What makes you happy?
Quite a profound question I think you’d agree.
I thought this would be quite an easy one to answer. However, when I spent some time pondering this question, I found it hard to actually pin point a list of happiness inducing facts.
This isn’t because I’m a miserable person, far from it in fact; I don’t really do miserable (unless it’s my time of the month, or maybe if I’m hangry!)
Perhaps I initially found it hard to pinpoint my ‘happiness list’ because I hadn’t really given myself time to think about what really makes me happy in life before.
The lovely Mum Amie (check out her site, it’s fab) kindly nominated me to compile a list of my ‘Non-negotiables’, the things that I refuse to sacrifice in life because I need them to keep myself happy.
I now had the opportunity to really give my wellbeing some thought.
As many of you may know, I’ve been through quite the journey with my mental health over the years. I’ve experienced some real low points, but now, I’m pleased to say that my mental health has been the best it’s been over the last 6-9 months for a long, long time.
I carefully thought about the experiences I’ve had and what I’ve learnt about myself over the last couple of years.
Now, in keeping with the original theme of my blog, I thought I’d do this as a ‘Top 10’ of my ‘Non-Negotiables’ (although, to tell you the truth, these aren’t really in any particular order).
I’ll be honest here, there’s some rather odd things that I don’t like to negotiate on, but bear with me. I’m really not as shallow as you may think I am!
Because I don’t drive (can’t drive, won’t drive), I either have to rely on public transport (much to my dismay) or my legs to get me from A to B, and unless it’s hammering down with rain, I’m actually quite happy to pound the streets to get to my destination. It clears my head, it’s great exercise and best of all its free!! When I’ve walked a good distance I instantly feel better in myself.
This ties in with my fake tanning regime, however, a good old soak in a hot bath is a fantastic way to while away an hour. The radio goes on, half a bottle of bubble bath goes in, out comes the exfoliating body brush and I’m in my own little place of heaven for the foreseeable.
These are few and far between nowadays, but I absolutely adore planning a night out with my friends or with my other half, deciding what I’m going to wear and where we’re going to go. A night out is something to look forward to, a little bit of escapism and some protected time with my friends and partner. We’ll spend time drinking, chatting, gossiping, dancing, playing games and taking selfie upon selfie. I wouldn’t change a thing about my nights out. OK, maybe the amount of wine I might consume. I often regret that the morning after the night before!
I’ve always had a passion for writing, and this passion was reignited last Summer when I finally decided to start a blog. I haven’t looked back since. OK, it can sometimes take over my life a little (I find it really addictive), however, on the whole it’s done wonders for my wellbeing and happiness. Writing is cathartic for me. It’s like therapy. I’m so glad I have it as a hobby and when I’ve written a blog post, the feeling I experience after can often be euphoric. I’d bottle it if I could.
Music is so incredibly important to me. I listen to it when I’m walking, when I’m on the bus, when I’m in the shower and when I’m in work, to be honest, it’s rare for me to not listen to music. It improves my motivation, certain songs remind me of happy times which I love reflecting on and I’m unashamed to say I’ll often have a right old dance off (with myself) in the comfort of my own living room. I couldn’t imagine a life without music; nor would I want to.
5.Adhering to my fake tan regime (yes, really)
You’re rolling your eyes at this one aren’t you? Allow me to explain. When I’m freshly tanned, it affects my confidence which in turn makes me feel happy. I know it’s only fake tan and I know you’re thinking how on earth can this be a non-negotiable but it really is so important to me. I like how I look when I have a tan, I look that much healthier, clothes look nicer on me, I feel slightly (only slightly mind) happier with my body. I know my other half would probably be over the moon if I ditched my obsession with the St Moriz, mainly because of the state of our bedsheets. However, I’m afraid this is one habit I’m unlikely to give up any time soon.
One thing I’ve definitely learnt I need a good amount of over the years is sleep. I find my anxiety is at its worst if I’m tired. If I’ve had a particularly bad night with my son or I’ve been out the night before and not managed to catch my 7—8 hours then my mental health is certainly affected. I went through a period of moderate insomnia last year which would make my anxiety disorder slightly worse. Although the last week I haven’t had a good deal of sleep (my son has been poorly and in with me every night), my sleeping has improved on the whole and this really does help with my wellbeing.
I’m an only child. I’m used to spending a great deal of time on my own and I really do quite enjoy it. I don’t often get bored of my own company and enjoy it just being me, myself and I on occasion. Reading a magazine, writing or watching something on TV are things I don’t often get to indulge in these days, but when I do, I really enjoy it.
2.Quality family time
Mum guilt is one of the worst feelings in the world. I’ve really experienced it a lot over the last couple of weeks. Being a working Mum, I often find I’m wrestling with myself to ensure I’m devoting enough time to my son. On the whole, I’m quite pleased with the balance I have between work and family life, however, sometimes – especially if my little boy is ill, I can’t help but feel an irrepressible sense of guilt. Quality family time is so important to my wellbeing. Hearing my son laugh is addictive as it is gorgeous. I love nothing more than the 3 of us embarking on a day trip together, or just curling up on the sofa and spending some time just as a little family.
1.Spending time with positive, real people
Until the last couple of years, this really wasn’t a non-negotiable. In fact, it wasn’t even on my radar. Although, I like to think I’ve always been a good judge of character, I’ve definitely honed my skills in recent years. I find that if I’m in the company of disingenuous people or perhaps someone who is literally sucking the life out of me, my wellbeing is affected. I don’t like to feel like I’m being taken for a ride and nor do I like to think I’m being taken advantage of. Spending time with people I don’t trust feels like it’s a waste of time for me. I’m not very good at ‘playing the game’. Thus, I try to only surround myself with people I feel are supporting me, are being genuine and not unnecessarily negative for the sake of it.
So, there you have it. Would you like to compile a list of your ‘Non-Negotiables’? If you would, let me know and I’ll nominate you. I’d love to read your lists!