As I sit on the couch, sipping my morning cup of coffee, drafting this post, I feel a wave of contentment wash over me. I am happy. In the simplest form of the word - happy.
Do you ever have those days where you feel so anxious and you have no idea why? That happens to me too sometimes. Lately, I’ve tried to incorporate some simple changes into my lifestyle to help keep these moments to a minimum (see Nina’s brave post about how she handles her anxiety here). And aside from the good fortune I’ve been experiencing in my life recently - a good job, a wonderful husband and marriage, a supportive and loving family, amazing friends, a beautiful home - I’d like to think these small changes are what led me to today- to this moment, sitting here on the couch, sipping my morning cup of coffee, writing this post, feeling content. Do you want in on the secret? Do you want to feel as good as I do in this very moment? Well unfortunately I have to get going so maybe some other time…..
Just kidding!! Of course I’ll share! To be honest, there really isn’t anything secret or magical that you probably don’t already know. I do know that sometimes just reminding ourselves of how to be at peace by hearing someone else say it to us can be more helpful than trying to figure it out for ourselves. So here we go. Let’s see if these tips will work for you, or at least help you in some way….
1. Relax. Easier said than done, I know. I actually just finished telling my husband that I don’t know how to relax. I have nothing on my agenda for today and when I asked him what I should do he subtly reminded me, that sometimes doing “nothing” is more than okay (maybe wearing this will help be a reminder to me as well!) . Give yourself the much needed time you deserve to just sit and do nothing.
2. Wake up earlier to be less tired. What? That doesn’t make sense. I thought pressing my snooze button 5 times every morning giving me those 6 extra minutes of sleep is what got me through the day! Wrong. Giving yourself time in the morning to actually get ready at a relaxing pace, not rushing around frantically wondering if you even have time to put on your face (and God knows us ladies MUST have time to put our faces on before heading out the door) will actually set you up for a more productive, stress-free day. Start off on the right foot and maybe even sit down at the kitchen island to enjoy a cup of joe before racing out the door.
3. Listen to your favorite tunes. Personally, I’m not much of a television person (unless it’s Monday night and the Bachelor/ette is on because… duh). I prefer to listen to music and stalk people on Instagram. Did I just admit that? Now everyone knows my secret. Seriously though, sometimes all of the extra stimuli around us can cause us to stress out without us even knowing it. It’s okay to lay on a couch without a television visually attacking our systems. Give your other senses a chance to get some calming attention. Take a bath, light some candles, and turn on that Amos Lee Pandora station. I guarantee you will relax in seconds.
4. Make a list and check it twice. Huh? Since when does having homework help me relax? Don’t worry- this is a different kind of homework. Be grateful. Think about everything in your life that is good, positive, and consumes you with happiness. Write it down. Then check your list, and write down everything you forgot to write down the first time. Bet you have more to be thankful for than you thought, huh? Try doing this at least once a week and watch your mood, your surroundings, and your life improve tenfold. No seriously, do it.
5. Drink a lot of water. This one actually has scientific reasons behind it, but since I’m no scientist myself, I’ll just give you my personal opinion- it makes life better. There were times in my life (hello grad school) when I lived on coffee and energy drinks. Aside from the obvious fact that all I did was study and was clearly stressed because of that, my physical health was a mess. My skin was a disaster, I was bloated all the time, exhausted constantly, and just overall not happy with myself. In the past year or so, I’ve really made it a point to consume at least the recommended 8 glasses a day and I promise you I have seen results. My skin is clearer, I have less headaches, less bloating, and overall more energy. Andddd of course all of these things in turn make me a happier person! Cheers to that!
6. Get.off.your.phone. Okay, I will admit that I am probably the most guilty of anyone with this one. These days, our phones are our lifelines. How did we ever live without them? How did I survive an hour (let alone an entire day) without knowing what my friends ate for breakfast or what they’re wearing today? (guilty again!) Sometimes, it’s best for us to just disconnect, at least for a little while. Go outside. Breathe some fresh air. Interact with your spouse and children. Read a book. Try anything that will help de-stimulate your brain from the constant need to be connected and instantly gratified. It just might help to make you more grateful.
Well that’s all I got for now! I hope you will find at least some of these tips helpful as you learn to simplify your life and “let your pile of good things grow.” I think you just might find that more good things will follow.
Until next time….