Finding Happiness

Last year I wrote about some happiness tweaks I’d made, realizing I needed to take my mental health into my hands the same way I’d done with my physical health.

Recently, my therapist remarked how proud she was of where I was this January compared to last January. I wasn’t in a good place then, and despite dealing with my mom being sick, I’m somehow in a far better place mentally than I was last year. (And thank god.)

Here’s what’s worked for me over the past year or so:

  • Admitting when I need help. Whether this is at work, asking friends for support or admitting to my family maybe I don’t have something under control can actually be a huge relief to me instead of trying to always pretend I have my shit together. Because, well…I don’t, completely.
  • But I’ve also learned to celebrate my accomplishments, both internally and by not being self-deprecating out loud. You know how so many women are guilty of deflecting compliments? If someone tells me I look good, instead of pointing out how no, my hair is so dirty, I just smile and say thanks and try to offer a genuine compliment back if I can. Even more, I’ve learned to believe those compliments.
  • Being nicer to myself. Stop holding myself to unrealistic expectations I wouldn’t ever hold anyone else to.
  • Actually doing things to make my life just a little easier. Example: I do live close to work so I can take my dog out at lunch. Round trip, it takes about 20 minutes. I’ve had this same commute for two years, but only recently did I start occasionally getting a dog-walker. Because sometimes the idea of leaving for 20 minutes in the middle of a stressful day is impossible or sounds more stressful. I can do something to make it a little easier? Fine. (But most of the time I still enjoy that quick daytime stop back home and a little QT with my fur man.)
  • Self-care: Getting my nails done. Probably the most basic form of a self-care habit, but that ~$10 habit is well worth it to me for a quick time out and a few days of looking down at nice-looking nails. Here’s a great list of more self-care ideas.
  • Acceptance. (<< Hello, can I have my adult card now?) I’m going to be 33 next month. The lines in my face are getting a little deeper, and my metabolism is getting a little slower…and that’s ok. Once I embraced those things, I learned to appreciate my appearance a little more.
  • Working out. ACT LIKE YOU’RE SURPRISED TO READ THIS HERE. Through an injury last summer, I realized how crucial working out is to my mental health. Sure I work out to burn calories and stay in shape, but I can truly say that if I never burned another calorie again from working out, I would still keep moving, because it just makes me feel better and more calm.
  • Surrounding myself with the absolute best people I know. Those friends that make me laugh until I cry. Hanging out with my coworkers more than is normal because I love them fiercely. Cherishing those valuable friends that I can count on for a few too many glasses of wine one night and to be by my side with my family another.
  • Giving this blog space. I’ve always tried to be as cheery as possible on this blog. I like to think I’m mostly like that IRL with a side of sarcasm. When I was down, the idea of writing here — no matter how much I wanted to — was torture. I didn’t want to pretend everything was a-ok in my life, but I didn’t want to wallow in this space either. There were so many nights last summer I stared at a blank screen for hours and finally gave up and closed my laptop, frustrated I hadn’t written anything and even more frustrated I’d wasted my own time. I’m slowly coming back to you guys more and have lots of ideas for this year, and I love it.
  • Really learning to be myself and be (mostly) OK with what other people think about that. Sometimes I’m too goofy, sometimes I laugh too loud, sometimes I’m too quiet and withdraw. But hey, that’s all me.

What’s helped you be a little happier?

11 comments on “Finding Happiness

  1. Katie

    Sarcasm is a way of life. Have no fear of posting with that kind of content. Things aren’t always perfect, and they don’t have to always tug at the heart strings, sometimes they can make us laugh out loud! a blogger I admire is she got botox recently and told her readers all about it. and didn’t fit into her new years eve dress, so posted about it. The truth hurts, and is funny, and can help others connect.

  2. Christine @ Two Runners Travel

    I really enjoyed this post. I went through a really really rough time last summer…I had gotten married in June and work was literally eating me alive. By the end of the summer, I thought I was going to have a breakdown. It was awful. The entire time I couldn’t even think about the blog because like you said I didn’t feel like writing good things when I felt so down all the time. But I didn’t really want to open up quite yet. Kudos to you for taking care of you – I’ve have learned that is more important than you ever realize!

  3. Glen Snider

    What’s helped me be a little happier? Knowing when I make a New Year’s resolution (common ones for me: workout, read, etc.), learning that it doesn’t mean I have to do it every day, all or nothing, but rather I’ll do more of it than less over the year.

    Life gets in the way, so while I may resolve to workout every day, sometimes it is just not possible, so if I miss a day I’ll try again tomorrow, don’t just throw in the towel and give up.

    May sound simple and I’m sure all of you do it perfectly, but when I had that “light bulb moment”, it made me happy!

  4. Katie @ Live Half Full

    Not comparing myself to others is something I constantly have to work at but helps me be SO much happier. Also, on that same thread, not comparing myself to who I used to be/want to be and just enjoying who I am at the moment. Which, again is something that takes work. Dare I say being happy takes work?

  5. Elodie

    Hi! We are a group called Run Long And Perspire and we organize geek-themed virtual races to raise money for charities. Our first event is a Game of Thrones race (the Winter Is Coming 5K) that will take place in February and benefit Doctors Without Borders. We will organize 2 other races this year, a Harry Potter one and a Doctor Who one. We would love to have you in our race! If you think it might interest you, feel free to visit our website or our Facebook page :
    Thank you 🙂

  6. Beth @ Paces and Places

    I always try to have something that I am excited about in each day. Sometimes it’s as small as a piece of chocolate I know I’m going to have after dinner or waking up knowing my lunch is already packed or plans with a friend that evening or whatever else. I try to start the day out thinking about whatever little thing I’m excited about. It makes me excited for the day (instead of just grumpy about getting up…though there’s definitely still some grump in there too!) and helps me focus on the good in my life.

  7. Anne

    Thank you for this… For whatever reason – I’m a relatively new reader – I feel like I really identify with you and where you are in life, as well as your struggles. I don’t have a mother who was diagnosed with cancer, but otherwise it’s been like reading what goes through my own mind. Thanks for being so open and sharing so much – and for linking to the happiness tweaks you made last year. I’m working my way back to a healthier mindset and approach to life, including food and exercise, and reading about your journey really helps.


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