more information, please visit www.TheAnniePassanisi.com.
Need a mother/daughter speaker team? Have Kathleen and Annie co-present for you.