It’s a blustery autumn day and I’m listening to the rain fall as i write. It’s definitely one of those days that encourages me to grab a blanket and a hot cup of tea before getting started on anything. And as i remember the beautiful summer days that we’ve enjoyed this year, i’m also full of gratitude for those snuggly hygge moments that i’ll be making the most of as the season slowly moves into winter.
That said, winter can sometimes feel like a challenging season for a lot of us, the lack of light is undeniable a big factor and the cold definitely doesn’t help either but i’m reminded of one of my favourite quotes…
“If you want to be happy, you have to be happy on purpose. When you wake up you can’t just wait to see what kind of day you’ll have. You have to decide what kind of day you’ll have” - Joel Osteen
So, with that in mind I’ve made a list of the things that can help us all feel a little lighter and happier as we move through the darker half of the year...
Make a List
Hands up if you’re a list maker! Me too, but even if it’s not something that you normally do bear with me. Creating a list of things that make you feel good is a great thing to fall back on when you’re not feeling your best. It can hold the smallest things like mine; snuggle the dog, take a shower, put the kettle on, light a candle...you get the idea? But when we’ve got the winter blues or even going through a tricky period in our lives it’s these small things that we forget. And, yet they make such a difference to how we feel about ourselves.
If you’re a regular reader then you’ll know that a good declutter is my answer to most things. I see it as a way to let go of the past, of things that no longer serve me and to make space for new things to arrive in my life. And, who doesn’t breathe a little easier and feel more peaceful in an organised space? I know that I always do! The therapeutic benefits go on, because as we declutter we’re making decisions on what to keep, donate or recycle - using those decision making muscles can help us feel a little more in control and empowered which ripples out into other areas of our life.
What do we often neglect the most? Ourselves. You likely pick up little surprises for your other half and the kids but when was the last time that you picked up a bunch of flowers for yourself or sat down for an afternoon - yes a whole one - and lost yourself in your latest read? It’s easy to fall into the habit of putting yourself last, despite making a conscious effort I still have days when I want to catch up on something at work rather than finish in time to catch a yoga class. But, keeping our own health and happiness at the heart of our actions shouldn’t be something that we do once in a while and it’s certainly not something that we should see as indulgent or a waste of time! At the end of the day if anyone wants to judge you for taking an afternoon nap, then let them!
Let go of Expectations
I wondered whether to keep this on the list because it’s possibly more of a deep dive kind of topic and I appreciate that it’s not as simple as it sounds but, i’ll keep it brief and let you decide for yourself. I learnt a long time ago that the expectations that we live by have a huge impact on us. Sometimes these are expectations that we hold about ourselves…”I’m about to hit 30/40/50 yrs old and by now i really should have…”, and sometimes we’re still living by the expectations that others have imposed on us; maybe you’ve always been the responsible one or you’ve followed the career path that was expected of you by your parents? If these expectations have a little too much control over your happiness then it’s time to let them go, this can be a simple thing that you think through alone or with a good friend but you might also want to reach out to a alternative therapist for support.
I don’t mind admitting that in my early twenties I sat around for a lot of time waiting for motivation to strike. I thought that i could find it in the pages of another self help book or that it would just arrive one day! It took me a while to realise that it didn’t work that way and that I had to get myself off the sofa and help it along a little. It’s the same when we’re suffering with a low mood or just can’t seem to get that dream project off the ground. Take action, even if it’s the smallest step that you can imagine - send that message, clear your desk, call a friend, eat a healthy lunch. They all sound small don’t they? But when you’re stuck and you don’t know how to change it, even the tiniest step makes the world of difference.
So, there’s a few things to get you started. I hope that it’s inspired you to create a little more happiness in your days because I really don’t think there’s such as thing as too much.
AUTHOR: LEANNA DOOLIN
Co – Founder of holistic skincare brand, Pure Thoughts and advocate for women finding pause in their day to breathe deeply, give thanks and reconnect to what matters. Loves early mornings, dogs and books that you can’t put down.