Need a boost to your day? Here are 15 things that will cheer you up pretty fast!
By Lora O’Brien
Sure, quarantine as a single mom with a toddler isn’t going the way I’d hoped. There has been an increase in tantrums as my daughter officially hits the terrible twos, and at the end of each day, I feel like I’ve aged two years myself!
But it’s not been all bad. In fact, I have learnt some pretty vital life lessons while spending this time indoors with my loved ones.
Pre-lockdown, I was always rushing. A fact that was reinforced when my daughter kept muttering ‘quick, quick, quick’ which is apparently the words of encouragement I often give her when trying to entice her to hurry up. But since lockdown, there’s not much need to rush, and it’s been revolutionary. I don’t brush my teeth at super speed, and I don’t inhale my coffee like a tequila shot before it goes lukewarm. (Wait, who am I kidding? I’m a mom, my coffee is still always cold!)
I’ve even had some time to peacefully browse articles on my phone and recently, and I just say, I’ve become hooked on searching for happy news.
It’s true that the upside of lockdown is that it will eventually end. But for some, the period of time between now and then can be a scary time. The news and social media are constant sources of fear, and the stories we read don’t leave us with those feel-good feelings.
But you know what? There’s still plenty to smile about! From randy tortoises to heroic 99 year olds, here are 15 things that will cheer you up, no matter how much you’re hating lockdown!
15 Things That Will Cheer You Up Right Now
1. Captain Tom Moore
You may have heard of Captain Tom Moore in the last week after he went viral, but if you missed it allow me to introduce you to the incredible 99 year old who is showing that age is nothing but a number!
Capt Tom is a war veteran who served in India and Myanmar during World War Two, and who vowed to complete 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday with the intention if raising just £1,000 for NHS Charities Together. Capt Tom completed 100 laps of the 25-metre loop in his garden well ahead of his birthday on 30th April, but he also raised a lot more than his initial £1k target!
So far, he’s raised just over £25 MILLION for the charity, with numbers increasing daily. More than a million people were inspired by his story and have now made donations to his JustGiving page.
People are so in awe of Capt Tom and his efforts for the NHS, there has now been a petition set up requesting that Capt Tom be knighted after his efforts grabbed the nation – and world’s – attention.
2. The Happy News Newspaper
Want to shut out the world around you and focus only on the good happening in the world? This is possible thanks to The Happy News Newspaper which solely publishes those feel-good happy stories! The first issue came out back in December 2015, after a successful Kickstarter campaign created by Emily Coxhead.
This colourful newspaper with its quirky doodles is a 32-page publication with news articles arranged month by month. Not only does The Happy News share positive stories from across the globe, but it also has a section solely dedicated to celebrating Everyday Heroes. These are groups or organisations that can be nominated by YOU to be in the paper. Got anyone in mind?
I recommend reading this every day! This little newspaper is the perfect way to add a little sunshine to your world.
3. Diego the Tortoise Saves A Species
Tortoises don’t hit the news much, but this guy? He even has his own Wikipedia page! And you’d think that for someone who was born back in 1910, Diego would be living a chilled and quiet life. Nope! In fact, Diego has been hitting the news because he’s been saving so much sex, he’s pretty much saved his own species single…erm, ‘handedly’!
Randy Diego has fathered around 900 little Diego Jrs in his lifetime, and by doing so he’s contributed to the revival of his own species, the Hood Island tortoise. Originally from Española Island, Galápagos, Diego was captured as a young adult and transported to the USA where he spent decades living in a zoo. But by the 70’s, the Hood Island tortoise had become dangerously endangered – there were only 14 known to be alive in the wild, and only two of these were male.
If, like me, you’re not a fan of zoos, don’t fret: after an incredible job well done, Diego was released into the wild again at the beginning of 2020.
4. The Grandad With Vitiligo Who Knits Dolls
When I first read about João Stanganelli Junior, my heart honestly swelled. The 64-year-old Brazilian grandfather is part of the 1-3% of the population who lives with severe vitiligo, a long-term skin condition that causes patches of the skin to lose their pigment. But instead of reading his story and feeling sad for him, I was so inspired by his ability to look on the bright side of it.
