I've definitely been feeling happier lately. Its nice to write that on here. So often lately I've felt like the more personal posts on here have been outpourings of confusion and frustration - trying to navigate through opposing life choices and make sense of what the 'right path' is to follow. Without really realising it though, I feel so much 'lighter' lately. I've been reflecting a lot, listening to lots of podcasts, reading articles and generally keeping my eye out for those little nuggets of wisdom that just come along and shake up the way you feel.
I am trying to just let things 'be' and rather than trying to figure out the right answers and choices all of the time, just accept what is, now, and keep my eyes open for opportunities and little nudges in the right direction. My commute for example, is something that I've mentioned a lot and something that I get very upset about as it's a significant time out of my day that I could spend on creativity or projects I don't get enough time to do. But I've realised that real happiness comes out of - as in the serenity poem - accepting what you cannot change, and right now, because of Tom's job and his priorities, and the security and benefits my job gives me, my job and my commute are not likely to change in the immediate future. Getting upset and angry at my commute and sitting there stewing behind my steering wheel just doesn't solve anything. Instead, I've accepted that I'm going to be in my car for around two hours a day, and I listen to podcasts, try and take in the beautiful views of the forest (and amazing sunsets the journey home has been providing lately), and just accept that this is a part of my life right now (and try and be grateful for the opportunity to spend two hours a day listening to podcasts!)
The podcasts I listen to tend to offer up a massive amount of wisdom, and I really do have those lightbulb moments where someone is living their life in a particular way that makes you realise a change that you could make for the better. As a result of making little tweaks here and there, I'm trying to do a few things every day to help with that feeling of contentment and ease.
01. Take three deep breaths. This sounds silly - but if you think that you obviously do this every day naturally, just watch for how often you take big, juicy lungfuls of air. It's a good feeling and I try and spend some time outside and take big, deep, grounding breaths every day. Working in an air conditioned office, I don't always get the opportunity during the day to get some fresh air, so I try and go for walks at lunchtime, or spend lots of time outside at the weekend. Even having plants in your office can help.
02. Take ten minutes in the morning before I get up just to slow my brain down and have a moment of calm in the morning. I used to pick up my phone and start scrolling through Twitter the moment I woke up, but now I try and wake up more slowly and give myself a little moment of peace before I start the day.
03. No screens before bed. About 10pm at the moment I put my phone on charge and then shut it in the drawer in my bedside table, and don't get it out until the following morning. I'm trying to read before bed instead of checking social media - it definitely affects my sleep when I stare at my phone for half an hour before I settle down (trying to get Tom to keep his iPad out of the bedroom is proving much less successful!) Apparently the blue light your phone or iPad emits excited your optic nerves - sending signals to the brain to tell it not to go to sleep, so it's definitely worth hiding your phone or tablet before you tuck yourself up in bed.
04. Fill in my gratitude journal. After I get up, I go straight downstairs, boil the kettle for my morning green tea, and while the tea is brewing I fill in the morning section of my Gratitude Journal. I can be a bit rubbish at doing this but I do really like the process of thinking about what I'm grateful for and reflecting on the day before, so it's something I really want to stick with.
05. Stretch every day. I don't want to tie myself to doing a full yoga routine every day as I've tried that in the past and I can't always find the time. At a minimum now I just try and do a few sun salutations or a small series of moves to open myself up and stretch out my back and shoulders especially. I've been having a lot of neck and back pain from sitting in an office chair all day and it makes me feel a million times better when I have a stretch and do a little yoga every day.
I'm currently writing this on my phone, sat in a hotel room in Shepton Mallet so I apologise a) if there are any ridiculous autocorrect errors and b) for not adding links to the podcasts I'm listening to (though I have already posted about my favourites so hopefully you might be able to dig that out!) or my favourite yoga videos. I'll try and share some bits soon which might help anyone else wanting to develop their own routines.
Do you have any daily rituals that make you feel much happier and chilled out?