Countdown- 10 things to make you happier in 2018

#10 Introduce yourself to your neighbor
When a political speech by some hopeful candidate is televised I have this secret fantasy that one of the candidates will tell everyone to step away from their TVs and go introduce themselves to their neighbor. Technology promised us connection, but the truth is the majority of us are living more isolated than ever. Get up from your computer, phone whatever and go introduce yourself to your neighbor. It’s easy. It’s even easier if you have a holiday gift- maybe a jar of jam from the local farmer’s market or some freshly baked cookies. Let them know that you are available if they ever need anything and exchange phone numbers for emergencies.

#9 Stop buying shit you don’t need

This may seem like a ridiculous thing to suggest just days before the biggest gift-giving day of the year. However, who do you really need to buy for and do they really need more shit from China? Re-gift. Give away something you already own like a book you finished reading and a note about why you think the receiver will like it. Paint a picture, write a poem, sing a song or make a donation in their name.

#8 Stop eating corporate

Sanjayan, a global conservation scientist, said in an interview with Tim Feriss that people are always asking him the one thing they can do to change the world. He said ‘change what you eat.’ Stop eating crappy fast food! If you don’t cook and need some quick energy, familiarize yourself with local coffee shops and restaurants. Call ahead for your ‘to go’ orders. Corporate food is mass-produced and highly processed.

#7 Don’t renew your gym membership

Going to the gym is a largely modern phenomenon. In the past people didn’t live such sedentary lives so they didn’t have all this extra energy leftover at the end of the day. Unless you are a body builder or in training for a specific goal, going to a gym is the ultimate waste of time. There are other ways to break a sweat and get your heartrate up. What if you walked to the grocery store or biked to the library? Running is free. Join a team. Take the money you save from not renewing your gym membership and invite your neighbor to a local restaurant.

#6 Put down your phone

Don’t check your messages the first hour of your day. Turn off social media notifications- you don’t really need to know when some guy from high school likes one of your photos.

#5 Get rid of 5 things everyday

This will feel great! Go through your closet, your cupboards, and your bookshelves. If you don’t love it, if you aren’t using it, get rid of it. Give it away, repurpose it or throw it away! Embrace minimalism. Less baggage opens up space for new stuff and new thoughts.

#4 Read a book instead of the news

We are living in a time when being informed is highly praised, however it is not urgent that you know about every horrible thing happening around the globe.

#3 Unfriend people who aren’t really your friends

Facebook friends aren’t really your friends. I would suggest getting off Facebook entirely but I know many of you, like me, use the Face for your business. However, your personal page should be personal. My top 3 criteria for this elimination is the following:

1. Do I actually know you? If not, unfriend.

2. Do I like you? If not, unfriend.

3. If I saw you on the street would I say hi? If not, unfriend.

#2 Walk or take public transportation

You will save a lot of money if you do this. Plus, you will get more exercise- probably lose weight. Public transportation is awesome! You can read on the bus, listen to podcasts and make your own lists like this one.

#1 Talk to strangers

Greet shopkeepers, bus drivers and baristas with a genuine ‘good morning.’ You will ooze good vibes. My personal cure for a bad mood is to take a walk and smile at every person I pass. Happiness is contagious, joy is contagious- if you want it, you need to spread it!


Happy Holidays!


Here is my latest editorial in The Eye. To read more articles about the beauty of living in Mexico visit our magazines website:

“Consumerism is at once the engine of America and simultaneously one of the most revealing indicators of our collective shallowness.”

Henry Rollins

Christmas decorations appeared in early October this year at our local supermarket; stuffed Santas, string lights, shiny balls to hang from faux trees available in a variety of colors. December holidays have become one of the biggest spending times of the year. In 2016, over 154 million Americans shopped over Thanksgiving weekend. That is a lot!

This has been a year of difficulty for many; damage from the earthquakes in Mexico, the fires in the US and Canada, hurricanes and flooding in the Caribbean. In the face of this, it seems ridiculous to spend money on things we don’t need when funds can do so much good elsewhere.

Not spending as much doesn’t have to put a damper on your holiday spirit. There are many ways to give gifts without making a trip to the mall. Here are just a few ideas:

  1. Your time. Offering to babysit, run errands, do yard work or cook dinner, are great ways to show someone you care and foster more connection.
  2. Make something. The list of things you can make is endless, depending on your talents: a family cook book, a playlist, baked goods, sewing projects. Fill your days with creating, not Netflix 🙂
  3. Divide and repot your houseplants. Add an already owned pretty vintage tin or pot and you can bring greenery into someone’s home.
  4. Give something you already own! I love getting used books or kitchen articles people no longer use. Go through your jewelry and give away those silver earrings you never wear!
  5. Donate to a cause in someone’s name. If someone on your list is an animal lover, make a donation to a local shelter.
  6. Give an experience. Tickets to a show or a museum are more meaningful than stuff and help support the arts in your community.
  7. If you are going to buy, shop local! Don’t go to a superstore to save money. Be willing to pay more knowing you are supporting mom-and-pop businesses – in the long run you are investing in your community.

Happy Holidays!