João turned to crocheting as a hobby when he retired, and soon become a natural with the needles. He used his newfound skills to create a doll for his granddaughter remember him by, adding in a few vitiligo patches.
He was then struck with the inspiration to make more inclusive dolls for other children, including a variety of disabilities including a doll in a wheelchair and dolls with vitiligo amongst others. He made these dolls with the hope that they would help these children to feel ‘normal’ – no matter what their condition may be. Aww!
5. A Zonkey Is Born
It’s not a donkey, it’s not a zebra. It’s….a zonkey! A rarezebra-donkey hybrid was born at the Tsavo East National Park in Kenya this month. The mother is assumed to have been impregnated by an amorous donkey when she strayed out of the Kenyan national park and into a neighbouring village months earlier.
The young zonkey has the sturdy body of its donkey sire and the striped legs of its zebra mother. Like mules, it will be unable to breed one its reaches maturity, but will otherwise be able to lead a normal life. And the best part? Mama zebra is completely enamoured with her weird little baby! The two have formed one very happy family.
6. Three Animals Made A Comeback
Great news! Three animals are quite literally coming back from the brink of extinction. First up: the world’s largest animals, the blue whale, has been spotted in vast numbers in the waters in and around Antarctica. According to the team of researchers led by the British Antarctic Survey, 36 sightings of blue whales during their three-week survey earlier this year is drastically different from the one sighting made during the last survey in 2018.
The devastating fire of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris during 2019 saw three colonies of bees survive the flames. Beekeeper Sibyle Moulin struggled to visit the hives due to access to the damaged building being restricted, but has recently been able to check on the bees. She confirmed there are still 30,000 – 45,000 bees across three hives, are thriving and able to produce honey for the upcoming summer.
And lastly, but by no means least, there’s the grey wolf. Wolves have almost become extinct in the USA, but residents of Colorado may well save these beautiful animals if a ballot measure to reintroduce the predators passes this year. Other successful reintroduction programmes have repopulated the predators in some areas of America. Such rewilding helps keep herbivores in check, too.
7. Sustainable Shirts Made From Luxury Hotel Sheets
These casually trendy white shirts may look like ordinary linen, but I’ll bet you’d surprised to discover that they’re actually made from a common source of corporate waste: hotel bed sheets!
Before your mind starts conjuring up images of icky, dirty, used hotel sheets, rest assured that these shirts are made from luxury hotel linens and were in a near-perfect condition. After Dutch entrepreneurs Eugenie Haitsma and Johannes Offerhaus investigated what happened to old hotel bedding, they discovered that hotel chains retire bedding for even the most minor of holes and other damages that can very easily be remedied.
The result? Sustainable clothing line Archivist is breathing new life into these old hotel linens, turning them into comfortable shirts and loungewear for both men and women. What a great idea, right?
8. Ten Types Of Apples Thought To Be Extinct Are Rediscovered
Delicious, Granny Smith and Pink Lady. It seems to me that those are the only three apples in the world, if a visit to the supermarket is anything to go by. But you may be fascinated to know that there used to be loads more members of the apple family, and thanks to two retirees, 10 forgotten varieties of apples, believed to have been extinct, have been rediscovered!
EJ Brandt and David Benscoter became amateur botanists back in 2019 for their NGO, the Lost Apple Project. When Benscoter was asked by his disabled neighbour to help with some chores, he made a remarkable discovery. The neighbour asked if he could pick some apples from her family’s property, which they had lived on since the 1900s. He noticed the apples were unlike any he had seen before, and started looking into what kind they were. This led him to purchase a book on extinct apples, which then led him to realise he had ‘rediscovered’ a variety that was thought to have been completely extinct!
Since then, the latest apple rediscoveries by the duo include the Sary Sinap, an ancient apple from Turkey; the Streaked Pippin, which originated as early as 1744 in New York, and the Butter Sweet of Pennsylvania, which comes from Illinois as far back at 1901.
