Sometimes our days suck right? I’ve had quite a few of them lately and I thought, “Hey, I’m sick of this” so I decided I wanted to do some things that wouldn’t necessarily change my circumstance but would change my attitude. Maybe, just maybe, if I change a few of the things that are within my control I’ll feel better about my situation. Here are a few things that I came up with.
1. Add light.
Open your blinds if not fully opening the windows. Pull the curtains back and add light to your space. Studies have shown that natural light shining through windows releases serotonin and has a soothing and calming effect on the brain. Adding light in this way also tells me that it’s time to wake up and has its own way of giving me energy that heaven knows I need.
2. Do something for yourself.
I have this conversation with my kids on a regular basis and it goes a little something like this.
Me: I’m taking a shower, leave me alone.
Then as I’m in the shower I’m interrupted 14 thousand times and I finally snap telling them that I just wanted a second for myself.
Kids: Why do you need us to leave you alone??
Me: Because every single day I get up, I make your food, I get you dressed, I make lunches, do school drop off and laundry. I clean, make more food, clean some more. Handle your disputes, do homework and dinner time, showers and bedtime routines which I do all out of love but at the end of the day, I didn’t do anything for myself. So this shower was the one thing that I was doing for me.
That being said. Do something for your freaking self, it doesn’t matter what it is. If that thing is taking extra time to put your make up on behind a locked bathroom door then do it. If that something is sneaking some of that candy you hid from those sugar suckers and eating it in the pantry then do it. If that something is exercising, which is also something that improves attitudes, while your kids’ hangout in the daycare do it. If that something is going to bed at 8 PM because your kids are asleep and you have never been more tired, forget the dishes and do it.
3. Do something for someone else.
I get it, I was just preaching about exercising self-love every day since most days are spent doing things for others. It’s confusing that I’m now suggesting that you will be happier if you do something for someone else, but it’s true. I know that life is busy and it’s hard to focus on someone else and their struggles when you feel like you are drowning in a sea of your own. Surprising as it is, service has a way of making you look outside of yourself and see that you aren’t alone in feeling the way you do. It may even be the beginning of a friendship you didn’t know you needed. There will always be people that could use someone that will help them, someone that will listen to them, and someone that will love them, find those people.
4. Let the small stuff be small.
There are big things in life, there are little things in life and there are mountains of little things that we have made big things. I’ve been trying to eat cleaner, it’s so freaking hard, but it’s important to me and I’m doing it. The other day was the worst, I won’t go into detail but just trust me on this one, THE WORST. I was so stressed out and I wanted Oreo Thins with all of my soul but “I was eating cleaner.” I was now stressed about everything else AND not eating Oreo Thins…. so lame. Guess what, I ate a few of them and was able to focus on important stuff. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe you should spend every day giving into your cravings or ruining you goals but sometimes in the grand scheme of things stressing about a few cookies just really isn’t important. When you just cleaned the living room and your child brings out their legos, you have a choice to let that be a big thing or a small thing. When we chip away at all of the small things that we are looking at through a microscope and making huge, suddenly life seems more manageable. So ask yourself, what impact is this going to have on the rest of my day? If the answer isn’t a big deal, then the problem isn’t either.
5. If something makes you feel negative, get rid of it.
No one has time or energy to be harboring relationships, habits or otherwise that make you feel icky. If you find that specific parts of your life make you feel worse then you were before encountering them, you don’t need them. It’s always hard to cut ties in relationships and can often feel uncomfortable but if you KNOW that it is the cause of stress or negativity then it needs to go. These kinds of negative feelings will linger with you even after said activity is over or person is gone. Eliminating negative people, feelings, hobbies and more will free up more emotional space that you can then use for yourself and to uplift others.
6. Don’t think to hard about being happy.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be happy, actually, that’s something that we should all be striving for. However, studies have found that those who are “chasing happiness” through their external circumstances are actually less happy than those who are simply living and doing the things they enjoy. Someone who is constantly spending money in order to feel the endorphin high that comes from something new is finding short-lived happiness in comparison to someone who is finding new ways to enjoy what they have. Constantly evaluating your life and what DOESN’T make you happy prevents you from being able to openly see what DOES make you happy. Something that has helped me over the years is to create what I have lovingly called my “happy list.” I have over 100 things that make me happy and I am constantly adding to it. The obvious things include my family and friends, a roof over my head and my religion but the list goes on to include, chicken wings, cookies and cream candy bars and opening my windows when it’s raining because I love that smell. I also included finding a new recipe that I love and taking naps. My list doesn’t include anything that is out of reach. This allows me to refer to my list when I need to remind myself that I find happiness in so many things that are right at my fingertips. I would strongly encourage anyone and everyone to make a “happy list” and refer to it often so that you can remember just how blessed you are to have so many awesome things within reach that uplift you and make you better.
Sometimes it’s the smallest adjustments in life that bring us the greatest rewards. It’s not always the “things” that need to be different, sometimes it’s just the way we look at those things that needs to change.