Is there anything better than a deep, meaningful connection? After the year we all just had, Kelli Pease’s passion project turned international movement to spread kindness + facilitate meaningful connections is on point. Kelli founded the Happsters to promote love and happiness in her local community. Going on eight years later, that community has grown exponentially—more than 100k people now follow along with Kelli and her Happsters journey.
Kelli says when we take care of ourselves, we can become our best, most joyful selves. Her tips for living mindfully, loving yourself, and extending kindness to others are life changing. Learn more about Happsters (and Kelli’s free self-care workbook!!) in today’s Q&A.
Tell us about Happsters!
Happsters is a passion project I started in 2013. The goal when I started was to help spread love and kindness in my local community. It was originally for the San Diego area and primarily a blog. Now it’s a worldwide movement, and I spend most of my time on Instagram sharing happiness and kindness inspiration.
What inspired you to create the account?
I was inspired by a TV news story about a group of people in Boston handing out oranges at a train station to raise awareness for mental health. Something about that story made me jump into action and create Happsters. The first thing I did was create “happy note” cards that I sent out to whoever requested them in the mail, so they could write a note of kindness and leave it for others to find.
What has been the most rewarding part of the community you’ve created?
The most rewarding part of the community is definitely the one-on-one connections I’ve made with people. I’ve made friends for life through Happsters and am so grateful that I’ve been able to connect with people all over the world. In addition, a few years ago I hosted in-person Happsters groups that would meet up once a month and do different happiness-based activities based on the 4 Gs of happiness: growth, giving, gathering, and gratitude. I have a lifetime of memories from those events!
Tell us about your self-care workbook!
The self-care workbook includes an 8-week self-care challenge that you do with friends. The challenges range from writing down one joyful thing you’ll do each day for a week, to journaling about everything you need to let go of in a given week. They aren’t your typical “self-care” items that you generally see like “get your nails done.” This is a deeper kind of self-care that I believe will make a big difference in the long run and will give participants self-care tools to use in the future.
What motivated you to create it?
I created the self-care workbook because of how hard 2020 was for most of us. In addition to the self-care element, I wanted to include a way for participants to do the challenge together and connect with their friends from a distance. If you’d like to do the challenge, you can grab your free digital copy here: https://mailchi.mp/237f646afe08/self-care-workbook.
How do self-care and happiness go hand-in-hand?
When we take care of ourselves, we’re able to be our best, most joyful selves. I think there’s a big misconception, especially for women, that we need to give constantly in order to feel good about ourselves. I love to give, but there needs to be a balance between giving and making time for ourselves to go inward.
Can you please share five of your favorite self-care tips?
Some of my favorite self-care practices include:
- Having a morning routine that centers around meditating, even if it’s just for 10 minutes, with the free Insight Timer app. My biggest habit that I’ve had to break is not looking at my phone while in bed. It’s amazing how much just that one habit changes my day.
- Doing something creative! My husband is an artist, so we always have supplies in the house. A few times a week I’ll pull them out and draw or paint just for the fun of it. Most of my art is never seen by anyone else, and that’s freeing for me!
- Gardening. I feel so grounded and at peace when I have my hands in the dirt.
- I have something called “The Weekly 3” that I do every week. On Mondays, I write down my intention for the week. On Wednesdays, I write down three things I’m grateful for, and on Fridays, I write down one thing that’s bringing my joy. At the end of every week, my friend Gina and I send each other our Weekly 3.
- Resting even when I don’t want to. I’m a naturally “go-go-go” type of person (it’s the Aries fire energy in me!), and it’s very hard for me to stay still. But I can tell when my body needs me to slow down, and over the years I have learned to honor that more. It’s been a game-changer for my overall mental and physical health.
Anything else you’d like to share!?
Right now, I’m working on starting a Garden Share Club in my community where we give away free food and flowers to those who could use some cheering up. I have a vegetable garden and fruit trees and am in the process of creating a cut flower garden. Once a month, some friends and I get together to put together flower bouquets and food from the garden and give them to those who might need some extra love.