Aren’t you dying to try these now?
9. More People Are Learning How To Cook
With their customers locked in their homes, many bars, cafes and restaurants around the world are coming up with clever and creative ways of staying afloat during this tough time. Some are doing home deliveries to supply people with their favourite foods, while others are teaching people to cook…from home!
And it’s soooo much easier than you think! Go online and check out any number of free cooking classes, or just click here to get some recipe inspiration to know what to make from what you have on hand.
10. Kids Are Still Hilarious
They may be the source of frustration for many parents right now, but they’re also the best source of entertainment. Whenever I feel fed up with parenthood, my toddler always finds something that nips my bad mood in the bud!
Kids are hilarious, and if you need a little reminder then you’ll enjoy this Buzzfeed thread of the funny – and sometimes ruthless – things that kids have said. I dare you to read it and NOT cry with laughter!
11. Mystery Mom Leaves Out Free Bagged Lunches
Not all heroes wear capes, and some of them remain anonymous, much like the Maryland mother who is leaving out hundreds of bagged lunches for her community during the lockdown. Hanging from the table is a sign that reads: “For anyone who needs it…I will be leaving some healthy sack lunches on this table for you if you are hungry and need to eat. Made with love by a neighbourhood mom in a clean and sanitized kitchen.”
The mom making the lunches has yet to be identified, but the table has been stocked with free lunches between 11am and 1:30pm every day for a number of weeks now. And, for people who have been hit by financial hardship during this tough time, the free lunches have been a saving grace for feeding their families.
12. More People Are Growing Their Own Food
When lockdown started here in the UK, so did the shopping madness! Suddenly, you couldn’t find toilet roll for love nor money, and plain old pasta had a seemingly higher value than a bar of gold. But while things seem to have calmed down now and we can pretty much get all of our usual food, many people have turned to growing their own food for security.
Several seed banks and garden centres have reported high volumes of website traffic, with overwhelming amounts of digital orders taking place. With some people turning to grow their own food as a means of avoiding the supermarket, others are doing it a means of cutting back on potential contamination when it comes to pesticides used to grow fruits and vegetables. And even others are using this time to encourage their children to spend more time outdoors, and to learn more about how nature works.
What better way to do so than by planting and growing your own fruits?
13. Increase In Leatherback Sea Turtle Nests
Thailand reported some great news recently! Leatherback turtles, whose reproduction is often inhibited by tourists disturbing their nests, have made a huge comeback in this beautiful tropical country.
Nesting peacefully for the first time in years, the endangered turtles have made 11 nests on Thai beaches this spring. And with no dogs or tourists walking over their nests, exposing the eggs and risking the lives of the turtles inside, there’s a really good chance that these eggs will survive the 60-80 days to hatch a new generation of turtles that will hopefully sustain the population of the species for years to come!
14. The Perfect Rainbow Appears In NYC
Rainbows have always been a symbol of hope. So no surprises that the perfect rainbow, which was captured by photo editor Gary Hershorn in New York on April 13th, 2020, has been bringing joy to people around the world. The huge rainbow, which stretched from one end of the river to the other, had even the most jaded New Yorkers break out in a smile!
15. Funniest Fake Tan Story Ever?
We’ve all struggled with fake tanning products, am I right? We’ve dealt with brown palms, unevenly tanned skin and smears of the product on our clothes. But new mom Keziah Jozefiak really takes the cake! When she was getting ready to go out for a meal with her boyfriend, she realised her baby, five-month-old Raf, needed feeding.
She said she “went into autopilot” and started breast feeding him – without realising she was leaving marks from the tanning product she’d put on her boobs, all over his face. Keziah said: ‘When I looked down at Raf I just burst out laughing. I couldn’t believe the tan had left his mouth looking like Homer Simpson!’ Dunno about you, but this made me laugh pretty hard!
Have you heard any good news stories? Know of any other things that will cheer you up right now? Let us know in the comments below!