I once read a quote, and now I can’t for the life of me remember who said it, but it was something like “we are responsible for our own happiness.” All too often we can be quick to blame outside circumstances for our mood. I have always done this. When I worked as a teacher my whole personality changed. I constantly felt pent-up, exhausted, stressed and on edge. The only time I would relax would be over the summer holidays, when slowly I would gradually uncoil and unwind. However, it wasn’t the job making me this way, it was the way I was reacting to the job.
Yes, there are outside circumstances that can make life challenging and difficult but how we react to those situations defines us. I have found myself in house moving limbo and, as such, my sleep has become even more erratic and my moods have started swinging like an out of control pendulum. My anxiety is at an all-time high. I am just not a good person when it comes to dealing with situations that are out of my control. So I have made some changes. I could sit here and let the feeling of restlessness fester or I could do something proactive. I chose to do something proactive.
I have been looking after myself better and I have been actively seeking joy. I know that this is sounds very hippyish but stay with me because it has made a massive difference to my general wellbeing and outlook on life.
Not Letting The Fear Eat Away At Me
I have always been a good one for worrying. I worry about us not finding a house, I worry about the fact I don’t have a pension, I worry about the fact my freelance contract could come to an end. I worry about a lot of things I have no control over. I have decided that I need to let go of the fear. I have let go of the things I have no control over. The things I can deal with – like pensions – I have mentally filed away to deal with in the future.
Trying New Things
Life is there to be enjoyed. This year I am determined to get over my fear (see letting go of the fear) of the sea and perhaps take up paddle boarding. I am also accepting new opportunities (all will be revealed soon) and I am just determined to embrace life.
Giving Up Alcohol
First of all I recognised that even one glass of wine was making me feel unbearably anxious and so I decided to do the 100 days no drinking challenge. As I type this I am on day 46. By the time this post goes live I will be over half-way. Not drinking might not have made me feel particularly less anxious but I have become better at dealing with my feelings and understanding why I am feeling that way. However, I am still waiting to become that morning person.
Going to bed early and reading a good book is perfect me time. It gives me space to breathe and I become absorbed in another world for 30 minutes or more. It’s the only time I am able to quieten the whirring cogs of the brain.
Now Gary has been removed I fully intend to get back to exercising. I am starting off slowly and for now I am enjoying walking. I am finding a spare half hour in my day and I am taking myself off for a walk in the countryside. No music, it’s just me walking in the sunshine, listening to the birdsong and enjoying the views.
Be In The Now
Enjoy the moment. That means sometimes putting down your phone. That means really listening to your children when they share their day. That means doing something spontaneous, leaving the work and making the most of the beach at the end of the road.
Baking And Cooking
There is just something really therapeutic about baking a cake. It also feels really good when you cook for yourself and make the decision to eat healthily. I guess Maslow would say that this is because we are fulfilling one of our most basic needs. All I know is that it feels good. A take-away might make for a nice treat every now and again but cooking for ourselves can be a calming experience.
Embracing Change And Staying Positive
Sometimes life won’t go as planned and we can feel lost as a result. Instead we need to change our mindset. We need to remind ourselves that this will pass, we need to look at the bigger picture where possible. Change can be hard but we need to find that small glimmer of positivity when everything else feels chaotic.
Social Media Detox
I am trying to be better with my social media. I am no longer feeling like I have to post to Instagram every day. I am switching my phone off some evenings and I am generally trying to spend less time on my phone. Every now and again I will take 24 hours off social media and that is really great for a recharge.
These 9 little things can make all of the difference to how I am feeling. Do you have any tricks for lifting your mood, or any great ways for finding the joy?