16 Small things you can start doing right now to make your life happier

Good Afternoon Ferals!

Okay, so your ‘life’ may be a bit extreme – let’s start small; maybe just your day. Has it been a particularly demanding week? I know it has been for me. With long working weeks, home renovations, still trying to maintain a degree of fitness and maybe sneak in a bit of a social life it’s easy to fall out of your own happiness cycle. When I feel like every aspect of my life is demanding I tend to forget to enjoy my day, rather than just power on through it; but what ends up happening is my day doesn’t go any faster, I’m not 100% present and I don’t enjoy my day as much as I should.

So I wrote this list for myself a couple of weeks back to try to help me focus again, and then in my infinite wisdom, I thought I’d share this with you too. Hopefully, it’ll help you to truly enjoy the rest of your day and get you to start forming happy-habits.

  1. Say good morning (to yourself, to your dog, img_2401to the birds, to the postman) // Smiles spread like wildfire – it’s corny, it’s weird and smiling at strangers makes me uncomfortable sometimes. So if that’s not your thing then start with your dog, or the sun, or even just yourself.
  2. Drink more water // Yes, I know I sound like your mother – but it’s true! A hydrated brain is a happy brain. Drinking too little leads to headaches, dehydration, constipation and crankiness – so basically none of the good things. Whereas studies show that regular hydration improves your mood and, unlike a short-term fix (like a new pair of shoes), allows your body to find a positive balance and maintain long-term satisfaction levels – so drink up!
  3. Wake up earlier // It is the key to a successful day for me – If I wake up late then I feel like I’m two steps behind for the whole day. That extra 15 minutes in the morning will allow you to slow down and give you time to appreciate your warm shower and give you lots of time to…
  4. Make a big, healthy, breakfast and enjoy eating it // IMG_8289No rushed eating, no coffee guzzling, no grabbing the toast out of the toaster as you scurry out of the door. Slow down. Studies show that eating your breakfast next to a big natural light source helps you to wake up more efficiently – so whip up a pan of scrambled eggs and eat them next to a big window (bonus points if there is a really nice view). I also find that I appreciate this time more if I don’t take my phone with me.
  5. Do 10 minutes of yoga in the morning // And you don’t even have to leave your bed! IMG_8253Before you jump straight in the shower take a few minutes to wake up your muscles. Sit upright, tuck your feet underneath your bum and stretch your arms up above your head, feeling the stretch all the way to your fingertips. Take big breaths and slowly move your body, working out any aches left behind from the previous day. Take this time to allow yourself to take big, deep breaths and get some oxygen back into your body.
  6. Plan yourself an escape into the mountains // img_5856And stick to it! I am certainly happiest when I know I have a trip coming up – but who says it has to be a plane ride away? Buy yourself a map, find a big lump of nature and set yourself aside a day to go up and around it.
  7. Listen to mind-expanding podcasts or ted talks on your way to work // I have about a 65-mile round trip to work every day and honestly, it’s taken all of the fun out of music. I quickly tire of new bands, new albums and new singles; that’s when I started to discover the world of podcasts. Now I spend all of my commuting time listening to podcasts like the Tough Girls Podcast and Bliss and Grit or Ted Talks that centre on feminism, our environment, sexuality and world politics. The more I listen to, the more clued in I am and the more empathy I am able to feel. It’s far more satisfying than just having the radio aimlessly blurting out song after song.
  8. Eat more spinach (especially leading up to your period!) // So not only does it help ease menstrual cramps (yes really! And who doesn’t want that?!) it’s also packed full of vitamin B6, which can help fight the stress hormone cortisol, which is produced when anxiety kicks in. I love raw spinach, but if you’re not a fan then just add a handful to your morning smoothie – you can hardly taste it at all!
  9. Give yourself more time // I keep mentioning this but I can’t emphasise this enough! Time CAN be on your side. OF COURSE you are going to feel rubbish and stressed if you snooze your alarm 7 times, roll out of bed half an hour late and run out the door whispering “shit shit shit”. You will probably forget something, you will have big old dark circle eyes and you will be hungry and uncaffeinated – It used to be my day-to-day reality. I would always get in the car, struggling to get my keys in the ignition quick enough and as I raced towards work I would promise myself that I would never do this again. I’d be better tomorrow. I don’t know what changed but one day I just… did. and it’s hard the first few times but after that, it just makes more sense. Once you dial that down you learn how to apply that rule to everything – deadlines, exercise routines, toilet paper – never leaving it til the last-minute and ensuring you are always on top.
  10. Sit outside on your lunch break // When it’s sunny and wonderful and the whole world is smiling at you then go and join in. Find some grass and go and eat your sandwiches there for a change – especially if you have a desk job. You’ll come back bursting with vitamin D, clear-headed and ready to smash out the rest of the day!
  11. Eat less bad shit // Seriously, why? In a IMG_8258world where everything is so accessible, why do we choose to spend money on food that literally has zero benefits to our engines? You wouldn’t fill up your car with vegetable oil, would you? Why? Because it just wouldn’t do the job. The same thing applies to our beautiful, complex bodies!
  12. Make yourself a body scrub and have a slow shower // It’s not hard at all – my favourite mix is just coconut oil and leftover coffee granules. If I fancy adding a bit more scent to it then I’ll pop a couple of drops of Ylang Ylang essential oil in the mix (my favourite).
  13. Stop at your local greengrocers on the way home, IMG_8266find a new vegetable, google how to cook it and try something new // It’s such a simple pleasure to step out of your comfort zone and try something new, and we very rarely do it. Even down to our dinner habits – when was the last time you cooked something you’d never even heard of before? I try to do it once every week or so, but it really forces me to take a bit more of an interest in my evening meal!
  14. Hug all the dogs // Why would you not? img_4508Isn’t that what they’re there for? Dogs ooze happy, and they can’t help but rub it off on you. Even universities are getting in on it – During exam periods there have been reports of the odd Uni having pop up puppy cuddling rooms to help spread a little love and ease the stress that comes with exam season. I have honestly contemplated driving hours to go find these, but I know I’d never be able to leave!
  15. Do more barefoot walking // Don’t get me wrong, I won’t walk for the whole day without any shoes on (at least, not until my feet toughen up after a long winter) but when I come across a grassy section of the walk then I can’t wait to kick off my shoes. It’s a sure-fire way to make me feel connected to the world a little bit more.
  16. Sit still for ten minutes before bed // I see you, put your phone down, close your laptop and stop watching the TV. At the end of the day just give yourself a quiet ten minutes to hold yourself and let all of the tension you’ve built up over the day go. Close your eye. Breathe. Let it go.

And there you have it! If you have any more to add then do so in the comments section below! I would LOVE to hear what you do and add it to my list too!

See you next week Ferals!

H

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