The Busyness and Happiness Connection

My blog bud Janetha has started a Three Tips Thursday series, and she asked me to write her second installment of tips–go check it out! I wrote for her about happiness. I’m no expert on happiness–but when I lived in D.C., I knew more about unhappiness than I’d like to admit. There was no real reason for me to be unhappy, but I just felt a giant void in my life that I no longer feel. While I wish I had turned things around earlier, I’m just glad that I finally found my way.

As I mentioned on Janetha’s blog, a big part of my unhappiness was that I wasn’t doing things for myself–things that made me happy. I hung out with friends and hoped their happiness would rub off on me. It doesn’t really work that way. I stayed busy, but much of it was work-related and networking with lots of political people. I quickly realized politics wasn’t what I wanted to do, and became increasingly unhappy going to political events and pretending I cared.

Back then, I filled my life with random events so that I didn’t have time to face my unhappiness.

These days, I’m just as busy, if not busier, but it’s all (well, mostly) stuff I choose to do. I chose a job I knew would have long hours. I chose to join the New York Junior League and chair my committee. I chose to start this blog, and work hard at it to make something I’m proud of. I choose to run and train for races. None of these are minor time committments, but they make me happy, and I’m no longer keeping myself busy for fear of unhappiness.


I’ve also learned to say no. I don’t go to every blog event I’m invited to any more for fear of missing out. I’d much rather miss out and spend time with close friends (although many of my close friends are also blog friends), work out or just chill. (Wanting to take time to just chill is also a phenomenon I learned upon moving to NYC, ironically.)

But a comment on my blog from Nicole made me realize how much I’ve been putting on myself in the past few months:

Screen shot 2012-03-29 at 9.13.36 PM.png

Since starting my new job four months ago, I have:

No wonder I’ve been feeling exhausted and having a hard time waking up to work out. This weekend I have two workout classes and a run planned, and THAT’S IT. And I am psyched.

Tonight, I was still feeling an allergy-induced death, so I made a very conscious decision to blow off my run. I felt in such a fog that I felt like I’d keel over if I tried to do anything faster than run.


I picked up a new Neti pot and some eye drops.



Warmed up some of my mom’s sauce and had it over some whole wheat pasta and am vegging on the couch watching 30 Rock and The Office. Just what I needed.

And that. That’s also what I needed. It really made my entire week.

27 comments on “The Busyness and Happiness Connection

  1. Caitlin

    Learning to say no has been HUGE for me recently, and has a direct effect on my happiness. Keep on keepin on lady – taking time for yourself is so, so important.

  2. Sana

    Neti pot freaks me out after the one lady died. Just be careful and use clean water. Orrrr just be safe and don’t use it at all. #paranoid

  3. Lindsay

    I felt the exact same way as you this morning. I have been down all week with allergies and this morning “the snooze won again”. I beat myself up for missing a 4th opportunity in a row to be active. But the good news is I got up and I finally felt better today. I managed to get 20 minutes on the treadmill after work and that was all the boost I needed to feel back on top. It’s the little things.. Oh, and I know it sounds weird but garlic tea works wonders when I’m feeling under the weather. And when I’m feeling slow and weak I try a little yoga and that seems to help too. Good luck! You’ll get there!

  4. Sierra @ Posh Meets Pavement

    Hey! I read your post over on Janetha’s blog and I loved it. Talking about happiness (or lack of it in your life) is NOT easy, especially in an atmosphere of blogging where everyone seems to live fabulous lives with beautiful food and stellar workouts. Thank you for sharing. I just had to comment because I have a dog named Bailey too!

  5. Rose @disney scooter rentals

    Great post Again.You made me cry! That’s why I’m an avid follower! I cannot give you an advice because I’m not good at it. All I know that if I do what I love then I am happy. I learn to be contented and enjoy everything even if how simple it is.

  6. Marisa

    Hi Theodora
    I don’t normally comment on blogs but have been reading yours for a little while and it’s fast becoming my favourite. I love that you work long hours and volunteer and I can relate to the feeling of being overwhelmed and juggling it all. I guess I feel of all the blogs I read I really relate to you!

    This post in particular really spoke to me. I am the happiest now that I have been in years, and also believe its because I made a conscious decision to do things for myself and based on choices I made. I’m training for my first half marathon (I live in Sydney Australia and will be running the Sydney morning Herald half marathon on 20 May). I am training with a group raising money for charity and while im sore, tired and slowest in our group but quite a distance, I’m loving it.

    Anyway keep up the good work with your blog, I attempted to start blogging but can’t quite fit it in, so full credit to you!

    Marisa πŸ™‚

  7. Mom


    I loved this post too. Shows what an amazing daughter I have and what she has accomplished. Life is full of ups and downs, it is getting up each time you fall and being a better person and learning lessons. I think you’ve got it!
    Never forget you have a family that is behind you every inch of the way, We love YOU


  8. Laura

    You are so brave to use a Neti pot! Haha, I am terrified of them.

    Feel better, and trust me, no one knows better than me how hard it is (and yet how necessary) to say no to some invitations. You have to make yourself happy too!

  9. Jess

    I think it’s generally really hard, as a woman, to put yourself first *and* be willing to say no, both without feeling guilty about it. It’s so easy to please everyone else around you, but much harder to please the one really important person in your life: you…without guilt. I am really glad you are at a point where you’re learning to keep that balancing act between making those around you feel happy and loved and making yourself feel happy and loved. It’s a fine line, but it can be done!

  10. Lisa @ Jogging on Coffee

    Enjoy your weekend of relaxation, you deserve it! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and I just wanted to say that I’m so glad you manage to fit it into your busy schedule cause I love your posts πŸ™‚

  11. Life's a Bowl

    As silly as it sounds, learning to “relax” is one of the “22 While 22” goals I made for myself… Sometimes when we’re constantly surrounded with opportunities and things to do it’s hard to say no and makes you feel a little selfish inside :/ I definitely have gotten better and have really tried to focus my efforts towards the things that I want to do, not should or ought to do πŸ™‚

  12. Christina

    Sometimes all I want to do is veg out and watch either the Office, that new Christina Applegate show (damn if I can’t ever remember the name of that show!!) or Cougartown. Love them. Allergies suck, feel better!

  13. Joelle (on a pink typewriter)

    Making time for yourself is so very important.. I live in DC now, and I spent the first half of my time here desperately unhappy as well – same situation, and just adjusting to a very different way of life than I was interested in being a part of.. Sometimes you do just have to learn to take time out to relax and to do the things that make you happiest- even if they’re not the most popular.


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