I’m not a person who is naturally happy – I find that I have to work hard at being happy, that it requires effort on my part. And lately that effort has slipped somewhat and left me feeling in a bit of a rut. I think it’s something that happens to lots of mums – you find yourself so wrapped up in dedicating your life to looking after another little being that you neglect to give yourself the care you need and before you know it you’ve lost that sense of self that grounds you. As an introvert, I’ve found the constant companionship of a baby the most challenging part of being a parent – I crave that time alone to recharge. I’ve even found myself longing for the long commute home from work in the evenings that allowed me the time to take stock of the day’s goings on (much as I hated it at the time!). The weekend offers a chance for some ‘me’ time, but the weekend is the chance to spend time as a family, so any alone time is prime for getting bumped as you want to spend time together.
It’s a familiar feeling for me, and once I’ve identified it, it’s easier to tackle – it’s the drifting into the state that creeps up on you and before you know it, you’re in a massive life rut, feeling unmotivated and pretty rubbish about yourself. The realisation is the key moment – once I’ve realised I’m in the rut, there are a few things that always get me back on the road to happiness.
Sure, there’s nothing less appealing than exercise when you’re feeling down, but there’s also nothing more effective than getting out there for a quick jog, or even just a brisk walk, and that’s why it’s the very first thing on this list. The endorphins start pumping and suddenly you start to feel better about everything.
Keep a happiness diary
I like to write my 5 moments of happiness blog posts as a way of focussing my mind on the positives of that week. Often I find that the little things that have brought happiness to my life can get swept under the carpet and forgotten about, but writing them down forces me to think about my week and be grateful for these moments of joy. It’s amazing what a positive effect this has on my attitude and I know I’m a happier person when I keep this up.
Take some time to pamper yourself
Whether it’s a bubble bath, a face mask, or just lighting some candles and settling down with a nice book, some time alone settles me down and allows me to organise my thoughts. Treat yourself to something small – a bunch of flowers, some new stationary, a new lipstick. It’s amazing how you can be perked up by just a little treat.
Have a clear out of your wardrobe – be ruthless, anything that’s not been worn in a while (or ever!), or doesn’t fit, gets put aside for the charity shop. Tackle that large pile of papers that are mounting up on your desk. Have a spring clean – get everything out of your kitchen cupboards and have a proper clean. It’s amazing what an organised home can do for your state of mind.
Plan short term goals
When I’m in this state of mind, I find long term goals are unattainable and intimidating – I try to write down 3 short term goals for the next few weeks that are easier to achieve. Whether it’s going for a short run a few times a week, to planning meals, to trips out – having these goals in writing makes me more likely to meet them, and in turn, I find I’m in a happier place.
I guess when it comes down to it, a lot of these just come down to making time for yourself, allowing yourself that space to breathe and gather your thoughts together. Modern life is so busy – trying to keep up family life, social life, work life, and keep all those plates spinning leaves very little time to look inward but I find that for me, this is the key to finding happiness in my everyday.
Do you ever feel like this? What are the things that always give you that pick me up? I’d love to hear.